Find a course

Expand

Historic Conservation

PGDip or PGCert or MSc

Key facts


Start dates

September 2020

Location

Headington

Course length

Full time: Full time: MSc 12 months; PGDip 9 months

Part time: Part time: MSc 24 months; PGDip 21 months; PGCert 9 months

Department

School of the Built Environment

Accreditation(s)

This course is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), and recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC).

Overview


Our Historic Conservation MSc offers a comprehensive grounding in the conservation of historic buildings and sites.

The course follows the International Commission on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) guidelines on education and training. It covers the knowledge, skills and professional capabilities identified by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) as the foundation for professional practice.

We will introduce you to a range of theoretical and practical disciplines, including:

  • architectural history
  • historical geography
  • spatial planning
  • urban design
  • construction
  • surveying
  • economics and finance
  • research methodology.

Our Historic Conservation team has an excellent record of research for organisations such as:

  • the EU
  • English Heritage
  • the UK government Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

This course provides ideal training for those wishing to pursue a career in this fascinating but competitive field. Our graduates have gone on to work in senior roles across the sector, both in the UK and internationally.

Arial photo of Oxford City Centre

How to apply


Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

The course is open to applicants who hold a 2.1 undergraduate honours degree (or international equivalent).
Students come from a variety of backgrounds. Thus, applications are welcome from any academic discipline which can be applied to Historic Conservation - as well as those seeking ongoing professional development.
 
We will actively consider applications from candidates with lower degrees, who can effectively portray suitable credentials, and usually have an appropriate professional background.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English you will require a minimum academic IELTS score of 6.5 overall with 6.0 in all components.

OR

An equivalent English language qualification acceptable to the University.
 

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

Go

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

We advise applying in advance to secure places, and allow sufficient time for applications to be reviewed.

There is no formal application deadline (recruitment closes when teaching capacity is reached). 

Applicants should also factor any time needed to meet offer conditions, arrange accommodation, and obtain a UK Tier 4 visa (if applicable).

Apply now

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£7,630 (Masters); £6,100 (Diploma); £3,110 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time
£3,890

International full time
£14,000

Home/EU full time
£8,500 (Masters); £7,500 (Diploma); £4,250 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time
£4,250

International full time
£14,700

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2019/20
Home/EU full time
£7,630 (Masters); £6,100 (Diploma); £3,110 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time
£3,890

International full time
£14,000

2020/21
Home/EU full time
£8,500 (Masters); £7,500 (Diploma); £4,250 (Certificate)

Home/EU part time
£4,250

International full time
£14,700

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year your fees will increase each year.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

Field trips and practical workshops carry an additional cost. This will be in the region of £100 for the October residential field trip (Semester 1, Week 5), and a further £200 for the full programme of technical training days associated with the Building Construction and Repair module (Wednesdays in Semester 2). Exact dates for these events will be confirmed in advance.

Learning and assessment


This course is offered at three levels:

The Master of Science (MSc) degree consists of:

  • 6 compulsory modules
  • Research Methods in Design
  • dissertation (between 15,000 - 20,000 words).

The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) consists of:

  • 6 compulsory modules
  • Research Methods in Design.

The Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) consists of 3 compulsory modules.

The MSc and PGDip can be studied full-time (1 year) or part-time (2 year).

The introductory PGCert is a 9 month, part-time course.

All core teaching is on Mondays and Tuesdays, allowing you to fit your studies around other commitments (with the exception of certain field trips).

Part-time students take the Monday modules in their first year and the Tuesday modules in their second.

Each course module addresses a different set of questions in the theory and/or practice of historic conservation.

Tour guide with group outside the Randolph Hotel

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the PGDip and PGCert awards your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

Conservation and Regeneration: Theory, Law and Practice

What is historic conservation? how, when and where did it originate? why do we do it, and how might we do it differently? This module examines the structure of concepts, values, principles, narratives, institutions and procedures upon which our current practice rests. Beginning with a historical overview that relates the emergence of the conservation agenda to developments in other fields of culture, it proceeds to analyse the dominant legal and institutional frameworks through which that agenda is pursued, both in the UK and further afield.

Historical Studies I and II

Two linked modules taught in consecutive semesters. How did our present stock of historic buildings and sites come into existence? what social, political, economic and artistic factors influenced their initial construction and subsequent alteration? The first module concentrates on the medieval period and provides an introduction to the evolution of the landscape and the major elements of architectural history in England up to the sixteenth century. The second module continues the narrative from the sixteenth century up to the present day.

Design for Conservation

How far, and in what ways, should an understanding of the historic environment inform current design decisions? This module enables you to analyse historic townscapes, to understand basic principles of urban design and to formulate design guidance and codes for sensitive historic areas. You will acquire skills in the critical appraisal of existing or proposed buildings, preparing design briefs for sites in historic areas and presenting design concepts.

Building Construction and Repair

What are historic buildings made of, what keeps them standing, and how can their physical substance be preserved and/or renewed? This module examines the properties, decay and repair of traditional and modern materials, as well as structural principles, environmental factors and the introduction of new fabric and services into historic structures.

Historic Building Analysis and Recording

How can we 'read' the history of a building, and how can we best communicate our understanding by visual and written means? This is a skill-based module that helps you to analyse the special architectural and historical characteristics of a particular site, building, or group of buildings, and to develop techniques for the representation of these characteristics through archival research, measurement, drawing and recording.

Conservation Economics and Finance

Who pays for the conservation of the historic environment, and how and why do they do it? An initial overview, setting the built heritage in the context of cultural economics more generally, is followed by a series of classes given by outside speakers, each an expert on some aspect of conservation finance. Topics covered include project costing, development appraisal, third-party funding and the relevant aspects of the property market.

Research Methods in Design

This module provides a critical overview of research methods and skills relevant to investigative work in conservation and design.

Final project

Compulsory modules

Dissertation

This involves an individual research study of 15,000-20,000 words, on a conservation-related topic to be agreed between you and your supervisor.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Our teaching and learning methods reflect the variety of topics and techniques associated with historic conservation. These include:

  • lectures
  • directed reading
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • practical and project work.

Most modules also include site visits and/or fieldwork. These provide you with direct experience of the practical application of conservation principles.

Field trips

There are a number of extra-curricular field trips and practical workshops. These are optional, and those attending will need to pay a supplementary fee to cover costs. See the additional costs section of this page for details.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

Assessment is 100% coursework based.

Research


The School of the Built Environment has an impressive list of funders and clients covering UK and EU government, research funding councils and industry.

Research areas and clusters

The Impact Assessment Unit (IAU) brings together one of the largest teams of expertise in this field worldwide. Our clients include:

  • the European Commission
  • UK Government/Agencies
  • local government
  • the commercial sector.

Infrastructure and energy continue to be a key focus as they are the essential components of a rapidly urbanising world.

The IAU works closely with colleagues in the following research groups:

We have links with universities worldwide so there are exciting opportunities for collaborative research, exchanges and study overseas.

After you graduate


Career prospects

The course provides an excellent grounding for those wishing to pursue a career in the conservation sector. Our tutors have wide experience in the field, and the broad variety of visiting speakers from national and local government, private practice, the voluntary sector, the law and academia add greatly to this range. We have excellent links with heritage organisations across the country, giving you opportunities for placements and other work experience. Graduates have gone on to work in many different roles across the sector, including:

  • central government bodies, eg English Heritage and Historic England
  • local government roles, eg conservation and design officer
  • charitable organisations, eg the National Trust and the Landmark Trust
  • campaign groups, eg Victorian Society and SAVE Britain's Heritage
  • private consultancies, eg CgMs and Alan Baxter & Associates.

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.