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MA Conservation

Start date
October 2019
Course length
1 (full time)

Course summary

2019/20 entry

MA Conservation at Camberwell is going through a re-validation process.

If you wish to apply for this course please register your interest.

MA Conservation at Camberwell College of Arts is a course with over 40 years experience in teaching specialist skills and knowledge, and prepares our students for work in specific fields of the conservation world.

Our MA Conservation students benefit from the college’s strong connections to London’s heritage community, which includes The British Library, Kew Gardens, London Museum, London Metropolitan Archives, The National Maritime Museum, Tate, the V&A Museum, The Wellcome Trust and many more.

The course offers 2 pathways that our students choose to specialise in; Art on Paper and Books and Archival Materials.

Course details

This course is subject to re-validation. Re-validation is a process that makes sure students get a high quality academic experience. During re-validation there maybe be some changes to course content and structure. Please contact us if you have any questions about this course.

What students can expect

  • A course that consists of practical studio work where students are introduced to conservation ideas and techniques through taught classes
  • To learn about the science of materials and how they react under different conditions, providing students with an understanding of conservation treatments and a background to preservation management
  • To learn about visual examination and condition documentation, mechanical surface cleaning, humidification and washing, de-acidification and resizing
  • Our Art on Paper pathway to include specialist classes on fixatives and consolidants, pressure sensitive tape removal, sensitive media, parchment, iron gall inks, and an introduction to photographic conservation
  • Our Books and Archival Materials pathway to cover the broad international and historical spectrum of bookbinding and book structures with an emphasis put on acquiring an understanding of bookbinding history
  • Both pathways focus on detailed conservation techniques, and students finish the course by working on a project with one of the many cultural institutions within London

Course units

The first part of the course is a shared introductory unit, which brings together the students from across the 2 pathways. Each student will then focus on one of the individual pathways.

Art on Paper

This pathway focuses on conservation and preservation management of images executed on paper covering a wide range of materials including prints, drawings and watercolours with an emphasis on both conservation practice and theory.

Books and Archival Materials

This pathway focuses on learning structures of different historical styles of books, covering the broad international and historical spectrum of bookbinding and book structures.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Classes in laboratory techniques
  • Essay supervision
  • Independent learning and practice
  • Inductions
  • Laboratory and studio practice
  • Lectures and seminars
  • Specialist classes in paper conservation
  • Supervised execution of conservation project
  • Tutorials

Assessment methods

  • Conservation journal, project proposal and report
  • Essays
  • Oral presentations
  • Participation in seminars
  • Practical work
  • Surveys
  • Symposium presentation and paper
  • Technical documentation
  • Timed examinations


  • Jocelyn Cuming - Course Leader
  • Abigail Bainbridge
  • Vincent Daniels
  • Craig Horsfall
  • Eleni Katsiani
  • Joanna Kosek
  • Professor Nicholas Pickwoad - Head of Ligatus
  • Sonja Schwoll
  • Piers Townsend

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

  • BA (Hons) degree (2:1 or above) or equivalent academic qualification
  • Professional qualifications recognised as equivalent to a BA (Hons) degree
  • Professional experience or experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to the qualifications required
  • A combination of qualifications and experiential learning, which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to the qualifications required
  • Applicants should ideally have experience of working or volunteering in a conservation setting
  • Personal statement
  • A transcript (translated into English if you are an international student)

If English isn’t your first language

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Personal statement

This should be no more than 500 words, outlining your previous experience and reasons for wanting to study MA Conservation.

Applicants must upload their personal statement and transcript using UAL’s online portfolio tool.

Portfolio advice

If you are invited for interview you should bring your portfolio.

Portfolios should demonstrate the following:

  • Intricate handcraft skills or work related to conservation
  • Evidence of good manual dexterity and a high level of aesthetic understanding of the media you are presenting
  • An idea of the above skills. This can include drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, or other craft / fine art skills

Selection criteria

  • A strong interest in conservation and preferably some conservation related experience
  • A good level of manual dexterity as could be demonstrated by art and craft skills or industry experience
  • An ability to self-direct and evaluate your own work
  • An ability to communicate and discuss ideas verbally and in writing
  • An ability to gather, research and use information to support your studies
  • A high level of ambition and motivation to study on the course

Making your application

2019/20 entry

MA Conservation at Camberwell is going through a re-validation process.

If you wish to apply for this course please register your interest.

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£6,590 per year (2017/18 fees). Fees for 2019/20 to be confirmed.

International fee

£14,420 per year (2017/18 fees). Fees for 2019/20 to be confirmed.

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.


Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

Use our search tool to find out more about the scholarships and awards available to students.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

Our MA Conservation graduates progress into a range of career paths within the heritage industry including museum education, curating, exhibition design, tourism, museum studies as well as taking on roles as conservation professionals.


  • Rosie-Faye Fletcher - Paper conservator, Maritime Museum, London
  • Carol Peacock - Conservator of Chinese paintings, British Museum, London

Find out how careers and employability helps our students and graduates start their careers.

View college guides



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