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Master
Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage
Vergelijk

The specialisations that start in the academic year 2024-2025, are:

In 2025-2026 the other five specialisations are open for application:

The practical component for the nine conservation and restoration specialisations focuses on the understanding and preservation of artworks of cultural value, and related 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 are 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.

The programme has a workload of 120 ECTS. For conservation specialisations the programme consist of: 36 ECTS of theory courses, 24 ECTS of courses in the development of conservation skills (lectures/workshops), 30 ECTS of 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: Imaging and documentation
    Period 1
    6
  • Conservation Principles and Practice 1 (per specialisation)
    Period 1
    6
  • Chemistry of Materials in Art
    Period 2
    6
  • Theory, Ethics and Approaches in Technical Art History/Conservation
    Period 2
    6
  • Art Technological Source Research
    Period 3
    6
  • Skill Building for Conservation 2: Approaches to cleaning
    Period 4
    6
  • Conservation Principles and Practice 2 (per specialisation)
    Period 4
    6
  • Skill Building for Conservation 3: Adhering, consolidation and (re-)attachment
    Period 5
    6
  • Conservation Principles and Practice 3 (per specialisation)
    Period 5
    6
  • Preventive Conservation: risk assessment
    Period 6
    6
COURSES SEM 1 SEM 2 SEMESTER 1 SEMESTER 2 EC
  • Skill Building for Conservation 4: Loss compensation and visual reintegration
    Period 1
    6
  • Analytical Tools and Techniques
    Period 1
    6
  • Free-choice elective
    Period 2
    6
  • Conservation Principles and Practice 4 (per specialisation)
    Period 2
    6
  • Programme-specific elective
    Period 3
    6
  • Mechanical properties of Materials in Art
    Period 4
    6
  • Conservation Principles and Practice 5 (per specialisation)
    Period 5
    6
  • Master's Thesis Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage
    Period 4
    Period 5
    Period 6
    18
Compulsory course
Elective
Find All Courses in the UvA Course Catalogue
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 the materials that make up cultural heritage objects, the materials used in conservation treatments, the degradation processes, as well the instrumental techniques available for analysis. 

    In Skill Building Modules 1-4, you learn about conservation approaches and treatments (the theory lectures are given to all specialisations), and learn how to apply this knowledge in small groups during specialised workshops. Such workshops include the photography of objects, the application of different techniques for the removal of degraded surface layers, and if and how missing material and decoration can and/or should be replaced. 

    In the Conservation Principles and Practice Modules 1-5, which are taught to small groups of max. 6 students, you develop the observational and manual skills related to your particular conservation specialisation. Here, you learn to understand the material and historical context of objects, weigh the treatment options and formulate proposals that offer a holistic view on the conservation of heritage objects. This culminates in working on the conservation treatment of actual cultural heritage objects. As the theory of ethics forms an integral part of several module series, attention is given to the ethical foundations of conservation. The development of academic skills emphasizes research and technical analysis skills, good argumentation, and 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 students' insights in cultural heritage, humanities or science and broaden their perspective. They are 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, which follows the Master’s in Conservation and Restoration. No internships are scheduled during the Master’s programme, although conservation projects often take you to heritage institutions. For students in Technical Art History, the Field work module is an opportunity to join a research institute for an on-site project.

  • 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. This may involve object analysis, historical source research, reconstructions of heritage objects or techniques, or a more theoretical focus.

Copyright: UvA
To choose a career in conservation means to embark upon a lifetime journey of discovery and learning. Prof Ella Hendriks

Master’s programme: made up of two parts

The entire programme for becoming a conservator consists of two parts, the two-year Master’s programme and the two-year Advanced Professional Programme. The programme for a technical art historian consists of the two-year Master’s programme only.

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 (APP). APP-admitted students receive a modest grant to cover the tuition fees and living costs.

  • The APP is largely taught in a conservation studio, either in the Atelier Building, Humanities Labs 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). 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 the conservation discipline you chose during your studies at 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. It does not qualify you to be a conservator. You qualify as a conservator by successfully completing the subsequent Advanced Professional Programme.

Frequently Asked Questions