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

Why choose this course?

The UK's historic built environment is rich and diverse, contributing to national identity, our quality of life and the country's economy and education. This course offers a unique blend of vocational and academic learning that will greatly enhance your employability within this challenging and rewarding field. The course content is specifically designed to address skill shortages within the conservation industry.

Professional recognition

The foundation degree, when combined with the BSc (Hons) top-up, is 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 accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

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Qualification Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
FdSc 2 years full time K250 2023
BSc(Hons) top-up 1 year full time KF50 2022 (Clearing)
2023
BSc(Hons) top-up 2 years part time Apply direct to the University 2022 (Clearing)
2023
Location The Building Crafts College (BCC) in Stratford, London (FdSc) and Kingston University Knights Park campus (BSc top-up)

Reasons to choose Kingston

  • Supported by the National Heritage Training Group (NHTG), which includes English Heritage, the National Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and CITB- Construction Skills, this course is taught by industry experts with access to current conservation projects.
  • Upon completion of the BSc (Hons) top-up, you can seek employment to support you in undertaking your Assessment of Professional Competence. This leads to chartered membership of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
  • This course also supports you in preparing to start the practice period required to become a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.

The Art School Experience

As part of Kingston School of Art, students on this course benefit from joining a creative community where collaborative working and critical practice are encouraged.

Our workshops and studios are open to all disciplines – enabling students and staff to work together, share ideas and explore multi-disciplinary making.

The Art School Experience

Accreditation

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 Historic Building Conservation course is an integrated two-year foundation degree and a one-year BSc (Hons) top-up degree for those who have successfully completed the foundation degree and wish to supplement their studies.

The first two years of the course are taken at the Building Crafts College at Stratford in East London. The college provides a range of craft programmes, and opportunities exist for supplementary study on their evening programmes. Sited close to a major transport hub, it provides excellent access to all parts of the UK and Europe.

The foundation degree combines academic elements and project work. It is particularly suited to those already working at a craft level within historic building conservation. Applicants from a non-craft-based level background are also welcome, and will develop conservation skills through the course. The final Elective Project offers the opportunity to undertake a practical project using craft skills.

The BSc (Hons) top-up year is taught at Kingston University's Department of Architecture and Landscape at Knights Park campus. You will be part of its exciting and vibrant atmosphere, and be supported by state of the art workshops and resources, as well as having access to the library and workshop resources. The top-up can be taken part time over two years or full time in one year, and includes academic and project-based modules.

You will develop important interdisciplinary skills and extend your knowledge of the historic built environment. Study visits are key to this programme. You will learn to make presentations, work in teams, write reports, debate current topics, and apply IT. You will also learn how to initiate and execute simple research projects. The course culminates in an independent research project.

Modules

The programme is made up of four Level 6 modules each worth 30 credit points. Typically a student upon entry must have completed 120 credits at each of Levels 4 and 5 on an appropriate programme.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Core modules

Context of Conservation and the Built Environment

30 credits

The module 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.

Development of Skills for the Historic Environment

30 credits

This module considers the history of architecture and the influences, national and international, which have shaped architecture over time. You will also be introduced to a range of hand drawn and digital media providing opportunities for the acquisition of skills under guidance, in order develop confidence and acquire proficiency in their use. An overseas field trip is also a significant element of this particular module.

Conservation Legislation and Regulation

30 credits

The module will consider how the conservation and construction industry is controlled and regulated and how such controls and regulations are implemented. 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.

Application of Skills in Conservation

30 credits

This module is intended to begin helping you to develop your skills for use in the field 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 the range of skills introduced in the other modules in the first year of the programme, in particular, but not restricted to, your drawing and sketching abilities.

Core modules

Applied Conservation Measurement and Analysis

30 credits

This module provides you with an understanding of how measurement and analysis can be applied to 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. 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 and is assessed through coursework.

Management of Conservation Projects

30 credits

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 will be covered, as will the practicalities of resourcing a project in historic building conservation.

Traditional Building Construction and Repair

30 credits

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. It provides you with a practical understanding of the various craft techniques and the use of traditional materials. You will also study areas of construction that will be vulnerable to decay in order that you can advise on appropriate repairs. The module covers inspection of historic buildings, appraisal and identification of decay.

Elective Project

30 credits

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 your 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 your particular area of research.

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

Core modules

The Existing Built Environment

30 credits

This module provides you with a critical understanding of heritage in 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 competing interests. You will deepen their understanding of historic building materials in order that you can advise on appropriate conservation and repair, together with options for adaptation to new uses. The module is taught through lectures, seminars, workshop discussions and visits to heritage buildings and is assessed through case studies and coursework.

Advanced Skills for the Building Conservation Surveyor

30 credits

This module allows you to develop your practical skills in order to critically inform and enable practical conservation work. The module builds on the prior learning of the programme and provides the opportunity for the advanced practical application of historic building conservation surveying knowledge and skills in relation to the consideration and examination of a specific project. The module is delivered by keynote lectures and workshops which may be site-based and a short residential study trip. Assessment is by portfolio and individual reflective essay.

Adaptive Building Design and Application

30 credits

This module provides the opportunity for you to consider and find solutions for the beneficial use or adaptive re-use of an element or elements of the historic built environment devised as a typical practice-based scenario. You will evaluate options, develop detailed proposals, investigate possible funding streams and propose strategies for working with existing and new fabric. The module is delivered by keynote lectures workshops and studio sessions. Assessment is by completion of a major project.

Research Project

30 credits

The Research Project provides an opportunity for you in your final year of study of the Historic Building Conservation undergraduate programme to initiate, design and execute a small scale research project under supervision. You will have the opportunity to study in-depth a relevant topic which you find particularly stimulating and to further develop and practice your research skills which you have acquired at earlier levels of their programme of study.

In undertaking the work you will 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. To support you, seminars on research methods and individual one-to-one tutorials, ensure that you are supported in the process. Assessment is by submission of an initial research proposal and the completed project. Students who are studying part time may undertake a project that relates to their workplace if deemed appropriate. The project will provide an opportunity for you to synthesise your learning, offering the opportunity to demonstrate key skills and expertise relevant to your future employability.

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

If you would like to join us through Clearing 2022, please call our Clearing hotline on 0800 0483 334 (or +44 020 8328 1149 if you are calling from outside the UK) and speak to our friendly and knowledgeable hotliners who will be able to provide information on available courses and will guide you through your options.

Please note the entry requirements listed below are for 2023 entry only.

Typical offer 2023

UCAS tariff points: 72 for FdSc

BSc (Hons) top-up: Successful completion of Foundation Degree in Historic Building Conservation.

Typical offer 2022

UCAS tariff points: 72 for FdSc

BSc (Hons) top-up: Successful completion of Foundation Degree in Historic Building Conservation.

Additional requirements

Foundation degree: Entry onto the course will first require an interview at the partner college (Building Crafts College) where the course is taught. Please note that this course is only available to applicants who do not require a student visa to study in the UK as neither the Building Crafts College nor Kingston University can sponsor international students for this course who require a student visa.

BSc (Hons) top up: Entry onto the course may not require an interview, entrance test, audition or portfolio. International students who require a student visa to study in the UK may apply for this course as Kingston University can sponsor international students for this course who require a student visa.

International

All non-UK applicants must meet our English Language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 6.0 overall, with no element below 5.5.

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.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

Typical offer and UCAS points explained

Like most universities, we use the UCAS Tariff point system for our course entry requirements.

Find out more about UCAS Tariff points and see how A-level, AS level, BTEC Diploma and T-level qualifications translate to the points system.

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study (self-managed time)

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for final assignments. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Academic support

Our academic support team here at Kingston University provides help in a range of areas.

Dedicated personal tutor

When you arrive, we'll introduce you to your personal tutor. This is the member of academic staff who will provide academic guidance, be a support throughout your time at Kingston and who will show you how to make the best use of all the help and resources that we offer at Kingston University.

Your workload

Time spent in timetabled learning and teaching activity

  • Year 3: 22%

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of learning and teaching

Top-up year (Year 3)

Top-up year (Year 3)
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 267 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 933 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises exams (eg test or exam), practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios 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 teaching and learning

Top-up year (Year 3)

Top-up year (Year 3)
  • Coursework: 100%

Feedback summary

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

Your timetable

Your individualised timetable is normally available to students within 48 hours of enrolment. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled learning and teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 6pm. For undergraduate students, Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities, but there may be occasions when this is not possible. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Facilities

The BSc (Hons) top-up course is taught at Kingston School of Art, one of the leading art and design institutions in Europe.

Our teaching is guided by two principles: that our students learn by the process of making; and that students are critical practitioners who contribute to the development of the subject areas.

Many of the staff in Kingston School of Art are current practitioners and have extensive experience and professional links, helping you to develop your skills, networks and gain access to industry contacts.

The foundation degree is taught at Building Crafts College in Stratford, East London, with the opportunity to top-up to the BSc (Hons) at Kingston University.

 

Fees and funding

2023/24 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a 'Home' (UK), 'Islands' or 'International' student. In 2023/24 the fees for this course are:

 Fee category Amount
Home (UK students) £7,950*
Top-up £9,250
International Year 1 (2023/24): £15,800
Year 2 (2024/25): £16,200
Top-up: £15,800

* This fee applies to students studying for the BSc (Hons) or BA (Hons) top-up in the 2023/24 academic year.

For full time programmes of a duration of more than one academic year, the published fee is an annual fee, payable each year, for the duration of the programme. Your annual tuition fees cover your first attempt at all of the modules necessary to complete that academic year. A re-study of any modules will incur additional charges calculated by the number of credits. Home tuition fees may be subject to annual increases but will not increase by more than the fee caps as prescribed by the Office for Students or such other replacing body. Full time taught International fees are subject to an annual increase and are published in advance for the full duration of the programme.

Eligible UK students can apply to the Government for a tuition loan, which is paid direct to the University. This has a low interest rate which is charged from the time the first part of the loan is paid to the University until you have repaid it.

Need to know more? Our fees and funding section provides information and advice on money matters.

2022/23 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a ‘Home' (UK) or ‘International' student. In 2022/23 the fees for this course are:

 Fee category Amount
Home (UK students) Foundation Degree: £7,800
Top-up: £9,250*
International

Year 1 (2022/23): £15,400
Year 2 (2023/24): £15,800
Top-up: £15,400*

* This fee applies to students studying for the BSc (Hons) or BA (Hons) top-up in the 2022/23 academic year.

For full time programmes of a duration of more than one academic year, the published fee is an annual fee, payable each year, for the duration of the programme. Your annual tuition fees cover your first attempt at all of the modules necessary to complete that academic year. A re-study of any modules will incur additional charges calculated by the number of credits. Home tuition fees may be subject to annual increases but will not increase by more than the fee caps as prescribed by the Office for Students or such other replacing body. Full time taught International fees are subject to an annual increase and are published in advance for the full duration of the programme.

Eligible UK students can apply to the Government for a tuition loan, which is paid direct to the University. This has a low interest rate which is charged from the time the first part of the loan is paid to the University until you have repaid it.

Need to know more?

Our fees and funding section provides information and advice on money matters.

Note for EU students: UK withdrawal from the European Union

The Government has recently announced that new students from the European Union and Swiss Nationals starting their course after August 2021 will no longer be eligible for a student loan in England for Undergraduate or Postgraduate studies for 2021/22 academic year. This decision only applies to new EU students starting in 2021/22. If you are an existing/continuing EU student, you will continue to be funded until you graduate or withdraw from your course.

Need to know more?

Our undergraduate fees and funding section provides information and advice on money matters.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Textbooks

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost from £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.

Travel

Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.

Field trips

There may be optional study visits and field trips. These range from £25 for local trips to various costs for international trips.

External shows and exhibitions

There may be costs for participating at external shows and exhibitions. You could incur travel costs which will vary according to the location.

What our graduates say

From castles and palaces to barns, lighthouses and industrial buildings, I have always been fascinated by our built heritage. Studying a BSc Historic Building Conservation was the only course for me. I loved the combination of academic and practical study. The course ethos encouraged students to visit live construction sites, have a go at lime mortar plastering (which I was terrible at), and to learn the academics of the history of architecture, conservation philosophy and the legal side of managing a construction project.

Starting out in any new career is a daunting prospect. The course gave me the best start in forging a career in the building conservation industry, both academically and professionally. While learning the practical and philosophical approach to managing a building conservation project, I visited incredible construction sites, exposing me to a whole host of possible career options and contacts within the industry. 

Since finishing the course I have been incredibly fortunate to work and manage construction projects in some of the most prestigious historic estates in London, including Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, St James' Palace, Hampton Court Palace and The Palace of Westminster. I am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and a Registered Project Manager (Building Conservation) with the Chartered Institute of Building. I also sit on the RICS Building Conservation Forum and have published articles in the RICS Built Environment Journal. 

In 2019, I decided to switch my career direction slightly from managing the 'pre-construction' phases of a conservation project to physically managing the construction process on site. I am currently working for Sir Robert McAlpine – Special Projects, managing the conservation repair packages at Elizabeth Tower (also known as Big Ben). I thoroughly enjoy my new role managing a team of conservation stone masons, carpenters, plasters and gilders, seeing first-hand the incredible work they do. I feel privileged to be part of Elizabeth Tower's next chapter, ensuring it can be enjoyed by future generations."

Kat Cary, a Kingston University alumnus, working at Big Ben.

Kat Cary, graduate managing conservation repair

Completing the FdSc and subsequent BSc in Historic Building Conservation provided me with a great introduction to industry. The course offers a unique blend of first-hand sector knowledge delivered by established and renowned heritage professionals, provided within the setting of a personal and tailored educational programme.

The course places you at the centre of current and relevant conservation issues and topics. You will acquire not only a great vocational education but also exposure to great networking opportunities. This puts you in a fantastic position for post-study career development.

I found the BSc top up year was key to achieving my RICS chartership. On reflection, this year of study provided me with a much-needed broader understanding of the construction process, building regulations and legislation that is fundamental to operating as a competent heritage professional.

The course leaders were able to provide me with an exceptional level of support throughout my time at Kingston.

Since graduating I have held a variety of roles, for organisations including the National Trust, Reform Club and most recently leading a major programme of works at the Houses of Parliament. All my roles in industry have been as a direct result of my time studying at the Building Crafts College and Kingston University and of completing both elements of the historic building conservation programme – the FdSc and the BSc (Hons) top-up.

Matthew Appleton FdSC HBC, BSc HBC, MCIRS: Lead Designer & Senior Building Surveyor, Pick Everard

Matthew Appleton FdSC HBC, BSc HBC, MCIRS: Lead Designer & Senior Building Surveyor, Pick Everard

I chose to undertake the Historic Building Conservation course to further my theoretical conservation knowledge and bolster and supplement my practical conservation experience which I was gaining during my day-to-day working role.

The thought of entering education again after a 10-year gap was daunting but the tools gained through studying the various subjects for the degree, such as computer aided design, researching and presenting have assisted me greatly in terms of my personal development.

My expectation for the course was to be able to distinguish various approaches to conservation, its ethics and how to implement a project from the ground up. The course provides the information and tools to be able to navigate the necessary steps to produce relevant documentation such as legal, design and specification.

The course has impacted my business by allowing me to understand all elements of a conservation project, enabling me to approach work in a more confident and professional manner.

George Holloway, student of Historic Building Conservation at Kingston University

George Holloway

After you graduate

Once you complete the course, you will have the specialist knowledge needed to work in historic building conservation for a specialist contractor, a local authority or consultancy, or a major national heritage organisation. Several graduates have chosen to progress to the MSc Historic Building Conservation, a specialist interdisciplinary postgraduate course in the Department of Architecture and Landscape.

The FdSc and BSc (Hons) top-up are recognised by the IHBC. You will also be able to start the practice period with a view to becoming a full member of the Institute. Following completion of the BSc (Hons) top-up, you will be eligible to seek employment which would support you in undertaking your Assessment of Professional Competence, leading to Chartered membership of the RICS.

 

Key information set

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