Taught course

Public History and Cultural Heritage

Trinity College Dublin - the University of Dublin · School of Histories and Humanities

Entry requirements

Applicants should normally have at least an upper second class (2.1) honours Bachelor degree or equivalent (for example, GPA of 3.3) in a relevant area. Since places on the course are limited, applicants may be interviewed or asked to submit a writing sample for assessment. Offers will be made on a rolling basis from January 2015. The closing date for applications is 31st May. Should places remain unfilled, later applications may be considered. Applications are made online at: www.tcd.ie/courses/postgraduate/az

Months of entry


Course content

The M.Phil. course in Public History and Cultural Heritage
is designed to provide students with a rigorous grounding
in public history and to prepare high-calibre graduates in a
unique and thorough fashion for the management of cultural
heritage. We define ‘public history’ and ‘cultural heritage’
broadly. The course involves analysis of cultural memory,
its construction, reception and loss; and study of the public
status and consumption of history in modern society. Political
issues surrounding public commemoration and ‘sites of
memory’ are examined and the role of museums, galleries
and the media in shaping public perceptions of the past
is considered. The course also surveys the more concrete
questions involved in the conservation, presentation and
communication of the physical heritage of past cultures,
particularly where interpretation and meaning are contested.
The course is taught in collaboration with the leading cultural
institutions located in Dublin and several organisations
offer internships to students. In recent years participating
bodies have included Dublin City Gallery; Dublin City Library
and Archive; Glasnevin Trust; Hugh Lane Gallery; The Little
Museum of Dublin; Marsh’s Library; the National Gallery of
Ireland; the National Library of Ireland; the National Museum
of Ireland; and St Patrick’s Cathedral.
In a variety of modules, students are trained in the analysis
and the presentation of their research findings. They are also
introduced to the methodological challenges of advanced
study and research at postgraduate level. The course
comprises a core module, entitled Remembering, Reminding
and Forgetting: Public History, Cultural Heritage and the
Shaping of the Past, which runs across both terms. A suite
of term-long electives is available on substantive themes. A
three-month internship, located in one of our collaborating
institutions, runs throughout the second term. Practitioner
workshops are also held in the second term and provide an
opportunity for national and international ‘public historians’
to discuss their work with the class. In any given year this
may include novelists, artists, museum directors, or heritage
and tourism policymakers. The course concludes with the
production of a dissertation or major project, individually
supervised by an member of staff.

Information for international students


Fees and funding

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Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Dr Shane Wallace
+353-1-896 1020