Sustainable Building Conservation (MSc) Part-time

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)-approved and Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) accredited course aims to be unique amongst schools in Britain.

The course, which is offered on both a part-time and a full-time basis, aims to be unique amongst schools in Britain in two ways. Firstly, the teaching offers a design-based iterative element, thereby testing the formulation of informed decisions. Secondly, it places emphasis on the role of sustainability within the historic context at both technical and strategic levels. By using the Welsh School of Architecture’s established expertise as a research locus for sustainable design, it addresses these concerns which have been identified internationally by ICOMOS as the critical future direction of conservation education.

The course seeks to attract a broad range of students with varied levels of experience in professional practice who share an interest in the conservation of architecture, urbanism and the environment. Candidates may be graduates with a degree in architecture and/or RIBA part 2 exemption embarking on their professional careers or have been professionals in practice for some time seeking to refine or augment their career paths.

Who is the programme for?

This programme is designed for graduates who want to pursue a career in this area and whose first degree was in a related area such as Engineering, Planning, Architecture, Archaeology, Surveying or Construction. It is also open to people who may have equivalent experience in the construction industry or in heritage management.

Current students come from backgrounds in Architecture, Planning, Surveying, Construction, Archaeology and Fine Art Conservation. Many are employed in Local Authorities or Private Practice, some run their own businesses as conservation contractors, project managers or architects. We also have students who are recent graduates. The diversity of skills and experience amongst the students is key to the vitality of discussion, reflecting the complex nature of practice in this area.

In summary, the course aims to:

  • Broaden career opportunities by enabling qualified architects and other specialist disciplines to gain expertise in conservation leading towards professional accreditation.
  • Augment students' current expertise and prepare them for critical professional challenges by developing skills to assert detailed and strategic responses to complex issues regarding building conservation in the context of a sustainable agenda.
  • Ensure students possess the requisite knowledge but also to know where to refer for advice in order to take responsibility when making reasoned decisions in relation to multifaceted conservation issues.
  • Use project based iterative learning techniques using case studies in order to develop a clear understanding of relevant legislative frameworks.
  • Enable students to develop autonomous judgments of appropriateness regarding responses to the historic built environment.

Distinctive features

The course is both RIBA approved and IHBC accredited. Completion of the RIBA approved course for RIBA and ARB registered Architects entitles them to apply to become 'Conservation Registrants' immediately. As an RIBA approved course, it reduces the number of years in practice required to be entitled to apply for registration as 'Specialist Conservation Architect' to 4 years (from 5) and 2 years (from 3) for 'Conservation Architect'. Completion of the IHBC accredited course enables suitably qualified candidates to achieve full IHBC accreditation in 2 as opposed to 5 years.

As a part of the fourth module, students are taken to Rome for a two day intensive visit during which we meet with tutors from the 2nd level International Masters in Architectural Restoration and Cultural Heritage at Roma TRE University. Travel to Rome, entrance fees and accommodation are covered in the course fee but travel to and from the UK airport is not.

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration2 years
QualificationMSc
ModePart-time
Other ways to study this course
Admission Tutor contact(s)

Admissions criteria

Candidates must satisfy the Cardiff University General Entrance Requirements and in addition, will normally possess an initial degree in the discipline of Architecture, Surveying, Archaeology, Planning, Facilities Management, or related subjects.

At the discretion of the Board of Studies, non-graduates whose relative lack of formal qualifications is compensated for by their relevant work experience may also be admitted to candidature.

Students whose first language is not English are normally expected to take the IELTS (or equivalent) and obtain an average score of at least 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any individual component.

Students are anticipated to come from Architectural, Planning or Surveying backgrounds as well as wider related fields of Facilities Management and Project Management and may have varied qualifications or experience. It is anticipated that many will be mature students and as such eligibility will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Potential students will be interviewed as part of the admissions process. Admissions decisions are made on a continuous basis throughout the year.

Applications can be made for this course via our Online Application Service.

 Application Deadline: 1 September 2017 (for 2017/18 entry)

The programme is offered on both a full-time and a part-time basis. The taught modules are all delivered over six two-day sessions per year thereby attracting part-time candidates who are employed in full-time practice. Part-time students will complete three modules (i.e. 60 credits) in the first year and two modules in the second year. They will be given until the following December to submit their dissertation module.

Year one

 Part time students will complete three modules (i.e. 60 credits) in the first year.

Module titleModule codeCredits
The Conservator's RoleART50120 credits
Tools of InterpretationART50220 credits
Energy Use in Historic BuildingsART50320 credits

Year two

 Part time students will complete two module in the second year. They will be given until the following December to submit their dissertation module.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Case Studies and Regional WorkART50440 credits
Design Tools: Methods of RepairART50520 credits
DissertationART50660 credits

Additional module information

Module calendar 2017-18

Enrolment week and general induction Week commencing 25th September

Induction 6th October

Module 1: The Conservator’s Role
19th & 20th October

9th & 10th November

Module 2: Tools of interpretation
30th November & 1st December

18th & 19th January

Module 3: Energy Use in Historic Buildings
8th & 9th February

22nd and 23rd February

Module 4: Case Studies and Regional Work
26th & 27th October

16th & 17th November

1st & 2nd February (Rome trip)

8th & 9th March

Module 5: Design Tools: Methods of Repair
7th & 8th December

11th & 12th January

Module 6: Dissertation
22nd and 23rd March

 

 

 

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

The taught material is largely delivered by a range of specially selected guest speakers, all prestigious within their particular field. The speaker’s presentation is followed by lively debate and discussion with the group, taking the opportunity to learn from a range of perspectives. We undertake several relevant site visits during the course of the programme, engaging with practitioners, clients and statutory authorities.

Resources and Facilities

The Welsh School of Architecture has a strong reputation in sustainable design research which forms a point of reference in the programme. The School possesses its own laser scanner and students are all introduced to methods of digital documentation including structure from motion and terrestrial laser scanning techniques. Software skills including principles of hygrothermal modelling and energy use modelling are also introduced. If they are interested they are supported in further study of monitoring techniques.

Tutors

The course is led by Dr Oriel Prizeman, an RIBA accredited specialist conservation architect. It is co-ordinated with help from Andrew Faulkner, a practising AABC accredited Conservation Architect and SPAB Lethaby Scholar. Chris Whitman, an architect pursuing a PhD in the sustainable retrofit of timber framed buildings acts as deputy course leader. The majority of the seminars are delivered by external experts invited according to their specialism.

How will I be supported?

All of our students are allocated a personal tutor when they enrol on the course. A personal tutor is there to support you during your studies, and can advise you on academic and personal matters that may be affecting you. You should have regular meetings with your personal tutor to ensure that you are fully supported.

You will have access to the Architecture Library, as well as to materials in the other Cardiff University Libraries.

We also support students through the University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central, where you can ask questions in a forum or find course-related documents.

We encourage all of our postgraduate students to engage in personal development. At the start of the course we will introduce you to available opportunities for personal and professional development and again at major stages of the course.

Cardiff University also offers a wide range of support services which are open to our students, such as the Graduate Centre, counselling and wellbeing, financial and careers advisors, the international office and the Student Union.

Feedback

We offer written and oral feedback, depending on the coursework or assessment you have undertaken. You will usually receive your feedback from the module leader. If you have questions regarding your feedback, module leaders are usually happy to give advice and guidance on your progress.


 

 

How will I be assessed?

Each piece of work or report is assessed at an outline stage and at completion stage, with feedback given to guide future submissions. There are no class tests or exams during the programme, however, students are required to submit written and project work on time and also on occasion to be able to present their work orally to the group.

The course briefs are designed to enable students from differing backgrounds to pursue paths relevant to their chosen or existing career progression.

Each 20-credit module is assessed via a combination of written assignments (4,000 words approx. each) and presentations.

 

What skills will I practise and develop?

 On satisfactory completion of six modules you will:

  • Be able to rapidly expand the scope and range of professional work they are able to undertake, thereby increasing their fee earning potential and broadening their economic sustainability in the marketplace.
  • Be able to adopt an integrated conservation approach to climate change and the low carbon agenda. In this respect, graduates of the programme will have a unique qualification.
  • Be eligible to enhance their prospects for Building Conservation accreditation as outlined above.
  • Have developed a practical knowledge and theoretical understanding of building conservation in legislative, technical and holistic terms that will enable her/him to address relevant projects with autonomy and effectiveness.
  • Be able to balance and articulate in practical and conceptual terms the circumstances of change and the values of the physical environment and to construct effective strategies to address such problems.

I was able to study the MSc in Sustainable Building Conservation after receiving a scholarship from Chevening and Cardiff University Partnership. The course is the perfect balance between practice and theory. Every lecture was with a different professional from diverse fields, enriching our debates and adding a multidisciplinary approach within the architectural and heritage world. The study trips and workshops contributed to my hands-on experience but also made me realise how Wales is astonishing and rich in terms of heritage, castles, and culture. Cardiff is a welcoming city with lovely people and food from every corner of the world.

Millena Moreira Fontes, MSc Sustainable Building Conservation

The course is both RIBA approved and IHBC accredited. Completion of the RIBA approved course for RIBA and ARB registered Architects entitles them to apply to become 'Conservation Registrants' immediately. As an RIBA approved course, it reduces the number of years in practice required to be entitled to apply for registration as 'Specialist Conservation Architect' to 4 years (from 5) and 2 years (from 3) for 'Conservation Architect'. Completion of the IHBC accredited course enables suitably qualified candidates to achieve full IHBC accreditation in 2 as opposed to 5 years.

Experienced professionals are provided with an opportunity to adjust their career path by gaining specialised expertise in an area of practice that increasingly demands proof of capability. Recent graduates are offered the chance to focus the skills and credentials they can offer to prospective employers or indeed to lay foundations in a specialised area in which they may choose to start up their own businesses.

Our students have gone on to be employed by the National Trust, the Planning Inspectorate, to be promoted within local authorities and to set up new divisions in their practices and businesses.

‘My course at the Welsh School of Architecture offered a unique opportunity to study conservation and sustainability within a practical design context, and I am indebted to Dr Oriel Prizeman for her continued support and encouragement. In my last year at Cardiff I was fortunate to be offered a fully funded EPSRC PhD research post – a rare opportunity to extend my studies in the conservation of coastal heritage. I am delighted to be awarded the Gus Astley Prize for 2016, and delighted to have the opportunity to attend the Annual School in 2017. My thanks to the IHBC for their generous award’.

Hilary Wyatt, PhD Researcher at Cardiff

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Additional costs

The School covers the cost of everything that is an essential part of the programme, this will be clearly detailed in all programme information and in any verbal instructions given by tutors.

The University considers that the following costs do not need to be covered by schools as they are either not essential or are basic costs that a student should be expected to cover themselves:

  • Laptop computers
  • Calculators
  • General stationery
  • Text books (assumed to be available in the library)
  • Basic copying / printing

If there are optional costs/fees to be covered by the student, these are not a requirement to pass the degree.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

We will provide any equipment that is essential to the course. However, we recommend that you bring a laptop computer with appropriate software (e.g. word processing), USB or a hard drive, general stationery and a tape measure. We will provide basic personal protection equipment, however, students may wish to bring their own hard hats, high visibility jackets and protective footwear for site visits.

During the course, you will have access to the specialist Architecture Library, and other University libraries, and study spaces across campus. Within the School, you may use our computing suite and other facilities which include a digital laser scanner and a hygrothermal modelling software.

 

Students on a fieldtrip in Rome.
Students on our 2-day intensive fieldtrip to Rome during which we meet with tutors from the second level International Masters in Architectural Restoration and Cultural Heritage at Roma TRE University.

 There are numerous site visits during the course travel and entry costs are covered by the course fee in addition to the Rome visit mentioned above.