Dissertation: MSc in Architectural Conservation - AR898

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
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7 60 (30) DR N Karydis


Pre-requisite: all previous programme modules





The dissertation will be a conservation project including fieldwork and scholarly research. It will be based on an existing historic building that will be visited during the Summer Term. Students will work in one or more groups, but each one will be asked to specify the nature of her/his contribution to the team's work from the outset. Each student will focus on one or more areas that reflect her/his background and interests. What follows is an indicative list of the areas that may be chosen and the corresponding 'dissertation product' (in parentheses):
- Historical Research and Documentation (Survey)
- Graphic Recording and Structural Survey (Structural Report)
- Analysis and Testing of Building Materials (Structural Report)
- Conservation Theory Issues (Theoretical dissertation)
- Preparation of a Conservation Plan (Theoretical dissertation)
- Repair and Structural Intervention (Conservation Project)
- Reflection on a bid for the funding of a conservation project (Theoretical dissertation)


This module appears in:

Contact hours

20 hours

Method of assessment

Dissertation/Project 100%

Indicative reading

Subject related – bibliography to be developed by student with the assistance of relevant supervisors and module related bibliographies. What follows is an indicative list of books on dissertation writing, management, and methodology.
Biggam, J., Succeeding with your master's dissertation: a step-by-step handbook, Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2011 (available as an e-book)
Borden, I., The dissertation an architecture student's handbook, Amsterdam ; Architectural, 2006
Charles, F.W.B., Conservation of Timber Buildings, Shaftesbury: Donhead, 2003 (It includes a series of case-studies of conservation projects)
Phillips, R., The architect's plan of work: for the procurement of feasibility studies, a fully designed building project, employer's requirements or contractor's proposals, London: RIBA Enterprises, 2000
Swetnam, D., Writing your dissertation: how to plan, prepare and present successful work, Oxford : How To Books, 2004

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8.1 An ability to demonstrate a holistic understanding of the conservation of historic buildings, and the ways in which conservation theory informs conservation practice.

8.2 An ability to carry out bibliographical and archival research to establish the history and significance of a heritage asset.

8.3 The ability to experiment with the use of a wide range of conservation methods and to understand the implications of their use.

8.4 An understanding of the complete process of conservation projects, from the initial survey and the development of a brief to the actual design and its specification.

9.1 The ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team, to share tasks equitably and to communicate with different specialists.

9.2 The ability to carry out independent research, establishing research objectives, constructing valid research hypotheses and expressing reasoned arguments, grounded by critical reference to carefully identified existing scholarship.

9.3 The ability to express research results in an efficient, legible way, through the development of advanced presentation skills.

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