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Course content

Programme description

Our highly regarded Architectural Conservation programme is more than 40 years old; it is the longest-established graduate historic preservation programme in the UK.

Whether you’re approaching the field from an architectural, historical, geological or other viewpoint, this programme will guide you through the foundations and challenges of this important means of nurturing cultural and national identity.

You will benefit from learning on our historic campus (located in Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site), and from the wealth of academic and intellectual activities associated with an internationally-renowned university.

You’ll be part of the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies (SCCS), a specialist teaching and research unit that provides the depth of expertise and resources that ensures this programme is recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.

Volunteering opportunities are also available through our partnerships with relevant organisations, allowing you to flex your skills in a practical setting.

Programme structure

The programme is assessed through individual written papers, group projects, presentations, and report writing. An intensive overseas field trip (optional; normally to Germany) will give you the chance to explore conservation issues in another setting. Following the taught courses, you will research and write a dissertation of around 14,000–15,000 words on an aspect of architectural conservation.

Learning outcomes

To complete your studies, you must demonstrate your familiarity with the historical and theoretical foundations and challenges of historic preservation; the techniques of recording and research; and the technologies of building repair. Elective courses can also develop more specific skills in areas such as the influences of planning law, contemporary architecture and building economics on the historic built environment; and the special conservation challenges of Modern Movement architecture and urban planning.

You will also develop more general practical and intellectual skills, in areas such as project organisation, historical research, or graphic and oral communication.

Career opportunities

This programme aims to provide students with the broad base of knowledge and skills necessary to embark on a career in one of the many professional sub-disciplines of historic preservation, ranging from heritage management to conservation architecture.

Crucially, your qualification will be extremely well regarded thanks to its recognition by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, the UK’s official organisation of architectural preservation professionals.


Visit the Architectural Conservation - MSc page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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