Public History & Cultural Heritage

Trinity College Dublin

Public History & 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.

Subjects taught

Course Content
Students take a core module — 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. Electives offered in recent years include: Saving the Past; Choosing your pasts: the historian and the archive; History, Memory and Commemoration; 'The Rise, Fall, and Recovery of the Irish Big House, c. 1700 – the Present'; Gender, Art and Identity; Consuming History: Media, Markets and the Past.

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 12,000-15,000 words, supervised by a member of staff.

Entry requirements

Admission 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.

Application dates

Closing Date: 13th May 2024
To apply, click on the relevant Apply Link in the Course webpage (weblink above)
Register your interest via the the course webpage


1 year full-time (EU and non-EU students), 2 years part-time (EU/UK/EEA students only)

Enrolment dates

Next Intake: September 2024

Post Course Info

Career Opportunities
The MPhil helps prepare graduates for a wide variety of careers including in the museum and heritage sectors, libraries and archives, public policy and administration, teaching, media. It also provides invaluable training in research for those planning to pursue a doctorate and/or career in research.

More details
  • Qualification letters

    M.Phil. / P.Grad.Dip.

  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ),Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider