About this course
Explore the many facets of cultural heritage from built environments and archaeological records to the heritage of art, film and literature. You’ll graduate from this MA with the expertise for a successful career in the heritage and tourism sector, or for further study at PhD level.
This specialism (Heritage and Public History) has a particular focus on the differences between academic and public history. It explores how history is communicated to a non-academic audience by various institutions.
Optional modules will give you the opportunity to explore themes in History or other heritage related subjects.
You'll gain essential experience through things like:
- field trips
- meeting industry practitioners
- the chance to apply for a work placement with one of our heritage partners.
You'll have the opportunity to:
- develop specific research and practical skills relevant to cultural heritage
- develop a critical awareness of the potential and limitations of key forms of evidence and approaches prepare for further research and/or professional practice
- gain the ability to apply detailed theoretical, ethical and legislative frameworks, knowledge and methodologies to an understanding of heritage
- develop a comprehensive understanding of a range of general approaches to heritage
- apply all the above skills and approaches to your chosen specialism;
Our Cultural Heritage programmes are also available with the following pathways:
- Cultural Heritage: study the main issues and debates around the subject, including legal and ethical issues, and how heritage is managed and presented
- Heritage and Museums: gain a behind-the-scenes insight into how museums communicate the past
- Heritage and the Arts: develop specialist practical skills in communicating in different genres and platforms in publishing, broadcasting, heritage management, and arts curation
Whilst the course content varies depending on the pathway you study, modules covering essential aspects of the subject are common to all pathways.
There is also plenty of flexibility within the pathways themselves, allowing you to build the skillset that best suits your chosen career path.
Your course leader is Alistair Pike, Professor of Archaeological Sciences. His research interests cover several areas archaeological science, from the development of dating methods for bone beyond the range of radiocarbon to the use of isotopes in the reconstruction of human lifeways. Read Professor Pike’s staff profile to find out more about his work.
This course is based at Avenue.
This qualification is awarded by the University of Southampton.
Download the Course Description Document
The Course Description Document details your course overview, your course structure and how your course is taught and assessed.
Changes due to COVID-19
Although the COVID-19 situation is improving, any future restrictions could mean we might have to change the way parts of our teaching and learning take place in 2022 to 2023. This means that some of the information on this course page may be subject to change.
Find out more on our COVID advice page.
First or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject from a UK university, that has included assessed written academic work. Alternatively, we will also consider an equivalent overseas or professional qualification in an appropriate subject area.
English language requirements
If English isn't your first language, you'll need to complete an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to demonstrate your competence in English. You'll need all of the following scores as a minimum:
IELTS score requirements
- overall score
We accept other English language tests. Find out which English language tests we accept.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
On this full-time master’s course you'll study for a full 12 months.
For the first 9 months (semesters 1 and 2) you’ll study the taught part of the course.
This is made up of modules that everyone on your pathway takes and modules that we’ll ask you to choose from a list of options. Some of your compulsory modules will be common to all of the pathways, ensuring that you gain a general overview of the subject in addition to your specialist skills.
You’ll spend the last 3 months of the course working independently on your dissertation or professional project.
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
Your module choice will depend on the pathway you choose to study. Download the programme specification in the 'About this course' section for full details.
For entry in Academic Year 2022-23
Year 1 modules
You must study the following modules:
Dissertation or Professional Project
Students on this module can take one of two pathways: completing a dissertation or a professional project. The dissertation is a personal research project of up to 20,000 words on a topic approved by their supervisor. It takes place over the summer period...
Global Cultural Heritage
This module takes a global perspective and deals with the many varieties of cultural heritage from the tangible built environment to intangible heritage represented by a society’s traditional knowledge and customs. It will explore the reasons we do, or sh...
Maritime Museums and Heritage Management
As maritime archaeology becomes an increasingly mainstream part of the discipline of archaeology, public awareness of the importance of protecting, managing and disseminating maritime cultural heritage assumes a heightened importance. At the same time, cl...
This module aims to enhance your understanding of how history is communicated and consumed by the general public outside academe, through such institutions as museums, archives and heritage sites. It will encourage you to both engage with the theoretical ...
You must also choose from the following modules:
History Individually Negotiated Topic 1
As an alternative to one modular option on the History MA you can pursue an Individually Negotiated Topic or INT in each semester. This enables you to develop a personal interest in a specific historical topic under the supervision of member(s) of staff i...
Jane Austen and the Heritage Industry
Jane Austen’s novels and life have been adapted, remixed, and translated into an ever-growing body of films, television series, books, graphic novels, YouTube channels, and even video games—a thriving media industry. She also continues to play an importan...
Museums in the Modern World
This module examines the past, present and future of heritage communication. It will explore the ever-changing purposes and practices espoused by and employed by heritage bodies, including museums, with a primary but not exclusive focus on UK institutions...
Professional Placement in the Archaeological and Cultural Heritage Sector
A key component of higher archaeological practice is the development of archaeological vocational skills, and the application of what is learnt at university in the working environment. The archaeological methods and skills taught at university have diver...
Rome is one of Western Europe’s most ancient and most symbolically significant cities. In this multidisciplinary module you will explore how Rome gained and retained political, cultural, and symbolic power over two millennia. Through a series of linked ca...
The Medieval World: sources and approaches in pre-modern history
The module will introduce you to the wide range of uses historians have made of medieval documentation from 1000 to 1500. Approaches to the study of sources are often oblique and many classes of record are employed to support research on themes far from t...
Learning and assessment
The learning activities for this course include:
- field trips
- project work
- group work
- independent learning (studying on your own)
We’ll assess you through:
- laboratory and field activities
- a dissertation or professional project
You'll complete either a 20,000-word dissertation or a professional project, such as an exhibition, catalogue, professional report or a guidebook, with a commentary of 5,000 to 15,000 words.
This is a chance for you to develop your research skills and show in-depth knowledge of your chosen topic.
You’ll work closely with your supervisor to agree your subject, and will have regular support meetings throughout the process.
We'll assign you a personal academic tutor, and you'll have access to a senior tutor.
You’ll graduate from this MA with the expertise for a successful career in the heritage and tourism sector, or for further study at PhD level.
With this pathway's particular focus on Museums, you'll be ideally suited for employment in areas like:
- government heritage bodies
- private consultancy firms
- museums and galleries
Careers services at Southampton
We're a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022). Our Careers, Employability and Student Enterprise team will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
- work experience schemes
- CV/resume and interview skills workshops
- networking events
- careers fairs attended by top employers
- a wealth of volunteering opportunities
- study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a thriving entrepreneurship culture. You'll be able to take advantage of:
- our dedicated start-up incubator, Futureworlds
- a wide variety of enterprise events run throughout the year
- our partnership in the world’s number 1 business incubator, SETsquared
Fees, costs and funding
Fees for a year's study:
- UK students pay £9,250.
- EU and international students pay £22,136.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and any exams.
Find out how to pay your tuition fees.
Accommodation and living costs, such as travel and food, are not included in your tuition fees. Explore:
10% alumni discount
If you’re a graduate of the University of Southampton you get a 10% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees.
Postgraduate Master’s Loans (UK nationals only)
This can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master's course. Find out if you're eligible.
Southampton Humanities Postgraduate Global Talent Scholarship
Twenty scholarships of £5,000 are available to international students joining our postgraduate master’s courses at the School of Humanities in September 2023.
Find out more about the Southampton Humanities Postgraduate Global Talent Scholarship, including eligibility, deadlines and how to apply.
Southampton Arts and Humanities Deans Global Talent Scholarship
Ten scholarships of £10,000 each are available to international students studying for an undergraduate degree or a postgraduate master’s degree in Arts and Humanities.
Find out more about the Southampton Arts and Humanities Deans Global Talent Scholarship, including eligibility, deadlines and how to apply.
Other postgraduate funding options
A variety of additional funding options may be available to help you pay for your master’s study. Both from the University and other organisations.
Funding for EU and international students
Find out about funding you could get as an international student.
How to apply
- Use the 'apply for this course' button on this page to take you to our online application form.
- Search for the course you want to apply for.
- Complete the application form and upload any supporting documents.
- Submit your application.
The deadline for applying for your course for the 2023 year of entry depends on where you’re domiciled (where your permanent home is and where you have the closest ties).
This is because:
- students from different countries tend to apply at different times of year
- we want a diverse and balanced mix of international students with exceptional academic ability
|Place of domicile||Deadline|
|China||6 March 2023|
|Anywhere else (except the UK)||31 May 2023|
|UK (and others eligible for home fees)||7 July 2023|
We must receive new applications by midday GMT.
The deadline for 2023 applications from those permanently domiciled in China is now set. The deadline for applicants domiciled in other countries may still move to:
- an earlier date if we have already received enough applications before the deadline
- a later date if there are still places available on the deadline
We receive many high-quality applications, so places for many of our courses are very competitive.
Application assessment fee
We’ll ask you to pay a £50 application assessment fee if you’re applying for a postgraduate taught course.
This is an extra one-off charge which is separate to your tuition fees and is payable per application. It covers the work and time it takes us to assess your application. You’ll be prompted to pay when you submit your application which won’t progress until you've paid.
If you're a current or former University of Southampton student, or if you’re applying for certain scholarships, you will not need to pay the fee. PGCE applications through GOV.UK and Master of Research (MRes) degree applications are also exempt. Find out if you’re exempt on our terms and conditions page.
When you apply you’ll need to submit a personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
You’ll need to include information about:
- your knowledge of the subject area
- why you want to study a postgraduate qualification in this course
- how you intend to use your qualification
You'll also need to send 2 academic references.
Please include the required paperwork showing your first degree and your IELTS English language test score (if you are a non-native English speaker) with your application. Without these, your application may be delayed.
What happens after you apply
You'll be able to track your application through our online Applicant Record System.
We'll assess your application on the strength of your:
- academic achievements
- relevant professional experience
- personal statement
- academic references
We will aim to send you a decision 6-8 weeks after you have submitted your application.
If we offer you a place, you will need to accept the offer within 30 working days. If you do not meet this deadline, we will offer your place to another applicant.
Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications we receive, we may not be able to give you specific feedback on your application if you are unsuccessful.
Equality and diversity
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
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