MA Public History and Heritage

Study how history has shaped the world around us, whilst getting direct experience of working in the heritage sector as a professional historian.

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Our specialised masters in Public History and Heritage draws on the research expertise of the Manchester Centre for Public History and Heritage, providing students with access to archives, historians and networks far beyond just those in the University.

The course trains students in the specifics of public history and heritage and is suitable for those considering a career in heritage management or associated fields, such as libraries and archives, tourism or local government, or wishing to progress onto higher research programmes.

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities is offering scholarships worth £2,000 for graduates with a first class honours or upper second class degree. Excellence scholarships are available to full-time home and EU students for 20/21 entry. Find out more on our postgraduate funding pages.

Features and Benefits

"You will pursue your own historical interests with expert supervision from our diverse range of professional historians, developing your own approach and an independence of mind that will prepare you for any career path."

Dr Stuart Aveyard, MA Programme Leader

Career Prospects

The course aims to equip you with the skills to progress to higher research programmes or for a career in heritage management or associated fields, such as libraries and archives, tourism or local government.

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

Graduates with a 2.1 degree or higher in History or associated discipline would be automatically considered. Those who achieve a 2.2 in History, or who have a Masters from a non-Humanities field will be considered on the merits of their individual application, and might be asked to submit, for example, a piece of written work. Those without a History degree or equivalent qualification will be considered if they have compensating industry experience.

International students will be required to demonstrate a sufficiently high standard of English language ability. In order to enter most taught postgraduate courses, the English requirements are:
TOEFL computer-based 230

International applicants who do not meet this criteria may be offered a place on an English language course at Manchester Metropolitan via our Centre for Academic English, before starting their taught MA programme. These courses vary in length from 8 to 30 weeks, depending on the language proficiency of the individual student.

Course details

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Case Studies in Controversy: History and Memory in Public

The importance of the past to contemporary society is best shown by exploring some of those instances when various organisations and individuals politicians, journalists, local and national governments have been drawn into discussion and debate regarding the purpose, rights and responsibilities of History. From the Holocaust denial trial of David Irving (which saw professional historians called to the witness stand), to the ethics of museum curatorship in our post-colonial age, to the significance and worth of history and heritage to local and national communities, this unit interrogates the value of the public past in the 21st century through revealing public controversies.  

Independent Project

Public History and Heritage students have a placement element to the dissertation, working with a local heritage group, a library or archive. This dissertation will be a negotiated assessment which can therefore take one of several forms: for example, a dissertation, a historical project in partnership with an outside organisation, or a product resulting from a work placement scheme (e.g. a museum).

Research Methods I & Research Methods II

This unit will focus on developing the necessary research and writing skills needed for postgraduate study in History suited to their chosen exit award pathway. In part one, all students will receive skills training in advanced historical research, proposal writing, and archival research. The second part of Research Methods will involve focussing on skills specific to the research interests and needs of the student.

Professional Heritage and Practice

This course provides detailed training in the methods used to record heritage and the historic environment, with the aims of equipping students with practical skills to enhance their employability in the professional heritage sector. It will focus on the process of heritage assessment and evaluation in the UK professional context, including field-recording of heritage assets, the production of industry-standard reports, and the integration of heritage decision-making into various areas of public administration.

Likely Optional Units

Women and the Slavery in America

This unit will give students an in-depth understanding of the intersections between race, class and gender in the slaveholding South. Gender has become an indispensable category of analysis in the study of slavery in the Americas, illuminating the day-to-day lives of enslaved and enslaving peoples and ideas about race and slavery. This unit examines women’s lives across the south, with a sharp focus on slaveholding women and their enslaved property. It will examine the gendered division of labour, reproduction, sexuality, family life, black femininity and masculinity and white gender identities.

Case Studies in Medieval Warfare

This unit will provide a case study on warfare in the medieval period. It will look at how and why war was launched, how armies were recruited and deployed, and the impact that this had in Western Europe or the Near East. By looking at a Case Study in depth, such as on the Second Crusade, the Wars of Edward I, or the Hundred Years War, students will be able to explore the ways in which medieval conflict and its outcomes defined medieval society, for the elites and increasingly for those who served them, and how it shaped the course of history.

Terrorism and political violence

This unit will consider the origins and development of modern terrorism. The unit will consider why individuals chose to join violent political groups and how they have sought to justify political violence. It will address state responses to political violence and their influence in shaping conflicts, looking particularly at the burgeoning field of critical terrorism studies. The emergence of terrorism as a global phenomenon shall be addressed, alongside disputes over the accuracy of the term.

Early Modern Britain

This course examines aspects of the political, religious, and social changes that took place  across the kingdoms of England, Ireland and Scotland in the period c.1550-1660. It explores the culture and society of early modern Britain, particularly related to questions surrounding religion, politics, and culture.

Shock City: Order and Disorder in the Victorian City

This unit focuses on crime and disorder, authority and order, in the Victorian city (from c. 1837 to c. 1914). It draws on newspapers and periodicals, criminal records, Parliamentary Papers, fictional writing and the work of social investigators, to explore Victorian urban society. The main emphasis of the module will be on working-class communities, considering crime and policing, protest movements, leisure and rational recreation, childhood and youth, health, poverty and education; as well as exploring elite, religious and political representations of the what was often perceived as the disorderly and intractable urban working class. The module will engage with key historiographies and draw on digital sources (such as the Old Bailey Online, British Newspaper Archive and the Punch Historical Archives), as students develop their analysis and understanding of working-class lives under pressure in the Victorian city. There will be a particular focus on the cities of North-West (Manchester and Liverpool), the latter allowing students to access and incorporate local archives as part of their study.

The World of the Courtier: Monarchy and Court Culture in Early Modern Europe

This unit brings together elements of history, art, literature and politics to enable a thorough study of the world of the royal court in a shared European past, with a focus on the early modern period (roughly 1450 to 1800). Key concepts to be discussed include debates over the decline of the old nobility at the expense of the rise of the state; the ‘civilising nature’ of the court; the rise of diplomacy; the roles of women at court; and the importance of visual representation in the expression of power.

Making Race in the Colonial World

This is a study of how categories of ‘race’ were constructed, and their evolving significance as a central mechanism of European colonialization of the wider world, c.1450-1900. Opening with a consideration of the ‘pre-history’of racial ideology  and antecedents of racialised thinking in the ancient and medieval world, this unit will then focus on the role that notions of ‘race’ played in the economic, cultural and political structures of colonial societies and its broader significance to the emergence of the modern world. It will be taught through specific case studies of place, for example the Carribean and Continental North America, and themes, for example, plantation slavery or relations with indigenous peoples. 

A Good War? America’s World War II at Home and Abroad, c. 1938-1947

This unit provides a cultural, social and military history of the American experience of World War II, paying close attention to issues of race, gender and class. Conceptually, the unit will interrogate the idea that this conflict was, for Americans, a ‘Good War’. The unit begins c.1938, the point in time at which FDR’s administration began mobilising for a potential conflict (expansion of the Navy and Army); it then moves through the chronology of the war, before concluding c. 1947, the point in time at which the key outlines of the postwar world had emerged (Containment, Marshall Plan, Iron Curtain, Bretton Woods).

The Returning Soldier: Veterans’ Histories

This unit explores the history of veterans and their return from war his historical perspective. It looks at the experiences of soldiers returning from wars they have won or lost, when they are mentally or physically injured, or when they return changed by war. How this change may have manifested – in increased violence, withdrawal from the world, political activism, joining other groups with a common identity – is also covered.  It considers the response of state, family, and society to returning soldiers, from the practical provision of medical and financial aid, to the way society responded in art and literature. By looking at a broad range of conflicts and their veterans, it also allows for a discussion of change and continuity in the veteran experience.

Latin Sources for Historians

This unit deals with Ancient and/or Medieval sources in their original language and context, providing students with training in Latin language and translation, and background knowledge on the technical nature of particular types of Latin sources (inscriptions, charters, annals). Texts will be selected to align with students’ research interests and/or dissertation topic. Students will engage with Latin at a level commensurate with their ability: Beginner, Threshold, Intermediate, Set Book.

Placement options

You will have a placement element to your dissertation, working with a local heritage group, a library or archive. We will help you to source your placement.

Department of History, Politics and Philosophy

Our Department of History, Politics and Philosophy offers programmes of study alongside a thriving research culture, emphasising a student-centred approach to learning.

With interdisciplinary strengths in many areas, the department takes pride in its approach to research-led teaching and being able to provide opportunities for students to work with academics at the forefront of their disciplines.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Full-time fee: £8,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Fees for this course have yet to be confirmed and will be updated shortly.

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £16,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Fees for this course have yet to be confirmed and will be updated shortly.

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 for books and printing. Total optional cost: £400

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,906 for many Postgraduate Courses

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Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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How to apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

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If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for postgraduate taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

Important Notice
This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at

All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.