Course: MBA in Cultural Heritage Leadership

Course details

  • Location

    Cultural Heritage Institute @ RAU Swindon
  • Duration

    1 year (full time) or 2+ years (part time) (Full time / Part time)
  • Academic Year

    21 September 2020 - 21 May 2021

The MBA in Cultural Heritage Leadership has been specifically designed to enhance the skills and knowledge you need to build or boost your career in the management of heritage organisations. It delivers a challenging and unique occupational education that emphasises reflective and innovative leadership and business decision-making.

Course overview 

Industry partners from across the cultural heritage sector have been closely involved in the development of the programme. It has been carefully tailored to meet skills gaps and respond to changes in industry trends.

Our programme combines the study of conventional MBA building blocks - growing participant’s knowledge and understanding of a broad base of entrepreneurial, managerial, human resource, legal and financial skills – with the exploration of specific issues facing heritage at the local, national and global scale.   An important focus is the development of new strategies for a changing world - advancing a sustainable heritage which balances the needs of communities and their cultural inheritance with the need to encourage investment and enhance economic growth.

At each stage skills are deepened and reinforced by working closely with industry, engaging with real-world problems, hearing from guest speakers and receiving mentoring from relevant experts working in the field. The programme will also provide valuable opportunities to boost your professional network.

We aim for our graduates to develop the critical academic and business discipline skills which will enable them to analyse and lead complex organisations in a rapidly changing and increasingly international cultural heritage sector.

Careers and enterprise 

Career prospects include senior management roles in:

  • Commercial heritage and environmental consultancy
  • Governmental heritage bodies
  • Charitable heritage organisations
  • Heritage sites, museums and galleries
  • Heritage tourism
  • Management consultancy
  • Development and regeneration
  • Other commercial management


This degree is based at our historic university campus in Cirencester.  It is taught in partnership with the School of Business and Entrepreneurship with staff from both schools working together to deliver a stimulating  curriculum focused on the development of business and managerial skills for the heritage sector.  The programme is delivered through a blend of intensive residential courses and on-line learning designed to give you access to engaging multimedia content, online group work, seminars, individual tutorials and mentoring.   Assessment is all through project work – there are no traditional examinations.

The residential courses use our modern Innovation Centre for teaching and comfortable B &  B accommodation in the original 1840’s building.  Classroom activity is accompanied by case-study visits to our partners and local world heritage sites while evening activities provide an opportunity to network and meet your classmates. 

With part-time and full-time options, it is highly flexible so you can live at home and study in evenings and weekends alongside your work.

Who is the course for?

Those employed in the heritage sector and wishing to acquire the business and management skills necessary for advancement to senior management and leadership of heritage organisations.
People employed outside the heritage sector, and with prior relevant business and management experience, seeking to transition to a career in senior management within the heritage sector.
Those in senior management positions within the heritage sector seeking professional development and upskilling to address the pace of change within the sector and more broadly within management systems.

Course structure

The programme has eight modules which cover the core of business management and its application to the cultural heritage sector.  A further module provides a framework of advanced research and analysis skills used in the final project.  The project gives you the opportunity to choose a conventional research based dissertation, a consultancy project or an assignment based on a topic of specific interest.

The programme can be studied full-time in one year or part-time in either two or four years.   You can enter the programme in either October or February.

Those taking the course full time take four modules in each semester,  those part-time two modules per semester if over two years and one per semester if over four years.  The residential teaching is organised in one week blocks (each of five working days).  If you take the degree full-time you will attend the RAU for two weeks in September and two weeks in March.  If you choose to take the degree part-time over two years you will attend for one week in September and one week in March in Year One and then repeat this in Year Two.  If really pushed for time you can take the degree over four years with as little as three days attendance each September and March.  You will do preparation work before each residential session and then follow this up with on-line learning using interactive materials and directed learning exercises supported by skype/zoom tutorials.

Coaching will be available to all MBA students. This provides a unique opportunity for participants' personal and professional growth. To support development, enable reflection, and to evaluate application of coaching insights to organisational life, each participant will have a 'coaching credit' system comprising coaching hours to be used by the participant according to context and need. Coaching sessions will be face to face, by email, telephone or Skype or similar messaging platform. 

In addition, all students will be invited to participate in optional activities to help them consolidate and apply their learning.  These include the CHI Seminar Series (with guest speakers drawn from across the heritage sector – these sessions will be available live on-line and as a recording) and the CHI Conference Series (with at least one international conference a year - again with both live-feeds and recordings).  MBA students will also be welcome to participate – either in person or via on-line feeds or recordings - in a range of workshops and guided site visits led by Institute staff and visiting fellows.


Industry endorsement

The programme was developed in discussion with a range of professional practitioners from the public, charitable and private heritage sectors.

Disclaimer information

The University has established various rules and regulations that you must agree to and follow if you accept an offer to study with us. View our full disclaimer notice.

Entry requirements 

An honours degree in archaeology, history, heritage or other related area at 2.1 or higher together with a track record of two or more years of employment in the heritage sector or other relevant area of business.

Entry may also be granted for those with extensive work experience.


Tuition fees cover the cost of a student’s academic studies. This usually includes teaching costs, registration and examination fees (not repeat or trailing module fees, re-sit fees or dissertation extensions).

2020/21 Applicants

For the academic year 2020/21 the tuition fees for this course are:  

Full-time£12,495 per year £15,606 per year
Part-timeFees are calculated on a pro-rata basis depending on the number of modules taken. Please refer to Tuition Fees webpageFees are calculated on a pro-rata basis depending on the number of modules taken. Please refer to Tuition Fees webpage

**Please note: International students can study on a part-time basis only if they are in the UK with a different type of visa (other than Tier 4 Child/General) that allows them to undertake part-time study and their visa does not expire prior to the end date of the proposed course of study.

Please contact before you apply to confirm your egibility.

Tuition fees may be subject to an inflationary increase each year as set out in our Access and Participation Plan 2019/20.

For full details, please visit the fees and funding webpage.

Residential blocks full-board costs 2019/20**

Full-time student, full-board basis£900*
Part-time student, full-board basis£450*

*Costs are subject to an increase in 2020/21.

**For part-time study residential block fees are quoted per year.


The University offers a range of generous fee waivers and bursaries. To find out more about the scholarships, awards and bursaries available, please visit the scholarships webpage.

Ready to take the plunge? Apply now

Applications to study for postgraduate degrees need to be made directly through the University. 

You can now apply via our website, using the online application form. 

Alternatively, if you are unable access the online form you can call Admissions on +44 (0)1285 889 912, or email

We recommend that you keep a copy of the completed form for your records.

Course options