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MA Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management

Join an innovative, world-leading programme that prepares you for a career in conservation and heritage management

Year of entry: 2019


2 years full-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

Our Masters in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management will give you practical experience with up-to-date conservation techniques, and an opportunity to work with leading conservation studios, museums and heritage institutions in Britain, Europe and the United States.

The course will provide you with invaluable work experience, and networks for your future career.

You'll train for a variety of employment in stained glass conservation, cultural heritage management, arts administration, museums, and the administration of historic buildings. You'll combine practical work with intensive seminar study to investigate the key issues in approaches to conservation and heritage. The programme will also prepare you for a higher research degree.

Every other year, you'll have the chance to join a European study tour, visiting major stained glass sites, and exploring leading conservation practices.

The programme is taught in partnership with the Department of Archaeology.

Course content

This is a two-year programme, including four terms of taught courses, a sixteen-week studio placement in a leading conservation workshop, museum or heritage institution, and a five-month dissertation. You'll be able to choose an art-historical or archaeological module in Year 2.

You'll be taught basic and advanced techniques of stained glass conservation, grounded in an understanding of the historical development of stained glass craft and its care. You'll study other topics including art and architectural history, the history, ethics and philosophy of conservation, and international issues in conservation including the impact of climate change.

You'll also attend masterclasses presented by visiting experts which address current issues and new research, events that will provide invaluable opportunities for networking with your peers and practitioners in the field from both home and abroad.

Your studio placement will enable you to consolidate and expand your practical skills in a professional setting. You'll take on projects that test your abilities to translate theory into practice in an environment in which targets, timescales and budgets can impose challenges.

The experience of working within a business or conservation institution, in a team with colleagues, with clients, custodians and heritage bodies, will be an invaluable aspect of your training. In addition to improving your practical skills, you'll have a chance to develop skills of advocacy, presentation and project management. The placement will also introduce you to a range of projects of greater scale and complexity. All of this training will benefit you in your future career.


stained glass picture building hand


Year 1

An Introduction to Stained Glass Conservation and Spring Masterclass (10 credits)

Working in the conservation studio you'll gain knowledge of glass technology, production techniques of stained glass, conservation technology, and you'll attend the masterclass presented by a visiting expert.

History and Theory of Stained Glass Conservation (20 credits)

This seminar module, which includes a site visit, concentrates on the history of stained glass conservation from the Middle Ages to the present. You'll study sources from the relevant periods, and working in the conservation studio you'll reproduce historic techniques in practice.

Conservation Studies I: Approaches to Conservation (20 credits)

This seminar module includes a field trip, and teaches you philosophical approaches to conservation, enabling you to place your study of stained glass conservation into a wider cultural context.

Painting on Light: Stained Glass in the Medieval Tradition (20 credits)

You'll explore the issues that the medium of stained glass raises, including the relationship to architectural settings, ways to read these striking images in context, their functions for different audiences, and the creative partnerships involved in the making of such monumental art.

Conservation Studies II: Issues in Cultural Heritage Conservation (20 credits)

You'll be introduced to a range of issues in cultural heritage at an international level and the role of policy in addressing them.

16-week placement in a stained glass conservation studio or heritage institution (90 credits)

Your full-time 16-week placement spread over the Summer Term and part of the summer vacation will take place in a leading conservation studio or heritage institution. After the placement finishes you'll use the rest of the summer to complete a placement report and log which will be of equal weighting to the dissertation in Year 2.

Year 2

Art and Imagery of York Minster (20 credits)

You'll explore the importance of studying stained glass in the context of a major monument, and will examine the surviving iconographic schemes in the Minster, including medieval stained glass, sculpture and paintings.

Cultural Heritage Management I: Concepts, Principles and Practice (20 credits)

This seminar module includes a field trip and introduces you to the basic principles, concepts and philosophy of cultural heritage management and conservation, and places these within a historical and cultural context.

Optional module from History of Art and Archaeology options (20 credits)

The modules offered will be subject to staff expertise and availability, recent options have included: Churches and High Crosses; Monastic Patronage of the Arts 1080-1280; Romanesque Art & Architecture; The Domestic Interior in Italy c1400-1550; The Archaeology of Late Medieval Buildings; Medieval Settlement and Communities; Cultural Heritage Management II: Museums, Audiences and Interpretation.

Advanced Techniques of Stained Glass Conservation (20 credits)

As a core part of this seminar module you will manage and implement an autonomous stained glass conservation project. The seminar will also address the very latest developments in the field of glass painting conservation.

Dissertation Preparation: Research Skills in Stained Glass History and Conservation and Spring Masterclass (10 credits)

This practical workshop-based course will cover research sources, contexts, skills and methods, and you'll be introduced to a range of primary sources, both visual and written, enabling you to design your own dissertation research project. You'll also attend the masterclass presented by a visiting expert.

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


You'll prepare and write your 15,000-20,000 word dissertation (90 credits) in Year 2 Summer Term and the vacation. This will give you time to undertake primary research, design experiments and test treatments, read widely and develop your thoughts on specialised topics, and you'll spend between 31-33 hours per week on average on your dissertation. Recent topics have included:

  • A 'Veritable Tour de Force of Mechanical and Artistic Dexterity’: An Investigation into the Medieval Techniques of Inserting ‘Jewels’ in Stained Glass
  • In, but not of the City: Agents of Deterioration, Risk Management and the Future of Stained Glass Preservation in Mumbai, India
  • The 'cameo process': The twentieth-century acid-etching technique by William Meikle and Sons of Glasgow
  • A Restoration History of the Rose Window of York Minster
  • Appliqué Windows in Britain: Their History, Significance and Conservation Challenges
  • Low Lime Glass Degradation: The Case of Windows in the Church of St John the Evangelist, Howsham: Further Research into the Phenomenon Formerly Known as ‘Crizzling'
I chose the Masters in York because of its academic focus, its international status, the extensive placement, and, specifically in my case, the fact that it is only two years.
Katrien, Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management MA

Read more from Katrien, who works in a stained glass workshop in Belgium.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£7,810£17,370

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

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

Department scholarship information

Current funding opportunities are available from the Worshipful Company of Glaziers, the Radcliffe Trust, the York Glaziers Trust and The Arts Society (formerly known as NADFAS). Scholarships are announced the summer before the MA programme commences. Accepted MA applicants will be invited to apply for these scholarships in the summer. Read more about available funding.

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.

My placements at Cologne Cathedral and Barley Studio gave me great insight and experience and I hope to apply my skills to a future in conservation.
Emily, MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management

Read more from Emily.

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. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

After an initial introduction to practical stained glass craft skills, you will quickly learn to apply what you have learnt to the context of conservation, making regular use of the specialist Nicolas Barker conservation studio in the King's Manor. You'll develop your experience and knowledge of the field through study in seminar groups and lectures. You'll have between seven to nine hours per week of lectures, seminars and one-to-one meetings with your lecturer/supervisor. You'll be encouraged to spend time in the workshop to practise your skills and use self-directed learning. The amount of study time per week will depend on the modules taken each term, and this will also vary slightly throughout the course.

We offer an extensive programme of research seminars and events which are an invaluable way to engage with different aspects of your subject, along with discussing module themes with your peers, and the staff weekly office hours.


We have a fully equipped and custom-designed stained glass conservation studio at King's Manor - the Nicolas Barker Conservation Studio.

There is a specialist library collection for stained glass and conservation studies at King's Manor, and further History of Art resources available.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of History of Art on Campus West. Most of your contact hours will be in King’s Manor in the city centre.

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'll write 4,000 word essays, technical reports and project designs, reports on the Spring Masterclasses, complete a placement report of 7,000-8,000 words and a weekly placement log. Your final assessment will be in the form of your 15,000-20,000 word dissertation.

Stained glass workshop
stained glass lifting faceplate

Careers and skills

This course is for students who want to work in stained glass conservation, collections management, museum curation or heritage management. Potential employers will value the experience you'll gain on your placement. Our graduates are now leading figures in the discipline in the UK, Germany, Belgium and the USA. The course also prepares you for doctoral research.

Career opportunities

  • Stained glass conservation
  • Cultural heritage management
  • Heritage and conservation
  • Arts administration
  • Museums, galleries, studios
  • Historic building administration
  • Academia

Transferable skills

  • The ability to apply theoretical approaches to a diversity of practical contexts
  • The capacity to work efficiently, effectively and to a consistently high standard in a workshop/professional practice environment
  • The ability to work to timescales and within budgets
  • Project creation, planning and management
  • Interdisciplinary work
  • Strategy relating to stained glass conservation in major conservation projects
  • Advocacy and presentation skills
  • The ability to conduct significant, sustained and original research
  • Intellectual independence

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer

The programme is designed to appeal to a wide range of potential applicants. We welcome applicants with an undergraduate degree in related fields (eg architectural stained glass, conservation, art history, history, architecture, archaeology, fine arts, literary studies).

Applicants without a degree, but with exceptional experience or demonstrable skills may also be admitted, subject to an entrance test.

Previous experience in glass conservation is desirable.

The international equivalents of UK qualifications are shown on our country-specific pages. You can also contact the international team for guidance.

English language

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

  • IELTS: 7.0, with a minimum of 6.0 in Writing and no less than 5.5 in all other components
  • PTE: 67, with a minimum of 55 in Writing and no less than 51 in all other components
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 185, with a minimum of 169 in Writing and no less than 162 in all other components
  • TOEFL: 96, with a minimum of 21 in Writing, 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading and 20 in Speaking
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Distinction in all requirements


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.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Administrator, MA Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management
History of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Learn more

Department of History of Art

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