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

MA Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings)

Essential practical and professional skills in historic building conservation

Year of entry: 2020

Length

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

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

Talk to us

Chat to staff and current students to find out what studying at York is really like. Join us on campus or online.

Meet us

Engage with conservation in the context of historic buildings and develop 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 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 focused 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.

Accreditation

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.

Studying this course at the University of York was probably one of the best choices I made in life. Studying in York, where history still thrives was an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to do conservation work at York Minster, which gave me a broader perspective from the point of view of technicians, stonemasons and conservationists.
Aya, MA Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings)

Course content

You will study 180 credits over the year. These will be made up of eight core modules - four 20-credit modules and four shorter 'skills' modules. You will then hone your research skills by producing a dissertation and presenting an assessed lecture on your dissertation topic. 

Modules

Core modules

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

Dissertation

You will carry out a piece of original independent research, using appropriate disciplinary skills in an imaginative way. You'll be assessed with a 15-20,000 word dissertation and assessed lecture (80 credits) on your research.

You will have regular meetings with your supervisor who will offer support, guidance and encouragement throughout the dissertation writing process.

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

 

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an applied, systematic, in-depth understanding of essential disciplinary knowledge in the conservation of cultural heritage and awareness of its breadth and its relevant academic, professional and socio-economic contexts
  • Engage critically with current debates and advanced scholarship in local and international research and environmentally-sustainable practice and advance ethical, innovative and effective solutions in heritage conservation and related disciplines
  • Make well-informed decisions in complex, evolving situations by applying advanced, professional-level conservation principles and methods in assessing diverse problems and/or datasets
  • Confidently synthesise research findings and key scholarly debates, and communicate (through a variety of forms and media) to peers, public or professional audiences, demonstrating an ability to consider and adapt to their respective needs
  • Demonstrate originality in approach, imaginative thinking and inventive methodologies in rigorous independent inquiry, using advanced research skills to advance knowledge and understanding in professional conservation practice
  • Contribute proactively and collaboratively to the work of a team, using online digital resources and blending skills in leadership with awareness of the breadth of disciplinary expertise engaged in cultural heritage conservation
  • Apply knowledge of current policy, technical, and ethical frameworks for decision-making in cultural heritage conservation, taking careful account of stakeholder interests (community, amenity and specialist groups)
  • Assess and evaluate historic buildings, their materials, performance and significance in historic, contemporary, urban and rural contexts, with awareness of sustainable, long-term outcomes

Beautiful surroundings

York is the UK's archaeological capital. You'll study in King's Manor, a beautiful Medieval building in the centre of the historic city.

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.

Royal recognition

We were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011 in recognition of our dynamic research community and teaching excellence.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2020/21

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £8,040£18,240
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
£4,020£9,120
Part-time (3 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
£2,680£6,080

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.

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

We have a variety of funding options available within the department.

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.

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)

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

The Department of Archaeology is based in King's Manor, in York city centre. The majority of your teaching will take place there within the Department, with occasional teaching on Campus West.

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
  • Alternative assessment methods such as film-making, blogging or posters

Careers and skills

Graduates have gone on to careers in archaeology and heritage-related organisations across the UK and abroad. You'll also develop transferable skills that are applicable to a multitude of careers beyond archaeology and heritage.

Career opportunities

Previous graduates have gone into roles such as:

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

in a variety of organisations:

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

 

Transferable skills

  • High level of written and oral skills
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Project management
  • Time management
I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the department; York and King’s Manor are the perfect place to study old buildings! The course provided hands-on experience in the construction, decay, interpretation and conservation of building fabric. There is no doubt that my year at York has been instrumental in kick-starting a career in building conservation.
Jennifer, MA Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings)

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in Architecture, Archaeology, History, History of Art, Architectural History or a relevant allied discipline
Other qualifications and experience Mature students or those with less conventional qualifications but with relevant work experience will be considered. To find out if your professional experience or qualifications are appropriate, please contact the Course Director.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, minimum 6.5 in Writing and 6.0 in all other components
PTE Academic 61, minimum 61 in Writing and 55 in all other components
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, minimum 176 in Writing and 169 in all other components
TOEFL 87, minimum 23 in Writing and 21 in all other components
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

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.

Applying

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

Accommodation

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.