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Qualifications

Conservation is a truly diverse and rewarding profession, the route you take will depend on your own learning style, and the area of conservation that you're looking to get in to. 

There are a variety of pathways in to a career in conservation, and the route you take will completely depend on you, your learning style and the area of conservation you're looking to get in to. For many, the first step is an academic qualification followed up by a structured internships and work-based placements as a way to build experience, skills and contacts. For others there is of course the opportunity to take a more vocational route, and this will be enhanced immeasurably through the development of the Trailblazer Apprenticeships. 

Read on below to find out more about the existing academic and work based training options. 


Photo: Mel Houston/NT Scotland

Higher Education

Work-based Study

Higher Education

Introduction

There are currently more than 30 undergraduate, postgraduate or diploma courses in conservation taught in the UK

Icon does not endorse any particular conservation course. However, we do advise which academic courses teach our Professional Standards in Conservation. Our Professional Standards are grounded on National Occupational Standards and are designed to ensure professional conservators abide by the Code of Conduct and are suitably qualified, skilled and competent for the tasks they undertake.

For more advice, please contact Training & Development Manager Patrick Whife on email or on 02031426788.

 

Cardiff University

Founded in 1883, Cardiff University is established as one of Britain’s leading universities. We are an innovative and internationally recognised centre of excellence in research and teaching. Conservation is set in the School of History Archaeology and religion which is devoted to the study of the past and beliefs from prehistoric times to contemporary societies. As a conservation student you will combine theoretical knowledge with your developing practical skills, in a laboratory setting, to preserve the past. With alumni working in the sector across the globe, conservation at Cardiff has an enviable reputation for courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level and for links with the heritage sector at home and abroad. Our students become skilled in the care, repair and protection of cultural and heritage artefacts and adept at selecting the appropriate approach from the full toolkit taught to maintain our past for future generations.

Courses offered

BSc Conservation of Objects in Museums and Archaeology 
MSc Care of Collections
MSc Conservation Practice
MSc Professional Conservation

Contact

Jane Henderson on hendersonlj@cardiff.ac.uk

This institution has confirmed that they teach the Professional Standards in Conservation. 

Updated September 2018

City & Guilds of London Art School

Founded in 1854 as a social enterprise, the Art School is proud of its heritage, expertise, high standards and student-centred approach. It remains small in scale because we know from experience the huge benefits of a supportive creative community. Our courses have a proven track record and are widely respected. We offer intensive BA (Hons) and MA courses in contemporary Fine Art and the Conservation of cultural objects. We maintain our fees in line with UK degrees while upholding a commitment to high levels of contact time with active professionals. 

Courses offered

BA Conservation Studies
MA Conservation Studies

Contact

Dr Marina Sokhan m.sokhan@cityandguildsartschool.ac.uk 

This institution has confirmed that they teach the Professional Standards in Conservation. 

Updated September 2018

Durham University

Archaeology has been taught and studied at Durham University since 1931, which makes our staff and students part of a long tradition of learning. We count ourselves lucky to be based here, surrounded by incredible examples of medieval architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and so close to some of the country’s premier archaeological sites, such as Hadrian’s Wall and the Saxon monastery at Jarrow. Throughout the years, the department has grown to become what it is today: one of the largest departments in the world and the national leader for archaeological research, beating Oxford, Cambridge and University College London in this respect.

Courses offered

MA Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects 

Contact

archaeology.postgrad.research@durham.ac.uk

This institution has confirmed that they teach the Professional Standards in Conservation. 

Updated September 2018

Hamilton Kerr Institute

The Hamilton Kerr Institute is a department of the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge and is one of the world’s leading centres for teaching and research in the conservation of easel paintings. It undertakes the conservation of paintings and polychromy in the Fitzwilliam Museum's collections as well as for other clients. It also carries out research into conservation techniques, materials and techniques of paintings.

Courses offered

Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings delivered over three years. 

Contact

hki@fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk 

This institution has confirmed that they teach the Professional Standards in Conservation. 

Updated September 2018

Northumbria University

Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. It is based in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne, which is regularly voted the best place in the UK for students. There are two distinct programmes at Northumbria: Conservation of Fine Art and Preventive Conservaiton. The Conservation of Fine art Programme has two parthways, Works of Art on Paper and Easel Painting. Both specialisms are taught in Burt Hall, a Grade II listed building purposely adapted for conservation training. This historic 1890s building provides well equipped, flexible studios and laboratories for the needs of the graduate. The Preventive programme is taught by distance learning and will immerse you in the world of preventive conservation and collections care by engaging you with the complexities and challenges of professional practice.

Courses offered

MA Conservation of Fine Art (full time over two years)
MA Preventive Conservaiton, distance learning (full time or part time)

Contact

Dr Jane Colbourne Jane.colbourne@northumbria.ac.uk

This institution has confirmed that they teach the Professional Standards in Conservation. 

Updated September 2018

The Courtauld Institute of Art

The Courtauld Institute of Art is an independent college of the University of London and one of the world’s leading centres for the study of the history and conservation of art and architecture. The Institute engages collaboratively with conservation projects across the globe and its Gallery houses one of Britain’s best-loved collections. Through its unique integration of activities, facilities and resources, The Courtauld provides an exceptional environment for research, learning and professional development. Postgraduate courses in the conservation of Wall Paintings and of Easel Paintings are offered.

Courses offererd

PGDip(Cons) Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings (3 years duration)
MA Conservation of Wall Painting (3 years duration) 

Contact

pgadmissions@courtauld.ac.uk

This institution has confirmed that they teach the Professional Standards in Conservation. 

Updated September 2018

University College London

Students have been trained in conservation at the UCL Institute of Archaeology since it first opened in 1937. The Institute is recognised globally for the excellence of its teaching and student experience. It is one of the largest centres for archaeology, conservation, cultural heritage and museum studies in Britain. It has an established and widely recognised strength in providing academic and professional training in the practice of conservation and many of its graduates are now employed in key posts around the world.

Courses offered

MA Priniciples of Conservation (one year)
MSc Conservation for Archaeology and Museums (two years)
MRes Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (delieverd by UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage)

Contact

Lisa Daniel, Graduate Adminssions and Research Student Administrator l.daniel@ucl.ac.uk

This institution has confirmed that they teach the Professional Standards in Conservation. 

Updated September 2018

University of Glasgow

Textile Conservation is a multidisciplinary subject which combines academic knowledge with cultural awareness, aesthetic sensitivity and technical skill. This MPhil is both an academic programme and professional training; it will give you a framework of theoretical knowledge and a range of practical experience which will enable you to contribute to the understanding and preservation of culturally significant textile artefacts.

Courses offered

MPhil Textile Conservation programme runs over 24 months full time or 48 months part time. 

Contact

Karen Thompson, Convenor MPhil Textile Conservation, Karen.Thompson@glasgow.ac.uk

This institution has confirmed that they teach the Professional Standards in Conservation. 

Updated September 2018

University of Lincoln

Lincoln is home to the largest centre for Conservation studies in the UK and, with more than 40 years’ experience, is a leading authority in the field.

The University offers Conservation programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level. These courses link the practical skill of preservation with scientific investigation and analysis. There is an emphasis on gaining hands-on experience in purpose-built laboratories using historical material provided by museums and private collections.

Lincoln Conservation operates as a commercial arm of the University of Lincoln, undertaking a range of heritage and conservation projects, including 3D scanning and digital replication and visualisation, the study, conservation and reinstatement of historical decorative schemes, and the conservation of historic objects. Through Lincoln Conservation we offer short CPD courses to conservators and heritage professionals. 

Courses offered

BA Conservation of Cultural Heritage, 3 years full time / 6 years part time. 
Graduate Diploma in Conservation Studies, 1 year full time / 2 years part time. 
MA Conservation of Cultural Heritage, 1 year full time, 2-3 years part time. Blended learning option available. 
MA by Research Conservation, 1 year full time, 2 years part time.
MPhil / PhD Conservation of Cultural Heritage, approximately 3 years full time, 6 years part time 

Contact

Gemma Johnson, course administrator, on gejohnson@lincoln.ac.uk

This institution has confirmed that they teach the Professional Standards in Conservation. 

Updated September 2018

University of York

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.

Courses offered

MA Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management

Contact

Adsministrator, Gillan Galloway gillian.galloway@york.ac.uk

Updated September 2018

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Internationally recognised for excellence in conservation. Students can expect an interdisciplinary environment with a forward thinking approach, professional connections and a rich heritage. Access to live conservation projects, small classes, extended workshop access, expert tutors and exceptional facilities offer an immersive study experience. Courses are validated by the University of Sussex.

Courses offered

MA Collections Care and Conservation Management, 2 years, part time. 
MA Conservation Studies, 1 year (46 weeks), full time - Pathways for MA Conservation: Books and Library Materials, Ceramics and Related Materials, Clocks and Related Objects, Furniture and Related Objects, Metalwork.
Graduate Diploma Conservation of Books and Library Materials, 1 year (36 weeks), full time 
Graduate Diploma Conservation of Ceramics, 1 year (36 weeks), full time
Graduate Diploma Conservation of Clocks, 1 year (36 weeks), full time
Graduate Diploma Conservation of Furniture and Related Objects, 1 year (36 weeks), full time.
Graduate Diploma Conservation of Metalwork, 1 year (36 weeks), full time.

Contact

admissions@westdean.org.uk +44 (0)1243 818291

This institution has confirmed that they teach the Professional Standards in Conservation. 

Updated September 2018

Work-based Study

Conservation & Collections Care Technicians Diploma

The new Conservation & Collections Care Technicians Diploma has been established through the merging of Icon’s Conservation Technician Qualification (CTQ) and the V&A’s Technician Diploma, both of which remain valued across the sector. The aim of the new qualification is to offer a greater breadth of units to allow candidates to tailor the qualification to their specific work setting. 

Run by the V&A and endorsed by Icon, the level 4 V&A / Icon Conservation and Collections Care Technicians Diploma covers the wide range of skills and knowledge required to work effectively as a technician with museum, library and archive collections, historic artefacts and art works and to support professional conservators.

It aims to provide an entry level qualification that is recognised by employers and promoted by Icon and the V&A for individuals in the technician and conservation professions who wish to gain and demonstrate new and existing skills and competencies. It also promotes professional standards and practice in conservation and collections care

For further information on this new qualification please visit the V&A Website. 

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are currently in development. Click here to see the latest.