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MA Conservation Studies

Creative approaches to heritage conservation for the 21st century

Year of entry: 2020

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

Postgraduate opportunities

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Engage with heritage conservation in a broad interdisciplinary context and develop a unique mix of practice-based and theoretical learning for your professional work or further research in the conservation sector.

You'll learn essential disciplinary knowledge and advanced scholarship techniques with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in sustainable building conservation practice. 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 experience in practice, whilst benefiting from the knowledge of our experienced practitioners.

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.  

Established in 1972 and drawing on our wide range of department expertise, the MA Conservation Studies is particularly suitable if you are interested in a broader interdisciplinary approach to conservation such as cultural heritage management, digital heritage, landscapes, period-based or international conservation work.

Accreditation

The course follows the internationally recognised ICOMOS Guidelines for Education and Training in Conservation.

With the experienced, friendly and ever-supportive faculty, it was a real delight to be part of the department at York. The flexibility, independent learning and freedom of thought and expression helped me to hone my research and writing skills. The classroom lectures and discussions were extremely engaging, especially with students from different parts of the world sharing their perspective.
Sridevi, MA Conservation Studies

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.

Course content

You'll study a total of 180 credits over the course. This will be made up of three compulsory modules, two of which are worth 20 credits and one worth 5 credits which is a shorter research skills module.

You will also study five modules chosen from our wide range of departmental expertise such as digital heritage, cultural heritage management or practice or period-specialisms. Two of the option modules will be worth 20 credits and three will be shorter, five credit research skills modules.

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. 

 

Modules

Core modules

Option modules

You'll select two more 20-credit modules and three 5-credit modules from our extensive departmental list.

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

Dissertation

For your dissertation (80 credits) 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

 

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

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.

I particularly liked the mix of modules covering practical skills on the one hand and theoretical foundations on the other, and the need to do other modules within the Department as part of the MA is a huge benefit. The Department is a great community, which makes doing the course so much more enjoyable and fulfilling. It's a great place to be, and to grow!
Nigel, MA Conservation Studies

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
The historic setting of York is great for studying buildings and archaeology on your doorstep, and King’s Manor provides a great community feeling. Modules were taught by experts in the field, including numerous guest lecturers, ensuring the information was the most up to date and relevant to the working world.
Danielle, MA Conservation Studies

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in Architecture, Archaeology, History, History of Art or Architectural History, or in a relevant allied discipline.
Other qualifications and experience 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. 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.

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