Core Courses – 24 credits total (+ 3 credit required internship)

Core courses are obligatory for all students enrolled in the M.A. program. They include:

  • Contemporary Issues in Cultural Heritage (3 credits)
  • Cultural Heritage, Conflict and Peacebuilding (3 credits)
  • Cultural Heritage Tourism: Intercultural Interactions (3 credits)
  • Principles of Business for Non-Profit Organizations (3 credits)
  • Grant Writing and Fundraising (3 credits)
  • Heritage Economics (3 credits)
  • Research Methods for Social Sciences (3 credits)
  • Thesis Preparation (1 credit)
  • GIS: Geographic Information System (1 credit)
  • Sustainable Conservation (1 credit)
  • Internship (3 credits)

Elective Courses – 3 credits total

Elective courses are designed to enable students to shape their own professional and/or research profile depending on their interests and future career aspirations. The program allows a certain flexibility, not only with the choice of elective courses, but also in respect to the time frame in which these courses can be taken. However, students are required to complete all course work before they can submit their thesis.

  • Field trip: Rome and Athens: From Antiquity to Modern Capital Cities (3 credits, travel costs and fieldtrip fees required)
  • Negotiation and Conflict Management (3 credits)
  • Archaeology Practicum (3 credits)
  • International Response to Humanitaria Crises (3 credits)


Contemporary Issues in Cultural Heritage (3 credits)

This course will investigate the most pressing and contentious issues in Cultural Heritage today. It is intended to foreground some of the arguments which will come up in other courses such as contested heritage, authenticity, interpretation, sustainability etc. It may also include guest lectures from heritage practitioners in order to understand the practical implications of theoretical issues. The precise subject matter will be adjusted to focus on current real-world issues.

Cultural Heritage, Conflict and Peacebuilding (3 credits)

Cultural heritage has become increasingly important as a symbol of identity at an individual, community, national and international level. Heritage identity can help to create cohesion and a spirit of community or it can be a source of conflict. In post conflict scenarios cultural heritage projects can be a part of the stabilization process and reconstruction of the community. This course will explore current heritage issues critically analysing sources of conflict and strategies for positive peacebuilding between and within heritage communities. 

Cultural Heritage Tourism: Intercultural Interactions (3 credits)

Heritage tourism is considered to be a vital source of income for many communities, but it can also lead to negative impacts. ‘Overtourism’ in historic cities has led to local people being displaced and has damaged the historic environment. In the global south the development of a tourism industry has often resulted in an undermining of traditional practices and values. Through on‐site visits, lectures, seminars and interactive classroom discussions this course will explore the challenges facing heritage tourism in the 21st century. Particular emphasis will be placed on factors affecting the impact on host communities, the visitor experience and developing heritage tourism in a way that is both ethical and sustainable in the long term.

Principles of Business for Non-Profit Organizations (3 credits)

This course provides a survey of business methods relating to management, marketing and operations basics and accounting, finance and economics basics. Topics covered will include: customer analysis; brand development; digital and phygital marketing; accounting methodologies; financial analysis and an introduction to macro and microeconomics. The course assumes no prior knowledge of business techniques or terminology and is practical in its approach. Classroom sessions will incorporate case studies and practical exercises. The course is intended to give students the practical business skills needed to work in the non-profit sector.

Grant Writing and Fundraising (3 credits)

This course is divided into two modules which will cover:  1. the fundamentals of fundraising and; 2. grant writing. The fundraising module will examine the fund-raising process from the perspective of individuals or organizations seeking to raise funds for operations or major projects from all types of donors. It will consider donor motivations and expectations, methods to identify and qualify appropriate funding sources (governments, private corporations, foundations, NGOs or individuals), techniques for developing a relationship with donors, legal and governance issues affecting fund raising, grant development, campaign planning and management, and organizational reporting of sustainability results. The grant writing module will provide students with the background to develop a competitive grant proposal. Students will learn to identify potential grant sources and gain the skills needed to successfully write and submit grant proposals. Topics covered include an overview of typical grant components, such as executive summary, objectives, workflow, implementation, personnel, budget, as well as criteria for review and assessment of grant proposals. Both modules will finish with a practical exercise in preparing an appropriate application.

Heritage Economics (3 credits)

This course provides students with a foundational understanding of the ways in which economic analysis can be applied to cultural institutions and heritage resources.  The course will enable archaeologists and practitioners in cultural- and heritage-related fields to apply economic reasoning to issues in their fields and to become well-informed and critical consumers of economic analysis.

Research Methods for Social Sciences (3 credits)

This course aims to provide a comprehensive examination of the main aspects, potential and limits of theoretical and applied social research methods, and to use them appropriately according to their specific research needs. The course covers the epistemology of social science and the logic of research design. It reviews the steps in the research process from the research idea to the research questions, formulation of hypotheses and deciding on method. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods will be described and practiced. The main methodological problems of quantitative and qualitative analysis, data gathering, data quality and interpretation of evidence will be discussed. Presentation skills for researchers will be explained and practiced.

Thesis Preparation (1 credit)

This course prepares graduate students to write a proposal for their thesis. Students are guided through four drafts of increasing complexity where they develop the research design, the framework for a literature review, research objectives, research questions, data sources, and complete the IRB proposal, risk assessment and research timetable. At the end of the course the student will given an oral presentation to the other students and faculty. The written proposal will be submitted subsequently and will incorporate where appropriate feedback received in the oral presentation.

GIS: Geographic Information System (1 credit)

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based tool that analyzes, stores, manipulates and visualizes geographic information, usually in a map. This course is aimed at graduate students in different fields (e.g., food studies, cultural heritage, art history, etc.) allowing them to gain more experience and knowledge on the potential of GIS as a tool to aid in evidence informed policy and decision making. This 1-credit course will cover a general introduction to GIS using a free and open source software package. This course has been designed for those with little or no GIS experience.

Sustainable Conservation (1 credit)

This course will examine the theory and practice of sustainable conservation. The course will focus on issues that form the current debate on conservation such as documentation and information management, values and interest groups and stakeholder engagement as a form of site preservation. The course will also provide students with the necessary tools and set of examples for selecting sites for preservation, with a focus on preventive conservation. Reactive intervention is not sufficient to balance the long-term preservation of resources with the contemporary needs of users, and holistic approaches are currently being theorized, problematicized and explored worldwide. Preventive conservation and maintenance are two approaches that greatly facilitate the responsibilities of the manager, reducing the need for costly, labor-intensive conservation and restoration projects. Students will also learn practical methods for the physical conservation of different categories of cultural resources and will master a technical vocabulary adequate to communicate with conservation specialists.

Internship (3 credits)

This is a practical internship with a Cultural Heritage organization. It requires 150 hours of practical work experience, a journal with the daily activities detailed as well as reflections on the internship as a learning experience and a presentation and written paper at the end of the work experience period. AUR will make every effort to place a student in the best possible situation but students should be aware that internships in Italy are not abundant due to Italian employment laws. Students are advised to begin thinking well ahead of time of the kind of internship they would like and to have a few alternatives in case their first choice does not work out.


Field trip: Rome and Athens: From antiquity to modern capital cities (3 credits)*

This 10 day field course taking place on-site in Rome and Athens explores the issues facing archaeological heritage management in two World Heritage cities which are also capitals of their respective nations. These cities are required to balance the needs and expectations of modern development with preservation of their cultural heritage and continue to act as the focus of national identity. The course will begin with three days in Rome with an introduction to the concepts to be discussed and visits to the principal monuments of the city to analyze their heritage challenges. The course will then transfer to Athens for four nights, which will act as a comparison to Rome. Athens, like Rome, is a classical city dependent on heritage tourism, but it has a very different position as a national capital and dissimilar conservation issues. The course will then wind up with classes in Rome. *For this course, students are responsible for making the necessary travel arrangements and covering the costs associated with this trip, including flight, hotel, meals, and applicable entrance fees. 

Negotiation and Conflict Management (3 credits)

Conflict is part of daily life: it can be destructive as well as constructive but it needs to be dealt with productively. Resolution is a collaborative process by which differences are handled and outcomes are jointly agreed by the interested parties. It is the transformation of the relationships and situations such that solutions are sustainable and self-correcting in the long term. This course will introduce the student to the common causes of conflicts, and enable them to understand how and why they appear. Techniques and methods to approach, manage and resolve conflicts will be introduced, including the strategies of good listening and good communication skills. Various techniques will be examined and applied using selected case studies, including negotiation from a humanitarian perspective and negotiation with armed groups.

Archaeology Practicum (3 credits)

This is an archaeology practicum course and it must be taken in conjunction with a field school organized by AUR. This course is suitable for students who have no prior experience of archaeological excavation. In addition to the practical experience students will be required to submit a paper within 10 days of the end of the excavation on an aspect of Cultural Heritage.

International Response to Humanitarian Crises (3 credits)

The course enables students to understand the functioning of international humanitarian interventions and aid supply in countries affected by a crisis (such as conflicts or natural disasters). It gives a firsthand understanding of what it is like to work under pressure in difficult circumstances. The course provides students with both theoretical and practical knowledge in order to equip them with all the tools necessary for a successful work in the humanitarian sector. The course uses interactive tools and scenario‐based teaching (such as simulation exercises).

Exact selection and number of elective courses offered in each semester is subject to change. Students will be informed about available elective courses for the fall semester upon opening of the application procedure for the MA program. Students will be asked to choose elective courses in the fall semester upon the official registration for the program. Students choose elective courses for the spring semester by the end of the winter break (minimum course enrollments must be met to ensure that the course will run).