Master's degree programme in Sustainable Heritage Management


Equipped for practice

The MA programme in Sustainable Heritage Management (SHM) at Aarhus University provides you with the competences needed to meet the multiple challenges of contemporary heritage management. Working with cultural and natural heritage means taking responsibility for the links between humanity and its past. But heritage is also an integral part of the present, and a resource for the future. Managing heritage is no easy task: it includes attending to not only the survivability and inherent qualities of sites, objects and traditions, but also to the different claims and stakes that often surround them. The SHM programme equips you, through theory and practice, to work in the exciting and expanding as well as increasingly complex heritage field. You will be trained in a uniquely interdisciplinary environment to asses, retain and sustain heritage and to develop, revise and innovate the future shapes of the sector.

Photo: Colorbox

Heritage as resource

In all its forms, heritage is crucial for the collective memories and sustainability of communities as well as for the personal development of individuals, as it addresses the links between selves and others, temporally as well as geographically. As such, heritage can be seen as a crucial aspect of modern existence in a world of change. It can also be a potent economic, environmental and political asset that can be utilised for various ends. Heritage, for these same reasons, is not inherently “good”, and is sometimes put to work in ways that that alter and compromise local communities and conditions in questionable ways. The Aarhus SHM program qualifies you to analyse and respond to the ethics of heritage work, providing not only a sophisticated academic framework, but also a solidly grounded, practice-based set of skills and know-how. You will learn  to tackle the future challenges of heritage management on local as well as global scales. The questions and challenges are manifold:

  • What is heritage and what is not?
  • How do we register, prioritise and protect heritage for future generations?
  • How can civil societies engage responsibly in the management of heritage?
  • How to deal with contested and contrasting claims to heritage and sites?
  • How do we co-create and communicate heritage in sustainable ways, creating long-lasting value for cultural institutions, creative industries and for societies and individuals?

A highly interdisciplinary field

Heritage studies and heritage management is a highly interdisciplinary field, involving methodologies and approaches from various disciplines. The SHM programme is anchored in an interdisciplinary research environment that includes scholars from archaeology, anthropology, intellectual history, aesthetics, history, museology, cultural studies, evolutionary studies, and digital design. During your studies, you will thus not only work with material forms of cultural heritage, but also with textual data and, not least, people and people’s perceptions of heritage. The program revolves around and intersects with the revamped Moesgård Museum south of Aarhus, affording unique collaborative opportunities and potentials for students and staff in this university-museum environment.

Creativity and cultural politics

Our focus on management will equip you with knowledge and skills for operating with heritage in institutional contexts, such as museums, heritage and planning agencies, municipal and city councils and in international organisations, private enterprises and civic organisations. There are multiple different career paths within the field of heritage management. In your second year of the SHM programme, you have the option to specialise within one subfield, or you can choose to apply and develop your knowledge and skills in practice through an internship. Of course, should you wish to embark on a research career, as an SHM graduate you also have the option of applying for PhD positions in Aarhus or elsewhere.

Video presentation by Andres Dobat, Assistant Professor and programme coodinator

Read more, print and be inspired

Download and print a short presentation of the Master's degree programme in Sustainable Heritage Management 2017.

Admission requirements

Bachelor’s degrees in the following subjects qualify applicants for the Master’s degree programme in sustainable heritage management:

  • History (Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen, University of Southern Denmark)
  • European ethnology (University of Copenhagen)
  • Prehistoric archaeology (Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen – legal entitlement to admission), medieval and renaissance archaeology (Aarhus University – legal entitlement to admission), classical archaeology (Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen), Assyriology (University of Copenhagen), near-oriental archaeology (University of Copenhagen)
  • Eskimology (University of Copenhagen)
  • Art history (Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen)
  • Anthropology (Aarhus University, University of Copenhagen), international development studies (Roskilde University)
  • Geography with the focus on the cultural environment (Roskilde University)
  • Architecture
  • Other Bachelor’s degree programmes generating at least 45 ECTS credits in the field of cultural heritage (for instance museology, cultural presentation or administration) may qualify applicants for admission based on an individual assessment

Based on an individual assessment, the board of studies decides whether applicants with any other basis for admission have academic qualifications which can be regarded as the equivalent of those outlined above.


Language requirements

English at B level at upper-secondary school or the equivalent is a requirement for admission: read about English language requirements


Number of seats offered 

2017: No limitation on intake

From 2018, only 35 seats will be offered.

Selection criteria

As the Master’s programme only admits 35 students each year from 2018, meeting the admission requirements does not in itself guarantee admission to the programme.

(The number of seats is a guideline only and may be subject to changes by the university).

If more qualified applicants apply than the number of available places, the qualified applicants will be prioritised according to the following criteria:

  • Average mark for all courses on a qualifying Bachelor’s degree programme at the time of application
  • Average mark for relevant courses on a qualifying Bachelor’s degree programme at the time of application
  • Statement of relevance (1-2 pages in English) which should explain 1) the academic relevance of your Bachelor’s degree in relation to the Master’s programme in Sustainable Heritage Management; 2) which individual courses of your Bachelor’s programme meet the admission requirements for the Master’s programme in Sustainable Heritage Management; 3) relevant experience pertinent to the Master’s degree programme besides formal academic qualifications.

In addition to the general documentation requirements, a statement of relevance and a CV – both in English – must be uploaded to your application.


Tuition fees

Programme structure

Academic regulations

As a student it is important to know the regulations for your chosen subject: what is the content, how is it structured and what does it require from you. You can find this information in the academic regulations.


In the following graphical presentation of the subject you can see the different modules and courses that, in addition, link to the course catalogue where you can read the course descriptions.


Student life

The MA in Sustainable Heritage Management is based at Moesgård – an old manor house located just south of Aarhus. Here you have access to a library, copying, computers, a common room, lunch room, the Moesgård Museum, and beautiful countryside, less than 2 kilometres from the beach.

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Student life

Photo: media Moesgård 

You also have plenty of opportunities for taking an active part in student life.

The following services are available: 

  • The Student Committee is where you, as a student, can discuss the academic content of your degree programme and contribute to its further development.
  • The Danish Ethnographic Association is available for all people interested in anthropology and ethnography.
  • Hikuin is the main association for students of prehistoric archaeology. Its purpose is to ensure your well-being. Hikuin organises academic discussions about your studies and contact with the business community, not to mention the Friday bars and different social initiatives.
  • In addition, there are many other events for students at the Faculty of Arts and Aarhus University in general – e.g. lectures, intro days, career days, seminars, celebrations and sports days.


Photo: media Moesgård

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UNESCO Samlingerne, Moesgård

Photo: UNESCO Samlingerne, Moesgård

Competencies and job perspectives 

An MA in Sustainable Heritage Management equips you with skills and qualifications to fulfil positions in a number of job markets and industries, depending of your area of specialisation. Possible career paths include employment in the museum and archival sectors, in planning and development agencies and bodies, within resource management and capacity building, as well as within tourism and the creative industries. Many of the challenges that you will be trained to meet are transnational and international in scope.

  • In the museum, library and archival sectors, graduates could take up positions related to the responsible handling, conservation and safeguarding of finds and sites, as well as in more outreach-oriented roles on innovative, inclusive and user-centred communication strategies and schemes.
  • In planning and resource management positions, both in the public and the private sectors, the SHM graduate will be well-equipped to act in project management roles that demand the balancing and negotiation between various stakeholders and interest groups.
  • In the development and capacity building sector, including the NGO world, the toolkit of holistic and interdisciplinary competences of SHM graduates equips them to handle sensitive and complex issues, such as land claims and other tensions related to differing perspectives and uses of the past.
  • In tourism and the creative industries (increasingly related to and overlapping with the sectors described above) graduates will utilize their skills in managing and developing sites and businesses in ways that combine growth with inclusive and sustainable futures and robust cultural and natural ecologies.


World Heritage Plaque

Photo: Creative Commons, Timquijano

Furthermore, an MA in Sustainable Heritage Management qualifies students who wish to embark on a research career to apply for PhD positions at the university or abroad, an option that may include collaboration with national or international institutions, organisations or private companies. Visit for more information about PhD degree programmes at the Faculty of Arts at Aarhus University. 

  Sustainable heritage management

Photo: Grafisk Tegnestue, Moesgård

You can read more about the career services that are available from Arts Karriere who provide information about employment opportunities as well as arranging various events and workshops.