Durham University

Durham University

Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects

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.

Entry requirements

Note there is a maximum of 10 places available on the course each year, due to size of the teaching laboratory.
A good second class honours degree (typically 2:1 Honours) or international equivalent OR professional qualification or two years relevant work-based experience; and a pass in Mathematics (Grade 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 last approximately 6 months.
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

Conservation Theory,
Conservation Skills,
Artefact Studies,
Care of Collections,
Conservation 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. 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.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MA Full-time October 2017 GBP 11,000 per Year 1 (Channel Islands) 2 years
MA Full-time October 2017 GBP 11,000 per Year 1 (EU) 2 years
MA Full-time October 2017 GBP 11,000 per Year 1 (England) 2 years
MA Full-time October 2017 GBP 24,300 per Year 1 (International) 2 years
MA Full-time October 2017 GBP 11,000 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 2 years
MA Full-time October 2017 GBP 11,000 per Year 1 (Scotland) 2 years
MA Full-time October 2017 GBP 11,000 per Year 1 (Wales) 2 years
MA Part-time October 2017 - 3 years

Campus details

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

Key information

Department of Archaeology
Telephone number: 
0191 334 1100