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Durham University

Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects (PP)

This is a 2 year (full-time) or 3 year (part-time) course, which educates and trains graduate students to be conservators capable of researching, analysing, cleaning, preserving and caring for a wide range of archaeological and museum objects. It is intended for those who wish to become practising artefact conservators, 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 on disciplines, but manual dexterity, a very basic knowledge of chemistry and an enthusiasm and desire to work with museum objects are essential.

Entry requirements

MA: Note there is a maximum of 10 places available on the course each year, due to the size of the teaching laboratory. A good second class honours degree (typically 2:1 Honours) or international equivalent in any subject and a pass in Mathematics 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. Chemistry Requirements, 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 lasts approximately 6 months. Details of the course are available here. All students need to be able to accurately distinguish between colours and safely handle objects, scalpels, and other conservation tools. Students may be required to undertake tests to ascertain the levels of some of these skills if they are invited to visit.

Course modules

Modules: Conservation Theory, Conservation Skills, Artefact Studies, Care of Collections, Conservation Practice, Professional Practice.

Assessment methods

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. This move towards greater emphasis on independent learning and acting in the role of professional conservator continues in the final year, where you will have a placement in a working conservation lab for 9 months. You will gain experience of working with a wide range of materials and develop further your practical skills, within a real-life working environment. A focus is placed upon problem-solving and organisational and managerial skills, under the supervision of a professional conservator.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MA Full-time October 2019 12,150 per Year 1 (Channel Islands) 2 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 12,150 per Year 1 (EU) 2 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 12,150 per Year 1 (Wales) 2 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 12,150 per Year 1 (England) 2 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 12,150 per Year 1 (Scotland) 2 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 26,800 per Year 1 (International) 2 Years
MA Full-time October 2019 12,150 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 2 Years
MA Part-time October 2019 - 3 Years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Durham University DH1 3LG North East

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Key information

Recruitment and Admissions Office
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