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COURSE TITLE Master of Science in Conservation of Decorative Architectural Surfaces








Second Cycle

Level 7

4 Semesters



This multidisciplinary course will deal with the conservation of stone and wall paintings and will contain an equal balance of theoretical and practical subjects. Topics to be covered will include: conservation history and ethics; research methods; materials and technology in architectural surfaces and sculpture; composition and properties of building and decorative materials; scientific analyses applied to conservation; the deterioration of stone and related building materials; environmental assessment for conservation; issues in the preservation and management of archaeological sites; conservation materials and methods. The course will also include extensive hands on works both in the laboratory and on site carried out both throughout the academic years and as summer placements. A dissertation will be researched and written in the final year of the course.

Prior to the MSc, a preparatory year will be followed and will include science-based topics for students with a humanities background, and arts-based subjects for students with a science background. During this year, other topics to be covered include: documentation for conservation, research methods and traditional materials and technology. Work-in-progress seminars and the development of practical and manual skills will also be given great importance during this preparatory year.

Further details about the preparatory programme are available here.
LEARNING OUTCOMES At the end of the course of studies, the graduate will be expected to demonstrate the following:

a) Subject Knowledge and understanding

- show that they have a clear understanding of what the practice of the conservation of cultural heritage entails through discussions, seminars, presentations and reports
- evaluate and practically demonstrate a variety of methods for examination, analysis, documentation and conservation of materials relative to their field
- be able to document, analyse and record the state of conservation of architectural surfaces

b) Intellectual development

- demonstrate the use of critical and ethical evaluation in choosing courses of action regarding the conservation of architectural surfaces, especially when faced with complex problems or unpredictable situations
- reflect critically on conservation practice, including their own
- demonstrate self-direction and scientific rigour in tackling and solving conservation related problems

c) Key / transferable skills

- demonstrate the ability to work independently according to the highest ethical standards, and according to negotiated deadlines
- carry out a professionally designed conservation treatment on a complex surface using the principles of minimum intervention, retreatability and reversibility where applicable
- produce professional quality conservation reports for presentation to professionals in the same or related fields
- show the ability to continue to develop their manual skills and advance their theoretical knowledge and understanding of conservation treatments

d) Other skills relevant to employability and personal development

- discuss their work with peers and justify courses of action recommended
- communicate effectively the chosen paths of action to other conservation professionals and clients.
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES AND ACCESS TO FURTHER STUDY Because of the multidisciplinary nature of conservation, the postgraduate course will offer job opportunities in a diverse range of professions within the conservation and management of cultural heritage. This includes in particular the ability to practice as a professional hands-on conservator. In addition, graduates with a first degree in science may wish to continue their career in conservation science, whilst those from the humanities may wish to embark on a managerial career in heritage organisations. Such specialised professions are greatly lacking in Malta, whilst abroad, the Mediterranean offers many such opportunities due to the wealth of cultural heritage it offers.
COURSE INTENDED FOR This course is aimed at attracting graduates from the sciences, humanities and from those already in the field of conservation. These can be accommodated in this postgraduate course because of the inclusion of a one year common preparatory programme which will bring the graduates up to par in the topics with which they are less familiar (science graduates doing subjects from the humanities and vice versa). The course is a challenging and wide ranging one, focusing on developing professionals with highly transferable skills. It is not expected that the candidates will have previous experience in the field of conservation (though persons with such skills can also be accommodated in the course), but a serious commitment to the subject is required.
The Course shall be open to applicants in possession of:

(a) a Bachelor degree in Conservation and Restoration Studies from this University obtained with at least Second Class (Honours) or

(b) a Bachelor degree from this University obtained with at least Second Class (Honours) or Category II in a discipline related to Archaeology, History of Art, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Architecture or Engineering or

(c) qualifications deemed by Senate, on the recommendation of the Board, to be comparable to the qualifications listed in paragraph (a) or (b). The admission of applicants under this bye-law may be made conditional on the results of an assessment as the Board may deem appropriate.

Preparatory Programme

Applicants registering under paragraph (b) and, if necessary, (c) shall be required to successfully complete a preparatory programme comprising 60 ECTS credits, with an overall average mark of 55% or better, prior to their registration as regular students on the Course.

The admission requirements are applicable for courses commencing in October 2013.

For more detailed information pertaining to admission and progression requirements please refer to the bye-laws for the course available here.



Last Updated: 24 March 2016
The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
Unless for exceptional approved reasons, no changes to the programme of study for a particular academic year will be made once the students' registration period for that academic year begins.

For applicable fees please check the link on the Finance Office webpage.

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