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MA-PgDip Heritage Studies: Interpretation, Presentation and Design

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  • Objectives
    Heritage Studies meets the demand for professionals with a range of skills and a comprehensive knowledge of heritage as a contemporary product. Graduates have a thorough understanding of current practice in a range of heritage contexts. This Museums Association and Sector Skills Council (CCSSC) validated course is assessed using a variety of methods including essays, projects, seminar presentations and group work. We have built a national reputation for successful graduates who gain employment as curators, managers, audience development officers, and education, interpretation and research officers. Our philosophy of high-level skills training responding to the needs of industry is an important factor in our success.
  • Entry requirements
    Entrance requirements: A good honours degree in an appropriate subject or professional qualifications plus evidence of a general education deemed equivalent
  • Academic Title
    MA/PgDip Heritage Studies: Interpretation, Presentation and Design
  • Course description
    Heritage Studies: Interpretation, Presentation and Design - MA/PgDip

    Duration: 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

    STRUCTURE | The course comprises both core and elective modules, including a six-week period of placement in a suitable venue. Core modules include Interpretation, Visitor Studies, Heritage Management and Placement. Research Methods and an elective module complete the course to Postgraduate Diploma level.

    Masters and diploma students follow a common programme of study in semesters one and two. Those who progress to masters level undertake an individual research project in the third semester under tutorial supervision. This is self-directed and results in either a substantial written dissertation or a skills-based project equivalent on a topic negotiated by and relevant to, the student.

    Integral to the course are workshops, team-based and independent learning exercises, site visits, case studies, input from visiting professionals, and work placements, together with more formal lectures, seminar presentations and critical debate.

    Elective module choice includes Heritage Exhibition Design, Heritage in a Multicultural Society, Arts and Heritage Marketing, Interactive Multimedia for Heritage Attractions, Theorising Museums, Visitor Studies II, and Management II.

    PLACEMENTS | The professional work placement focuses on project management skills, independent learning, setting and achieving realistic goals, and a whole range of key organisational skills. This is an assessed module, arranged by the student in consultation with the placement tutor, at a location of their choice. The work done on placement constitutes an independent research project of specific interest to the student and their particular long term ambitions.

    Placements can be local, national or international and have included:

    -The British Museum, London
    -National Museums Liverpool
    -Manchester Museum of Science and Industry
    -The Lowry, Salford Quays
    -The Museum of Football, Preston
    -Eureka! The Museum for Children, Halifax
    -Zandra Rhodes Textile Museum, London
    -Various National Trust and English Heritage properties

    A database of placement hosts is kept by module staff and can be consulted by students.

    Students comments on placement include ‘good to make professional connections’, ‘good to work in the real environment’, ‘freedom to choose topic’, ‘good opportunity to get practical experience’.

    In addition to placement, students are encouraged to seek opportunities to volunteer while on the programme as this is a frequent demand of prospective employers in the sector.

    TRIPS & EXCHANGES | Site visits to museums, heritage centres and other attractions in UK cities such as York, Liverpool and London are a key feature of the course. Additionally students are expected to visit and study venues independently while on the course.

    A study visit to a European city is usually made in semester 2 of the programme. The destination is chosen by staff and students with a view to the relevance of the chosen city to current debates in the area. Students are expected to fund this visit themselves.

    SPEAKERS & LIVE BRIEFS | The course works closely with local galleries, museums and regional heritage organisations and is informed by best practice in the sector. Guest speakers are frequent contributors to the programme. There are live briefs in both core modules such as Heritage Interpretation and Visitor Studies as well as in some electives.

    MODES OF DELIVERY | Course delivery includes formal lectures, seminar presentations and critical debate as well as workshops, team-based and independent learning exercises, site visits, case studies, input from visiting professionals, and work placements. Material is also made available through the University of Salford virtual learning environment, Blackboard. Students are expected to be highly organised and motivated to maximise their benefit from the programme. Personal tutorials are held regularly as are module specific tutorials and informal ‘drop in surgery’ sessions.

    STUDENT PROFILE | Heritage Studies is appropriate for those with a first degree or a professional qualification in a range of disciplines such as design (in its varied pathways, both practical and theoretical), technology, heritage and museum studies, the arts, history, marketing, and tourism and leisure studies. Individuals seeking a career change have found the Heritage Studies course particularly appropriate. Interview sessions are held throughout the year.

    COURSE STAFF
    -Angharad Thomas, Programme Leader
    -Debra Leighton, Senior Lecturer,
    -Professor Pat Sterry, Chair of Heritage Interpretation
    -Dr Mark Westgarth, Lecturer
    -Professor John Langrish, Visiting Professor
    -Dr Brenda King, Independent Consultant

    Dissertation is supervised by a team of staff drawn from appropriate areas of expertise across the school.

    APPLICANT PROFILE & PORTFOLIO ADVICE | Prospective students can come from many backgrounds, direct from first degree or at an appropriate point in their career. They must demonstrate an enthusiasm for the Heritage sector and some of knowledge contemporary debates within it. Evidence of interest such as previous work or experience is also useful. As the majority of the assessable work on the programme is written, applicants need to be good communicators in the written English and evidence of this is needed for those from whom English is not their first language.

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