Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)


Department: Archaeology


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2020/21


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To equip you with the skills to identify a key case study in a cultural heritage site, institution or equivalent and undertake a detailed analysis including:
  • gathering a relevant body of data including financial information and user statistics as relevant
  • evaluating the data using appropriate conceptual frameworks / models drawing appropriate conclusions
  • producing a high quality in-depth analytical report of your chosen case which would potentially be of value to the organisation concerned in evaluation decisions about its current position and future plan. You should be able to demonstrate:
  • understanding of complex real-life issues
  • ability to gather appropriate in-depth information from published and professional sources on the case study of your choice
  • detailed familiarity with your chosen case study and ability to analysis this data from political, economic, social, technical, legal and environmental perspectives (PESTLE).
  • the ability to undertake a SWOT analysis, review opportunities and constraints and make appropriate recommendations relating to policy, finance, preservation/ conservation and long-term sustainability for the chosen example
  • the ability to consult relevant academic and professional specialists appropriately
  • the ability to construct an critical report effectively and communicate your analysis and planning proposals, supported with relevant data in a logical structure


  • This module is intended for those students considering undertaking a career in the cultural heritage sector after completing the MA course. In it, students develop and demonstrate their skills in an analysis of a case study of cultural heritage practice focusing on a specific example (eg a site, region or organisation) of their choice which they consider justifies intensive study. It is expected that this analytical study will engage with the broader cultural context but also drill down into issues such as management, resources and finance, users, sustainability and forward planning scenarios. The content is thus driven by the individual student within an appropriate, supportive but challenging learning framework.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • advanced knowledge of a specific international cultural heritage site or organisation and professional bodies and its political, social, economic/financial and ecological contexts
  • an informed and critical understanding of complex theories gained elsewhere in the programme in relation to this specific case study analysis
  • advanced knowledge of critiques of cultural heritage models relevant to this specific case study
  • advanced knowledge of national and international legal, ethical and policy frameworks for tangible and intangible international cultural heritage relevant to this specific case study
Subject-specific Skills:
  • an advanced ability to apply subject-related knowledge and advanced theoretical models to case study exemplar/s
  • an advanced ability to identify and propose suitable problem-solving and planning strategies in the management of cultural heritage , undertake an informed analysis, including a critical review of the management plan, preservation and sustainability through a SWOT analysis and scenario planning and make appropriate proposals for future development
  • advanced ability to synthesise, evaluate and present complex material, including original data and theoretical arguments relevant to cultural heritage
  • the acquisition of advanced research skills to enable engagement in complex research at MA level to underpin the production of an extended critical report or dissertation including the ability to collect, examine, record, interpret critically and draw justifiable conclusions from their analysis of a specific case study of their choice (including both quantitative and qualitative information from publications, sites, organisations, databases, financial data, subject specialists and practitioners etc. as appropriate)
Key Skills:
  • demonstrate intellectual and professional autonomy by learning and practising independently and taking responsibility for aspects of learning and professional activities
  • demonstrate the ability to think critically about new and/or unfamiliar ideas by communicating such reflection in written and oral contexts, forming coherent arguments and presenting them to a group (in the student-led seminar) or on a one-to-one basis (in tutorials)
  • demonstrate the ability to evaluate advanced theoretical models, recognise and challenge areas of apparent ambiguity or uncertainty in theoretical models and in practice and hence identify and explore areas of new research in an extended critical report or dissertation
  • develop advanced team work skills by learning and researching collaboratively, involving joint decision-making, effective communication and management of a specific task
  • demonstrate communication skills by developing the ability to express yourself clearly, concisely and appropriately in writing and with relevant illustrations using distinct formats (seminar and analytical report); identifying and analysing complex issues effectively in seminar presentations; contributing appropriately and effectively to case study seminars and group discussions supporting verbal arguments with reference to a range of case studies and theoretical models
  • develop information technology skills by demonstrating the ability to support your assignments and oral presentations appropriately (e.g. word processing, databases, presentation software, graphing, image processing, web-based resources)
  • Work as a reflective practitioner by reflecting on, and recording in an appropriate format, their research, learning and professional practices and using these reflections as the basis for tutorial discussions, assignments and for the development of the concluding Professional Practice Project or Dissertation
  • demonstrate the ability to design and manage an advanced extended research project which is interesting, relevant to the sector, capable of being completed and potentially worthy of publication and dissemination through an appropriate professional publication or conference
  • demonstrate professional conduct by demonstrating the ability to observe professional and academic standards, including appropriate use of relevant ethical codes of practice

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Tutorials, focusing on discussion and feedback between tutors and students, usually on a one-to-one basis, and in a relatively informal learning environment, supported by a written record of the key points covered. Tutorials enable learners to develop, discuss, question and receive feedback on the full range of their subject-specific knowledge and critical understanding, and to gain experience and competence in key skills pertaining to teamwork, communication and taking responsibility for personal development
  • Self-guided learning, comprising personal and group-based study, research, revision, problem-solving and evaluation associated with classes and assignments. Self-guided learning enables you to increase your knowledge and critical understanding of the full range of subject-specific knowledge, and to gain experience and competence in the full range of subject-specific skills and key skills. Where groups of students are researching linked cultural heritage issues, they will be encouraged to set up informal learning and idea exchange networks for mutual learning and debate
  • Reflective Practice expressed through the Log in which you have recorded and reflected on the development of your own intellectual and professional learning through the MA will be key in the development of their dissertation. This log will be used to inform discussion and decisions about the choice of essay topic, challenging ideas as well as being a means of evaluating and recording progress
  • Dissertation & Professional Practice Project Student-led Seminar, comprising student presentations of work in progress
  • Some material may be presented online so it is available asychronously

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures (some with visiting lecturers) 4 1-2 hours 6
Workshops 5 1-2 hours 9
Tutorials 2 0.5 hour 1
Student-led seminar 1 7 hours 7
Preparation and Reading 577
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: DISSERTATION Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Case Study Analytical Report 10,000 WORDS 100% SAME

Formative Assessment:

Specific formative assignments include: • 500 word report proposal to be produced 4 weeks after the start of the research. • 800 word report plan and progress report to consolidate knowledge and understanding of the chosen aspect of cultural heritage studies and the chosen conceptual/theoretical framework to be produced 8 weeks after the start of the research; • progress reports integrated within the Reflective Practice Log at intervals agreed with the tutor • 2,000 word sample chapter at date agreed with tutor to be submitted at specified times and to be discussed with the relevant tutor. Feedback from tutor/s is regarded as an integral part of the learning process. It helps learners to consolidate knowledge and understanding and to explore and develop subject-specific and key skills. You will receive feedback from your tutor and your peers in the Research & Professional Practice Project Seminar.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University