From education to employment

New MScs in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management join the ranks at the RAU

students working

Two new and exciting fully accessible Master’s degree courses, offering students the chance to study either full or part-time as well as the possibility of attending lectures in person or online, are being launched at the Royal Agricultural University’s Cultural Heritage Institute in Swindon this autumn.

Situated in a workshop in the former GWR carriage works in the town’s railway heritage quarter which was transformed thanks to a £1.35m investment by Swindon Borough Council, RAU Swindon works with the main RAU campus in Cirencester to provide modern and fully accessible facilities in an innovative learning space designed to encourage collaboration and interdisciplinary studies.

The centre, which officially opened its doors to students in late 2021, was established to help bridge the gap between academic study and professional practice in archaeology and applied heritage and already offers an MSc in Conservation and Management of Historic Buildings. From September 2023, that course is being joined by two additional Master’s courses – MSc Archaeology and MSc Cultural Heritage Management.

Dr Cassie Newland, RAU Senior Lecturer in Cultural Heritage and Director of the Cultural Heritage Institute (CHI) at RAU Swindon, said:

“We are really excited to be able to offer these postgraduate degree courses which will deliver professional training and experiences to help people to enter or progress within the archaeology and cultural heritage sectors.

“And, for those who don’t want to do a full Master’s degree, we also offer the opportunity to study for both Post Graduate Certificates and Post Graduate Diplomas.

“What is even more exciting is that all our programmes have been specifically been designed to meet the needs of postgraduate learners who may be combining study with work, caring, or other responsibilities.

“The teaching is designed to be fully flexible, to allow full participation for both part-time and full-time students, with all sessions offered in a blended format so students can choose whether to attend any session in-person or to participate remotely, as best suits their needs.

“All sessions, including practical workshops and, where possible, field trips, are recorded live and made immediately available for viewing to support those who prefer to access the sessions asynchronously.”

The three post graduate courses will be taught by a combination of leading academics and industry professionals, and use real-world projects and live assessments to enable every student to gain professional experience, a thorough understanding of the cultural heritage sector, and a strong portfolio of knowledge and skills in their chosen specialist area, which will ultimately enhance their career.

Cassie added:

“All our Master’s programmes have been developed in partnership with practitioners from across cultural heritage and our teaching team brings together experienced university lecturers and professionals from archaeological and heritage practice.

“These MScs are designed to give a broad and thorough grounding in the different areas and to equip students with wider contextual and practical skills. As each course progresses, students will be able to follow their developing interests and tailor the direction of their assessed learning to pursue a variety of careers in their chosen area.

“RAU Swindon itself is a case study in sustainable, heritage-led, regeneration. Located in the heart of the Railway Village Heritage Action Zone, and with Historic England, English Heritage, the National Monuments Archive, the National Trust and STEAM – the museum of the Great Western Railway all within just a five-minute walk, the CHI offers students access to many additional learning resources.”

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