MSc World Heritage Conservation

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

The MSc in World Heritage Conservation is a part-time, online, distance learning course designed to equip you with current thinking and professional understanding of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. The programme will provide you with the knowledge base, skills and confidence to address World Heritage issues and to advance your career in this field.

  • The only World Heritage Distance Learning course in Ireland and one of the first of its kind in the world
  • A multidisciplinary programme offering modules in natural and cultural heritage
  • Designed for professionals and motivated participants working in areas related to the nomination and conservation of World Heritage Sites
  • A part-time, online, distant learning course with an international focus on heritage conservation

Careers & Employability

With 190 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention, nearly a thousand properties inscribed on the World Heritage List and an expanding number of properties on the Tentative List, all of which face conservation challenges, there is a growing need for professionals who understand how the Convention operates in terms of nomination, monitoring, conservation reporting and mitigation of threats.

Reflecting the spirit of the Convention, to safeguard natural and cultural heritage through an integrated approach, this programme provides graduates with a unique multidisciplinary perspective addressing conservation issues of both natural and cultural heritage.

We give you the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the working of the Convention and for decision making in areas related to the nomination and conservation of World Heritage properties. 


Advancement in international conservation for managerial and policy positions in government, agencies, private practices and NGOs. The qualifications will contribute to career development for heritage custodians and stewards, ranging from national heritage and conservation officers to international conservation agencies.

Curricular information is subject to change

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

The MSc in World Heritage Conservation is accessible to people from around the world, providing a flexible learning environment for professionals, decision makers, NGOs and other interested parties working in areas related to the nomination, monitoring and conservation of World Heritage properties. Distance learning makes the world your classroom! 

On successful completion of the programme students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate in-depth understanding of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, its implementation including the processes of inscription and monitoring of World Heritage properties;
  • Identify and analyse the role of key actors and instruments in global heritage conservation;
  • Understand theory and practice of conserving natural heritage, i.e. species, ecosystems and biodiversity, and cultural heritage, i.e. monuments, sites and landscapes.

Building on knowledge gained in the first year, completion of the 2-year Graduate Diploma will provide students with practical skills and a more specialised understanding of the application of the Convention. For example, on successful completion of stage 2, students will be able to establish a management plan framework and apply management plan methodology to cultural and natural sites.


The online World Heritage Conservation course is aimed students who wish to build their knowledge base regarding the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and gain a broader understanding of the issues and policies surrounding the conservation of cultural and natural heritage. We value students that are active, motivated, autonomous learners and demonstrate an ability to clearly and effectively communicate their ideas. The course considers the needs of a broad spectrum of end-users by enabling them to study remotely and independently in parallel with their personal schedule. We aim to provide a learning environment that will encourage students to critically assess heritage conservation concepts and policies and to exchange ideas and experiences with their peers online.  The course provides for self-directed learning, within a supportive framework facilitated by a variety of media, including lectures, virtual classroom seminars and discussion boards. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach and uses international case studies to explore different approaches to cultural and natural heritage conservation. Assessments include critical writing, project work and reflective study journals to assist students in assessing the development of their own understanding and knowledge of the material presented.

  • Apply the skills and knowledge acquired to promote an interdisciplinary approach to heritage conservation
  • Communicate findings and ideas clearly and effectively
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the theoretical background that underpins world cultural and natural heritage conservation.
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and other international Conventions and legislation associated with world cultural and natural heritage conservation.
  • Establish a management plan framework and apply management plan methodology to World Heritage properties, with applicability to other sites
  • Formulate and communicate research questions related to heritage management and conservation issues
  • Locate, synthesise and critically review scientific information from a wide range of sources and write professional, well-reasoned reports

View All Modules Here

This programme will introduce you to the science that underpins the practice of heritage protection. You will receive a comprehensive curriculum designed to provide you with knowledge and understanding of the following topics:

MSc World Heritage Conservation (F091) Part Time
EU/NONEU    fee per credit - € 77.7

***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

The programme is designed to accommodate applicants with a variety of academic qualifications including Archaeology, Architecture, Geography, Biology, Arts, Agriculture, Engineering, Environmental Science and Economics. We welcome a diverse group of participants with a wide range of experience in different areas of cultural and natural heritage, to provide for a dynamic forum for discussion and interaction. Applicants are normally expected to have an honours university degree, or equivalent work experience.


If English is not your native language, proof of your proficiency in English will be required, unless you took your primary degree through English in an English speaking country. The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL Internet Based Test is 100.


Margaret Gowen
Archaeologist and Cultural Heritage Consultant

Margaret is a member of ICAHM/ICOMOS and advisor to the WH Centre ICOMOS Paris.

“The Distance Learning offers any graduate with an interest in the world, its heritage, cultures and natural environment, the scope to engage in study of World Heritage at a variety of levels and from a range of perspectives.

The course documents are succinct and comprehensive, and are backed up by an extensive array of recommended and referenced
reading and AV material. “Way-finding” to web resources and access to the treasury of online libraries is one of the great pleasures of the course, as is the discretion to read and record and reflect on one’s discrete responses to the recommended reading in the Study Journal as the course progresses. I love it.”

The following entry routes are available:

MSc World Heritage Conservation Jan PT (F108)
3 Years
Part Time
MSc World Heritage Conservation PT (F091)
3 Years
Part Time

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised