• University of Leeds Featured Masters Courses
  • Swansea University Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Edinburgh Featured Masters Courses
  • FindA University Ltd Featured Masters Courses
  • Ulster University Featured Masters Courses
  • Jacobs University Featured Masters Courses
  • Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Cambridge Featured Masters Courses
University of Warwick Featured Masters Courses
Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Featured Masters Courses
Cass Business School Featured Masters Courses
University of St Andrews Featured Masters Courses
Newcastle University Featured Masters Courses

Principles of Conservation - MA

Course Description

The Principles of Conservation MA offers students an introduction to the context of heritage conservation, of how conservation works, and of the issues and constraints which affect conservation practice. The programme explores the principles, theory, ethics and practicalities relating to the care and conservation of a wide variety of objects and structures.

Degree information

Students gain an in-depth understanding of approaches to collections care, preventive conservation, risk assessment, conservation strategies, ethics, management and professionalism, and develop critically aware perspectives on professional practice and research processes.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (60 credits), optional modules (30 credits) and a research dissertation (90 credits).

Core modules - students are required to take the following:
-Issues in Conservation: Context of Conservation
-Issues in Conservation: Understanding Objects
-Conservation in Practice: Preventive Conservation
-Skills for Conservation Management

Optional modules - students choose to follow further optional modules up to the value of 30 credits from the following list of related options (the degree coordinator may seek to guide the option choices made by those intending to carry on for the MSc in Conservation for Archaeology and Museums):
-Approaches to Artefact Studies
-Archaeology and Ethnicity
-Archaeolmetallurgy 1: Mining and Extractive Technology
-Archaeometallurgy 2: Metallic Artefacts
-Archaeological Ceramics Analysis
-Archaeological Glass and Glazes
-Interpreting Pottery
-Materials structure and deterioration of craft materials

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of seminars, lectures, small-group tutorials, workshops and practical projects. Some modules include visits to conservation workshops and museums, including the British Museum, National Trust and the Museum of London. Assessment is through coursework, essays, poster, portfolio, project reports and the dissertation.


The Institute of Archaeology has a long history of training in conservation, and many of its graduates are now employed in key posts around the world. Many students go on to take the Conservation for Archaeology and Museums MSc. Others pursue careers in preventive conservation and collections management in local and national museums, art galleries and heritage organisations (mainly in Europe, North America and Asia). Some students have also used this degree as a platform to become a PhD candidate at both UCL and elsewhere.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Conservator/Preparator, The Natural History Museum
-Assistant Curator, Tower of London
-MLitt Art, Style and Design, Christie's Education
-Historic Property Steward, English Heritage

Knowledge and skills acquired during the programme include the understanding of the roles conservators play in the care and study of cultural heritage, and the ethical issues involved. This is complemented by a basic understanding of raw materials, manufacturing technologies, assessment of condition and the ways in which different values and meanings are assigned to cultural objects. The student will be able to perform visual examination techniques as well as assessments and monitoring of museum collections. They will also be proficient in various types of documentation, analysis of numerical data, report writing, and presentation of conservation issues through posters, social media, talks and essays.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Institute of Archaeology is the largest and most diverse department of archaeology in the UK, and provides a stimulating environment for postgraduate study. Its conservation programmes have an international reputation.

Students benefit from the institute's lively international involvement in archaeology and heritage, from its well-equipped facilities, and access to UCL's extensive science, art and archaeology collections.

The institute's conservation laboratories provide a modern and pleasant learning environment, while the Wolfson Archaeological Science Laboratories provide excellent facilities for the examination and analysis of a wide variety of archaeological materials.

Visit the Principles of Conservation - MA page on the University College London website for more details!

All Available Videos:

Student Profiles

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS) - 5 Awards

The Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme is a joint initiative between the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (with funding from the Department for International Development (DFID), and UK universities, to support scholarships for students from developing Commonwealth countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the United Kingdom.The aim of the scheme is to assist students from developing Commonwealth countries who are of excellent academic calibre but for financial reasons would not otherwise be able to afford to study in the United Kingdom. The scheme allows them to benefit from postgraduate study at a university in the United Kingdom which will help them to contribute toward the development of their home countries.Awards are for taught Master's programmes only, subjects must be related to the economic, social and technological development of a candidate's country. UCL expects to be able to allocate five awards this academic year.Applicants must:
- Be nationals of (or permanently domiciled in) a Commonwealth developing country, and not currently be living or studying in a developed country (please see the CSSS information booklet for a list of eligible countries);
- Hold a first degree at either first- or upper second-class level;
- Be sufficiently fluent in English to pursue the programme;
- Have not previously studied for one year or more in a developed country;
- Not be employed by a government department (at national level) or a parastatal organisation (employees of universities are normally acceptable);
- Be themselves, or through families, unable to pay for the proposed programme of study in the UK;
- Be willing to confirm that they will return to their home country as soon as their period of study is complete.Value, Benefits and Duration
- The award will cover tuition fees, a maintenance allowance, economy air travel to and from the UK at the beginning and end of the scholar’s degree programme plus additional discretionary allowances.
- Awards are normally tenable for one year.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)


Be nationals of (or permanently domiciled in) a Commonwealth developing country, and not currently be living or studying in a developed country (please see the CSSS information booklet for a list of eligible countries);
Hold a first degree at either first- or upper second-class level;

Application Procedure

You must apply for the scholarship on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Electronic Application System (EAS) online following the procedures described on their website.
In order to be considered for this scholarship at UCL, you must complete the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Electronic Application System (EAS) online: by the deadline of T23:59 (UCT) Sunday, 21 February 2016.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree normally in archaeology, anthropology, history of art or the physical sciences from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Degrees in other subjects may be accepted, and relevant experience (e.g. in conservation, archaeology or museums) is an advantage.

Email Enquiry

Recipient: University College London
Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.
Email Sent

Share this page:

Cookie Policy    X