What will I study?
The world of Museum and Heritage Management is changing rapidly. There is a need for multi-skilled, qualified staff who possess a broad vision of the field in which they are working in. For over 15 years this course has provided the training to prepare students for employment in a range of heritage activities.
From day one you will be gaining essential industry experience by working with one of our 70+ partners in the history and heritage sector. It involves spending approximately 100 hours working on a live project and allows students to gain experience of working to occupational standards within professional frameworks whilst obtaining insights into the latest practices.
This course is taught by both academics and uniquely, active practitioners. This ensures that the course content is constantly updated and directly relevant to the demands of the sector. From our Clifton campus we are ideally based to make the most of the historic area of Nottinghamshire. We run regular field trips to country houses and the wide variety of museums in the local area. Our supportive, expert team also organise a calendar of visiting speakers further enriching your experience and knowledge of the sector.
Bursaries and scholarships
£1,000 postgraduate bursaries and full international scholarship available for 2013 entry
General course enquiries
Telephone: +44(0)115 848 4200
Please note the following information for applicants
Please see the Applying
Course length: One year full-time, two years part-time
Study location: Clifton campus
Fees and funding:
Please see our fees information page.
1) Professional Practice
The following are two year-long modules, taught for a day per week each, which provide a practical, skills-based framework for obtaining employment in the heritage field. They are supported in turn by a practice module, combining a placement and placement report with the use of a portfolio to record evidence of personal development throughout the course.
Heritage Resource Management
In this module students gain an introduction to the main issues and the skills required to effectively manage the heritage resources. The module provides a historical framework for the heritage resource and examines the main national, international and regional strategies and policies affecting the heritage industry. Students gain academic underpinning and should develop the practical skills and knowledge required to manage the heritage resource, organisations and collections.
This module examines all aspects of presenting heritage to the public. There is a detailed exploration of the nature, needs and expectations of the heritage audiences. This links to issues associated with audience development, from the establishment of marketing strategies to the positive role of heritage within social inclusion policies.
The importance of quality in front-of-house management is stressed. At the heart of the module is an emphasis on interpretation and education - ways of engaging audiences fully and supporting lifelong learning.
In this module students will gain an introduction to the process of professional development and the skills required to gain employment in the museums and heritage profession. The module introduces the concepts of planning, evaluating and reviewing professional development through the use of an individual development plan (IDP).
Students will gain skills in setting personal goals and identifying strategies to achieve these targets. They will identify and develop key transferable skills. Students will also demonstrate their abilities through the collection and recording of evidence and the process of planning, review and evaluation of their IDP. Students will also complete a work placement in order to apply and further develop the skills they gained during the taught course.
The module is divided into two elements: the portfolio and the placement. The two elements are interlinked and are supported by the portfolio handbook.
2) Academic Underpinning
These modules involve students directly in current debates and research about museums and heritage, and the theoretical positions underpinning their study and practice. It provides a framework within which students will develop their own basis for the subject in an inter-disciplinary context. It will help establish critical parameters for the definition of heritage studies and provides an appropriate underpinning for professional practice.
The thesis provides an opportunity to achieve academic independence and pursue an aspect of the course in depth. In line with the overall aims of the course, a thesis will offer a synthesis of theoretical and practical elements drawn from the course as a whole. Students will be expected to produce a detailed research proposal, an annotated bibliography and a final text of 12-15,000 words.
Graduates from this course are employed in varied activities such as curating, exhibition design, marketing and management, education, administration and retail, throughout the heritage sector.
Academic options: From Castle to Country House
The country house is one of England's major contributions to international culture. The course will look at the development of the country house, both in terms of its architecture and decorative arts. It will locate the development of these houses within political, social and economic contexts. It will also analyse the role, management and presentation of country houses today. The module gives students the historical, theoretical and practical background to be able to assess, analyse and criticise country house heritage values, sites and interpretations.
Continuous assessment will include essays, individual and group projects, reports, presentations, an exhibition and portfolio, and a thesis reflecting the professional expertise in the field. There are no written examinations.
Resources and facilities:
- dedicated seminar room
- additional computing facilities
- online support.
The MA offers the opportunity to undertake a thesis.
Placement and voluntary work undertaken by students on this course allows them to gain experience and skills that are highly valued by heritage industry employers and academic institutions. Students are given many opportunities to develop their skills within real projects undertaken by the staff, such as visitor survey work and interpretive analysis. The course gives you many transferable skills that are essential within the heritage field, but are also useful in many other professions including:
- project management
- financial management
- professions that require good teamwork or presentation skills.
Many students have secured jobs in the heritage field. Recent graduates have gone on to work for:
- local authorities and independent museums
- The National Trust
- English Heritage
- Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
- Museum database software suppliers
- Heritage Lottery Fund.
Completion of a suitable work placement and report are compulsory elements of the professional development module of the programme. The placement at a museum, country house, historic site or other heritage organisation is additional to any ongoing voluntary work and lasts approximately 100 hours (three weeks equivalent) within the placement block. The placement block is normally four weeks over the Easter break in March/April each year.
The University has a long track record in facilitating work placements across the heritage sector, which are successful both for students and placement hosts. Some students have gone on to gain employment with their hosts and many of those students, who are then employed, go on to offer placements to students in their workplace. Our academic staff are pleased to discuss students' needs at the start of the programme and will help you to secure a placement of benefit to you.
Students also carry out voluntary work with a local heritage organisation one day per week throughout the course.
Roles and activities
There is no set pattern to placement work. Past roles (see below) have been as diverse as the host organisations themselves. Whether the placement has clearly defined objectives and tasks, or if there is an open remit to assist with many activities, emphasis is placed on flexibility, professionalism and good communication. There is the opportunity for hosts to comment on the placement via an evaluation form. A placement visit by a staff member is also planned, where possible.
The placement report is formally structured. It reflects the student's experiences during the placement and should contain information, evidence and evaluation relating to the assessment criteria:
- demonstrated ability to work in the heritage industry by successful completion of a work-based placement in a heritage organisation
- presentation, assessment and evaluation of objectives set for the placement and for professional development
- research and evaluation of the host institution
- demonstrated ability to apply theoretical and underpinning knowledge to the placement experience
- document and discuss activities undertaken and provide supporting evidence
- core transferable and professional skills are identified and evaluated and supporting evidence provided
- challenges specific to the individual are identified and evaluated and supporting evidence provided
- assess impact on future strategy for career development
- health and safety issues are discussed and evaluated.
Recent placement and voluntary work activities include:
|Visitor services and events assistance||National Trust: Tyntesfield, Hardwick Hall, Sudbury Hall, Kedleston Hall, Southwell Workhouse, Mr Straw's House, Belton House, Alnwick Castle|
|Visitor consultation and questionnaires||British Museum, Interpretation Department; Wollaton Hall; University of Cambridge Museums|
|Audio tour research and planning||Galleries of Justice, Nottingham|
|Site evaluations and reports||Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Service (VAQAS)|
|Collections relocation, documentation||The Collection, Lincoln|
|Decorative art collections research||Nottingham Castle Museum|
|Visitor surveys||Nottingham City Museums|
|Schools loans service research and collections management||Access Artefacts, Nottingham City Museums|
|Collections, exhibitions and educational activity assistance||Museum of English Rural life, University of Reading; Bedford Museum|
|Exhibitions development||Snibston Discovery Park, Galleries of Justice|
|Interpretation, collections management||DH Lawrence Heritage|
|Heritage site interpretation leaflets||Bunny Wood Woodland Trust; Peak National Park|
|Project administration assistance||HLF East Midlands|
|Collections research||Leicester Jewry Wall Museum|
|Archives research||Galleries of Justice; Bromley Library|
- A good honours (minimum 2.2) degree in History or a related subject
- Recent practical experience with a professionally run heritage site or organisation
- English language requirements for International and EU students
- Applicants from candidates with non-standard entry qualifications will be considered on an individual basis if they can demonstrate substantial relevant professional experience
English language requirements
See the English language entry requirements for courses at School of Arts and Humanities and a full list of all English language qualifications.
How to apply
Applications should be made online using the apply online button at the top of the page.
Postgraduate Bursaries and Scholarships
Find out more about our latest funding opportunities
Find out more
Find out more about applying for a postgraduate course at NTU.
General course enquiries
Telephone: +44(0)115 848 4200