MSc Building Conservation

Delivered by the Weald and Downland Living Museum and validated by the University of York

Please note: the course runs part-time on a 2-year calendar. Applications open in the Autumn 2024 for the 2025-2027 cohort.

How to Apply

Visit our MSc Applications page for details on the application process and entry requirements.

Need More Information?

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About the Course

“The Weald & Downland Living Museum provides a unique learning environment attracting students from a wide range of backgrounds. One of the most rewarding aspects of my role is seeing students graduate and go on to forge successful careers in building conservation, some even return as lecturers to pass on their knowledge to successive students. It is this fusion of people, place and skills that inspires and enables our students to develop the expertise needed to protect and conserve our built heritage for future generations.”
Kevin Stubbs, MSc Senior Programme Leader

Over the past 30 years, the conservation of historic buildings has gained great importance in the building and heritage industries both in the UK and overseas, leading to increased demand for specialist conservators and project managers.

Established in 1992, our MSc in Building Conservation is suitable for students and mid-career professionals seeking to develop or enhance an academic or professional specialism in the conservation of buildings. Previous students have gone on to become specialist conservation architects, surveyors, engineers, heritage project managers and crafts people.

The MSc Building Conservation is fully recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC). Successful completion of the MSc reduces the requirement for relevant experience for those seeking full membership of the IHBC from five years to two years. For further details, see

Course Content

The course covers the following topics:

  • Conservation of timber buildings
  • Lime in conservation
  • Conservation of masonry
  • Conservation of metals
  • Conservation of fixtures and finishes
  • Conservation of 20th century buildings
  • Conservation legislation
  • Organising and planning conservation projects
  • An overview of the history and development of heritage structures
  • A personal research project – dissertation

Its comprehensive content covers all the areas of competency required for IHBC recognition thus providing students with the best possible support for attaining IHBC membership.

Course Structure

The course consists of six taught modules plus one dissertation module taken over a 2-year period.

The six taught modules run for 5 days (Wednesday to Sunday), allowing students to balance work and other commitments. Module 7 consists of research, which is presented for examination as a dissertation.

Teaching & Delivery

Teaching takes place at the Weald & Downland Living Museum and consists of lectures, seminars and workshops. Learning is further enhanced through site visits and hands-on experience of materials and processes where possible.

All taught modules include contributions from leading practitioners in the field and ample time for discussion with these experts.

The course leader, and MSc Senior Programme Leader, Kevin Stubbs, is a Historic Building Consultant with over 50 years’ experience working with heritage structures, and has a background in archaeology and education.


Teaching takes places in the unique and beautiful surroundings of the Weald & Downland Living Museum. The Museum offers an inspiring learning environment with over 50 re-erected historic buildings and over 15,000 artefacts in its stores. In addition, there is a comprehensive reference and lending Museum Library that supports the nationally designated collection of historic buildings. Students can also access electronic library resources at the University of York. Our practical workshops are the located in the upper levels of the innovative Downland Gridshell building, whose lower levels house the rural life tools and artefacts collection.

2025-2027 Intake

Induction days: TBC

Course starts: TBC


Assessment for the six taught modules consists entirely of coursework. The assignments address problems and simulate tasks likely to be encountered in the professional environment.

To gain the MSc students must also successfully complete a dissertation of 15,000 words based on their research into an approved topic.


The fees for the 2025-27 MSc course  – TBC

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