Skip to content
Home>Study at York>Postgraduate taught>Courses 2019/20>Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings) MA

MA Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings)

Essential practical and professional skills in historic building conservation

Year of entry: 2019
Show year of entry: 2020


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time,
3 years part-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

Events and fairs

Find out what studying at York as a postgraduate is really like.  

Meet us

This course engages with conservation in the context of historic buildings and will provide you with a unique mix of practice-based and theoretical learning for your professional work or further research in the conservation sector. This course is accredited by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC).

Established in 1972, this course provides you with a unique mix of practice-based and theoretical learning for professional work in heritage conservation with a strong focus on historic buildings. It combines essential disciplinary knowledge and advanced scholarship with hands-on experience in sustainable building conservation practice. Working alongside experienced practitioners, you will engage with practical and professional issues in a series of focussed skills modules from an exciting range of related disciplines and develop your own hands-on experience in practice.

A voluntary work placement in a conservation organisation in the York region will enhance and focus your practice-based experience and you will develop your research skills in an original, independently conducted research project.


The MA in Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings) is recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) and offers a bespoke route for UK practitioners to achieve full professional membership of the IHBC. 

Graduates of this course with just two years of relevant professional experience can apply to become a Full Member of the IHBC This compares with the five years of relevant practice required of other applicants. Find out more about accreditation

The course conforms with the international ICOMOS Guidelines for Education and Training in Conservation.

Course content

You'll study a total of 180 credits over the course. This will be made up of eight compulsory modules, four of which are worth 20 credits and four shorter, skills modules worth 5 credits each.

You'll complete an Essential Skills module throughout the year (which counts as part of your dissertation/independent study training).

Finally, your dissertation and assessed lecture will be worth a total of 80 credits.


Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


For your dissertation you will carry out a piece of original independent research, using appropriate disciplinary skills in an imaginative way and present your findings via a dissertation and assessed lecture. Your dissertation will be 15-20,000 words in length.

During this process you will have regular meetings with their supervisor who will offer support, guidance and encouragement throughout.

Recent examples of dissertations have included:

  • Heritage at risk: a case study of the approach to Grade II assets and non-designated heritage assets in the North East
  • Standing on holy ground? What is the significance of the rural parish church for conservation professionals and parish communities and how can this inform the management of maintenance, repair and adaptation?
  • Heritage at risk: Victorian back to back houses in 21st century Leeds
  • "Designing A Future for The Past" - From an Architect's Point of View
  • Consideration on authenticity and integrity in the post natural disasters reconstruction, relating to traditional materials and building typology.
  • Interpreting the bungalow typology in the British Cantonment of Bangalore, India.
  • The early steelworks industry in Grenoside: A conservation plan approach.
  • Heritage of the community, and for the community: A case study in Bhutan.
  • Proteinaceous additives in lime mortar: a historical and analytical study
  • Managing the Industrial Ruin in a National Park A Critical Assessment of the Conservation Process
  • Histories of Conservation: A Case Study of Chaco Culture National Historical Park


One year in the Department of Archaeology was enough to gain a variety of useful skills that I will carry with me, miles away from York. MA in Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings) was a​s important for me​​​​ to develop critical thinking​,​ as to get a complete picture in the subject of conservation and manage to apply all that knowledge in the Mediterranean culture back home.
Anna, MA Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings) (2017)

Beautiful surroundings

Study in King's Manor, a beautiful Medieval building in the centre of historic York.

Feel at home

Informality is one of our distinctive qualities - the atmosphere in our department is friendly, supportive and enthusiastic. We want you to develop your potential and thrive at York.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £7,810£17,370
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee
Part-time (3 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Additional costs

We don't anticipate there being any additional fees associated with this course. All books and resources you need will be available in the library or online and it isn't mandatory that you buy your own copies. You may wish to set aside a small budget for photocopying, depending on how you like to work.

Many of the modules have field trips associated with them. These are paid for by the department at no extra cost to you.

If you wish to undertake an optional placement as part of the course, you will need to meet the costs of things like travel to and from the placement yourself.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

You'll be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. The core modules include a field trip to a relevant site.

The skills modules can include hands-on practical classes, a combination of lectures and seminars and site visits. There is plenty of one-on-one guidance with staff and leading external experts in the conservation and heritage sector.

Teaching location

Teaching will take place mostly at King's Manor in the centre of York. 

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You will be assessed by a variety of methods. Depending on which modules you opt to take, these could include: 

  • Essays
  • Oral presentations
  • Report writing
  • Dissertation
  • Or alternative assessment methods such as film-making, blogging or posters
Studying this course allowed me to develop the knowledge and skills required in order to fufill my career aim as a Conservation Officer in a Local Planning Authority. I am grateful to the University of York and its tutors for helping me develop my career and would highly recommend the Conservation Studies course to other prospective students.
Robert, MA Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings), 2017

Careers and skills

Course postgraduates have gone on to careers in archaeology and heritage-related organisations across the UK and abroad, including:

  • National heritage bodies and organisations
  • Local authorities
  • Heritage consultancy
  • Heritage crafts
  • Architectural practice
  • Charitable sector
  • Academia

Career opportunities

  • Heritage Consultant
  • Conservation Officer
  • Building Surveyor
  • Planning Officer
  • Heritage Crafts

Transferable skills

  • High level of written and oral skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Project management
  • Time management

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
  • A good honours degree (2:1 or first class) or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution in Architecture, Archaeology, History, History of Art or Architectural History, or in a relevant allied discipline – we welcome a diverse range of backgrounds.
Other qualifications
  • Mature students or those with less conventional qualifications but with relevant work experience will be considered.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


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 it, save it and finish it later.

  • We interview most applicants, unless you live or work overseas.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Learn more

Department of Archaeology

Discover York


We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to premium.

Student life

Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.

The city

Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.