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Historic Building Conservation FdSc and BSc(Hons) top-up

Qualification Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
FdSc 2 years full time K250 2017
BSc(Hons) top-up 1 year full time KF50 2017
BSc(Hons) top-up 2 years part time Apply direct to the University 2017

Why choose this course?

The UK's historic built environment is rich and diverse. It provides an important sense of national identity, contributing to our quality of life and benefitting the country's economy and education. This programme provides vocational education in the repair, maintenance and improvement of these historic buildings.

Professional recognition

The foundation degree and the top-up are recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), the principal professional body for building conservation practitioners and historic environment specialists. The  Historic Building Conservation BSc(Hons) top-up is also accredited by the RICS. 

What you will study

This programme offers an integrated two-year foundation degree and a one-year top-up degree for holders of an appropriate award.

The foundation degree is a practice-based qualification designed for people who want to further their career in building conservation. The course is delivered at the Building Crafts College, Stratford in East London, and combines academic elements with practical project work based on conservation projects. It is particularly suited to people already working at a craft level within the field of historic building conservation. Applicants from a non-craft-level background are also welcome, provided that they can demonstrate the capacity and willingness to develop their conservation skills.

You will further develop your craft-level skills through specialist workshop sessions, and will strengthen your technical and theoretical knowledge and business-related skills.

Following successful completion of the two-year foundation degree, you can top up to a BSc(Hons) degree. The top-up is offered part time and full time at Kingston University, and includes academic and project-based modules. While undertaking your specialist top-up modules, you will develop important interdisciplinary skills, as well as further extending your knowledge of the historic built environment. Study visits are key to this programme.

You will learn how to present yourself, work in teams, write reports, debate current topics, and apply IT to your discipline. You will also learn how to initiate and execute simple research projects. The course enables you to practise these skills, and culminates in an independent research project. You can graduate confident that you have the knowledge and skills to begin your career.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1

  • This is an introductory module on the foundation degree in historic building conservation and is intended to provide a basic grounding in construction technology and research techniques to enable you to satisfactorily undertake the foundation degree. The module also introduces you to the history and development of the conservation movement within the built environment and considers the various bodies, both national and international, which promote historic building conservation.

  • This module considers the history of British architecture and the influences, national and international, which have shaped the architecture over time. You will also be introduced to computer-aided design (the current AutoCAD version) and provides opportunities for you to gain practice under guidance in order that you can acquire proficiency in its use. An overseas field trip is also a significant element of this particular module.

  • The module will consider how the construction industry is controlled and regulated and how such controls and regulations are implemented, both as a result of UK legislation and EU directives. Additionally the module will introduce you to health and safety legislation insofar as it impacts on conservation projects undertaken in the built environment. You will also be introduced to the planning process, building regulations and building control procedures.

  • This module is intended to begin developing the skills for use in the field by you on the foundation degree in historic building conservation. An introduction to the use of survey equipment and undertaking of measured surveys are important elements of this module. You will also be encouraged to develop these skills in your existing place of work or whilst you participate in a work placement. You will also be encouraged to develop the range of skills introduced in the other modules in the first year of the programme, in particular, but not restricted to, their drawing and sketching abilities.


Year 2

  • This module provides you with an understanding of how measurement and analysis can be applied to a condition survey and thus inform and enable practical conservation work. The module covers the study of the different survey techniques applicable to traditional buildings and places this knowledge in the context of the decay processes which affect materials used in the construction of traditional buildings. Knowledge gained in the study of survey techniques and decay processes will be applied to the planning and implementation of conservation projects. The module is taught through lectures, seminars, workshop discussions and visits to heritage buildings and is assessed through coursework, which may include reports, drawings and sketchbooks.

  • This module covers the range of skills associated with methods of management on conservation projects in the built environment. The module will consider how projects are procured in the conservation industry and how these various procurement methods work in practice. Project management techniques, including the use of project management packages such as MS Project, will also be covered, as will the practicalities of resourcing a project in historic building conservation taking into account, for example, skills shortages, and how such shortages may be overcome, now or in the future.

  • This module provides you with an understanding of traditional building construction and appropriate repair techniques. The module covers the study of the different building techniques and materials used in the construction of buildings in the past 500 years. It provides you with a practical understanding of the various different craft techniques and the use of traditional materials. You also study areas of construction that will be vulnerable to decay in order that they can advise on appropriate repairs. The module covers inspection of historic buildings, appraisal and identification of decay. The course will sinecure you are aware of practical methods of repair to foundations, walls roofs and timbers. The module is taught through lectures, seminars, workshop discussions and visits to heritage buildings and is assessed through coursework, which may include reports, drawing sketchbooks and a synoptic examination.

  • This module provides you with the opportunity to design and execute a small-scale research project under supervision. You will study in-depth a relevant topic which you find particularly stimulating and which will be used as the basis to develop further and practice their research skills. A series of lectures on research methods will be followed by one-to-one tutorial sessions during which you will be offered support and guidance in developing their particular area of research.

    Importantly, the Elective Project is an opportunity for you to draw together their learning from the other modules on the programme and to demonstrate this learning by way of a part practical, part desk-based research capstone project. 


Year 3 (BSc top-up year)

  • This module provides the opportunity for you to consider and find solutions for the re-use or adaptive re-use of an element or elements of the historic built environment by way of a particular or typical practice-based scenario. You will develop detailed proposals as a solution to a problem and in addition you will plan for and programme the associated conservation works. The module is delivered by keynote lectures and workshops. Assessment is by completion of the major project.

  • This module allows you to develop further your practical skills in terms of measurement and survey such that these can critically inform and enable practical conservation work. The module builds on the different survey techniques undertaken at Levels 4 and 5 (Years 1 and 2) of the programme and provides the opportunity for the advanced practical application of historic building conservation surveying knowledge and skills via the consideration and examination of a particular project. The module is delivered by keynote lectures and workshops which may be site-based and a short residential study trip. Assessment is by major project and individual reflective essay.

  • This module provides you with a critical understanding of the heritage agenda as it affects the built environment. You will study the legislative and regulatory protection of heritage assets and explore the current debates surrounding such buildings including the potential and actual conflicts between the drive for de-carbonisation and the needs to respect their social values and economic contributions. You also study historic building materials in order that you can advise on appropriate updating and adaptation to alternative use, taking account of environmental considerations, legislative requirements and wider societal impacts. The module is taught through lectures, seminars, workshop discussions and visits to heritage buildings and is assessed through coursework which may include a report and exhibition and a synoptic examination.

  • In your final year of study, this module provides an opportunity for you to initiate, design and execute a small-scale research project under supervision. You will have the opportunity to study, in depth, a relevant topic you find particularly stimulating.  You will also further develop and practise the research skills you acquired at earlier stages of your studies..

    In undertaking the project you should demonstrate knowledge and competence in reviewing literature and in using one or more of a range of research methods to collect and analyse data and draw well-founded conclusions. You will be supported by a series of lectures in research methods, plus individual one-to-one supervision.

    Assessment is by submission of an interim assessment and the completed project. An oral defence, either at the interim stage or at final submission, will form part of the process, thereby checking your understanding and assessing your ability to articulate your ideas and knowledge.

    If you are studying part time, you may undertake a project that relates to your workplace if deemed appropriate.

    The project will give you an opportunity to synthesise all your learning from the programme and is the final 'capstone' project. This project, together with your capstone project in your route-specific module and the Year 2 major project ensures you have integrated your learning and have developed a particular skill and expertise relevant to your future employability.


Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

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