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Conservation of Historic Buildings (MSc)

Course Description

The MSc in Conservation of Historic Buildings provides training in the fundamental principles of structural and architectural conservation, within an academic framework of architectural history and theory, including the philosophy of conservation.

Our course is taught by leading architects, structural engineers and related professionals and is based on the Department's well established tradition of interdisciplinary education and training.

It will not only help prepare you for an exciting career in the industry, but it will also help prepare you to continue your studies onto a Doctor of Philosophy research programme.

Many distinction-level graduates from this programme stay on for a PhD, often funded in part by the University of Bath.

Visit the website http://www.bath.ac.uk/engineering/graduate-school/taught-programmes/conservation/index.html

Key programme features

- Provides technical training within an academic framework
- Taught by leading architects, structural engineers and related professionals
- Based on interdisciplinary co-operation between architects and engineers
- International leader in its field
- Proven track record of employability
- Accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
- Fully recognised by the Institute of Historic Buildings Conservation (IHBC)
- Suited to engineers, architects, surveyors, planners, geographers, archaeologists, historians and managers, but we also accept (and encourage) students who have either taken a non-vocational degree (usually history or history of art, but also geographers, archaeologists, etc.) or have a degree in a different field that they want to change from.

The programme draws profoundly on its unique location, the World Heritage City of Bath, an ideal study material and environment.

Structure and Content

See programme catalogue (http://www.bath.ac.uk/catalogues/2015-2016/ar/ar-proglist-pg.html#B) for more detail on individual units.

Teaching for taught units takes place on Wednesdays and Fridays, with one day given to each set of two units. The sequence in which units are taught is reversed each year so that part-time students attend on the same day over the period of their study.

- Full-time study: 12 months, with students attending two days a week (Wednesday and Friday)
- Part-time study: 24 months, with students attending one day a week (Wednesday or Friday)
- Extended part-time study: 48 months, with students attending one day/one semester per year.

Where students do not wish to write the dissertation, or are ineligible to progress, a PG Diploma is awarded after successful completion of the taught course only.

During the final three months of the degree you will produce a dissertation. This is your opportunity to explore a particular topic that has been covered during the programme in far greater depth.

A student may request a transfer from part-time to extended part-time study. If approved, the transfer will take into account units completed already and will be applied on a pro rata basis. For example, if a part-time student completes four units in year one and then transfers to the extended part-time programme, they will be given two more years to complete.

Conservation techniques

- Structural conservation techniques: principles, faults and their causes, diagnoses and remedies, and surveying and analytical techniques
- Materials conservation techniques: technology and conservation of building elements from structure to finishes
- Information and awareness about related fields (including furniture and fabric conservation), and the experts who can be called upon
- The legal framework of conservation.


- A range of philosophies towards the repair and re-use of old buildings
- History of conservation, from John Wood and James Wyatt, the Victorian age, William Morris and the development of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings through to present day policies and the listing of twentieth century buildings
Stimulating debate and the opportunity to develop an individual viewpoint
- A body of knowledge on the history of British architecture from town planning to interiors
- An awareness of adjacent related fields including garden conservation and archaeology.

Teaching of the Theory of Classical Architecture

- Visual training based around the teaching of classical architecture within the context of Bath as a classical city
- Aims to achieve a high level of architectural correctness and competence in detailing architectural elements.

Case studies

- You will attend six case studies (a combination of large and small buildings at sites both local to Bath and further afield)
- The case studies cover the philosophy upon which the conservation work is based, the architectural and engineering principles involved and a study of the techniques and technologies employed.

Career Options

Bath students have an excellent track record for getting jobs.

The MSc provides a short cut to becoming a Chartered Surveyor. Graduates get exemption from the RICS internal examinations and are eligible for entry to the RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). This usually involves two years of structured training with an employer followed by the APC. Visit the RICS website for more information.

Graduate destinations:

- Inspector for the Victorian Society
- English Heritage (historic research department, inspectors, managers)
- Architects’ practices working on conservation and building new country houses in the classical style
- National Trust Manager of Uppark House
- Conservation officer, UNESCO, Paris
- Conservation architects with well-known practices working on every type of historic building from Salisbury cathedral to medieval timber-framed barns
- Development Officer with Turquoise Mountain repairing a mosque in Kabul
- Member of the Information Team, the Science Museum, South Kensington.

About the department

The Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering brings together the related disciplines of Architecture and Civil Engineering. It has an interdisciplinary approach to research, encompassing the fields of Architectural History and Theory, Architectural and Structural Conservation, Lightweight Structures, Hydraulics and Earthquake Engineering and Dynamics.

Our Department was ranked equal first in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 for its research submission in the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning unit of assessment.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.bath.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/

Visit the Conservation of Historic Buildings (MSc) page on the University of Bath website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Abigail Cockram

Studying this programme at the University of Bath has been especially valuable as Bath is a World Heritage City and there are many fine examples of historic buildings relating to the programme within the city.

The programme has been extremely interesting with lectures by visiting professionals from outside of the University. This has enabled me to gain an in-depth understanding from those who are specialists in the field.

Site visits proved also to be an important part of the programme, bringing the understanding alive with interesting case studies and hands on demonstrations. I feel that the most rewarding part of the programme has definitely been seeing all my hard work and efforts being reflected in my grades.

When I graduate, I hope to become an Architectural Technologist, perhaps specialising in conservation. This programme has given me the knowledge and understanding of conservation of buildings which will give me a versatile approach in addition to my undergraduate degree of modern construction and the environment.


Entry Requirements

A first or strong second class UK honours degree or internationally recognised equivalent, or equivalent professional qualification or relevant experience.

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