Academic Calendar 2023-2024

Art Conservation - Master of Art Conservation

Applicants are accepted under the general regulations of the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs and should have a four year honours degree or equivalent in the humanities, sciences, or engineering, with a minimum B+ average (or equivalent).

Specific Requirements

  • One full-year, post-secondary course in fine art studio or workshop practice (or equivalent), for treatment programs.
  • Three full terms of chemistry, including one term of organic chemistry, all courses preferably with a laboratory component.
  • Applicants with an undergraduate degree in the humanities must have a minimum of five full-year courses in art history, ethnology, archaeology, or equivalent.
  • Applicants with a science or engineering undergraduate degree must have a minimum of two full-year courses in art history, ethnology, archaeology, or equivalent.
  • Proficiency in English. Applicants whose first language is not English or who have not recently studied for at least one complete year at a post-secondary institution where English is the official language of instruction, will be required to pass an English language proficiency test.
  • Good visual sensitivity and manual skills.
  • Familiarity with digital imaging techniques.
  • Working knowledge of at least one second language is recommended.
  • Experience in conservation is highly recommended.

These are regarded as minimum requirements; preference will be given to candidates who exceed these minimum requirements in any or all of the required subject areas. For example, studies in Museology or Library Science or previous conservation experience would be considered as assets. A working knowledge (reading, writing, speaking) of at least one second language is highly recommended for all applicants. A familiarity with the operation of a DSLR camera is highly recommended.


In the case of exceptional applicants holding a three year B.A., suitable subsequent experience in the field of conservation may be regarded as equivalent qualification.


A limited number of places are available each year. Applicants will be interviewed by the faculty at which time they will be asked to present a portfolio of their work. They also may be required to take an oral, written or practical examination to test aptitude, colour discrimination and manual coordination.

Programs of Study

Treatment Options - Pattern II

Two-year program includes:

  • Four terms of theoretical and practical study on campus: advanced  lecture courses, laboratory work in the conservation of heritage objects, and a research project (ARTC 898 Research Project);
  • Two twelve-week, off-campus summer internships.
    Students must choose to specialize in one of the following:
    • Conservation of paper objects.
    • Conservation of artifacts;
    • Conservation of paintings;

Research Options - Pattern I

Programs include:

  1. Four advanced lecture courses, original research, and a thesis (ARTC 899 Master's Thesis Research), with no practical treatment component. This mid-career program is open to conservators with a minimum of five years conservation experience. Research will be individually designed to suit the background and interests of students and faculty.
  2. Two-year program is available for science and engineering graduates to carry out research in conservation science.


Examinations will be held for each course. These may be written and/or oral, or in the form of course work evaluation depending on circumstances pertaining to the content of the course. Students must complete all courses scheduled for the first year before being permitted to proceed to the second year of the program.

Pattern I students must defend their thesis (ARTC 899 Master's Thesis Research) in an oral thesis examination. The Thesis Examination Committee for Pattern I Master's students in the Art Conservation Program shall comprise at least the following members:

  • Chair of Committee: Head of the Department (or Head's Delegate) (may be from outside Department)
  • Supervisor(s)
  • At least one other faculty member, who may be:  
    • from the department; or
    • external to the department; or
    • in exceptional circumstances, external to Queen's University.

Course Organization

Courses within the treatment oriented M.A.C. programs are arranged in eight series as follows:

  • ARTC-80- General courses to be taken by all students in treatment oriented streams
  • ARTC-81- History, Technology and Conservation of Artifacts
  • ARTC-82- History, Technology and Conservation of Paintings
  • ARTC-83- History, Technology and Conservation of Paper Objects
  • ARTC-85- Artifact Conservation Practice
  • ARTC-86- Paintings Conservation Practice
  • ARTC-87- Paper Objects Conservation Practice
  • ARTC-89- Thesis or Research Project

The order of offering courses may vary but students will be able to take all the required courses for graduation within a two year period.

General Requirements

During the two years of the program all students in the treatment oriented streams are required to take all courses offered in ARTC 801 to ARTC 808 series, and one History, Technology and Conservation course outside the student's area of expertise.


  1. Artifacts: In addition to the General Courses, students in the Artifacts stream are required to take: the three 81- courses in History, Technology and Conservation of Artifacts series and the 85- Artifacts Conservation Practice series.
  2. Paintings: In addition to the General Courses students in the Paintings stream are required to take 82- as well as the 86- Paintings Conservation Practice series.
  3. Paper Objects: In addition to the General Courses, students in the Paper Objects stream are required to take: the three 83- courses in History, Technology and Conservation of Paper Objects series and the 87- Paper Objects Conservation Practice series.
  4. Research Students in the Pattern I Research Program will pursue a program of study individually suited to the candidate's background and area of specialization. Students may be directed to take one or more courses in other departments. Also, the program and research topic will be agreed upon prior to admission to the program.

Auditing of Courses

With the permission of the course instructor and of the supervisor of his or her area of specialization, students may be allowed to audit courses in History, Technology and Conservation in the other areas of specialization, (81-, 82-, 83- series). This is intended to broaden the student's understanding of problems and methods across the whole field of conservation.

Program Related Costs

Students will incur the following costs over the two years of the Program:

  • Required texts will cost in the range of $800.
  • Internship costs may vary, depending on the student’s choice of location.
  • Purchase of a personal computer is optional but highly recommended.