Cultural Heritage Studies MA

London, Bloomsbury

This MA covers practical and theoretical approaches to the key issues and working practices in the field of cultural heritage. Students benefit from the Institute of Archaeology's emphasis on the role of heritage in today's society, from the art and archaeology collections of UCL, and from the unrivalled resources of London's museums.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 05 Apr 2024

Applications closed

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

Students are introduced to to key theoretical approaches and practical issues involved in cultural heritage in order to develop a critical understanding of the diverse social, cultural and political contexts in which the processes for both conceptualising and managing cultural heritage operate. The flexible programme structure allows students to design a more theoretically based or more practically based degree depending on each individual's needs and interests.

Who this course is for

The programme is aimed both at those who wish to study cultural heritage as an academic subject, and those who wish to obtain employment within this broad sector. The degree caters for students from a wide range of academic disciplines and diverse backgrounds who wish to study this rapidly growing interdisciplinary field.

What this course will give you

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is one of the largest and most diverse department of archaeology, heritage and museum studies in the UK and provides a stimulating environment for postgraduate study.

We are international in outlook and membership, with students and staff from over 40 countries, and involvement in field research projects around the globe.

UCL is located in central London, within walking distance of the British Museum and the British Library. The institute's outstanding archaeological library is complemented by UCL's main library, University of London Senate House and other specialist libraries.

The foundation of your career

Recent graduates of this programme have gone on to work in policy areas and project areas for national and international organisations, such as English Heritage, the National Trust, ICOMOS and UNESCO. They have also worked in educational, development and environmental sectors and for consultancies (such as Atkins Global, Barker Langham), and in museums, site interpretation and education. Many students have also gone on to further research in academic institutions around the world, such as Stanford, Athens and Leiden, or here at UCL.


Graduates have a critical understanding of both the theoretical and operational aspects of heritage and its use of the past to enrich the present for the public. The interdisciplinary nature of cultural heritage studies leads to creativity and initiative. Graduates are highly motivated and articulate. They have an acute awareness of the moral and ethical issues that are inherent in cultural heritage which contributes to skilful negotiation of contested matters. These abilities are valued by employers and heritage agencies and contribute to innovative exhibitions, educational activities, public programming and policy and strategy development. The breadth of the degree widens the spectrum of employment opportunities


There is a broad network of MA Cultural Heritage Studies graduates working across the heritage sector (including museums, academia, and national heritage organisations around the world), some of whom return as guest lectures on core modules.

Teaching and learning

The programme encourages diverse teaching and learning methods/strategies such as:

- student debate and discussion in seminar groups.

- student presentations given to their peer group in a friendly and respectful and creative atmosphere.

- visits offer a unique opportunity to ground lecture topics in practical public settings in order to stimulate student reflection and response.

- as the degree progresses students complement their conceptual knowledge with research methods

- these core skills culminate in and underpin the final dissertation,

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical demonstrations, site visits and guest lectures. Assessment is through essays, projects reports, and a research based dissertation.

While week to week schedules will vary, students can expect to spend 25% of their time in lectures, 20% in tutorials or practicals, up to 10% in advisory or supplemental engagement sessions, and about 45% working on independent study and research


Teaching is carried out in the first two terms, with each term consisting of one compulsory core module and additional optional modules. You will identify a dissertation topic and supervisor in the second term. In the third term, you will begin work on your dissertation, which continues over the summer and can be supplemented by research skill sessions organised at the Institute of Archaeology.    

The degree programme structure sees students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

Students are required to take the following two compulsory core modules: 

  • Critical Perspectives on Cultural Heritage (30 credits)
  • Sources and Social Research Methods for Heritage and Archaeology (30 credits)

Students are required to select option modules to the value of 60 credits. All students complete a research dissertation (90 credits).

Those who undertake part-time study will discuss with the degree co-ordinator their pathway through the degree. Typically students will take both core degree modules in the first year and select their optional modules in order to spread these out to year two. The dissertation is discussed in year 1 and completed at the end of year two. We endeavour to be flexible to the needs of part-time students in designing their pathway through the degree over two years.

The degree programme structure sees students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

Students are required to take the following two compulsory core modules: 

  • Critical Perspectives on Cultural Heritage (30 credits)
  • Sources and Social Research Methods for Heritage and Archaeology (30 credits)

Students are required to select option modules to the value of 60 credits. All students complete a research dissertation (90 credits).

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £15,100 £7,550
Tuition fees (2024/25) £31,100 £15,550

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

There are no additional costs for this programme.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

Heritage and Museums Diversity Scholarship: The UCL Institute of Archaeology is funding a scholarship for a candidate from Black British, British Pakistani or British Bangladeshi backgrounds as these groups are currently under-represented within the heritage sector. The scholarship covers course fees only for a Home student.

For further details and an application form please see here.

Institute of Archaeology Master's Awards: The UCL Institute of Archaeology has one studentship of £10,000 available to support a graduate student who is an ordinarily resident in the UK or Ireland and eligible to pay home fee rate. The deadline for applications is 1st March 2024. For further information and to download an application see here: here

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Aziz Foundation Scholarships in Social and Historical Sciences

Value: Full tuition fees (equivalent to 1yr full-time) (1yr)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

Institute of Archaeology International Masters Student Award

Deadline: 1 March 2024
Value: Up to £26,000 (1yr)
Criteria Based on academic merit
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Cultural Heritage Studies at graduate level
  • why you want to study Cultural Heritage Studies at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
  • what attracts you to this programme - which plays an emphasis on critical, theoretical perspectives on cultural heritage - at the intellectual, theoretical level.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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