Historic Building Conservation MSc

Why choose this course?

Do you want to become a professional within the specialist field of historic building conservation? On this course, you'll visit many of London's fascinating historic buildings to illustrate and inform your learning. Past and ongoing works at the Historic Royal Palaces, together with several national and local heritage organisations and practitioners, are used to support your project work.

The course is interdisciplinary and international. Current and former students include archaeologists, architects, architectural technologists, chartered surveyors, craftsmen, engineers, and project and construction managers.

You will have opportunities to work alongside other postgraduates in the Faculty and the wider university, including those studying architecture and landscape architecture.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year At least two full days per week for contact teaching September 2020
Part time 2 years One day per week September 2020
Location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • London's historic buildings are used to illustrate and inform elements of the course.
  • This course enables you to become a professional within the specialist field of historic building conservation.
  • Through a week-long field trip to a European city you will have the chance to put your knowledge into practice (additional costs may apply).


Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC)

Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC)

Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC)

The course is recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC).

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

This course is fully accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). On successful completion, graduates who are in suitable employment may proceed to the RICS final assessment programme.

What you will study

The course is designed to balance strategic analysis with a good working knowledge of core techniques. You will acquire the skills and knowledge to extend your current practice and/or gain knowledge and expertise in new areas. You will work with a range of professionals and specialists to broaden your understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of the field. An optional week-long field trip to a European city will provide the opportunity to further develop your technical knowledge and embed it within a practice scenario.

You'll be required to complete five modules worth 180 credits in total.

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.


You will need to study in an investigative manner. Each of the taught modules incorporates:

  • an extensive lecture programme; and
  • significant amounts of individual and small group work, culminating in oral and written presentations.

Seminars and tutorials support the project module. The week-long field trip is a highlight of the programme, in which you will have the opportunity to put some of your theory into practice.

Introductory lectures and seminars also support the research element of the course, introducing you to social science research methods and practice.

Core modules

Analysing and Condition of Historic Buildings

30 credits

The module covers different types and uses of surveying equipment used on building surveys and enables students to record the nature and condition of historic buildings. It also includes the analysis of building materials and soil investigation and structural failure in historic buildings at both sub and superstructure level. The module also considers the development of different building materials and the causes of failure associated with those materials. Appropriate methods of testing and of determining suitable repairs will also be considered. The module incorporates a European field trip, an essential part of which is to consider the historic environment in a wider context and to illustrate a range of approaches to building conservation.

Defects and Pathology, Repair and Renewal

30 credits

The module aims to enable you to develop a deep understanding of building defects and pathology and to develop your ability to recognise the causes of obsolescence and dilapidations in buildings.  You will consider the different types of decay which affect building materials and look at approaches to building management and options for effective maintenance.  The module will also consider different approaches to building re-use and renewal and to carbon reduction technologies which can be incorporated into a variety of building types. 

The module is taught by a series of lectures, seminars and tutorials and you will be expected to take an active part in class and site activities applying your knowledge acquired to worked examples within the tutorial format. Assessment will comprise two individual and one group courseworks.

Legislation and Economics for Historic Buildings

30 credits

The module aims to provide students with a deep and critical knowledge of the law, policy and regulation frameworks that apply to listed and heritage buildings, both within the UK and in a European context. In particular the module covers law relating to the protection and alteration of buildings, including the design of contiguous new builds and to conservation and heritage areas. The module also introduces students to economic principles insofar as they apply to the historic environment and considers the case for protection and conservation and the economic instruments used in the private and public sector to make decisions relating to conservation of the built environment. Assessment is through coursework.

Regeneration and Conservation of Historic Environments

30 credits

This module introduces students to the ways in which historic building design relates to the historic environment within which it is set, and how these environments have evolved over time and continue evolving to this day.  In addition to examining the architectural context, the module will also examine the social, economic and environmental issues which have resulted in today's urban, suburban and rural landscapes, and how government policy can effect change to these landscapes for urban and economic renewal.

The module is taught by a series of lectures, seminars and tutorials and students will be expected to take an active part in class and site activities, applying their knowledge to worked examples within the tutorial format. Assessment will comprise two individual and one group courseworks.

Research Project / Dissertation

60 credits

This final module provides you with the opportunity to design and execute an original research project related to your specific interests within the field of historic building conservation. You will develop a theoretically informed body of work that integrates both theory and practice. It may take the form of a dissertation, practice project, or experiment-based project. Within the module you will develop a sound grounding in research principles and methodologies. Through a series of lectures and seminars, supported by tutorials, you will be encouraged and enabled to develop your critical reasoning powers in the design of relevant research strategies. 

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

Applicants should normally have a 2:2 degree. This can be in any discipline, although a related subject is an advantage.

Some experience of working in the industry would also be useful.


We normally invite applicants for an interview prior to selection. We can make alternative arrangements for international students based overseas.

English language requirements

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each element. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

The course employs a range of approaches to teaching and learning, including lectures, seminars, group critiques, individual tutorials, optional study visits, presentations and workshops.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy document and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

26% of your time will be spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 462 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1,338 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 462 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1338 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises essays, reports, seminars, workshops, group field trip, project work, presentations, and dissertation. The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 98%
  • Practical: 2%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 10–15 students and lecture sizes are normally 10–20. However this can vary by module and academic year.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MSc full time £9,820
  • MSc part time £5,400

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MSc full time £15,700
  • MSc part time £8,635

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Postgraduate loans

If you are starting a course at Kingston, you will be able to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to study for a postgraduate masters degree.

Who teaches this course?

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge is closely matched to the course content. The team includes senior academics and professional practitioners with industry experience. The following group of staff members are currently involved in delivering the course. Please note: this may be subject to change within the academic year.


Knights Park campus is situated on the Hogsmill River, with a restaurant and bar opening on to the waterside. The relatively small campus has a friendly, creative feel and includes a reception area with a gallery, art shop and the light and airy open-plan library.

Workshops and studios

The workshops and studios are open for creative exploration and offer you plenty of opportunities to collaborate on projects and share ideas, whether you are studying or researching. Building on this open approach, there are many adaptable architecture studio and workshop spaces, designed by Stirling Prize-winning Haworth Tompkins, alongside active breakout spaces.

At the heart of the building are state-of-the-art workshop facilities, which include:

  • 3D workshops, with ceramics, concrete, resin-casting, plastics, metalwork, woodwork and a bronze-casting foundry, as well as a Big Build space for architecture, set design and large scale model making
  • animation and post production studios
  • digital media workshop
  • knitting and sewing workshops with digital and analogue facilities, plus a working dress archive which includes pieces from 1750 to the present day
  • HackSpace (for collaborative, creative, solutions-focused projects)
  • letterpress and printmaking workshop, with digital and analogue facilities, to experiment creatively
  • moving image workshop, with studios, editing suite, and industry-standard equipment
  • photography workshop, including studios, colour and black-and-white darkrooms, processing facilities

All our facilities are open access, meaning you can use them whenever you want, whatever degree you're studying.

The University's museum and galleries

The University has its own on-site galleries, including:

  • Dorich House – the former studio home of the sculptor Dora Gordine and her husband the Hon. Richard Hare, a scholar of Russian art and literature. Now Grade II listed, the building was completed in 1936, to Gordine's design, and is an exceptional example of a modern studio house created by and for a female artist.
  • Stanley Picker Gallery – one of the leading examples of a university gallery in the UK. Its public activities are dedicated to the research, commissioning and presentation of innovative new practice across the fields of art, design and architecture for general, academic and specialist audiences.
  • project spaces at Knights Park campus, which you can book for the exhibition of large-scale work.

Resources in London

Kingston is just a 30-minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access world-famous museums and galleries.

After you graduate

Students come from a wide range of professions and disciplines. Advice is offered throughout, to encourage you to develop your career and build on your existing knowledge and skills.

The Historic Building Conservation MSc helps prepare you for roles such as:

  • working in advisory or regulatory bodies, supporting the wider remit of historic building conservation
  • positions within private and voluntary organisations working on historic fabric
  • specialist roles within your current profession, supporting your application to specialist registers
  • independent consultancy
  • community support and liaison for local heritage projects
  • academic research

Links with business and industry

Working with the industry

The course team works with a variety of different organisations, including Historic Royal Palaces, building preservation trusts, Historic England, specialist practitioners, craftsmen and contractors. 

Study opportunities

You will be encouraged to engage closely with the diverse businesses that make London one of the most important centres for the creative industries. Our industry connections mean we provide unique study opportunities, such as:

  • the chance to have your work seen by eminent members of your profession
  • 'live' projects, site visits and placements in prestigious companies or institutions
  • project work and workshops with visiting lecturers and industry specialists