Online course details
Part-time: 2-3 years
£9,090 (2022/23) ‡
January, September, May
Online course description
The evidence of the past constantly surrounds us and is called upon, reshaped and reimagined in the present. This exciting Public History and Heritage Masters programme combines critical academic study of the role of history in the public sphere with practical experience and advanced training designed to prepare you for leadership roles in the heritage sector.
Heritage plays a key role in the global economy, driving international tourism and generating income for local communities. The heritage industry is now not only a major source of employment, but one of the most frequent ways that members of the public come into contact with the past. Our online Public History and Heritage programme has been launched to help you make the most of the many career opportunities emerging in this ever growing and developing industry and gain practical experience and advanced training for heritage sector roles.
Strengthen your contacts in heritage and widen your industry knowledge
You will have the opportunity to work in industry in an organisation of your choice. This can be local and relevant to you with your passions and interests in mind. Our flourishing links with the heritage, creative and cultural industries on a global scale will give you access to producers of public history and heritage, such as local authorities, charitable trusts, businesses, community groups and private individuals. You will therefore gain unrivalled experience of the different practical, legal, commercial and management challenges facing the heritage sector today.
Bring heritage to life through the latest technology
In a world where technology is paramount, it is important for the heritage industry to develop and embrace new technologies to continue to engage visitors and attract new customers. Throughout the programme's modules we prepare you for changes in the industry using exciting new technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality to create your own virtual museum environment.
Learn from historians and heritage experts
This programme opens up a wide range of opportunities for you to network with heritage professionals inside and outside the classroom. You will be taught by a team of academic historians and heritage industry experts who can share cutting-edge practice in their fields. They include renowned researchers and authors, who work regularly as consultants on restoration projects and major exhibitions.
A talk from our academic
Our Academic Lead for Public History and Heritage, Dr Kathleen McIlvenna, talks about the online Public History and Heritage course in this video.
The online MA Public History and Heritage programme comprises three progressive stages; Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert), Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) and Master of Arts (MA).
You will be required to achieve 60 credits to complete each award within the programme, totalling 180 credits to achieve the Masters:
A Postgraduate Certificate in Public History and Heritage can be obtained upon passing 3 modules (60 Credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma in Public History and Heritage can be obtained upon passing 6 modules (140 credits).
A Master of Arts in Public History and Heritage can be obtained upon passing 6 modules and the Independent Study (180 credits).
We would encourage you to complete the full MA, but if you prefer, you can still gain an exit award at each stage: a PG Cert or a PG Dip.
You can also study the MA Public History and Heritage full-time or part-time course on campus.
We will advise you of your study plan - the running order and availability of the modules - when you are invited to enrol.
If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered. In addition, where demand is high, some modules may be subject to a cap.
Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.
Pace of study
The academic year is made up of three 10-week terms, known as trimesters. We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester.
If you opt to undertake the accelerated study plan whereby you will study two modules in one trimester, we recommend 40 hours of study per week.
Should you decide to study on the accelerated rate you should ensure that you have the capacity to fully engage with your studies and achieve the best grades and final award. If you choose to study on the accelerated rate, you will need to balance approximately 40 hours of study per week alongside your professional and personal life and commitments.
It may be useful to consider studying one module at the standard rate of study before deciding whether to then increase to the accelerated rate of study.
This course is assessed through 100% coursework with a range of methods, such as essays, research reports, presentations, group work and practical reports.
Student support and guidance
Whilst we encourage our students to become independent, life-long learners, we also recognise that offering the right support and guidance will help you to achieve your goals. There is a wealth of support available to you at the University, from your dedicated Personal Tutor and Online Learner Advisor, through to our:
All these services, and more, are available to you as an online student at the University of Derby.
You will require:
- A 2:1 undergraduate degree in a relevant subject area
- If you don’t have a degree, we can consider your application if supported by significant experience in the heritage sector. Please include evidence of all experience you have in your application. Whilst the University guidelines on prior learning will be followed, RPL (recognition of prior learning) will only be recommended where applicants can present a portfolio of professional work, deemed to be of an appropriate level
English language qualifications
If English is not your first language, or you have not successfully completed your highest level of qualification in English, you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need to have passed the International English Language Teaching System (IELTS) at the overall level IELTS 7.0, including a minimum score of 6.5 in each test category. Where appropriate, our International Admissions office can give further details, including information regarding approved IELTS test centres. The English language qualification required by this programme is at a higher level than that required for other university programmes: the reason for this is that throughout the MA programme you will have to work with the English language at an advanced level.
If you are unable to take an English Language Test locally, you may wish to consider our Derby English Language Test (DELT), which is an online test in two parts: reading and writing, and listening and speaking. Take a look at our Derby English Language test (DELT) page for full course details, online exam dates and how to book.
‡2022/23 Fees for new entrants
Starting between September 2022 and August 2023.
| ||Per 20 credits||Modules||Cost|
||7 (five 20 credit modules and two 40 credit modules)
About your fees
This figure would be the total cost of this course in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.
However, please also note that you can receive a 5% discount if you either:
- Pay your full course fees upfront, or
- When enrolling in September, pay for all of your modules to be studied in that academic year upfront
Flexible payment plans available
Choose from three payment plan options:
Pay monthly and only for the modules you are studying
Pay your full course fees upfront, receive 5% discount and avoid annual increases
Pay for all modules studied in the year and receive a 5% discount (September enrolment only)
Masters funding options
Depending on where you are from in the UK or EU, and on your pace of study, you may be eligible for a postgraduate student loan. Accessible through Student Finance, this is a non-income based loan to help with living costs and tuition fees whilst studying your masters programme.
Alumni discount for Derby graduates
We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.
Find out more about the Alumni discount
How to apply
Please look at our application deadlines before you apply
Students should apply directly to the University.
For support with completing your application, view our guide to the application process.
Documents to support your application
In order for your application to be assessed, you will need to provide the following documents when you apply:
- Photo ID – this could be your passport or driving licence
- Current CV
- Written reference supplied on headed paper from either a manager, supervisor, tutor or teacher
- Copies of certificates and transcripts or a letter of testimony for previous qualifications*
*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:
- Confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document
- The date of the translation
- The full name and signature of the translator, or an authorised official of the company
- The translator’s contact details
A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.
Please note: failure to submit any documentation when requested, may result in your application being withdrawn.
All of our online courses have set start dates throughout the year. We require time to review your application and get back to you with a response before your course starts. Take a look at information regarding applying for an online course to see full details of deadlines and term dates.
MA Public History and Heritage graduates typically go on to pursue a wide range of careers in roles such as Museum Curator, Archive Professional, Heritage Educator and Academic Researcher. Because the MA combines practical work experience with a Masters level dissertation based on thorough academic research, you will have a broad and flexible portfolio of skills to impress potential employers.
This course could also be the springboard for taking your studies to PhD level. The abilities you gain in independent learning, research and communication on the MA will prepare you well for the challenge.
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