Principles of Conservation MA
The Principles of Conservation MA offers students an introduction to the context of heritage conservation, of how conservation works, and of the issues and constraints which affect conservation practice. The programme explores the principles, theory, ethics and practicalities relating to the care and conservation of a wide variety of objects and structures.
Mode of study
- Full-time 1 year
- Part-time 2 years
- UK/EU Full-time: £8,750
- UK/EU Part-time: £4,400
- Overseas Full-time: £17,000
- Overseas Part-time: £8,500
- All applicants: 1 August 2014
More details in Application section.
What will I learn?
Students gain an in-depth understanding of approaches to collections care, risk assessment, conservation strategies, ethics, management and professionalism, and develop critically aware perspectives on professional practice and research processes.
Why should I study this degree at UCL?
The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse department of archaeology in the UK, and provides a stimulating environment for postgraduate study. Its conservation programmes have an international reputation.
Students benefit from the Institute's lively international involvement in archaeology and heritage, from its well-equipped facilities, and access to the College's extensive science, art and archaeology collections.
The Institute's conservation laboratories provide a modern and pleasant learning environment, while the Wolfson Archaeological Science Laboratories provide excellent facilities for the examination and analysis of a wide variety of archaeological materials.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of four core modules (60 credits), optional modules (30 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.
Teaching and Learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of seminars, lectures, small-group tutorials and practical projects. Some courses include visits to conservation workshops and museums, including the British Museum and the Museum of London. Assessment is through coursework, essays, project reports and the dissertation.
Further details available on subject website:
A small number of IoA Masters Award bursaries, normally in the region of £1,000, are available each year.
Scholarships available for this department
Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.
A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree normally in archaeology, anthropology, history of art or the physical sciences from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Degrees in other subjects may be accepted, and relevant experience (e.g. in conservation, archaeology or museums) is an advantage.
Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements
English language proficiency level: Good
How to apply
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. The final deadline for submitting complete applications, including references, is 1 August 2014. Please contact the department if applying after this date to see if places are available.
Who can apply?
The programme does not provide practical training in objects conservation, but is an excellent preparation for scientists wishing to undertake research in conservation science, or for those considering a career in collections care and management. It is a prerequisite for the two-year MSc in Conservation for Archaeology and Museums; together these two programmes provide a professional training in conservation practice.
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Principles of Conservation at graduate level
- why you want to study Principles of Conservation at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to this programme
- how your personal, academic and professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
- whether you have any previous experience of work in the general heritage field (e.g. as a volunteer)
- where you would like to go professionally with the MA in Principles of Conservation
- whether you intend to take this programme as a prerequisite for the MSc in Conservation for Archaeology in Museums
- how you envisage your career if you take both the MA and MSc degrees
The Institute of Archaeology has a long history of training in conservation, and many of its graduates are now employed in key posts around the world. Many students go on to take the Conservation for Archaeology and Museums MSc. Others pursue careers in preventive conservation and collections management in local and national museums, art galleries and heritage organisations (in the UK, Europe, USA and Asia). Some students have also used this degree as a platform to become a PhD candidate at both UCL and elsewhere.
Top career destinations for this programme
- Archaeological Services Inc, Field Archaeologist, 2011
- British Library, Library Assistant, 2011
- English Heritage, Visitor Operations Team Member, 2011
- Fashion and Textile Museum, Museum Assistant, 2011
- National Heritage of Singapapore, Assistant Conservationist, 2011
Professor Andrew Reynolds
T: +44 (0)20 7679 7495
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"The Institute of Archaeology's library has been an invaluable tool due to the huge amount of material available that is related to our field, and is one of my favourite things about the institute."
Degree: Archaeology MA
"UCL Archaeology has a great atmosphere for both staff and students; it's a great place to work, and with so many experts passing through from different countries to give lectures and seminars it is very much the centre of the archaeological world."
Professor Mike Parker Pearson
Professor of British Later Prehistory