F4K707 Conservation of Archaeological & Museum Objects (Diss) MA Postgraduate Taught 2020
This is a 2 year (full-time) or 3 year (part-time) course, which educates you to be conservators capable of researching, analysing, cleaning, preserving and caring for a wide range of archaeological and museum objects. This course is particularly appropriate for those seeking a career in conservation research.
It is intended for those who wish to become conservation scientists or work in the fields of artefact research or preventive conservation. Graduates of the course will normally work in museums or large heritage organisations such the National Trust or English Heritage.
Graduate students are drawn from a wide range of disciplines, but manual dexterity, a basic knowledge of chemistry and an enthusiasm and desire to work with museum objects are essential.
- Conservation Theory
- Conservation Skills
- Artefact Studies
- Care of Collections
- Conservation Practice
Course Learning and Teaching
The course is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars and practical classes as well as a dissertation. Typically lectures provide key information on a particular area, and identify the main areas for discussion and debate among Conservators in that area. Practicals then provide opportunities for you to implement and develop your skills, based on the knowledge that you have gained through your lectures and through independent study outside the programmes formal contact hours. Self-learning development packages allows you to continue your learning in a structured way outside the practical sessions. The dissertation allows you to develop advanced research skills in an aspect of conservation or artefact studies.
The balance of activities changes throughout the course, as you develop your knowledge, skills and ability as independent learners and practitioners. The course therefore prepares you for work or further study once you have graduated, with an emphasis on taking your learning from the classroom to real life situations in Museums and conservation laboratories. All teaching is delivered by qualified conservators.
In the first two terms of the first year you will typically attend 4-5 hours a week of lectures, 6 hours of practical work including seminars, 3 hours of structured self-development learning and up to 9 hours of conservation skills working in the conservation laboratory. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake independent study to prepare for your classes and broaden your subject knowledge.
The balance shifts in the third term, as you develop your abilities as independent learners through supervised practical conservation work for 4 days a week over 10 weeks and create a portfolio of your work and reflections.
The emphasis on using the independent study and research skills developed in the first year of the course is continued through the dissertation, which marks out the researcher route. Under the supervision of a member of academic staff with whom you will typically have ten one-to-one supervisory meetings, you will undertake a detailed study of a particular area resulting in a significant piece of independent research.
The department also has an exciting programme of weekly one hour research seminars which you are strongly encouraged to attend.
Subject requirements, level and grade
A good second class honours degree (typically 2:1 Honours) or international equivalent in any subject and a pass in mathematics at Grade 4 (or C) or above at GCSE level, or equivalent.
Applicants without a degree will be required to demonstrate sufficient academic capability to satisfactorily complete this degree.
One of the following:
- An 'AS' level in Chemistry or its equivalent
- A degree which included a significant science component, e.g. Biology or Material Science
- An A, B or C grade for Chemistry in a Scottish 'Higher' or similar high grade in the Irish 'Leaving Certificate' may also be acceptable
- Completed university level course units in Inorganic and Organic chemistry - this is particularly appropriate for students from North America
- Completed the 'Chemistry for Conservators' course. This is a correspondence course, which last approximately 6 months. Details of the course are available here.
You will need to be able to accurately distinguish between colours and safely handle objects, scalpels, and other conservation tools. You may be required to undertake tests to ascertain the levels of some of these skills if they are invited to visit.
Evidence of engagement with and interest in archaeological and museum objects, while not formally required, is highly recommended. This may be in the form of employment, internship or volunteer work in a museum, historic house, or a collecting institute, such as an archaeological repository.
Two satisfactory references are required
There is no specific deadline for applications although applications for any given academic year must be received before the start of that academic year (i.e. applications for the 2020/21 academic year must be received before October 2020).
Tuition fee deposit
All self-financing overseas students are required to pay a £1000 tuition fee deposit if an offer from the Department of Archaeology is accepted. The tuition fee deposit is paid before the University issues a Confirmation of Acceptance to Study (CAS) number, which is required in order to apply for a visa.
£500 deposit is also payable by Home/EU applicants if an offer of a place from the Department of Archaeology is accepted.
English Language requirements
Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.
How to apply
Fees and Funding
Full Time Fees Year 1
|EU Student||£12,900.00 per year|
|Home Student||£12,900.00 per year|
|Island Student||£12,900.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£28,350.00 per year|
Full Time Fees Year 2
|EU Student||£4,300.00 per year|
|Home Student||£4,300.00 per year|
|Island Student||£4,300.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£9,450.00 per year|
The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and funding
Department of Archaeology
Many of our postgraduates move into an academic career, either teaching or by taking up post-doctoral research positions in universities. Others join museums or national and regional heritage organisations. Some work in professional archaeology, in national or local planning departments, while others elect to use their analytical and presentation skills to gain positions in industry, commerce and government.
For further information on career options and employability, including the results of the Destination of Leavers survey, student and employer testimonials and details of work experience and study abroad opportunities, please visit our employability web pages.
Open days and visits
Pre-application open day
Overseas Visit Schedule
Postgraduate VisitsPGVI or
Department of Archaeology
Our internationally respected research expertise will provide you with some of the best resources available for archaeological research. We have one of only three commercial archaeology units in the UK based in a university department here at Durham. You will be able to work with experts in the field and will have access to state-of-the-art laboratories and specialised facilities. Among the best in the world, our MA programmes – including Museum and Artefact Studies, International Cultural Heritage Management, and Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects – offer strong professional and vocational training. The MSc in Bioarchaeology and research strands of the MA in Archaeology offer ideal preparation for research careers and specialisation. Our unique MSc in Palaeopathology attracts students globally with academic and professional goals.