Architectural Conservation MSc

Location: Canterbury


This course is fully recognised by The Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC). The course provides both a thorough understanding of architectural heritage and the skills required to contribute to the preservation and development of historic sites. Benefiting from its location in the historic city of Canterbury, the programme combines the study of conservation theory and philosophy with an exploration of the technical aspects of repair and reconstruction. The city’s stunning cathedral provides students with an education resource, giving them the opportunity to learn from the conservation of a World Heritage Site.

Open to students and professionals with an interest in architectural heritage, the course represents an ideal gateway to a career in demanding professional fields, such as conservation-oriented architectural practice, conservation consultancy and heritage management. As the future leaders in these fields, the course’s graduates are expected to play a central role in disciplines that lie at the centre of the current economic, environmental and social agendas.

This programme is offered jointly within two faculties, Humanities and Sciences.

Knowledge and understanding

You gain:

  • An understanding of the legislation and policy related to the protection and conservation of historic buildings and sites at local, national, and international level.
  • Awareness of the wider context of conservation, preparing students to interact effectively with all bodies and individuals in this field.
  • A critical awareness of the social, cultural, political, aesthetic, economic, and ecological values that underpin conservation policy and practice.
  • An informed knowledge of the historic development of architectural forms, enabling to analyse historic monuments in stylistic, constructional, contextual, and cultural.
  • An understanding of research methodologies and the ability to interpret and evaluate archival material.
  • Knowledge of the documentation and recording methodologies employed to capture the significance of historic buildings and sites and assess the impact of development proposals on them.
  • An understanding of the causes and patterns of damage in a wide range of structures and an awareness of the technology employed in the repair and strengthening of historic buildings.
  • An understanding of traditional design and construction principles sufficient to undertake the restoration of a historic building in a sympathetic manner.
  • Understanding of the contractual and administrative aspects of conservation projects.

Intellectual Skills

You gain the ability to:

  • Evaluate the historical and cultural meaning and significance of historic buildings and settings, as a basis of conservation strategies. 
  • Grasp the value of monuments as elements of a broader context, which may include other buildings, gardens or landscapes.
  • Analyse and evaluate the quality of design, existing and proposed, of buildings and areas, and to present findings in a way accessible to both professional and lay audiences.
  • Identify why conservation is appropriate, what should be conserved and how this might be done.
  • Assess and monitor the condition of buildings, diagnose structural defects and make proposals for their repair, maintenance, and enhancement.
  • Advise on new and developing techniques in conservation and their practical implications.
  • Question and evaluate critically past and current conservation methods and tools.
  • Interpret conservation laws and policies and to formulate conservation proposals consistent with them.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

  • Ability to inspect, record, and make reports intelligible to non-specialist readers of monuments, ensembles, or sites, illustrated by graphic means such as sketches and photographs.
  • Competence in design and presentation. Ability to use visual, verbal and written communication and appropriate media to present maintenance strategies to professional and general audiences.
  • Graphic presentation skills employed in the assessment of the significance of historic buildings, their structural appraisal and the development of conservation strategies.
  • Negotiation skills and professional attitude in interacting with all groups and individuals with an interest in the historic environment.
  • Ability to promote or generate investment in the historic environment.
  • Ability to provide advice and guidance on current legislation and government policies affecting the preservation of the historic environment.
  • Research skills involving the use of a range of information sources.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • Ability to prepare and manage well-supported critical analyses based on theory and empirical evidence.
  • To exercise initiative in either carrying out or commissioning research and analysis.
  • Ability to independently define and appraise ideas and make reasoned judgements.
  • Demonstrate an ability to evaluate assumptions, arguments and research methodologies, to develop critiques of them and to explore alternative strategies.
  • Ability to work in multi-disciplinary groups resolving potential conflicts, and recognising when advice should be sought from experts in other fields.
  • Ability to systematically plan, carry through, and manage a project in a given time.
  • Ability to be self-critical about own work and constructive in how to address and progress it.
  • To learn to operate within a code of professional conduct, recognising responsibilities and obligations towards society, the profession and the environment.

The programme aims to:

  • ensure you are equipped with academic, professional, and personal skills and qualities that enable you to make a positive contribution related to the preservation of historic buildings.
  • cultivate an appreciation of the different values that people can attach to historic buildings and places.
  • promote an awareness of traditional building crafts as a valuable cultural resource.
  • develop a thorough understanding of the processes that maintain and enhance historic places and the activities that change them.
  • develop knowledge of the theoretical, historical, and professional context of architectural conservation.
  • promote multidisciplinary collaboration and interaction with a wide range of professional bodies and individuals who have a role to play in the development of the built environment.
  • ensure graduates develop the knowledge and confidence necessary to provide informed and specialist advice and to cultivate an awareness of their responsibility as consultants in the field of architectural conservation.
  • understand the role that architectural conservation has to play as part of the modern ecological agenda.
  • encourage the observation of the historic environment as a whole and its use as an educational resource.
  • provide teaching informed by research and scholarship.
  • develop an understanding of how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research.
  • enable you to develop strategies for self-improvement and commitment to research and learning.
  • build on close ties within Europe and elsewhere, reflecting Kent’s position as the UK’s European university.
  • promote the understanding and preservation of local and national architectural heritage.
MSc Award
Full-time Study Mode
12 months Duration

Entry Requirements For This Course

A first or 2.1 in architecture or a related discipline (eg, engineering, surveying, planning, geography, archaeology, art history, heritage management). Applicants may be required to attend an interview or to submit a portfolio showing aptitude for the subject and appropriate ability.

Applicants who are unable to attend an interview will be asked to send a portfolio or sample of their written work.

Please also see our general entry requirements at: http://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgrad/apply/entry.html

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