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Course content

Designed as a conversion programme for humanities and science graduates seeking a career in Conservation, this highly-respected two-year programme is dedicated to teaching the next generation of conservators. It is a hands-on degree scheme with significant time spent in laboratories working on archaeological and historical objects.

The degree delivers the knowledge and expertise for graduates to operate as professional conservators in the heritage sector. It also provides transferable skills in project and resource management, problem solving and communication that would suit a wide range of careers, while also offering a solid platform for pursuing research.

Gaining a sophisticated understanding of theoretical principles and practical applications, you will become adept in the care and protection of cultural heritage artefacts through laboratory experience and close tuition, which develops your skills in the practice of both new and traditional conservation techniques.

Over the two years, you will evolve a sophisticated understanding of theoretical principles, amassing considerable experience of working on cultural heritage objects from the UK and across the globe.

Distinctive features

• taught by internationally-recognised experts in the field.

• rewarding conservation placements (two months minimum).

• allows you to hone both practical conservation techniques and an impressive range of skills useful for professions in the heritage sector.

• gives you experience of working on archaeological, historical, and cultural materials in a laboratory and to consider their value, use, legal and ethical context.

• an exciting mix of practical and research skills encompassing: aesthetics; ethics; science; project management.

• an emphasis on independent learning and research in a well-resourced and research-led environment.

Structure

You study modules with a total of 300 credits over two years, combining core modules in Conservation training (120 credits), postgraduate core skills (40 credits), optional modules (80 credits) and, upon successful completion of the taught stage of the programme, a dissertation (60 credits).

In your first year you will gain the underpinning skills, knowledge and theory required to study and deliver conservation practice.

In the summer you engage in an eight-week placement working in conservation.

Year two incorporates a taught element which lasts for the first two semesters of study and is assessed at the end of this period.

Core modules:

Practical Projects 2
Essentials of Conservation
Museums Collections Management
Advance Practical Projects
Method in Conservation
Postgraduate Skills in Archaeology and Conservation
Skills and Methods for Postgraduate Study
Conservation Dissertation

Teaching

We teach via laboratory practice, seminars, lectures and assessed work using multiple formats to combine theoretical knowledge with realistic practical applications, including placements in partner museums and related heritage organisations.

Importantly, this programme integrates theory and practice throughout via practical work on archaeological and historical objects, where you are supported by one to one tuition. The focus is on developing problem solving and decision-making skills using problem-based learning assignments. Verbal interaction with staff forms a large part of the learning process that leads the student towards being a stand-alone decision maker.

Learning outcomes for the module are correlated to the novice to expert scale utilised by The Institute for Conservation (ICON) for competence assessment.

More advanced knowledge and understanding is acquired by independent study, guided reflective laboratory practice, self-directed learning and individual supervision of dissertations.

Assessment

There is a diverse range of assessment methods including reflective learning logs, essays, exams, oral presentations, portfolio, reports and viva.

This range of assessment ensures that you have developed a broad range of practical and theoretical skills, knowledge and communication methods by the completion of the course.

On successful completion of the taught elements of the programme you progress to a dissertation of up to 20,000 words. This self-regulated year of study is ideal preparation for progression to PhD.

Career prospects

Graduates of this and similar degree programmes have embarked on careers in a range of professions from academia, the heritage sector, journalism and law to media research (media, commercial, academic), teaching and publishing. A significant number choose to continue studies at PhD level.

Recent graduate destinations include CADW, Church in Wales, Council for British Archaeology, Glamorgan Archives, Heritage Lottery Fund, National Trust, Tate Gallery, Welsh Assembly Government and a range of universities in the UK and overseas.

Placement

Benefitting from our sector connections, you will develop your skills on an eight week conservation placement, normally in the summer between years one and two.

Among recent partner organisations are the Imperial War Museum, Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales, Staffordshire Hoard project, Bristol Museum and the Royal Armouries.

Visit the Conservation Practice MSc page on the Cardiff University website for more details!

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