Institute of Archaeology


Programme Structure for MSc Conservation for Archaeology and Museums

The MSc Conservation for Archaeology and Museums provides students with practical training in the conservation of heritage objects.

Degree co-ordinator: Dean Sully 

Designed for students wishing to pursue a career in the practice of heritage conservation, this programme consists of one year's training at the Institute, with an emphasis on developing practical experience under specialist guidance in the conservation laboratories, followed by a ten-month assessed conservation work placement in a museum or similar institution.

Students gain an in-depth understanding of, and foundation training in, the practice of conservation of heritage objects and develop critically aware approaches to diagnosis, problem solving, decision making and application of conservation treatments. They gain practical training and experience of the professional context in which conservation takes place.

Eligible applicants should have completed either our MA in Principles of Conservation, or a comparable course in content, and have the equivalent of AS chemistry.  

Degree programme handbook


Students are required to take three core modules in the first year, and to undertake a ten-month internship in the second year during which they complete a dissertation.

First Year

Core Modules

During their first year, students all take the following three core modules:

Second Year


During their second year, all students undertake supervised work experience in a professional environment.


The dissertation (ARCLG036, 90 credits) is a 15,000 word research report on any approved topic relevant to the degree and the taught components. It is produced as a result of an individual research project undertaken during the first and second years of the programme. Students are assigned a supervisor to guide the main stages of the work.

Examples of past dissertation projects include:

  • Investigation of culturally specific repair techniques and their suitability for use on museum collections
  • Priorities and decision-making for the conservation of iron
  • Evaluation of geotextiles used in the preservation of buried structures.
  • Inherent hazards in collections; developing recommendations for handling, treatment and display
  • Re-evaluation of soluble modified nylon as a consolidant for fragile plant materials
  • Pesticide contamination of repatriated Native American cultural materials and methods to re-establish safe use of objects within tribal communities