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Global Heritage (MA)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

Start date

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

Explore the power of heritage in a global context and consider its relationship to major debates around sustainability, decolonisation, conflict, and human rights.


Multi and interdisciplinary

Expertise across the arts, humanities and social sciences disciplines with teaching delivered by staff from several academic schools.


Impact on people and place

Explore the role of heritage in communities and negotiating identity, and in economic development, sustainability, and human rights.


A global view

Consider the impact of heritage across geographic contexts, from the local and regional to the national and global.


Policy and practice

Gain an understanding of the practical issues related to the management and curation of heritage, and the role of heritage policy.


Hone research skills

Benefit from training in interdisciplinary research methods and develop personal research interests for future career or study ambitions.


Professional placement

Option to undertake a placement at a heritage organisation, developing professional know-how and practical application of knowledge.

Heritage is a broad field of study that addresses the ways in which societies preserve and actively use the things they have inherited from past generations. Our MA in Global Heritage provides you with a thorough and critical understanding of the role of heritage in the contemporary world, paying particular attention to transnational developments and the impact of globalisation on the sector. While exploring the specificities of national, regional, and local contexts, you will learn how to relate these contexts to globally important heritage debates, for example around sustainability, decolonisation, the impact of conflict and climate change on heritage, and the relationship between heritage and human rights. 

The programme provides you with opportunities to address these and other issues in a comparative, international context. If you already have experience of working in the heritage sector, this programme will allow you to broaden your frame of theoretical and geographical reference. If you have no previous experience of the heritage sector, this programme will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to heritage as a matter of policy and practice.

The programme works with a broad conception of heritage, focusing not only on tangible culture (e.g., historic sites, buildings, monuments, museums, and artefacts), but also on intangible cultural heritage (e.g., traditional skills and crafts, creative and social practices, rituals and festivals). You will engage in key heritage debates around the role of museums, visual heritage, the role of heritage in communities, monuments and commemoration, cultural landscapes, and minority languages, among other issues. The programme draws on the rich heritage resources of Wales to provide you with insights into the impact of the sector.

Led by the School of Modern Languages, the programme draws on the expertise of staff across the across the arts, humanities, and social sciences disciplines at Cardiff University, which benefits from a wealth of research and teaching experience in the field of heritage. You will be taught by researchers active in the field of heritage and benefit from insights into their ongoing research projects.

Where you'll study

School of Modern Languages

One of the most dynamic modern languages schools in the UK. We actively engage with a range of stakeholders to promote the benefits of multilingualism.

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Admissions criteria

In order to be considered for an offer for this programme you will need to meet all of the entry requirements. Your application will not be progressed if the information and evidence listed is not provided. 

With your online application you will need to provide: 

  1. A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts which show you have achieved a 2:1 honours degree in a relevant subject area such as arts, humanities or social science, or an equivalent international degree. If your degree certificate or result is pending, please upload any interim transcripts or provisional certificates. 
  2. A copy of your IELTS certificate with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or evidence of an accepted equivalent. Please include the date of your expected test if this qualification is pending. If you have alternative acceptable evidence, such as an undergraduate degree studied in the UK, please supply this in place of an IELTS. 

If you do not have a degree in a relevant area, your application may be considered on the basis of your professional experience. Please provide additional evidence to support your application such as signed and dated employer references. 

Application Deadline 

We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible. Applications normally close at the end of August but may close sooner if all places are filled. 

Selection process 

We will review your application and if you meet all of the entry requirements, we will make you an offer. 

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement, including the ability to travel to outside of the UK or to undertake a placement/studies outside of Cardiff University
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

This is a two-stage postgraduate taught programme, in which you will take a total of 180 credits. 

During the taught stage of the programme (September–June), you will take a total of 120 credits through a combination of core (40 credits) and optional (80 credits) modules.  Successful completion of this stage will see you progress to the dissertation stage, where you will complete a dissertation which is worth 60 credits.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2024/25 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.

You'll study a combination of core and optional modules in the taught stage before progressing to the dissertation.

Designed to progressively develop your skills for independent research and your capacity for academic study, you will take two core 20-credit modules and choose four 20-credit optional modules.

Core modules provide the essential background and conceptual understanding of the key issues, debates, challenges, and opportunities presented by heritage in the contemporary world. They’ll also provide you with fundamental research skills and the support in the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field of heritage studies. You'll become familiar with qualitative and quantitative methodologies appropriate to the investigation of heritage, such as research project design, literature reviews, conducting interviews, using archives, statistical analysis, and the presentation of research findings in oral and written form, as well as through digital media.

The optional modules will allow you to develop specialist knowledge on aspects of the heritage sector and to make connections between the heritage sector and the creative and cultural industries more broadly.

On successful completion of the taught stage, you'll progress to the dissertation stage.

The 60-credit dissertation allows you to investigate a topic that you regard as central to the debates and challenges of heritage in the global context. You'll identify the theme of your dissertation research project in the spring semester and be supervised by an appropriate member of staff. You are encouraged to draw on material covered in the taught programme or to base your dissertation on work you have undertaken if you have successfully applied for a short placement with a heritage organisation.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, workshops, and seminars. Lectures take a range of forms but generally provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. In tutorials and seminars, you will have the opportunity to discuss specific themes or topics, to consolidate and get feedback on individual learning and to develop skills in oral presentation. Communication skills are developed in tutorials, where you will make individual contributions to group study, for example by summarising a particular reading or debate for the group. 

Participation in diverse learning activities, such as small-group discussions, debates, oral presentations, independent research tasks and written assignments develops your intellectual and presentation skills.

The School of Modern Languages and the wider university benefit from a regular programme of talks by visiting scholars whose specialisms are relevant to the programme. Attending these talks will enable you to broaden your understanding of issues that are key to this programme of study. This programme also incorporates regular contributions from professionals in the UK and international heritage sectors in the form of invited talks, both in person and online.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment will be made up of formative and summative assessment.

Formative tasks

Formative tasks do not contribute towards your final degree classification but are designed to give you an opportunity to develop skills and practice for summative assessments. They enable you and your tutors to evaluate the development of your skills and progress in each module. Formative tasks will normally involve written coursework or a class assessment or may comprise of individual student presentations.

Summative assessments

Summative assessments contribute towards your final degree classification.

The nature of the summative assessments in the taught stage will vary by module but will typically involve final written coursework (essays) and practical assignments such as oral presentations, poster presentations, or workshops. Summative assessment in the dissertation stage comprises the dissertation.

How will I be supported?

On the MA in Global Heritage programme, the programme convenor has the overview of programme delivery while core modules and options are managed by module tutors. In the first instance, you will work with the programme convenor to identify your key research interests and appropriate module selection. You will be assigned to a personal tutor in the School of Modern Languages, who is responsible for your pastoral care and academic development. You will also benefit from the individual supervision of your written assessments by individual members of staff with appropriate research interests. You will be assigned to a dissertation supervisor based on your interests and the relevant staff expertise.

A range of other staff are available to provide further support, including the school’s professional services team, specialist librarians, and a Disability and Diversity Officer who ensures that reasonable adjustments are made for students with disabilities.

Study skills are incorporated into the core Research Methods and Practice module, but you also have access to the university’s Academic Study Skills programme, delivered by the Academic Study Skills and Mentoring Team.

All modules within the programme make extensive use of the university’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central, where you can access discussion forums and find course materials, including recordings of lectures and links to related materials.

The programme convenor will also support you in your career planning, in conjunction with the university’s Student Futures (careers) service.

What skills will I practise and develop?

On successful completion of your Programme you will be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding:

  • KU 1 Critically evaluate and apply theoretical frameworks relating to heritage.
  • KU 2 Critically assess the role of heritage in contemporary society.
  • KU 3 Undertake comparative analysis of heritage in the local, regional, national, and global contexts.
  • KU 4 Design and develop an independently researched dissertation focused on an area relating to heritage studies, drawing on appropriate analytical skills and research methods.

Intellectual Skills:

  • IS 1 Design and execute independent research projects focusing on heritage in a variety of contexts.
  • IS 2 Assess the benefits and challenges of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research in the study of heritage.
  • IS 3 Analyse the potential utility of such research to those working in the heritage sector or to heritage policymakers.
  • IS 4 Reflect on your own learning by making use of constructive feedback.

Professional Practical Skills:

  • PS 1 Evaluate and synthesise arguments and data from multiple disciplines in the context of heritage studies.
  • PS 2 Offer an analysis of key global challenges facing the heritage sector.
  • PS 3 Write to a high standard for a broad range of audiences including academia, funding bodies, policymakers, heritage organisations and the media.
  • PS4 Situate your professional heritage practice within key academic contexts

Transferable/Key Skills:

  • KS 1 Plan and deliver work independently, demonstrating organisational and time-management skills.
  • KS 2 Communicate ideas effectively and fluently, both orally and in writing.
  • KS 3 Apply logical and reasoning skills through discussion and debate.

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £10,450 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2024/25 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the postgraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £22,700 £2,500

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

If you choose to undertake the work placement option on this programme, you may incur some additional costs if travelling to and from your placement, which may be in excess of your daily travel costs between your term-time address and place of study.

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.


Master's Scholarships

An award open to UK students intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2024 or later, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan to support your study at Cardiff University.

Alumni Discount

The alumni discount is available for Cardiff University graduates who are planning to start an eligible master's in 2024/25.

Careers and placements

This programme allows you to focus on cultural production in the global context and to understand the significant role of heritage, heritage institutions and heritage policymaking in the broader contexts of social and economic development. Given the continuing importance of the heritage and related sectors for contemporary societies and their economies, the insights gained, and the research training provided in the programme, will equip you for employment in a range of roles across the heritage and museum sectors or connected fields, for example in heritage and museum management, heritage and museum education, heritage policy, applied research in heritage projects, and heritage funding and consultancy. Alternatively, it is an ideal preparation for progression to doctoral study.

During the programme, you'll develop a wide range of skills – including communication, analysis, and collaboration - which will benefit you after graduating. The programme will also support your development as an independent and critical thinker and enable you to demonstrate intellectual curiosity and engage in the pursuit of new knowledge.

You'll develop an understanding of the economic impact of heritage organisations and their stakeholders, generating creative, imaginative and innovative thinking – and solutions - in response to related problems in the heritage sector.

The issues discussed in the programme will also provide you with opportunities to consider your own personal and professional ethical, social, and environmental responsibilities, understand heritage organisations, their stakeholders and their impact on the community, and critically engage with the heritage sector in relation to the promotion of human rights, diversity and inclusion. The transnational and global focus of this MA programme will help you to act as a global citizen, engaging with and valuing cultural difference through practical experience of other countries.


Students accepted onto the optional module Heritage, Community Action, and Public Engagement will work on designated projects in small groups to deliver an agreed output for an external partner.

In addition, students may apply for a limited number of 20-day placements offered by selected partners, either in the UK or internationally, supported by the School of Modern Languages’ placement team, and base their dissertation on the work conducted during that placement, subject to the acceptance of their application by the external placement provider.

These opportunities will be advertised to students and there will be a transparent selection process for these placements. Students may also source their own placements, with the approval of the placement team in the school, to inform their dissertation project.

Next steps


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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.