Care of Collections (MSc)
- Duration: 1 year
- Mode: Full time
Why study this course
Exceptional training in preventive conservation and the management of cultural and heritage collections.
Benefit from exceptional training in preventive conservation and the management of cultural and heritage collections.
Taught by internationally-recognised experts in the field.
Designed with entry to the heritage profession in mind, our stimulating MSc Care of Collections programme embodies elements of art and science tailored for a career in this highly rewarding field.
Taught by accredited practitioners respected worldwide, you will become adept in the skills essential for a heritage career. These include understanding of management strategies for the analysis of organisations in context and for planning and managing change, and recognising and utilising influence techniques. Twinned with a heritage organisation in the UK, you’ll experience collection management and operation first-hand, putting into practice newly acquired skills in project design and report writing to real-world benefit.
Through the teaching and assessments, you will be encouraged to develop an understanding of the factors impacting on the care and use of cultural heritage collections and apply those lessons to real world contexts with consideration for sustainable practice.
Your strong interest in the subject is a given, but our internationally respected entry-level programme does not anticipate a high level of scientific knowledge, making it ideal for those from humanities and science backgrounds.
Celebrating the centenary of Archaeology and Conservation in 2020, we’re ranked in the world top 150 (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020) while our research ranked 12th among archaeology departments in the UK (Research Excellence Framework 2014).
Where you'll study
Curious about the human experience across millennia and cultures, we are seeking to better understand our past, to illuminate our present and improve our future.
This degree is suitable for graduates in Archaeology, History, Ancient History, Conservation and Heritage and the Sciences.
Applicants should normally possess a higher education degree with a first or good upper second class Honours (UK), or a qualification recognised by the University as equivalent to this.
Applicants with a first language other than English: You must demonstrate a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (with at least 6.0 in any sub-score) or equivalent.
If you have an arts based degree you must supply evidence of the highest level of education within science that you have achieved. Evidence of an interest in or commitment to the cultural heritage sector will strengthen an application.
We welcome applications year-round but to commence your studies in any given year (starting September), you must submit your application by 1st August.
Find out more about English language requirements.
Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.
You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.
If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:
- access to computers or devices that can store images
- use of internet and communication tools/devices
- freedom of movement, including the ability to travel to outside of the UK or to undertake a placement/studies outside of Cardiff University
- contact with people related to Cardiff University.
You take a total of 180 credits of modules, consisting of:
• 40 credits of core skills modules
And either :
• 80 credits of compulsory modules (for students without a background in Conservation), or
• 40 credits of compulsory modules plus your choice of a further 40 credits of option modules (for students with a conservation background)
Following successful completion of the taught stage you will progress to the dissertation (60 credits).
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Scientific Approach in Conservation Practice||HST341||20 credits|
|Analysis in Heritage Science||HST342||20 credits|
|Collection Care in the Museum Environment||HST343||20 credits|
|Materials in the Museum Environment||HST344||20 credits|
|Postgraduate Skills in Archaeology and Conservation||HST500||20 credits|
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.
Learning and assessment
How will I be taught?
We teach via seminars, lectures and assessed work to combine theoretical knowledge with realistic practical applications, including in partner museum and related heritage organisations.
Teaching usually takes place on Thursdays and Fridays, with additional tutorials and field trips on Wednesdays.
How will I be assessed?
Assessment is via essays, exams, oral presentations and reports, to ensure you develop a broad range of skills, and underpinning knowledge to become adept in communication by the completion of the course.
On successful completion of the taught elements of the programme you progress to a dissertation of up to 20,000 words. This self-regulated year of study is ideal preparation for progression to PhD.
How will I be supported?
On enrolment, you are assigned your own Personal Tutor and provided with teaching and learning resources, including Postgraduate Handbook. Additional specific module resources are made available during the programme.
We offer one-to-one time in set office hours during teaching weeks, and also welcome email contact. Additionally, you can make appointments to see your personal tutor on a one-to-one basis about any issue. Our Professional Services team is also available for advice and support.
Your personal tutor is your contact point to discuss any problems arising from the course. Further queries should be addressed to the School.
Many students choose discursive dissertations but for those preferring laboratory-based projects focused on care of collections there are a wide range of analytical facilities in-house. These include:
- Analytical SEM
- Climatic chambers
- Digital microscopy
- Photographic facilities (featuring dedicated image processing laboratory)
- Computer suite
Discussion of assignments is offered and written feedback is provided on summative assessment. You are encouraged to discuss your ideas with module tutors both in seminars and one-to-one in office hours.
What skills will I practise and develop?
You will acquire a broad range of skills including the ability to:
- talk with conservators and conservation scientists on the decay of objects
- understand simple management strategies for the analysis of organisations in context and for planning and managing change
- understand the role of units of measurement and precision in determining data collection and interpretation
- carry out independent research on specialist subjects
- exercise initiative, personal responsibility and decision-making in complex situations and offer pragmatic evidence based solutions for problems
- recognise and utilise basic influence techniques
- present information in a professional context
- acquire the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development
Students from the UK
|Tuition fee (2021/22)||Deposit|
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals starting in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course.
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees for 2021/22 will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Students from the rest of the world (international)
|Tuition fee (2021/22)||Deposit|
More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.
Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.
We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
Graduates of this programme have embarked on careers within the heritage sector and related professions.
Graduate destinations from the programme include Canadian Conservation Institute, Cynon Valley Museum, Glamorgan Archives, Glamorgan Gwent Archaeology Trust, Gwent Archives, Horniman Museum, National Trust, Self-Employment, The Tate, UK Research and Innovation, Welsh Assembly Government and a range of universities in the UK and overseas.
91% of postgraduates from the School of History, Archaeology and Religion were in employment or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2016/17).