• CollegeCamberwell
  • Start dateNot applicable
  • Course length2 years (full time)

MA Conservation

Course suspended for 2018/19
MA Conservation will not be taking applications for 2018/19 entry. If you are interested in this course please register your interest.

We also have a range of conservation short courses.

MA Conservation at Camberwell College of Arts is a two year course with over 40 years experience in teaching specialist skills and knowledge, and prepares our students for work in specific fields of the conservation world.

Our MA Conservation students benefit from the college’s strong connections to London’s heritage community, which includes The British Library, Kew Gardens, London Museum, London Metropolitan Archives, The National Maritime Museum, Tate, the V&A Museum, The Wellcome Trust and many more.

The course offers two pathways that our students choose to specialise in; Art on Paper and Books and Archival Materials.

Watch the course video

Course Leader Jocelyn Cuming talks about MA Conservation at Camberwell.

Course detail

Content: what students can expect

  • A course that consists of practical studio work where students are introduced to conservation ideas and techniques through taught classes
  • To learn about the science of materials and how they react under different conditions, providing students with an understanding of conservation treatments and a background to preservation management
  • To learn about visual examination and condition documentation, mechanical surface cleaning, humidification and washing, de-acidification and resizing
  • Our Art on Paper pathway to include specialist classes on fixatives and consolidants, pressure sensitive tape removal, sensitive media, parchment, iron gall inks, and an introduction to photographic conservation
  • Our Books and Archival Materials pathway to cover the broad international and historical spectrum of bookbinding and book structures with an emphasis put on acquiring an understanding of bookbinding history
  • During the second year both pathways focus on detailed conservation techniques, and students finish the course by working on a project with one of the many cultural institutions within London


The first part of the course is a shared introductory unit, which brings together the students from across the two pathways. Each student will then focus on one of the individual pathways.

Art on Paper

This pathway focuses on conservation and preservation management of images executed on paper covering a wide range of materials including prints, drawings and watercolours with an emphasis on both conservation practice and theory.

Books and Archival Materials

This pathway focuses on learning structures of different historical styles of books, covering the broad international and historical spectrum of bookbinding and book structures.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Classes in laboratory techniques
  • Essay supervision
  • Independent learning and practice
  • Inductions
  • Laboratory and studio practice
  • Lectures and seminars
  • Specialist classes in paper conservation
  • Supervised execution of conservation project
  • Tutorials

Assessment methods

  • Conservation journal, project proposal and report
  • Essays
  • Oral presentations
  • Participation in seminars 
  • Practical work
  • Surveys
  • Symposium presentation and paper
  • Technical documentation
  • Timed examinations


  • Jocelyn Cuming - Course Leader
  • Abigail Bainbridge
  • Vincent Daniels
  • Craig Horsfall
  • Eleni Katsiani

How to apply

All applicants can apply for this course using our online application form.

Further information about the application process

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • CV (curriculum vitae)

Once you have submitted the form you will receive a confirmation email.

You will be emailed a link to our online application tool, where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

  • Personal statement
  • Reference
  • Transcript (translated into English if you are an international students)

The course leader will review your work, may invite you to interview, and will then make a decision on your application.

Please note:

We will send you emails throughout the application process that will contain important information about your application. Please check your inbox.

We will contact you separately to ask for copies of certain documents. For example, your English language certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas.

Entry requirements

  • BA (Hons) degree (2:1 or above) or equivalent academic qualification
  • Professional qualifications recognised as equivalent to a BA (Hons) degree
  • Professional experience or experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to the qualifications required
  • A combination of qualifications and experiential learning, which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to the qualifications required
  • Applicants should ideally have experience of working or volunteering in a conservation setting
  • Personal statement 
  • A reference
  • A transcript (translated into English if you are an international student)

If English isn’t your first language

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Personal statement

This should be no more than 500 words, outlining your previous experience and reasons for wanting to study MA Conservation.

Reference guidance

  • One reference is required
  • Your referee should be able to comment on your ability to succeed on the course
  • Applicants must upload their reference, personal statement and transcript using UAL’s online portfolio tool

Portfolio advice

If you are invited for interview you should bring your portfolio.

Portfolios should demonstrate the following:

  • Intricate handcraft skills or work related to conservation
  • Evidence of good manual dexterity and a high level of aesthetic understanding of the media you are presenting
  • An idea of the above skills. This can include drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, or other craft / fine art skills

What we look for

  • A strong interest in conservation and preferably some conservation related experience
  • A good level of manual dexterity as could be demonstrated by art and craft skills or industry experience
  • An ability to self-direct and evaluate your own work
  • An ability to communicate and discuss ideas verbally and in writing
  • An ability to gather, research and use information to support your studies
  • A high level of ambition and motivation to study on the course

Deferred entry

This course will give consideration to deferred entry application.

Fees and funding

Home / EU fee

£6,590 per year (2017/18 fees).

International fee

£14,420 per year (2017/18 fees).

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) fee - Home / EU students whose chosen course is at a level equivalent to, or lower than, a qualification that they already hold, will be charged the fees shown above, plus an additional £1,100 ELQ fee. Students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are exempt from ELQ fees and will pay the original fee, regardless of the highest qualification held.


Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

Our MA Conservation graduates progress into a range of career paths within the heritage industry including museum education, curating, exhibition design, tourism, museum studies as well as taking on roles as Conservation professionals.


  • Rosie-Faye Fletcher - Paper conservator at the Maritime Museum, London
  • Carol Peacock - Conservator of Chinese paintings at the British Museum, London