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Master Historic Conservation

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  • Entry requirements
    Historic Conservation attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities. Applications are welcome from any relevant academic discipline, as well as those in work and seeking continuing professional development. Admission is normally open to those with a good undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent) or other professional qualification relevant to historic conservation, or an appropriate professional background. Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate that their level of English is appropriate to study at postgraduate level. This course requires IELTS level 6 (preferably 6.5) in the academic test, with a minimum score of 6 in reading and writing. For TOEFL the required score is 550-575 (paper-based) or 213-232 (computer-based), with a score of 4.5 in the Test of Written English (TWE).
  • Academic Title
    MSc / PGDip / PGCert Historic Conservation
  • Course description
    MSc / PGDip / PGCert

    The course is recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC)

    The MSc in Historic Conservation examines the principles, procedures and practices of the preservation and conservation of historic structures and sites within the context of the wider built environment and the town planning process. By enhancing research, analytical and prescriptive capabilities in conservation, graduates from the course are well qualified to assist the research, conservation and enhancement of the built environment.

    The course follows the International Commission on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) guidelines on education and training, is multidisciplinary and develops knowledge and skills in historic conservation and independent study and research capabilities. The teaching programme covers the knowledge, skills and professional capabilities identified by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) as the foundation for professional practice.

    The course is taught at Oxford Brookes University and at the Department of Continuing Education, University of Oxford and is recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC).
    Course content

    The course is offered at three levels: a master's degree (MSc), a postgraduate diploma (PGDip) and a postgraduate certificate (PGCert).

    Compulsory modules for the MSc and PGDip in Historic Conservation:

        * Conservation and Regeneration: Theory, Law and Practice focuses on the various theoretical and practical concepts in the field of conservation and heritage and the different values and interests that they reflect. It also examines the relevance of these concepts and values to operational practice in the conservation and regeneration of the built environment. It critically examines the politics and philosophy of conservation underpinning present policies and practice, including those relating to sustainability and reuse of built resources. The module provides an introduction and critical examination of the legal measures that exist to preserve and enhance the historic environment and a review of how these powers may operate in practice. It examines the public policy framework to achieve implementation of conservation and regeneration objectives and the agencies involved in the process.
        * Building Construction and Repair examines the properties of traditional materials and their supply, selection and use in conservation. It also discusses the process of decay of traditional materials, methods of repair, structural principles in relation to historic buildings, environmental factors affecting historic fabric and modern interventions into historic buildings.
        * Historic Building Analysis and Recording is a skill-based module enabling you to develop expertise in understanding the special architectural and historical characteristics of a particular site, building, or group of buildings and to develop techniques for their representation through research, measurement, drawing and recording.
        * Historical  Studies I and II are linked modules taught in consecutive semesters. Module I 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 16th century. Module II continues the themes introduced in Historical Studies I and analyses the major architectural developments and their influences in England from the 16th century to the present day.
        * Design for Conservation is intended to enable students to develop a critical understanding of the processes involved in design management and brief formulation in the context of historic conservation. It enables students to develop skills of analysis of historic townscape, understand basic principles of urban design and formulate design guidance and codes for sensitive historic areas. The module develops students' skills in critical analysis of existing or proposed buildings, preparing design briefs for sites in historic areas and presenting design concepts.
        * Conservation Economics  provides an introduction to financial and economic aspects specific to the conservation and regeneration of historic buildings and areas including funding, development appraisal and the particular characteristics of the property market relating to historic buildings and areas.

    The MSc in Historic Conservation also requires:

        * Research Methods (Design), which provides a critical knowledge of methods and skills of research and their application to investigative work that informs conservation and design.
        * MSc Dissertation, which is an individual research study of 15,000-20,000 words. It reveals abilities to define and research an issue or problem of relevance to the discipline of historic conservation.

    The PGCert comprises Conservation and Regeneration, Building Construction and Repair, and Historic Building Analysis and Recording (details as above).
    Teaching, learning and assessment

    Teaching and learning methods reflect the variety of topics and techniques associated with historic conservation. These include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, and practical and project work. Most modules also include site visits and/or fieldwork, which provide students with direct experience of the practical application of conservation principles.

    Assessment is 100% coursework-based.

    Quality

    The School of the Built Environment received a 4 (out of 5*) in the last Research Assessment Exercise, and the Historic Conservation team has an excellent record of research for organisations such as the EU, English Heritage and DCMS.

    Teaching staff are drawn from the School of the Built Environment and Oxford University Department of Continuing Education. Visiting speakers from central and local government, conservation agencies, business and industry, consultancies, research bodies and other university departments provide further input bringing that real-world experience to the course.

    The course is recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC).

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