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PhD and MPhil in Conservation Studies

  Length Start dates (semester dates)

3 years full-time
6 years part-time

Apply for PhD



2 years full-time
4 years part-time

Apply for MPhil


If your passion lies in researching sustainable conservation practices, our doctoral degrees provide the opportunity to combine academic rigour with creativity and innovation. Study with a distinguished department and receive expert guidance from our supportive staff. 

Your research

At York, our conservation research is broad in scope. We are leading research into conserving built cultural heritage, and understand how to take action and care for it. We ensure that changes to heritage sites are resilient and sustainable - that they serve the needs of people today and in the future, and respect the original intentions of their creators. 

Collaboration is part of our core values. Many projects are interdisciplinary, and you'll work with researchers beyond the Department.

The PhD requires a dissertation of up to 90,000 words. If you choose to study the MPhil in Conservation Studies, you'll produce a dissertation of up to 60,000 words.

Postgraduate research provides opportunities to develop your academic, creative and practical skills. You'll work independently in an academic environment where creativity and scholarship come together. 

You'll meet regularly with your research supervisor and will have the opportunity to participate in an exciting range of events, including seminars and special interest research groups.

These programmes are aimed at students:

  • seeking to reach a professional standard of academic research, and to pursue a career in either Higher Education or areas of professional practice
  • working professionally in conservation, and wishing to make a career move into teaching and research in Higher Education
  • working in conservation, and wishing to develop their careers with the production of a substantial piece of original research.


Explore funding for PhD/MPhil researchers.


We'll help match your research interests to our supervisory expertise.

Training and support

Your progress throughout your degree will be continually guided by your supervisor, who will help you to hone your focus and deliver specialised research. You'll have a fortnightly meeting with your supervisor during semester time.

As you develop your thesis, you'll attend regular meetings with a Thesis Advisory Panel, consisting of at least one member of staff in addition to your supervisor. You'll meet twice a year (once a year for part-time students) to discuss your research project, including more general professional development and career training.

You'll be taught and supervised by staff who produce internationally renowned research, and benefit from the Department's informal, supportive community.

Careers and skills

Your PhD or MPhil will extend your qualifications, giving you the ability to use analysis-based research for application across a range of fields in conservation. You'll graduate with transferable skills in creative problem-solving, critical analysis, writing, and the ability to craft and execute detailed research projects. Join our vibrant community and achieve your potential.

Our dedicated careers team offer specific support, including a programme of professional researcher development and careers workshops and 1:1 career support sessions. They will help you to build up your employability portfolio, and to engage in activities that will build up your skills and experience within and outside of your research work.

Course location

This course is run by the Department of Archaeology.

You will be based on Campus West. Most of your training and supervision meetings will take place here. Your research may take you further afield.

Entry requirements

A Masters degree with the equivalent of a distinction or very high merit, or equivalent experience.

If you have any questions about the suitability of your qualifications, please contact us.

If you are applying as a mature student, or are entering Higher Education without standard academic qualifications, please give details of your relevant experience and your goals, as well as any relevant academic and/or professional qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must provide evidence of your ability.

Check your English language requirements


Identify a supervisor

You should identify a potential supervisor in our faculty whose area of research overlaps with yours. We encourage you to contact them to discuss your research proposal before you apply.

You should note your preferred supervisor in your application.

Your research proposal

As an applicant to postgraduate research courses, you'll be asked to submit a clear, well-structured research proposal.

Take a look at the supporting documents you may need for your application.

Find out more about how to apply.

Submit your application

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start, save, and finish it later.

We will respond to your application in as soon as possible. You may track the status of your application and view any official correspondence online.

Apply for the MPhil in Conservation Studies

Apply for the PhD in Conservation Studies

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