MSc, Graduate Diploma & Certificate in World Heritage Conservation


Masters in Science, Graduate Diploma or Certificate (NFQ Level 9)

Qualification Points:

Certificate - 30 credits - equivalent to 3 modules (F040)

Diploma - 60 credits - equivalent to 6 modules (F041)

Masters - 90 credits - equivalent to 9 modules (F091)

Duration: Typically 1 year for certificate qualification and 2 years for diploma, 3 years for Masters
Start Date: January and September
UCD Academic Expertise:

The MSc, Graduate Diploma and Certificate in World Heritage Conservation is delivered and supported by academics in UCD Biology and Environmental Science.

Fees: Fees should be confirmed by visiting UCD fees webpage.
Contact us: You can contact us by email using the form at the end of this page or by phone as follows:

Contact Name: Claire Cave/Susan Wilson
Contact Number: +353 1 716 2243


The Master’s 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. It will provide you with the knowledge base, skills and confidence to address World Heritage issues and to advance your career in this field. Successful completion enables the award of a Graduate Certificate (30 credits), Graduate Diploma (60 credits) and a Master’s degree (90 credits).

The programme will give you a competitive advantage as a heritage professional working on projects relating to World Heritage properties and heritage conservation in general with the option to develop advanced knowledge and further specialisation in World Heritage Conservation as you progress through the modules.

The online World Heritage Conservation programme 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!

This pioneering Distance Learning course in World Heritage Conservation offers:

  • A multidisciplinary approach to conservation of both natural and cultural World Heritage properties.
  • The opportunity for a flexible learning environment through part-time, online courses uniquely focused on international heritage conservation.
  • Courses that have been specifically designed for professionals and motivated participants working in areas related to heritage conservation and implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

What will I study?

The MSc, Graduate Diploma and Certificate will introduce you to the science that underpins the practice of heritage protection. Through independent learning, project work and discussion forums you will receive a comprehensive curriculum designed to provide you with knowledge and understanding of world heritage conservation and its relevance for sustainable development. Topics will include the World Heritage Convention and international strategies for conservation, cultural heritage and biodiversity, endangered heritage and sustainable development as well as an exploration of management plans and best practice case studies.

The course is organised in 30 credit blocks. Students can progress from introductory modules on the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and the conservation issues facing both natural and cultural heritage to a more in-depth analysis of conservation strategies and management planning. At the MSc stage, you have the opportunity to complete a research project in an area of your interest and you will be challenged to apply your knowledge to address a heritage conservation issue. You will explore contemporary issues in heritage conservation and sustainability and develop skills in research and scientific writing.

How will I study?

The online format allows you to study at your own pace, any place and any time (within given timeframes). You will be assessed through continuous assessment which will be submitted online and you will be asked to participate in online discussion forums. The advantages of distant learning include reduced costs associated with travel and living abroad, however it is very different to traditional, on-campus courses with face-to-face lectures and access to your tutors and peers. It is important that you like to learn independently, that you are self-motivated and that you can manage time effectively.

The online forum will allow you to share your heritage experience with other professionals and people with similar interests from a diverse range of countries and backgrounds, which will create a dynamic and valuable learning environment.

We look forward to welcoming you to the course and are ready to offer advice and support on your distant learning experience.

On successful completion of the course I will be able to

  • Demonstrate in-depth understanding of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and 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;
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the theory and practice of conserving natural heritage, i.e. species, ecosystems and biodiversity, and cultural heritage, i.e. monuments, sites and landscapes.
  • At the MSc level, demonstrate skills required for the application of scientific information and analysis in your chosen field of study and an advanced understanding of heritage and sustainability issues.

Career Opportunities

With 191 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention, over 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 course 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.

Career opportunities include 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.

Entry Requirements

The course is designed to accommodate applicants with a variety of academic qualification 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 proficiency in English will be required, unless you took your primary degree through English. The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL Internet Based Test is 100, on the IELTS system it is 6.5

Are there any additional costs?

Students are not required to make any payments other than their tuition fees. All materials used are freely accessible.


"The Distance Learning offers any post-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. It is far more than simply a postgraduate diploma/Master’s qualification – as the range its covers is immense. But 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 on-line 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!"

Margaret Gowen, Archaeologist and Cultural Heritage Consultant. Member ICAHM/ICOMOS and occasional advisor to the UNESCO WH Centre & ICOMOS Paris

Get in touch with our course team...