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MA International Conservation Studies

Creative approaches to heritage conservation for the 21st century

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


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

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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in the UK for archaeology

QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2023

in the world for archaeology

QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2023

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

You'll learn essential disciplinary knowledge and advanced scholarship techniques with the opportunity to gain experience in sustainable building conservation practices. You will engage with practical and professional issues in a series of focused modules considering both ‘why’ and ‘how’ in conservation. You will also choose options from an exciting range of related disciplines and develop your own experience, while benefiting from the knowledge of our experienced researchers and practitioners.

A core placement module will enhance and focus your 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, international work and partnerships the MA International Conservation Studies is particularly suitable if you are interested in a broader interdisciplinary approach to conservation, sustainable heritage and international conservation work.


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

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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 and we use it extensively as our ‘living lab’ for both teaching and research.

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.

Research excellence

Ranked 6th overall for our research according to the Times Higher Education’s ranking of the latest REF results (2021).

Course content

You will study 180 credits over the duration of your course:

  • Semester 1 - two cores and one option module
  • Semester 2 - two cores and one option module
  • Summer Semester - 60 credit dissertation


Core modules

Option modules

You'll study two option modules. Examples may include:

You'll also be able to choose options from our catalogue:

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.


You'll complete an 8,000-word dissertation on your research.

You will receive support, advice and guidance from your dissertation supervisor throughout your project. The range of expertise of our staff means we can provide you with guidance on a wide range of topics. You will have one-to-one meetings with supervisors across the Summer Semester.

Examples of previous dissertations include:

  • "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.
  • Heritage of the community, and for the community: A case study in Bhutan.
  • Histories of Conservation: A Case Study of Chaco Culture National Historical Park
  • Interpreting the bungalow typology in the British Cantonment of Bangalore, India.

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 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £10,590£23,900
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
Part-time (3 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

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

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

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.

Funding information

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

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

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

Funding opportunities

We have a variety of  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, workshops, 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

You will be based 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, including: 

  • Essays
  • Report writing
  • Project proposals
  • Dissertation

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

  • Heritage consultant
  • Conservation officer
  • Higher education researcher & lecturer
  • Building surveyor
  • Planning officer
  • Local government officer

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 the Department 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

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in Architecture, Archaeology, History, History of Art or Architectural History, or in a relevant discipline.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

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:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, minimum 6.5 in Writing and 6.0 in all other components
Cambridge CEFR B2 First: 176, with a minimum of 176 in Writing and no less than 169 in all other components
Oxford ELLT 7, minimum of 7 in writing and no less than 6 in all other components
Duolingo 120, minimum 120 in production and 105 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 70 with a minimum of 70 in Writing and no less than 65 in all other components
KITE 459-494, with 459-494 in writing and 426-458 in all other components
Skills for English B2: Merit overall, with Merit in writing and Pass with Merit in all other components
PTE Academic 61, minimum 61 in Writing and 55 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 haven't 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 English language test 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 online. 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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Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Ashley Lingle, Course Director
Dr Louise Cooke, Course Director

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Department of Archaeology

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