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Conservation Practice (MSc)

2 years (Full-time) / n/a (Part-time) / n/a (Distance / E-Learning)

Course Aims

MSc Conservation Practice

To offer knowledge and expertise to operate as professional conservators in the heritage sector. Alternatively, the MSc can prepare graduates for further research and offers transferable skills in project and resource management, problem solving and communication for a wide range of careers.

Special Features

Course Description

This MSc delivers a conservation qualification that encompasses theoretical and practical skills. It provides a comprehensive intellectual framework with which to interpret, synthesise and critically evaluate objects and collections, evidence from research and from written sources. Students develop a detailed understanding of conservation theory and practice via project management and conservation of objects.

The course is a two-year Masters programme. The first year of the programme is taught alongside existing undergraduate teaching and covers the underpinning skills and knowledge of conservation. The second year is taught at Masters level and shares its structure with other Masters programmes. The Masters year incorporates a taught element which lasts for the first two semesters of study and is assessed at the end of this period; this is followed by a dissertation. In the summer between the two years there will be an eight-week placement working in conservation.

Course Structure

Students take a total of 300 credits of modules, consisting of:

Please see the Archaeology and Conservation website for more course and module information.

Skills Acquired

Students develop communication, time management, decision making, presentation and good record keeping skills. Students are taught core skills in laboratory management including health & safety, equipment care and maintenance and the ordering of supplies.

Career Prospects

Graduates from this programme can expect to move into internships, contracts and jobs in conservation, conservation science and collections care. Transferable skills prepare graduates for further research or for challenging careers outside of the heritage sector.

Student Testimonial

“I was inspired to pursue a career in the conservation of museum objects and archaeological material. Conservation degrees at Cardiff University are widely respected in the conservation sector - having gained an MSc in Conservation Practice has greatly helped me toward finding employment as a conservator.

The MSc teaches self-led research, methodical thinking and critical evaluation of treatment choices. The great quality of objects to work on is underpinned by access to a wide range of scientific instruments. The course is suited to self-motivated, hard working students, willing to self-study.”

Gemma Aboe

"The MSc Conservation Practice program is well balanced towards the needs of a professional and informed practicing conservator. The assessments reflect the core skills of conservation well and set the students challenges that test their ability to demonstrate their learning in real life contexts."

David Thicket, English Heritage

Entry Requirements

1st or upper 2nd class UK Honours degree in an appropriate subject.

Suitable for graduates in archaeology, history, ancient history, conservation, science and chemistry, and other related and relevant disciplines.

International students can find equivalent entry requirements via our website.

Students whose first language is not English will be required to pass an IELTS test (minimum 6.5) or equivalent.

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

How to Apply

Applications can be made for this course via our Online Application Service selecting the MA Conservation Practice option from the list of courses. Applicants should use the Personal Statement section of the form to outline their area of interest and, if possible, the topic that they hope to research for their dissertation.


For more information on funding available for Masters students in the School of History, Archaeology and Religion please see the school's funding website.

Tuition Fees:

  • UK & EU Full Time (Please note: our fees are currently being updated to reflect 2015/16 fees. For the most up-to-date fees information, please refer to our Finance pages)
    (fees fixed for years 1 and 2 of the course)
  • International Full Time (Please note: our fees are currently being updated to reflect 2015/16 fees. For the most up-to-date fees information, please refer to our Finance pages)
    (fees fixed for years 1 and 2 of the course)

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Ms Jane Henderson  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 5629 



School Website:

More information

School of History, Archaeology and Religion