HRM Professional Program

A professional online master's program built by and for cultural heritage management practitioners

Choose from a thesis-based MA or a coursework-only certificate, both offering integrated study of HRM's ethical, legal, business and research priorities. Online coursework accommodates students with family and professional obligations. MA thesis requirements comply with the Register for Professional Archaeologists and other jurisdictional standards.

Applicants should hold a BA or BSc degree (or equivalent) and have, at a minimum, one year of work experience in heritage resource management.


Orientation Week

Held on-campus in the first week of fall courses (virtual in 2021 and 2022).

Four online courses

Delivered over two terms, the HRM coursework covers ethical, legal, business, and research priorities.

Intensive Collaboration

SFU faculty will support the design and delivery of your MA thesis.

Thesis Defence

Juried defences for the MA program take place on SFU campus.

If you have any questions you can't find an answer to on these pages, please contact the Graduate Program Assistant at

If you are wondering about program eligibility, please contact Adam Rorabaugh, HRM Program Director, at

What is HRM?

Heritage Resource Management and Cultural Resource Management are often used interchangeably to describe efforts to identify, assess, and reduce impacts to cultural resources threatened by land alteration and resource extraction projects.

Once perceived as a fallback career for academic archaeologists, Heritage Resource Management has emerged as a dominant and dynamic area of professional practice. Allied fields include architecture, museum studies, object conservation, public history, heritage tourism, and environmental planning and management.

The field of Heritage Resource Management acknowledges and seeks to perpetuate the aesthetic, economic, historical, scientific, social, and spiritual values that individuals and communities associate with places, objects and traditions. The Heritage Resource Management industry services clients in seven primary sectors: defense, energy, forest products, mining, real estate, transportation, and water.

What makes SFU's professional program unique?

SFU’s Program is built on the idea that individual leaders can make real differences in assuring that the full spectrum of heritage resources are considered in project planning and implementation. We provide new avenues of understanding and inquiry concerning the complexity and potential of heritage resource management today. The Program’s courses and thesis requirement will broaden and professionalize each candidate’s knowledge of contemporary issues and dynamics in Heritage Resource Management while expanding their frame of reference to a global scale. 

The Heritage Resource Management MA Program does not provide training in archaeology per se. Instead, the Program curriculum is designed to serve the needs and interests of existing professionals who hold Bachelor’s degrees, demonstrate research and writing capabilities, and a commitment to a career in heritage resource management.

The Program uses advanced distance learning technologies— SFU’s Canvas platform—to support exceptionally high quality learning environments. The SFU Centre for Educational Excellence is the Program partner for course development and delivery.

Our Goals Are To

  • Prepare students for satisfying careers as heritage resource management leaders committed to collaborative management of diverse heritage comprised of multiple values.
  • Boost the quality of heritage resource management by creating and mobilizing practical knowledge and skills in each of the field’s four principal areas—law/policy, practice/ethics, business/management, and research design and methods.
  • Maintain excellent learning environments and open and constructive communications among students, alumni, faculty and heritage owners, as well as heritage resource management regulators, practitioners and stakeholders.
  • Increase the number, diversity, expertise, and integration of heritage resource management practitioners who hold graduate credentials, meet professional qualification standards for multiple jurisdictions, and share commitments to professional, conservation-oriented management of diverse heritage from treasured pasts.