MA Conservation

The MA involves high level conservation projects, advanced conservation science, research, ethics and professional practice. The course culminates in the completion of an ambitious practical conservation project accompanied by an extended research and treatment report.

Our graduates have enjoyed an enviable rate of employment in the professional field. Many of the Department’s alumni have gone on to work within national museum and gallery conservation departments. This includes senior conservation posts in institutions such as Birmingham Museum and Art Collections, Historic Royal Palaces, the Museum of London, the National Trust, Tate, Victoria & Albert Museum, Wallace Collection and Westminster Abbey. Graduates are also employed throughout the private sector with firms such as Cliveden Conservation Workshops, Plowden and Smith, Nimbus Conservation, Taylor Pearce Conservation.

For course details, please see the drop-down menu below. The indicated course schedule is based on completing the MA on a one-year, full-time basis. The structure is the same for those completing the course on a part-time basis, but the content will be scheduled over two years rather than one.

For more detailed information please see the Course Handbook.


Research and Advanced Science in Practical Conservation

Building upon your previous professional or educational experience, and with supervision, we set out to provide you with the research methodologies and advanced science knowledge required to assess an advanced conservation project.

You will analyse and assess treatment options for a complex conservation problem on a 3D object made of stone, wood, plaster or terracotta or a books and paper-related artefact (from autumn 2020), writing a treatment proposal based on a systematic and comprehensive approach to material and contextual research.

We will focus on the technical examination of materials, organic chemistry, diagnosis of issues and testing of measures to control the causes of material deterioration, providing you with a strong foundation in all aspects of remedial and preventive conservation.



Advanced Conservation Practice

In this unit, you will focus on the remedial treatment of a complex conservation project based upon your research findings and treatment proposal established during the first unit. You will work independently to design and implement a comprehensive programme for remedial conservation in relation to your project, working systematically towards informed and creative solutions to the conservation issues that you face.

As well as developing your practical and analytical skills to an advanced level, you will also develop your project management skills in all areas associated with conservation projects, including: project administration; planning; liaison with clients; communication of specialist information to both specialist and non-specialist audiences; project finances and contingency planning for display and relocation. Towards the end of the unit you will devise a maintenance programme based upon your findings for the storage, display and on-going care of the object.


Conservation Report and Paper

Following the remedial treatment of a complex conservation project completed in the previous semester, in this unit you will focus on the writing the conservation report and proposal for future care, as well as the preparation of a research paper based on your findings during the project.

You will work independently in preparing this material to a high professional standard, while tutorials will review work in progress and suggest related case studies and examples of conservation reports and related literature to support your progress on the unit.

You will develop your ability to analyse your own findings, edit and select appropriate documentation and communicate complex data and specialist research to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

On successful completion of this unit you will have demonstrated your ability to tackle an advanced level conservation project through all stages from initial research through to practical application and reporting on findings in a format ready for professional dissemination. Practice, research and communication skills of this level are highly sought after in the conservation and heritage industries and mark graduates out as future leaders in the field.


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