For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
You are using a browser that is no longer supported by Microsoft. Please upgrade your browser. The site may not present itself correctly if you continue browsing.
Master
Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage
Compare programmes

Study programme

If you wish to enrol in this Master’s programme, you apply for one of 10 specialisations: one of nine conservation and restoration specialistions, or the Technical Art History specialisation. Each year, five of our ten specialisations are open for application.

The specialisations that start in the academic year 2023-2024, are:

In 2024-2025 the other five specialisations are open for application:

The practical component for the nine conservation and restoration specialisations focuses on the preservation of objects of cultural value, including relating research. In the Technical Art History programme, you develop your insight into the composition and making of historical objects in their art historical context, and you develop technical skills in scientific analysis to support your research. Interdisciplinary projects can be part of the programme in all specialisations. All students participate in presentations, lectures and symposia. The Master’s programme concludes with an individual thesis research project.

Students entering this Master’s programme from 2023 onwards will follow a revised programme. This new C&R programme is introduced in phases, starting with year 1 in 2023-2024.

The programme has a workload of 120 ECTS. For conservation specialisations the programme consist of: 36 ECTS theory courses, 24 ECTS courses for conservation skill development (lectures/workshops), 30 ECTS object-based conservation practice training courses; and 18 ECTS thesis. The Technical Art History specialisation has a setup that differs from the schedule below.

COURSES SEM 1 SEM 2 SEMESTER 1 SEMESTER 2 EC
  • Skill Building for Conservation 1: Documentation
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 1
    6
  • Conservation Principles & Practice 1 (per specialisation)
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 1
    6
  • Chemistry and Physics of Materials in Art
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 2
    6
  • Theory, Ethics, Approaches in Conservation
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 2
    6
  • Art Technological Source Research
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 3
    6
  • Skill Building for Conservation 2: Cleaning
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 4
    6
  • Conservation Principles & Practice 2 (per specialisation)
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 4
    6
  • Skill Building for Conservation 3: Adhesion Consolidation
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 5
    6
  • Conservation Principles & Practice 3 (per specialisation)
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 5
    6
  • Preventive Conservation
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 6
    6
COURSES SEM 1 SEM 2 SEMESTER 1 SEMESTER 2 EC
  • Skill Building for Conservation 4: Visual reintegration
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 1
    6
  • Analytical Techniques & Tools
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 1
    6
  • Free-choice elective
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 2
    6
  • Conservation Principles & Practice 4 (per specialisation)
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 2
    6
  • Programme-specific elective
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 3
    6
  • Physics & Materials in Art
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 4
    6
  • Conservation Principles & Practice 5 (per specialisation)
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 5
    6
  • Master's thesis
    4—6
    18
The curriculum in more detail
  • Core courses

    The core courses within the conservation specialisations of the Master’s in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage teach you an interdisciplinary approach to the investigation, analysis and preservation of heritage objects. The science modules provide you with conservation-specific insights into the chemistry and physics of materials present in cultural heritage objects and used in conservation treatments, into their degradation as well as into the instrumental techniques available for their analysis. 

    In Skill Building Modules 1-4, you learn about conservation treatments (theory in lectures for all specialisations combined) and apply this knowledge in small groups in specialised workshops. For example, you learn to photograph objects, to apply different techniques for the removal of degraded surface layers, and you learn to use different methods and materials to a loss. 

    In Conservation Principles and Practice Modules 1-5, taught per small group of max. 6 students, you develop the observational and manual skills related to your particular conservation specialisation. Here, you learn to weigh treatment options, formulate proposals that offer a holistic view on the conservation of heritage objects, work on the conservation treatment of actual cultural heritage objects. Dedicated attention goes to the ethical foundations of conservation, ethics being an integral part of several module series. Academic skill development emphasizes argumentation, research and technical analysis skills, academic writing and presenting. 

  • Electives

    Students can choose an elective of 6 ECTS  from the wide range of electives offered by the UvA and other Dutch universities. Electives contribute to the student’s insights in cultural heritage, humanities or science, broaden their perspectives and are usually offered by other disciplines such as archaeology, computational science and philosophy. In addition, the programme offers students a choice of 6 ECTS programme-specific electives in their second year. 

  • Internship

    The programme for conservation students includes a long internship during the Advanced Professional Programme that follows the Master’s in Conservation and Restoration. No mandatory internships are scheduled during the Master’s, however conservation projects often take you to heritage institutions. 

  • Thesis

    You write a thesis of 18 ECTS in the second year of the Master’s. The research topic will be determined in consultation with your thesis supervisor (a  conservation and restoration lecturer). Theses typically focus on a particular object or group of objects. They may involve object analysis, historical source research, reconstructions of heritage objects or techniques, or they may have a more theoretical focus. 

    Master's theses by Conservation and Restoration graduates from previous years

Master’s programme: made up of three parts

The entire programme for becoming a conservator-restorer consists of three parts:

  • A Bachelor’s degree certificate in humanities or (social) science is required for entering the Master’s programme. Students enrolled in a Bachelor’s programme can follow a minor in Conservation and Restoration (30 ECTS). Completing the minor is a pro, but not mandatory. Students with a Bachelor’s degree in applied arts are not directly eligible and are advised to consult a study adviser to discuss their options;
  • The two-year Master's programme;
  • A two-year Advanced Professional Programme (for all specialisations except Technical Art History).

Advanced Professional Programme

With the exception of graduates from the Technical Art History specialisation, students who have completed the Master’s degree in Conservation and Restoration can apply for the Advanced Professional Programme. Admitted students will receive a modest grant  to cover the tuition fees and living costs.

  • The Advanced Professional Programme (APP) is largely taught in a conservation studio, either in the Atelier Building or in external studios. It consists of conservation practice modules in which the trainee conservator-restorer takes part in conservation and research projects, studying with increasing independence.
  • In supportive modules during the first year of the APP students further develop their academic skills and gain advanced knowledge on relevant topics (analytical techniques, specialist conservation skills, business management, conservation ethics, writing scientific papers). Some of these are taught for the entire year group, others within the specialisms. In the second year of the APP, a three-month independent research project is conducted, followed by an eight-month internship period.
  • Upon completion of the APP, you will have satisfied the international criteria for conservator-restorers and will be able to establish yourself as an independent conservator-restorer in one of the disciplines taught at the UvA.
  • Currently, only students who have completed the Master’s in Conservation and Restoration at the University of Amsterdam can be admitted to the APP.

Qualification

Completion of the Master’s degree qualifies you as an academic scholar in the field of Technical Art History or in Conservation and Restoration, not as a conservator. You qualify as a conservator only when you also successfully complete the subsequent Advanced Professional Programme.