Dissertation: MSc in Architectural Conservation - ARCH8980

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Year 7 60 (30) Nikolaos Karydis checkmark-circle


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)


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 20 hours
Private study hours: 580 hours
Total study hours: 600 hours

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Dissertation/Project (100%)

Reassessment methods
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Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

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. (2011; available as an e-book) Succeeding with your master's dissertation: a step-by-step handbook. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Borden, I. (2006). The dissertation an architecture student's handbook, Amsterdam: Architectural.
Charles, F.W.B. (2003) Conservation of Timber Buildings, Shaftesbury: Donhead (It includes a series of case-studies of conservation projects)
Phillips, R. (2000). 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.
Swetnam, D. (2004). Writing your dissertation: how to plan, prepare and present successful work. Oxford: How To Books.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 An ability to demonstrate a holistic understanding of the conservation of historic buildings, and the ways in which conservation theory informs conservation practice.
2 An ability to carry out bibliographical and archival research to establish the history and significance of a heritage asset.
3 The ability to experiment with the use of a wide range of conservation methods and to understand the implications of their use.
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.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 The ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team, to share tasks equitably and to communicate with different specialists.
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.
3 The ability to express research results in an efficient, legible way, through the development of advanced presentation skills.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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