Public History and Cultural Heritage (M.Phil. / P.Grad.Dip.)

NFQ Level 9
1 year full-time (EU and non-EU students) / 2 years part-time (EU/UK/EEA students only)
15 Places


Course Overview

The Public History and Cultural Heritage programme 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 Dublin’s leading cultural institutions, 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.

Is This Course For Me?

This course is aimed at students interested in understanding the importance of preserving cultural heritage and its impact on society. Additionally, it provides the skills and knowledge necessary to develop programs and projects that engage the public and make cultural heritage accessible to all.

Career Opportunities

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

Course Structure

Taken as a full-time course, the M.Phil. programme lasts for 12 months starting in September. Teaching is spread over two terms, beginning in September and concluding in April. EU/ UK/EEA students can also take the course part-time over two years.

An M.Phil. degree within the School of Histories and Humanities consists of 90 ECTS.

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.

Click here for further information on modules/subjects.

Study Public History and Cultural Heritage (M.Phil. / P.Grad.Dip.) at Trinity

Introduction to the Public History and Cultural Heritage (M.Phil. / P.Grad.Dip.) programme by Dr. Georgina Laragy at Trinity College Dublin.

Course Details


NFQ Level 9

Number of Places

15 Places

Next Intake

September 2024

Course Director

Dr Georgina Laragy


Closing Date

13th May 2024

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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.

Course Fees

Click here for a full list of postgraduate fees.

Get in Touch

Telephone Number

+353 (0)1 896 1791

Dr Georgina Laragy (course director):


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