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Professional Conservation (MSc)

Course Aims

Cardiff's Professional Conservation MSc provides opportunities for qualified conservators and scientists to develop their primary training in professional conservation practice and to enhance their research skills. The MSc Professional Conservation is designed primarily for trained conservators, but also provides science graduates with the opportunity to utilise their training and to develop their specific research skills within conservation science.

Course Description

The MSc aims to provide research skills, transferable skills and specialist knowledge. The course is modular and has a common study structure with the MSc in Care of Collections and MA in Archaeology - all students undertake a taught element followed by a dissertation.

There are two pathways available:

  • Pathway One: Professional Conservation - students with a conservation qualification have an opportunity to further their professional, workplace and research skills. Emphasis is on developing investigative and research skills within the context of conservation practice and on reporting and delivering information to a diverse range of audiences.
  • Pathway Two: Conservation Science - this concentrates on the theory and practice of analysis in conservation to allow science graduates to prepare for research and analysis in this area.

Taught Element (Autumn and Spring): The taught element lasts for the first two semesters of study and is assessed at the end of this period. All students take two core skills modules:

  • Skills and Methods for Postgraduate Study
  • Postgraduate skills in Archaeology and Conservation

Alongside these core modules, students study more specialist conservation and/or analysis modules that control the focus of their degree. Modules include:

  • Theory and Practice in the Workplace;
  • Assessment and Design for Collections Care;
  • Instrumental Analysis;
  • Practice of Research-Based Conservation.

Dissertation (Summer): After successful completion of the taught element of the degree scheme, students carry out research and write this up as a dissertation (maximum length 20,000 words). This presents an opportunity for further specialisation and allows students to demonstrate their command of research skills.

Available Modules

HST310   Museums, Objects and Environment

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of museums and their objects. The module includes the use and curation of objects in museums as well as an outline of their structure and decay. The term museum is used to cover a broad range of cultural heritage collections such as historic houses, galleries and archaeological collections.

HST320   Theory and Practice in the Workplace

A wide range of subject areas from the conservation profession  are addressed, with the primary aim of developing broad ranging skills and abilities in criticism, assessment, presentation and decision making. Emphasis is placed on providing appropriate written reports with particular attention to layout, presentation and content, as well as verbal presentations suitably tailored to audiences. Life skills are linked to the needs of professional conservation by examining specified conservation issues including treatment rationale, treatment assessment, conservation management, estimating for conservation, laboratory design, disaster planning and presenting conservation to the public.

HST 330 Assessment and design for Collections Care

This module aims to provide students with a holistic understanding of collections care by developing an awareness of the needs of cultural collections, the risks to which collections are exposed and strategies to enable the best use of collections while minimising damage rates.

HST340   Instrumental Analysis in Conservation

This module develops knowledge on the principles and use of instrumental analysis techniques in conservation. Students focus on the application of relevant methods in conservation science and artefact analysis. The module also addresses recent applications and new developments to allow students to understand the scope and limitations of analytical techniques and analysis methods

HST592   MSc Conservation Dissertation

In this module students research and write dissertations of no more than 20,000 words. Dissertations may be theory-, practice- or research-based. The dissertation topic is usually closely linked to students’ conservation specialism or special areas of geographical or scientific interest.

Special Features

  • Links conservation theory and practice in the workplace and research-based conservation.
  • Allows students to choose various areas of specialisation.
  • Both study pathways include a high content of transferable skills in research, project design and report writing.

Skills Acquired

Students will acquire a broad range of transferable skills including the ability to:

  • identify professional standards and provide work output that meets these standards
  • recognise quality and set standards
  • communicate effectively
  • structure workloads and time manage
  • project enthusiasm, self confidence and professionalism
  • maintain dialogue with other professionals and the public

Career Prospects

Graduates have found roles as conservation scientists, lecturers, researchers, conservators or gone on to higher levels of study.

Entry Requirements

1st or upper 2nd class UK Honours degree in an appropriate subject.

Suitable for graduates in conservation, conservation professionals and science graduates.

International students can find equivalent entry requirements via our website:

Students whose first language is not English will be required to pass an IELTS test (minimum 6.5) or equivalent.

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

Contact Information

Ms Jane Henderson

Position:Senior Lecturer (organiser)
Ms Jane Henderson
Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 75629Extension: 75629

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