Taught course

Historic Conservation

Oxford Brookes University · School of the Built Environment

Entry requirements

Historic Conservation attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities. Applications are welcome from any relevant academic discipline, as well as those in work and seeking continuing professional development. Admission is normally open to those with a good undergraduate honours degree (2.1 or equivalent) or other professional qualification relevant to historic conservation, or an appropriate professional background.

Months of entry


Course content

The MSc in Historic Conservation examines the principles, procedures and practices of the preservation and conservation of historic structures and sites. Your study will take place within the context of the wider built environment and the town planning process.

The course follows the International Commission on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) guidelines on education and training, is multidisciplinary and develops knowledge and skills in historic conservation and independent study and research capabilities. The teaching programme covers the knowledge, skills and professional capabilities identified by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) as the foundation for professional practice.

The course is taught jointly at Oxford Brookes University and at the Department of Continuing Education, University of Oxford and is recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Course content

The course is offered as a master's degree (MSc), a postgraduate diploma (PGDip) and a postgraduate certificate (PGCert).

Compulsory modules for the MSc and PGDip in Historic Conservation:

Conservation and Regeneration: Theory, Law and Practice focuses on theoretical and practical concepts in the field of conservation and heritage and the different values that they reflect.

Building Construction and Repair examines the properties of traditional materials and their supply, selection and use in conservation. It also discusses the process of decay of traditional materials, methods of repair, structural principles in relation to historic buildings, environmental factors affecting historic fabric and modern interventions into historic buildings.

Historic Building Analysis and Recording is a skill-based module enabling you to develop expertise in understanding the special architectural and historical characteristics of a particular site, building, or group of buildings and to develop techniques for their representation through research, measurement, drawing and recording.

Historical Studies I and II are linked modules taught in consecutive semesters. Module I concentrates on the medieval period and provides an introduction to the evolution of the landscape and the major elements of architectural history in England, up to the 16th century. Module II continues the themes introduced in Historical Studies I and analyses the major architectural developments and their influences in England from the 16th century to the present day.

Design for Conservation is intended to enable you to develop a critical understanding of the processes involved in design management and brief formulation in the context of historic conservation. It enables students to develop skills of analysis of historic townscape, understand basic principles of urban design and formulate design guidance and codes for sensitive historic areas.

Conservation Economics provides an introduction to financial and economic aspects specific to the conservation and regeneration of historic buildings and areas including funding, development appraisal and the particular characteristics of the property market relating to historic buildings and areas.

The MSc in Historic Conservation also requires:

Research Methods (Design), which provides a critical knowledge of methods and skills of research and their application to investigative work that informs conservation and design.
MSc Dissertation, which is an individual research study of 15,000-20,000 words.

Information for international students

Please see the university's English language requirements.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


part time
12 months

Course contact details

Programme Administrator
+44 (0)1865 483573