Modes and duration
- Full-time: 1 year
- Part-time: 2 years
Programme start date
Tuition Fees (2016/17)
- £9,285 (FT) £4,665 (PT)
- £18,670 (FT) £9,285 (PT)
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.
English Language Requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
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.
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).
- Issues in Conservation: Context of Conservation
- Issues in Conservation: Understanding Objects
- Conservation in Practice: Preventive Conservation
- Skills for Conservation Management
- Approaches to Artefact Studies
- Archaeology and Ethnicity
- Archaeolmetallurgy 1: Mining and Extractive Technology
- Archaeometallurgy 2: Metallic Artefacts
- Archaeological Ceramics Analysis
- Archaeological Glass and Glazes
- Chemistry for Archaeology and Conservation
- Managing Archaeological Sites
- Managing Museums
- Material Structure and Deterioration of Craft Materials
- Museum and Site Interpretation
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, workshops and practical projects. Some courses include visits to conservation workshops and museums, including the British Museum, National Trust and the Museum of London. Assessment is through coursework, essays, poster, portfolio, project reports and the dissertation.
A small number of IoA Masters Award bursaries, normally in the region of £1,000, are available each year.
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed (where available) below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
- Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)
- Overseas students
- Based on both academic merit and financial need
- £5,000 (1 year)
- UK, EU, Overseas students
- Based on academic merit
More scholarships are listed on the Scholarships and Funding website
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 (mainly in Europe, North America 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 degree
- Field Archaeologist, Archaeological Services Inc
- Library Assistant, British Library
- Visitor Operations Team Member, English Heritage
- Museum Assistant, Fashion and Textile Museum
- Assistant Conservationist, National Heritage of Singapore
Knowledge and skills acquired during the programme include the understanding of the roles conservators play in the care and study of cultural heritage, and the ethical issues involved. This is complemented by a basic understanding of raw materials, manufacturing technologies, assessment of condition and the ways in which different values and meanings are assigned to cultural objects. The student will be able to perform visual examination techniques as well as assessments and monitoring of museum collections. They will also be proficient in various types of documentation, analysis of numerical data, report writing, and presentation of conservation issues through posters, social media, talks and essays.
Why 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 UCL'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.
Student / staff ratios › 63 staff including 27 postdocs › 277 taught students › 130 research students
Department: Institute of Archaeology
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
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, preventive conservation 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.
- All applicants
- 1 June 2016
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now
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