The course

Full-time, Part-time, Per course
Course type
Entry date

MSc Cultural Heritage Management with Tourism combines Heriot-Watt University's expertise in Business and Tourism Management with the impactful research of its Intercultural Research Centre, particularly in the area of global heritage studies.


Entry dates

This study programme has two entry points, September and January. If you are interested in applying, and would like to start in January 2021, this option will be available to new applicants and existing offer holders from mid-July.


MSc Cultural Heritage Management with Tourism develops specialised knowledge in the field of cultural heritage and resource management with a focus on tourism to open up a number of rewarding career opportunities:

  • Managerial positions with museums, archives or heritage sites.
  • Roles within local, regional and national public policy departments relating to culture and heritage issues.
  • Positions in third-sector organisations such as Visit Scotland and equivalent cultural organisations and NGOs.
  • Management positions with tourist sites and tourism and travel organisations.

Embracing a global outlook in its content, this programme capitalises on the thriving heritage industry and international cultural links of Edinburgh: a world-renowned ‘festival city’ and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

MSc Cultural Heritage Management with Tourism will teach you how to apply key theoretical concepts from heritage studies, intercultural studies and business management to heritage resources of cultural significance or interest to visitors. This will put you in the position to implement successful business strategies with the aim of supporting sustainable development of heritage resources and remaining sensitive to the latest professional codes of caring for both tangible and intangible heritage. You will develop management capabilities in the following areas:

  • Heritage processes
  • Project management
  • Visitor attraction operations
  • Business development
  • Visitor experience management

A variety of optional courses allow you to tailor your studies to meet your particular interests.  Gaining expertise in issues such as cross-cultural hospitality, marketing, customer analysis or PR and communication will equip you with the ability to successfully design, deliver and manage memorable heritage experiences.

Heritage Careers Guide 

Each year Heriot-Watt University partners with the Heritage Alliance and the Built Environment Forum Scotland to create the Heritage Careers Guide, a document detailing some of the most exciting career opportunities in the sector. Follow the link below to view:

Heritage Careers Guide 2019-2020

Intercultural Research Centre

Much of the course content is sourced directly from the world-class research and academic expertise of Heriot-Watt’s Intercultural Research Centre.  You will study with leading researchers to increase your understanding of complex heritage and intercultural issues with particular focus on themes such as tourism, gender, religion and language. You will gain new perspectives on how these factors impact on the management, promotion and perception of organisations within the arts, heritage, events and tourism industries.

This programme offers you the exciting opportunity to adapt your study to the industries and geographical markets of greatest interest and relevance to you. With a diverse cohort of students, this programme will see you interacting with colleagues from different parts of the world. Our tailored, international focus, sensitive to cultural differences, will ensure that you are well positioned to pursue cultural, heritage and tourism management jobs and opportunities globally.

Edinburgh: a thriving centre of cultural tourism

Edinburgh is a city with a wealth of architectural heritage including museums, monuments and historic houses. It recently became a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the ‘exceptional historic and architectural interest’ of its New Town and Old Town.

Cultural Heritage Management is delivered at our Edinburgh campus just outside the historic city which itself offers a fascinating case study into the potential and challenges of managing a complex heritage resource.

Edinburgh is regularly voted as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and it boasts a global reputation as ‘The Festival City’ thanks to annual cultural highlights including: the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Edinburgh Art Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. During your programme you will also have the opportunity to discuss other festivals such as Beltane of Up Helly Aa and other international celebrations of heritage.

In 2017 selected Scotland as their number 2 country in the world to visit, following a year where employment in its tourism industry grew by 11% (Office for National Statistics).

Links to industry and heritage bodies

The teaching and research staff of Heriot-Watt University’s Intercultural Research Centre have close links to industry-leading tourism and cultural heritage organisations including VisitBritain, National Trust for Scotland and Edinburgh World Heritage. Our relationship with these established organisations and researchers in the heritage and tourism fields provide opportunities for inspiring guest lectures throughout the year that will inform your learning.

Go places with international opportunities

With campuses in Edinburgh, Dubai and Malaysia, we offer you the exciting opportunity to complete your dissertation project, or part of your studies, at any of our three Heriot-Watt locations which all benefit from their own thriving tourism industries.

Heriot-Watt University also has a series of partners in other European countries that allow students to conduct primary research for dissertation projects through the Erasmus + programme.

Guest lectures given throughout the year by leading academics and researchers from global universities and tourism managers add to the international and intercultural flavour of this programme. International placements and internships can also be arranged with partners in China or Europe through the Scottish Confucius Institute for Business and Communication and the Erasmus Programme.

Student Testimonials 

Lucy Lannigan, MSc Cultural Heritage Management with Tourism (2018 – 2019)

“I loved the variety and scope of the course, which included learning about different cultures and current debates and issues within the heritage and tourism spheres. The lecturers were open, welcoming and very enthusiastic about the course which helped the content to be delivered in an interesting manner. The learning environment was very comfortable and enabled open discussions of current issues without fear of criticism or judgement.”

“The opportunity to take part in an internship as part of my dissertation project enabled me to gain valuable experience of working in the heritage sector and also allowed me to collect data that I could use for my research. My lecturers at Heriot-Watt were instrumental in helping to organise such a position for me, which I am very thankful for. The internship has turned into an offer of full-time work once I complete my masters course, which I am delighted about!” 

Aleida Bertran, MSc Cultural Heritage Management with Tourism (2016 – 2017)

"I started working at the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and that experience inspired me to pursue further education in the field of cultural heritage. The programme at Heriot-Watt University fitted perfectly with my expectations. I could learn about new fields such as cultural anthropology, cultural heritage, research philosophy and tourism, while I could enhance my previous knowledge in courses such as Intercultural Communication."

"For my master's dissertation, I was offered the chance to conduct ethnographic fieldwork at the Latvian Academy of Culture in Riga, Latvia. That experience introduced me to the Baltic culture and grew my interest in cultural anthropology. The strong research approach of Heriot-Watt University provided me with enough tools to write an interesting master’s thesis. The success of my findings allowed me to develop my dissertation into a doctoral project as a PhD student at the Latvian Academy of Culture. Throughout my first year of doctoral studies, I have had the chance to present at conferences in Latvia and Estonia and conduct ethnographic fieldwork around the Baltic States. This upcoming academic year, I will be the lecturer of my course Social Movements and Culture. My student experience in the courses and seminars of the programme MSc Cultural Heritage Management and Tourism helped me to develop critical thinking, which is my main aim as a future lecturer."

"I remember my year at Heriot-Watt University as an experience shared with my classmates from Italy, Bulgaria and Cyprus. I will always remember the wonderful afternoons spent in the stunning Edinburgh’s Old Town, the fun ceilidh dancing events and the vibrant atmosphere of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival."

Student profile

Tanya Ritchie

Heriot-Watt turned out to be an excellent choice for me. There was always opportunity for discussion and I never felt out of my depth or unable to contribute. The amazing thing is its international make-up, which is reflected in the research and teaching. I am now hoping to pursue a career in the heritage sector.

Tanya Ritchie, Cultural Heritage Management

Course content

Cultural Heritage Management Course Structure
Semester 1 (Sept - Dec) Semester 2 (Jan - April)
Cross-cultural Perspectives on Society Research Philosophy and Practice
Destination Experience and Attraction Management Issues and Trends in Tourism
Performing Identities: Festivals and Global Heritage Intercultural Perspectives on Sustainable Development

One optional course to be chosen from a range including:

Business Models
Competitive Strategy
Corporate Social Responsibility
International Business
International Politics
Work, Culture and Organisations
Beginner language courses in French, German, Spanish, Chinese, British Sign Language

One optional course to be chosen from a range including:

Business Economics
Human Resource Management
International Marketing
International Trade Law
Issues and Trends in Tourism
Managing Diversity in Business
Project Management
Systems Thinking and Analysis
Beginner language courses in French, German, Spanish, Chinese, British Sign Language

Between May and August students undertake their MSc dissertation in an area relevant to Cultural Heritage Management.

Cross-cultural Perspectives on Society

Semester 1 (mandatory)

This course will build your understanding of social and cultural issues whilst developing a critical understanding of theoretical arguments used to explain global social and cultural patterns of relevance to heritage and tourism. Topics include intercultural perspectives on work and leisure, hospitality and language, gender and feminism.  

Destination Experience and Attraction Management

Semester 1 (mandatory)

The course will provide you with a thorough understanding of the underlying principles of the management and operations of visitor attractions and their role in the wider development of experiences at a site and a wider tourist destination. 

Performing Identities: Festivals and Global Heritage

Semester 1 (mandatory)

This course will develop your understanding of current challenges and opportunities in the heritage sector on a global scale. It will equip you with a critical understanding of the impact of global organizations such as UNESCO and ICOMOS. Topics include heritage and sustainability, festivals and commodification, museums and marketing. See our student blog.

Research Philosophy and Practice

Semester 2 (mandatory)

Research Philosophy and Practice outlines the central theories, approaches and processes to research in the social sciences. You will learn practical techniques for quantitative and qualitative data analysis, allowing you to transform raw data into information to guide conclusions and strategy.

Issues and Trends in Tourism 

Semester 2 (mandatory)

Issues and Trends in Tourism will introduce you to critical perspectives on tourism marketing management and enhance your understanding of the complex nature of the destination with specific focus on its importance as the core element of international tourism supply.

Intercultural Perspectives on Sustainable Development

Semester 2 (mandatory)

Intercultural Perspectives on Sustainable Development focuses on the economic and environmental issues addressed by applied anthropological methods and theories in various contexts. It assesses the ambiguities of economic environmental issues and explores the implications for individuals, minorities, majorities, institutions and intercultural relations by way of case studies.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Good Honours degree (first or second class), or its non-UK equivalent, from a recognised British or overseas university, in a relevant subject.

English language requirements

Non-native speakers of English must provide evidence of their English language ability. This must be IELTS, or equivalent, of 6.5 overall (with no element below 6.0).


Tuition fees for entry
Status Full-time Part-time Per course
UK £7552 £3776 £944
Overseas £16728 £8364 £2091


  1. Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.
  2. Fee per course (module). Refer to the Course Content to see how many courses comprise the full programme.
  3. Overseas includes applications from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in the UK. Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.