MSc Technical Building Conservation

Our MSc Technical Building Conservation is a University of Stirling course delivered in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland.

Technical Building Conservation

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Start date September 2021, September 2022
  • Duration 12 months or 9 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time

The MSc in Technical Building Conservation is a unique opportunity for aspiring heritage professionals ­– whether new to the sector or with some years’ experience – to obtain a comprehensive and eminently practical conservation education. This inspiring and practical course is led by Historic Environment Scotland's conservator, scientists and practitioners. The curriculum’s core focus is on the nature, use, performance and repair of traditional building materials, set firmly within the wider context of Scottish architectural traditions, current national policy imperatives and universal conservation principles and practices.

Underlying themes throughout the programme include the ways and means of undertaking practical repair and maintenance work on site, the use of cutting edge technology to analyse and document historic sites, and the adaptation and management of the historic environment in the face of the challenges brought on by a changing climate, issues of skills training and the need for the sustainable sourcing of appropriate replacement materials.

Unfortunately we are unable to sponsor international students on the Student Route for this partnership programme with Historic Environment Scotland.

Please note that this programme begins on Monday, 13th September 2021. Further details on terms dates are available from the Course Director, Gordon R Urquhart, on

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

As part of its remit as the nation’s lead heritage body, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) actively promotes understanding, appreciation and protection of Scotland’s historic buildings, monuments, places and artefacts. To this end, for a number of years HES has been developing a range of educational activities for professional and lay audiences alike. HES is now broadening the scope of building conservation training in Scotland by providing a comprehensive technical education at Masters level for an emerging generation of heritage professionals.

The MSc in Technical Building Conservation concentrates on the nature, use and repair of traditional building materials within the context of local architectural traditions, legislative frameworks and international standards of best practice in research, documentation, monitoring, maintenance and practical repair work. Underlying themes of the curriculum include mitigating the potential impact of climate change, the use of forefront technologies such as digital documentation, the need for traditional skills training and current difficulties in sourcing sustainable replacement materials.

The qualification will provide a grounding in materials science, traditional skills and project work as well as an understanding of the core essence of heritage conservation, that is, the value of ‘cultural significance’. Students will be able to evaluate the historical context, cultural significance and condition of an historic site, demonstrate a critical understanding of philosophical issues affecting its significance or physical integrity and to promote appropriate action based on analysis, evaluation and synthesis of current developments, issues and challenges at the forefront of conservation research and practice.

Work placements

Although work placements are not a formal part of the course curriculum, MSc students have the option of undertaking a work-related dissertation during the summer term.

Historic Environment Scotland plays a prominent role in the international conservation community and therefore liaises with a wide range of leading organizations, practitioners and academics across the UK and in all parts of the world.  Although formal placement opportunities within HES vary from year to year, HES will support students’ initiatives to seek voluntary or paid placements and will do all that it can to draw upon its friends in various organizations for practical assistance or advice.

Faculty facilities

Classes are held in Historic Environment Scotland’s new Engine Shed facility next to Stirling railway station, making full use of its state-of-the-art digital documentation studios, 3D/4K auditorium, bespoke conservation science labs and growing technical library.

Changes at Stirling

Find out about important changes including how you'll be taught, start dates and how we're making campus safer.

Which course would you like to apply for?

MSc Technical Building Conservation

Search for another course