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Professional Conservation (Taught)

Cardiff University
1-2 Years
Full time/part time
Master's degree
Scholarships available
On campus
26 September 2022

Program description

Professional Conservation (Taught)

Taught by internationally respected researchers, this one-year programme is designed to meet the needs of conservators and science graduates wishing to expand into the exciting fields of the conservation and heritage sciences. With a focus on thought processes rather than knowledge, our aim is to produce problem-solvers and critical thinkers who can design and execute robust research which advances understanding in the sector.

Over the year of study, you will be immersed in the theory and practice of conservation and heritage sciences. Modules that challenge your preconceptions of conservation and examine the literature that underpins our profession sit alongside modules centred on skills acquisition in the investigation and analysis of heritage artefacts. This culminates in independent dissertation research which evidences your understanding of scientific process and ability to produce novel datasets.

Pursuing your studies in our suite of purpose-built laboratories, you will have access to a wealth of specialist equipment. In-house resources range from scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared and raman spectroscopies to electrochemistry, spectrophotometry and x-radiography. Our collaboration with the National Museum Wales allows students to access x-ray diffraction and x-ray fluorescence techniques. We also offer specialist visualisation technologies such as digital microscopy, GIS, digital illustration and a photography suite, plus sample preparation equipment (freeze dryers, air abrasion and microbalances). We have a dedicated climatic simulation laboratory for modelling the impact of environments on heritage and conservation materials.

Our MSc students join a vibrant and supportive research and teaching environment of undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral conservators and heritage scientists.

Admission requirements

Typically, you will need to have either:

  • a 2:2 honours degree in a relevant subject area such as archaeology, history, ancient history, conservation and heritage, the sciences. or an equivalent international degree
  • a university-recognised equivalent academic qualification.

English Language requirements:

IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with 6.0 in all subskills, or an accepted equivalent.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the university website.

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Program content

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2022/23 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2022.

Core modules

  • Analysis in Heritage Science
  • Designing Research in Heritage Science
  • MSc Conservation Dissertation

Optional modules

  • Assessment and Design for Collections Care
  • Scientific Approach in Conservation Practice
  • Collection Care in the Museum Environment
  • Materials in the Museum Environment
  • Advance Practical Projects
  • Making Conservation Decisions

Scholarships & funding

For more information about scholarships, please visit the university website.

Tuition fees

  • Tuition fees for UK Students:£10,700 per year
  • Tuition fees for International Students:£23,200 per year

For more information about tuition fee, please visit the university website.


What skills will I practise and develop?

You will develop a wide range of skills, including ability to:

  • Problem solve
  • Make evidence-based decisions via reading, observation and experiment
  • Design experiments to support conservation goals
  • Evaluate, interpret and contextualise analytical data
  • Understand the importance of sampling and sample design in conservation science
  • Pragmatically integrate experimental data into conservation contexts
  • Operate selected instrumental analysis techniques
  • Recognise good and bad research
  • Identify and define research impact within conservation
  • Manage small scientific projects
  • Communicate orally with specialists, non-specialists and stakeholders
  • Produce writing styles to suit the needs of end users
  • Influence the viewpoint of others with evidence-based argument
  • Evaluate your own decisions and accept formative critique from colleagues
  • Deconstruct problems and build solutions for them

Transferable Skills

  • Identify professional standards and provide work output that meets these standards
  • Recognise quality
  • Set standards
  • Communicate effectively with fellow professionals and the public
  • Time manage and structure workload

Continuing studies

A significant number of graduates choose to continue studies at PhD level.

Career opportunities

Many graduates of this programme have embarked on careers in conservation within the heritage sector, while others choose to continue studies at PhD level.

Recent graduate destinations include UK organisations such as The National Trust, The National Archives, Imperial War Museum, Bath Record Office, MSDS Marine and international destinations including Yale Peabody Museum, Penn Museum, St Mary’s City Maryland, UCLA Library, Colonial Williamsburg and the Library of Congress.

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About this institute

Cardiff University

Founded in 1883, Cardiff University combines a prestigious heritage with impressive modern facilities, on one of the most beautiful campuses in the UK. As part of the Russell Group, our students benefit from our outstanding research quality and reputation, while...

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Contact info

Cardiff University

CF10 3AT Cardiff

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