MA Conservation

This section details all that you need to know about making an application to MA Conservation, including timelines and deadlines, advice on fees and funding, along with guidance on digital and interview portfolios.

The 2020/21 Course Application Form and Reference Form are now available.

To avoid any problems the forms should NOT be completed online but downloaded to a computer and opened in the latest version of Adobe Reader. If you do experience any problems, or if you have any questions about the forms, please contact us at:

We have a number of Application Deadlines throughout the year. Please check the What about the actual application’ section to find the out the next upcoming deadline.

I am thinking of studying on this course, what should I do?

First you should make sure you know all about our MA Conservation Studies course by reading, Why Study Here and Course Details.

We strongly recommend you attend an Open Day for a tour of the Art School and discussions with tutors, who provide details and information about the course. Open Days are a great opportunity to meet students currently studying on the course and to hear about their experiences. MA Conservation Studies Open Days are booked on an individual basis. Please email to book a place.

For those of you who cannot attend an Open Day, you can download the Course Handbook and view videos. We are, of course, happy to discuss the course with you by phone.

We welcome applications from anyone committed to study with us with the aptitude to do so. If you have a disability that you are concerned might affect your chances of study please read the section What Student Support can I get? featured below.

It is important to remember we manage our own applications and do not currently participate in UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). If you have any enquiries about MA Conservation, or any other of our courses, please contact us directly.

What Fees would I pay?

Tuition Fees

Fees for students joining MA Conservation in 2020/21 have been set at:

  • Full time Home/EU students £10,000 per year of study
  • Full time International students £16,750 per year of study
  • Part time Home/EU students £5,300 per year of study
  • Part Time International students £8,915 per year of study

While the Part Time course cannot sponsor Tier 4 International students, those with appropriate Visa clearance can apply for the course.

Students on this course are eligible for funding from the Student Loan Company England. To be eligible for Student Loan Company England funding you must be studying on a designated course. Postgraduate degree courses at the City & Guilds of London Art School are designated each year by the Department for Education.

If you are concerned or worried about your ability to pay the fees, please read How can I fund my studies? below.

Material Expenses

To study conservation at this level will incur some costs besides your travel, accommodation and normal living costs.

There has been an optional Venice trip with an itinerary of specialist talks and visits, in 2015 this cost each student £460 for travel and accommodation (£500 if a single room was required). Whilst we encourage you to take this trip, we understand it is not always possible, so they are not compulsory nor essential. If you are not able to participate, the Conservation team will prepare an alternative itinerary of museum and gallery visits that you can follow in London.

For individual conservation projects the cost of materials is usually covered by the lending institution. While some specialist equipment is available to use within the Conservation Department,  you may need to equip yourself with a range of conservation related tools depending on your project.

Successful Application Processing Fee and Deposit

A non-refundable Successful Application Processing Fee of £225 (Home/EU) /£325 (International) is charged on acceptance of a place.

A Deposit of £500 is also charged on acceptance of a place but forms part-payment of your fees.

Successful Application Processing Fees and Deposits are paid on acceptance of a place but should you change your mind before the course commences, deposits may be refundable. Application Processing Fees are non-refundable.

Refund Policy

To be eligible for a full refund you will need to provide notification of your decision to withdraw from the course (cancellation of contract) in writing within, whichever is the later date of:

a) fourteen (14) days of your original formal acceptance of a place and your payment of the deposit; or

b) up to six (6) weeks before the start date of the course.

Should you decide to cancel the contract outside of this period (less than six (6) weeks before the course commences and after fourteen (14) days have passed since your original formal acceptance of a place) you will not be eligible for a refund of the deposit.

Please note:

  • all refunds will be made to the individual or organisation that originally paid the fees; if a third party has paid the deposit on behalf of the student the refund is made to the third party;
  • refunds can only be made to the account from which the original payment was made;
  • if entitled, refunds will be processed within 21 days of receiving the request;
  • all refunds will be made in GB pound sterling;
  • any bank charges or currency conversion costs incurred in making a refund shall be borne by the student or the third party receiving the payment.
  • For international students, tuition fees and deposit will become non-refundable after a CAS number is issued.
Are there any Grants or Financial Awards?

Grants and Financial Assistance

Should you wish to be considered for Grant and Financial Assistance please download the following documents:

Applicants must have been offered a place in one of the Art School’s courses before submitting a bursary application.

Please note our bursary applications will open from 01 February 2020. 

Email all the required documents to with your full name, course and year. The grant application deadline for incoming students varies according to the course; however, as some of the candidates will depend on a grant in order to accept our course offers, candidates should submit their applications at their earliest as these applications are normally reviewed as soon as they are received by the administrator and processed thereafter. Otherwise, the deadline is usually by end of May or end of November each year.

The Art School also operates a Hardship Fund that enrolled students can apply to if they are facing financial hardship. Please note that the fund cannot be relied upon, nor is it sufficient, to finance a student’s course of study.

For further information, following an offer of a place on the course, or to apply for a grant for next year, please contact: 

How else can I fund my studies?

Student Loans

Students on this course are eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company .

If you are a UK national and studying a postgraduate degree with the Art School you are most likely eligible for support from the SLC. Student loans can provide up to £10,609 towards your fees and maintenance. Currently the course is only designated for the Student Loan Company England. General information on all aspects of student funding is available from: . If you are a resident of England please check here for further specific information.

Hardship Fund

The Art School also operates a Hardship Fund that enrolled students can apply to if they are facing financial hardship. Please note that the fund cannot be relied upon, nor is it sufficient, to finance a student’s course of study.

Professional & Career Development Loans

Professional & Career Development Loans can help pay for learning that enhances job skills or career prospects. This is a bank loan which is paid back when a course has been completed, however, you do not pay interest for the period while you are in learning. A number of our full-time courses are registered with the Learning Skills Council for such loans. Please note that the loan only covers a maximum of two years. The National Careers Service can provided further information by telephone on, 0800 100 900.

What are the Entry Requirements and Selection Criteria?

The MA Conservation course is suitable for applicants who can meet the entry requirements and who are highly motivated to continue developing the knowledge and skills needed to undertake the conservation of three dimensional cultural artefacts.

Entry Requirements

This course has up to 4 places available each year. Applicants for MA Conservation have to meet the minimum entry requirements, including the English Language Requirements (If you do not speak English as a first language), though there are three ways of doing so:

1) Standard Educational 

Applicants who have achieved a BA (Hons) in Conservation or a Conservation related subject.

2) International Educational

Applicants who have achieved an international qualification equivalent to a BA (Hons) degree in Conservation or a related subject.

3) Other experiential

Applicants who can demonstrate equivalent prior practice and experience, such as extensive work in administration; or perhaps minimal GCSE qualifications plus a number of years working in a Conservation context.

Using a process called Recognition /Accreditation of Prior Learning (R/APL), Art School Admissions Tutors consider how various work-life and (in)formal educational experiences meet the educational level of the entry requirements.

Please see our Recognition/ Accreditation of Prior Learning Policy here.

English Language Requirements

All applicants who do not speak English as a first language are required to provide evidence of their English language skills. The Art School cannot accept any applicant who scores lower than the equivalent of Level 6.5 from the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS), with a minimum of 5.5 for listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

If you do not require a Tier 4 visa and wish to take The Cambridge English Exams, your score requires to be in the range of 176–184 or higher.

Selection Criteria For MA Conservation

At interview we are seeking to determine the extent to which an applicant can:

  • Demonstrate commitment, motivation for the course
  • Evidence practical and theoretical knowledge of the subject
  • Gather, research and synthesise information;
  • Critically evaluate your own achievements and recognise areas for development;
  • Evidence an interest in and knowledge of cultural objects and their historical context;
  • Demonstrate a range of hand skills and technical abilities
  • Plan and prioritise your own time and set achievable goals
  • Communicate ideas verbally and in writing
  • Self direct and evaluate your own work.

We are also looking for evidence of:

  • manual dexterity;
  • observational skills;
  • an informed approach to problem solving and project management;
  • an appetite to research objects, materials and their behaviour;
  • patience and attention to detail
What about the actual Application?

Application deadlines, interviews and outcomes

If you are applying for the MA Conservation please note the following:

Applications received by 31 January 2020, will be interviewed between 10 and 21 February 2020, the outcome of which will be communicated by 28 February 2020.

Applications received by 27 March 2020, will be interviewed between 14 April and 24 April 2020, the outcome of which will be communicated by 1 May 2020.

Subject to availability, applications received by 22 May 2020, will be interviewed between 01 and 05 June 2020, the outcome of which will be communicated by 12 June 2020.

Timeline summary MA Fine Art
Applications received by: …will be interviewed between: …with the outcome communicated by: …offers to be accepted by:
31 Jan 10 & 21 Feb 28 Feb 20 Mar
27 Mar 14 Apr & 24 Apr 1 May 15 May
22 May 01 & 05 June 12 June 26 June

Due to the nature of small and tailored year group, we often accept applications after those deadlines. Please contact Admissions Office for enquiry:

Please note, applications for 2020/21 will not be processed before 01 November 2019 at the earliest.

What to submit

If you would like to apply for MA Conservation, you must submit by email:

  • a PDF application form, completed in full, which must include:
  • a personal statement of up to 500 words explaining your motivations for your application.

You must also arrange for at least one academic reference to be emailed direct to the Art School from your referee(s). Please use the reference form.

If you do not speak English as a first language, please provide proof of English Language Skills with your application.

A portfolio is not a requirement as some of our students do not come from a background in Art or Craft.  You are however welcome to demonstrate evidence of technical abilities by the addition of a selection of digital images of any relevant material, such as drawings, craftwork, DIY or artwork, that you have previously worked on. If you wish to submit examples of your work, please provide the following:

  • a link to your Flickr, digital portfolio, at the appropriate point on the application form.

Application Form

Please note, the Application Form must be downloaded and cannot currently be completed online. To prevent problems when completing the form, please ensure you are using the latest version of Adobe Reader.

The application form is your first opportunity to tell us about yourself, as well as being a vital source of the information we need to make a decision. Please take your time to complete the form accurately, consulting the guidance and the website as necessary: remember that if your application is successful you will need to provide proof of your identity and entry requirements.

When you have completed the application form remember to check you have provided all the information required, including the link to your digital portfolio. Ensure the accuracy of your responses and remember, if successful, you will be required to evidence your claims. We suggest you save a copy of your application form, for your own records and please don’t forget to send the Reference Form to your chosen referee(s).

Please submit your completed application form to

The Art School only accepts applications on the form it provides for that purpose, and reserves the right to reject incomplete or alternative applications.

What happens to my Application?

Application Processing

Once we have received your application, the Admissions Office will check your submission to:

  • ensure that you meet the minimum entry requirements;
  • and, to make an assessment of your fee status.

Assuming that your application is complete and that you meet the minimum entry requirements, you will then be invited to interview.

Interview invitation

The interview invitation details the date and time of your interview at the Art School. If you are living overseas, online-video interviews can be arranged.

If you are at all concerned that a disability might interfere or inhibit your interview, please let us know in your application: we will make any reasonable adjustment, which is within our capacity, so that you might fully participate in an interview.

What about the Interview?

The actual Interview

Comprising a conversation between you and senior tutors from Conservation, the oral interview lasts approximately 30 minutes, followed by written exams and a condition report writing. The interview explores your application and prepared interview material. All the tutors involved are trained in the fair and equitable conduct of interviews and are fully conversant in the Art School’s Admissions Policy.

Conservation MA applicants come from a wide range of backgrounds, from professional conservation practitioners to recent graduates of conservation related undergraduate courses. We ask applicants to select relevant material to bring with them such as examples of undergraduate course work, documentation of conservation related projects, any craft based work, drawings, photography, sketchbooks or notebooks. If they do not have any material to bring with them we ask them to inform us in advance so that we can consider an extra interview exercise for them.

We encourage you to inform us in advance if the arrangements for your interview require adjustment due to an existing condition or disability. For example if you might require more time or specific access arrangements or other support. Our aim is to ensure that all eligible applicants are given a fair opportunity to demonstrate their potential to study on the course.

Interview Tasks And Questions For Applicants

Interviews for MA Conservation set out to determine skill sets and knowledge in a range of areas necessary for Conservation study at this level. Conservation is a highly specialist subject and only a few undergraduate courses are available that cover all of the areas necessary for studying MA Conservation.

This includes:

  • knowledge and practical skills of stone or wood or decorative surfaces conservation;
  • knowledge and experience of practical application of at least one area of conservation science;
  • knowledge and understanding of the ethics and philosophy of conservation and Health and Safety best practice and legislations;
  • Practical skills in remedial conservation.

For this reason the interview process takes place over two days with a number of tasks set to enable the interview panel to ascertain knowledge, strengths and areas for further development.

The tasks are designed to support applicants to best demonstrate their abilities in relation to the selection criteria and to enable the panel to determine the extent of the knowledge and skills. In this way the panel are provided with the detailed information required to determine where an applicant may, through studying on specific undergraduate modules, be able to successfully progress on to the course.

Interview elements involve applicants in:

  1. Applicants have a short interview with a set of key questions. (30 minutes)
  2. studying a specific object and drafting a condition report discussing its condition based on their visual observation and analysis. (2 hours)
  3. completing a series of papers with questions related to different areas of conservation such as the chemistry of cleaning and consolidation, conservation of stone, wood and pigments. These questions include a number relevant to conservation theory and ethics, Health and Safety and legislation. (2-3 hours)

Key questions:

  1. What attracts you to study Conservation at MA level following your previous professional and/or educational experience and why did you decide to apply for this particular course?
  2. What do you hope to achieve after completing the course, do you have any specific ambitions?
  3. Please tell us about the type of cultural artefacts that you are interested to work on as a conservator? How will you research the contexts of these artefacts and what do you anticipate being the main challenges?
  4. Do you have any questions for us?
What happens after the Interview?

Communicating interview decisions

We email the outcomes of interviews by the dates outlined in the application timelines.

Interview decisions

After the interview process has been completed the team will carefully analyse the results of the 3 interview components and determine whether the applicant will either:

  1. be offered a place on to the course;
  2. be offered a place on the course with requirements – for example on successful completion of an undergraduate course they are in the process of completing;
  3. be recommended to undertake further study to support them to bridge any areas where there is insufficient knowledge and experience for entry on to the course;
  4. not to be offered a place on this occasion.

The third option above, of recommending that the applicant pursue further study is discussed where an applicant has achieved a minimum of 50% in the written papers that would be insufficient to be offered a place but indicating a level of knowledge. After careful analysis of the papers, condition report and interview outcomes, the panel will identify the specific gaps in knowledge and experience and recommend which 1st and 2nd year modules of the BA Conservation Studies could support the applicant to achieve the required standard. It should be noted that the BA course is designed with intensive workshops, lectures and practical projects throughout the 1st and 2nd year of the course with the 3rd year given over to self directed projects. It is therefore possible that should an applicant have extensive experience of for example conservation science they may not have any practical experience with gilding and practical applications that are covered in the 1st year of the undergraduate course.

Once a possible study route has been approved by the interview panel, this programme of modules is discussed with the applicant and they may choose to enrol on to the BA Conservation Studies course to complete those modules. Applicants will be charged for any modules that they undertake for example a 20 credit module would be £1,542  or 16.66% of the cost of 1 year of study on the Undergraduate course. Each student undertaking modules to support them to bridge over to the MA course will be given a timetable that is best tailored to their requirements.

On successful completion of modules, the applicant will be invited for a meeting by the interview panel to review the original application and the completion of further study to determine whether the required knowledge and/or skill set has been achieved to enable the applicant to be accepted on to the MA course.

Offer letter

Offer letters detail:

a) any academic condition of the offer;

b) the fees liable along with how and when to pay them; and

c) the Terms & Conditions relevant to the year of study.

Accepting an offer

The offer letter includes a Registration Form that must be signed and dated and returned to the Art School to confirm acceptance of both the offer and the Terms & Conditions.

Applicants usually have three weeks to accept an offer of a place, though this time may be shorter, later in the application cycle. The exact deadline to accept offers will be detailed in the offer letter.

Failure to accept an offer

Any offer of a place that is neither accepted nor declined by the required deadline, will automatically become deferred.

Registration and after

The return of the registration form, along with any fees required, confirms Registration with the Art School and a place on the course.

An official welcome letter is sent in July, which provides important enrolment and course information.

Withdrawal following registration

To withdraw following registration but prior to enrolment, the Art School must be informed in writing, for which the Model Cancellation Form can be used.

To be eligible for a full refund  notification must be provided within, whichever is the later date of:

a) fourteen (14) days of the original formal acceptance of a place and the payment of deposit; or

b) up to six (6) weeks before the start date of the course.

Please note:

  • all refunds will be made to the individual or organisation that originally paid the fees; if a third party has paid the deposit on behalf of the student the refund is made to the third party;
  • refunds can only be made to the account from which the original payment was made;
  • if entitled, refunds will be processed within 21 days;
  • all refunds will be made in GB pound sterling;
  • any bank charges or currency conversion costs incurred in making a refund shall be borne by the student or the third party receiving the payment.
  • For international students, tuition fees and deposit will become non-refundable after a CAS number is issued.
What if I change my mind?

It is inevitable that, on occasion, someone will want to change their course of study. If you find yourself in such a situation, you should talk to the Art School as soon as possible to consider your options.

Withdrawal following registration

Following Registration but prior to Enrolment a place on a course can be forfeit, and a refund of any tuition fees received are permissible, provided the Art School receives in writing a Cancellation of Contract request, for which the Model Cancellation Form can be used.

The written notification must be received by the Art School at least six (6) weeks before the start of the course, unless the Art School offer of a place was received eight (8) weeks or less before the start off the course, in which case the written notification must be received within fourteen (14) days of the original formal acceptance of a place.

Please see the Art School’s Student Fees, Refunds & Compensation Policy for full details.

What are the Term Dates for 2020/21?

Full time Term dates 2020/21

Full time Autumn Term: 07 September – 11 December 2020

Full time Spring Term: 04 January – 26 March 2021

Full time Summer Term: 12 April – 27 August 2021

Part time 1st year Term dates 2020/21

Part time 1st year Autumn Term: 07 September – 11 December 2020

Part time 1st year Spring Term: 04 January – 26 March 2021

Part time 1st year Summer Term: 12 April – 25 June 2021

Part time 2nd year Term dates 2020/21

Part time 2nd year Autumn Term: 07 September – 11 December 2020

Part time 2nd year Spring Term: 04 January – 26 March 2021

Part time 2nd year Summer Term: 12 April – 27 August 2021


What Student Support is available?

A student guide to accessing help and further advice

For students enrolled at City & Guilds of London Art School, the Access to Learning Department provides advice, help and support in the following areas:

  • Support for learning
  • Support for disability
  • Advice and support for health conditions
  • Advice and support for mental health
  • Advice and support with anxiety and depression
  • The learning Mentor
  • Counselling
  • Course based needs assessments
  • Personal Learning Plans
  • Assistance with DSA applications
  • Advocacy
  • Pastoral support
  • General advice and information

Don’t worry if you can’t immediately find what you want, there is an email address below if you need to contact us with any queries.

Any student, at any point in their program, can register with Access to Learning.

Registering your information allows us to observe our duty of care and the effective safeguarding of your rights to disclosure and confidentiality.

If you have any particular needs or support issues, early disclosure is essential to ensure the timely provision of any appropriate advice or assistance.

Access to Learning Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I inform the Art School of my situation/needs?

A: If you have enrolled, and know that you will need some help with writing, or are worried that a long-term condition means you need to make regular doctors’ appointments and you might be late, what should you do?

You should first inform the Art School of your situation or specific needs in one of the following ways:

  • disclose your situation on your Application or Enrolment Forms;
  • complete the forms at the end of this leaflet and send to:

Access to Learning, City & Guilds of London Art School, 124 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4DJ or email

  • make an appointment with Access to Learning, Mondays 09:30-16:30, term time only:
  • talk to your Pastoral Tutor, who will, with your permission, advise you and/or refer you to Access to Learning
  • talk to your Personal Progress Tutor, or your Head of Department who will also advise and/or will, with your permission, refer you to Access to Learning.

Q: Will my information be treated as confidential?

A: The Art School respects your right to confidentiality in relation to your disclosure.

We will not give out information about your situation or your needs unless you give us permission to do so.

Q: What happens after I have disclosed/ completed registration with Access to Learning?

A: On receipt of the information you have provided, Access to Learning, will email you to arrange a meeting in the first few weeks of the term. The meeting will discuss and identify the type and level of assistance required and what the Art School may be able to provide.

There will be a formal assessment following the meeting to confirm arrangements for assistance, if it is required.

There may be another meeting with you to complete a Learning Plan or an Access Plan, (depending on your situation).

This Plan will set out any specific requirements agreed with you and will be used to ensure that you are provided with the agreed adjustment or support identified.

Q: What should I do if I am planning to apply for Government DSA funding? *

A: Please contact Access to Learning so that we can advise you on making an application. You will need to supply specific information to apply for DSA funding:

  • For a specific learning difference such as dyslexia:

Evidence in the form of a post-16 diagnostic assessment, in English, from an educational psychologist or suitably qualified specialist teacher.

  • If you have a disability:

Provide a diagnostic assessment from a relevant professional

  • If you have an ongoing situation or health condition that impacts upon your access to learning, making, your well-being or attendance:

Provide diagnostic and/or valid documentary evidence of your situation or condition,(such as a letter from your GP or specialist).

Remember not all students are able to apply for DSA funding:

Foundation Diploma students, International students and students enrolled on Diploma courses are usually not funded by Student Finance DSA.

* Student Finance England Disabled Student Allowance: We encourage and assist students with a recognised condition and valid supporting documentation, to apply for government funding wherever possible. Students with a valid diagnosis for conditions such as Dyslexia, M.E, Depressions, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and many others, are recognised as eligible for DSA. Students enrolled on BA or MA courses can apply online at:

Q: I have never been diagnosed with a learning difficulty, but feel that I need some extra advice, support or help, what should I do?

A: Email or visit Access to Learning to discuss your concerns and speak to your Pastoral Tutor for advice.

Q: I need confidential advice that isn’t listed above and I would rather discuss it before registering with Access to Learning what should I do?

A: Email or visit Access to Learning to discuss your concerns.

Q: I have a situation or condition that impacts upon my experience /learning /wellbeing what should I do?

A: We always recommend you share this information with your Pastoral Tutor Email or visit Access to Learning to discuss your concerns.

Q: Would tutors and technicians need to know about my situation?

Some staff members may need to know about your situation so that they can provide you with the appropriate assistance or support. It may be necessary to inform other tutors of any relevant information regarding your Learning or Access Plan to ensure you receive what you need to engage with the course.

Disclosure is discussed and agreed with you in advance.

Q: How will staff be told about my situation?

A: Where required staff members will be informed about your needs via the Learning or Access Plan made after your first meeting. We may also e-mail, phone or meet with them, if appropriate.

With your permission we might email your tutor and arrange a meeting to discuss your Learning or Access Plan.

Q: What if I don’t want anyone to know about my situation?

A: You may choose to keep all information about your situation, condition or Learning/Access Plans entirely confidential so that information cannot be disclosed to any other person.  It is your right to do this – but please be aware that the School will be restricted in its ability to meet your needs if you do so.

Q: Is there ever a time when disclosure may occur without my permission?

A: In the case of an emergency, or if there are concerns about the health safety and/or well-being of you, another student or student group, our Duty of Care will be observed and this may result in disclosure to an appropriate person.

For further information on Student Support here at the Art School, please read our Equality & Diversity and our Inclusive Learning & Participation policies describing our attitude to access.

Where can I find the Course Handbook?

Below is the MA Conservation course handbook together with some of the Art School’s key policies related to the student experience.


Art School Policies

Below is a selection of relevant Art School Policies

Frequently asked questions

Q: What are the application deadlines?

A: We have four different applications deadlines and currently we do not receive applications through UCAS. The application deadlines for entry in the 2019/20 Academic Year are detailed above, in the ‘What about the actual Application?‘ section.

Q: Can I apply this year for entry the year after?

A: Each November the Art School opens applications for Entry in the following academic year. Selection of applicants and an offer of a place, is for the specific cycle of Entry and an offer of a place on the course cannot be held over until the following year.

Q: How do I send my application form?

A: Once completed, please submit your application form as an email attachment to . If the application form is too large to attach, we will accept applications received via file transfer websites, but please ensure the file is available to download without a password or login.

Q: Can I apply for second or third year entry ?

A: Depending on both available space in the year group along with the relevancy of your previous experience, it may be possible to enter into the second year of the course. Direct entry into the final year is exceedingly rare and has to be planned well in advance.


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