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Conservation and restoration: theory and practice

Conservators collaborate closely with scientists, (technical) art historians, archaeologists and anthropologists to preserve cultural heritage objects, serving as a vital connection with art and heritage works and playing a pivotal role in multidisciplinary projects. Technical art historians investigate the materials, techniques and production methods that went into the making of cultural heritage objects.  

The curriculum covers conservation theory and conservation science, together with the specialised research and practical skills needed for both the investigation of cultural heritage objects, and the conservation of such objects (for conservation specialisations). You will gain expertise in assessing an artefact’s condition, exploring the manufacturing methods, and understanding causes of decay while performing hands-on object investigation, developing skills in conservation decision-making and treatment. The programme is taught by renowned (inter)national experts in UvA’s own conservation studios.

Why Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage at the UvA?

Extensive heritage network

The programme collaborates closely with national and international heritage institutions and museums, providing valuable networking opportunities throughout your education.

Unique locations

Practicals take place in two main locations: the UvA’s conservation studios at the Atelier Building (near the Museumplein), which is also home to two prominent cultural heritage institutions, and the Humanities Labs.

A practical programme

Practicals are taught in small groups in a conservation studio, where you examine and conserve real cultural heritage objects. The balance of theory and practice is approximately 50%.

Choose your specialisations

On application, the student selects one of nine specialisations in Conservation or chooses the Technical Art History track. Tracks are offered in alternating years.

Is Conservation and Restoration right for you?

  1. You want to understand and assess the historical context and condition of objects of cultural value and identify possible causes of decay.
  2. You have a passion for both the theoretical and practical aspects of art conservation.
  3. You have a deep interest in caring for cultural heritage.
  4. You have very good hand and observational skills.
Discover Conservation and Restoration

In this video, teachers and a student of the Master’s in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage share their experiences with this study programme at the UvA.

Specialising in conservation or technical art history

Right from the outset, you have the unique opportunity to choose one of the nine branches of specialisation offered within Conservation or the separate track of Technical Art History. Each of these areas of specialisation has its own focus and you will be trained to become an expert in your chosen field from day one. Be aware that the nine conservation specialisations and the separate technical art history track are offered in alternating years.

Becoming a conservator

The Master’s in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage is a two-year programme and marks the first step to becoming a fully qualified conservator. Following the Master’s, you can transition into a two-year Advanced Professional Programme in which you further develop practical experience, expand your scientific knowledge and complete one or more internships to achieve the international level required to work as an independent professional conservator in your field of specialisation. 

Degree certificate

Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage is an accredited Master’s degree programme. Upon successfully completing this programme, you will obtain the legally recognised Master’s degree in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage and the title Master of Science (MSc). With this degree in hand, technical art history students can enter the field (museums/heritage institution) as qualified technical art historians. To qualify as a conservator, in conservation you need to successfully complete the subsequent Advanced Professional Programme.

Facts & Figures
Degree programme
MSc Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage
120 ECTS, 24 months
Language of instruction
Starts in
CROHO code
University Quarter