Taught course

Conservation of Wall Painting

Courtauld Institute of Art · Courtauld Institute of Art

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Entry requirements

Candidates should normally: have at least an upper second honours degree, or an international equivalent recognised by the University of London in an appropriate subject in the humanities or sciences; be able to demonstrate manual dexterity; have normal colour vision; be competent in the English language to a recognised international standard. An appropriate subject is interpreted broadly, since diversity of prior education is highly desirable in this multidisciplinary field involving so much teamwork. Previous conservation experience is not required, though some understanding of the nature of wall painting conservation is desirable.

Months of entry


Course content

The Courtauld is one of the leading centres in the world for education and research in wall painting conservation. Over the last 30 years, the Conservation of Wall Painting Department has had a major impact on the evolution of the discipline and the care of wall paintings globally. A considerable part of this impact derives from the Master’s programme that aims to ensure the improved care of wall paintings through providing appropriate education in their conservation.

Governed by the philosophy of minimal intervention and an interdisciplinary approach, the education seeks to impart a methodology that emphasises investigation and analysis of component materials and techniques, and diagnosis and control of the causes of deterioration. This aids design of a preventive, passive or remedial conservation strategy that is in line with accepted professional practice, and respects the integrity and significance of the object and its context.

The programme seeks to provide the student with a strong foundation in all aspects of wall painting conservation.
On completion of the programme the student will be able to:

  • contribute to the assessment of the significance of the painting and its context;
  • examine and assess the original and later materials of both the painting and its support and the implications these have for deterioration and intervention;
  • identify relevant factors of deterioration and evaluate the likely effects on the painting of measures proposed for their control;
  • contribute to the design and implementation of a programme of conservation which may include: preventative measures; passive measures; emergency and protective interventions; remedial treatments; and design and implement monitoring and maintenance programmes;
  • produce full written, graphic and photographic documentation; participate in the development of the profession, for instance through the presentation and publication of papers.

On graduation, students join a long list of Courtauld alumni who have gone on to have a major impact in the conservation of wall paintings and other aspects of cultural heritage across the world by working for heritage organisations, universities and in private roles.

About eight students are accepted on each course and applicants from different academic and geographical backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Previous experience in the field is not required.

This programme accepts new students once every three years. The next intake will be for the 2019-20 academic year.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Admissions