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Course content

This course is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), and recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC).

The Brookes MSc offers a comprehensive grounding in the conservation of historic buildings and sites.

Focusing on the UK, but also drawing on other national and international paradigms, it introduces you to a range of theoretical and practical disciplines, including the relevant aspects of architectural history, historical geography, spatial planning, urban design, construction, surveying, economics and finance, and research methodology.

This course follows the International Commission on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) guidelines on education and training, and covers the knowledge, skills and professional capabilities identified by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) as the foundation for professional practice.

Our programme draws students from a wide range of backgrounds, and provides an ideal training for those wishing to pursue a career in this fascinating but competitive field. For information on recent field trips, please visit our Planning and Urban Design blog.

Why choose this course?

  • Established in 1990, the Brookes Historic Conservation MSc is one of the longest-running and most highly-regarded courses of its type, and our graduates have gone on to work in senior roles across the sector, both in the UK and internationally.
  • Our programme draws on the expertise of built environment teaching staff at Brookes and from the University of Oxford's Department for Continuing Education.
  • The Historic Conservation team has an excellent record of research for organisations such as the EU, English Heritage and the UK government Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
  • Visiting speakers from central and local government, conservation agencies, business and industry, consultancies, research bodies and other university departments provide further input, bringing real-world experience to the course.
  • The Department of Planning - now part of the School of the Built Environment - is renowned internationally for its research. In REF 2014, 69% of our research was rated as either world leading or internationally excellent.
  • Oxford is internationally renowned for its cultural heritage and for the beauty and variety of its architecture, presenting valuable learning opportunities for Historic Conservation students.

This course in detail

This course is offered at three levels: a Master of Science (MSc) degree, a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) and a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert). The MSc and PGDip can be studied on either a full-time (1-year) or a part-time (2-year) basis. The introductory PGCert is a 9-month part-time course. 

With the exception of certain field trips, all core teaching is on Mondays and Tuesdays, allowing you to fit your studies around other commitments. Part-time students take the Monday modules in their first year and the Tuesday modules in their second.

The course comprises a series of modules, each addressing a different set of questions in the theory and/or practice of historic conservation. (As courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you take may vary from those shown here.)

The following modules are compulsory for the MSc and PGDip:

  • Conservation and Regeneration: Theory, Law and Practice 
  • Historical Studies I and II
  • Design for Conservation 
  • Building Construction and Repair 
  • Historic Building Analysis and Recording 
  • Conservation Economics and Finance

The MSc also requires you undertake the following:

  • Research Methods in Design
  • MSc Dissertation

The PGCert comprises Conservation and Regeneration: Theory, Law and Practice; Building Construction and Repair; and Historic Building Analysis and Recording (details as above).

Teaching and learning

Teaching and learning methods reflect the variety of topics and techniques associated with historic conservation. These include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, and practical and project work. 

Most modules also include site visits and/or fieldwork, which provide you with direct experience of the practical application of conservation principles.

Watch a video about the MSc Historic Conservation filmed at our virtual open day.

Approach to assessment

Assessment is 100% coursework based.

Visit the MSc/PGDip/PGCert Historic Conservation page on the Oxford Brookes University website for more details!




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