Conservation-Restoration

Being able to take responsibility for restoration projects - this is where the Master’s degree in Conservation-Restoration will take you. Furthermore, plenty of time is provided for practical work in our specialized studios.

This degree programme:

  • is aimed at students who have a BA in Conservation;
  • prepares you to manage your own conservation projects from the fields of art and culture;
  • provides you with hands-on experience in specialised studios, workshops and laboratories;
  • broadens and deepens your knowledge and skills in theme-oriented block courses;
  • provides you with the opportunity to observe and critique your own practice in conservation.

Factsheet

  • Title/Degree Master of Arts (MA)
  • Specialisations Architecture and furnishings
    Paintings and sculptures
    Graphics, written materials and photography
    Modern materials and media
  • Mode of study Full-time (4 semesters), part-time possible
  • Start date Spring: 22.2.2021
    Autumn: 20.9.2021
  • Application deadline Autumn: 15.3.2021
  • ECTS credits 120 ECTS credits + Additionals
  • Study language German, English
  • Location Bern
  • Department Bern University of the Arts

Structure + Content

The MA programme consists of extended practical units in our studios, and thematic week-long block modules for majors and minors. You will complete your degree with an independent, innovative Master’s thesis.

Portrait

In our MA programme, you will select one of four majors and therefore specialize in your chosen branch of conservation and restoration. Your major thus represents the largest portion of your studies. You may select various minors in order to complement your own personal skill set.

Majors

Majors are groups of modules consisting of a certain number of required and elective courses:

The major in architecture and furnishings is the right choice for you, if you are passionate about the preservation of built heritage, through a combination of work in the studio and on construction sites. Buildings and structures encompass a particularly wide variety of materials and associated technologies, from room furnishings to room shells and from construction to exterior facades.

The major in paintings and sculptures is aimed at future specialists in the conservation of paintings or polychromatic sculptures from across the ages. This branch of conservation presents particular challenges, whether you work in a museum or as an independent restorer, given the wide variety of mounting technologies and media used to display images, all of which require precisely customised conservation methods.

The major in graphics, written material and photography, prepares you for a career as a conservator-restorer in libraries, archives, as well as for graphic or photographic collections. You may also apply your in-depth knowledge of objects made of paper, parchment, leather and countless other materials and technologies as a freelance restorer.

The major in modern materials and media aims to specialize in the preservation of contemporary art. Our studios house audio- and video-based works alongside installations, unusual combinations of materials and digital cultural artefacts. In this rapidly developing field, international cooperation is already a critical aspect of your studies.

The minor programmes represent a comparatively small portion of your professional training. For example, the Cultural Values minor offers six block modules focusing on the art and cultural-historical contextualization of works to be preserved. In other minors you have the opportunity to focus on materials such as metal, stone or wood or to deepen the practical training in your specialization. The minor in research allows you to participate actively in an ongoing research project.

You will conclude your MA programme with a master’s thesis and public presentation. The student thesis posters are published each year as a brochure.

Aims + Competencies

The course content is based on the competence specifications of the E.C.C.O. (European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers’ Organisations) of 2011 for professional access in conservation-restoration. 

The central objective of the MA in Conservation-Restoration is to train you to engage in interdisciplinary exchange – for instance, with art historians and cultural scientists, technicians and owners – in order to make appropriate recommendations for the conservation of cultural artefacts, and be able to put them into practice. All of which requires knowledge, dexterity, skills and a lot of practice! 

Partners + Exchanges

HKB maintains close ties to a number of partner universities, both in Switzerland and abroad, and collaborates with international partners on numerous projects. HKB is also a member of several international networks.

The degree programme is part of the Swiss Conservation Restoration Campus.

The division of conservation and restoration maintains numerous national and international collaborations and partnerships:

HBK students have the opportunity to complete part of their studies or an internship abroad. Interested persons from abroad can also apply to study at the HKB or complete part of their studies here.

Degree + Prospects

With an MA in Conservation-Restoration, and your chosen area of specialization, you are qualified and equipped to work in a wide range of professional fields.

Degree

Master of Arts (MA) in «Conservation-Restoration»

Career Prospects

A Master of Arts in «Conservation-Restoration» serves as proof of professional qualification in conservation and restoration, according to the standards set by the European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers’ Organisations (E.C.C.O). Furthermore, it qualifies you to full membership in the Swiss professional association SKR/SCR and in other professional groups.

Work in conservation and restoration ranges from technological documentation of pieces and caring for collections, archives and storage facilities to exhibitions consulting and project planning. You may also perform practical interventions to help preserve objects.

With an MA in Conservation-Restoration you may work in state, church, communal and private institutions or for private individuals. Depending on the minor you select, you may also be qualified to work in a range of other professional fields.

Team

Prerequisites + Admission

Our MA programme builds upon the BA in conservation, ideally furthering the area of specialisation you selected in the bachelor’s programme.

Entry requirements

The number of places available in our programme is limited (so-called ‘numerus clausus’), and are thus awarded on the basis of an assessment. Admitted are candidates who have:

  • a bachelor’s degree or a diploma from a university in conservation or an equivalent education and
  • have the technical qualifications for the desired specialisation.

The teaching and working language in our master’s programme is German. Written assessments may be completed in French, English or, in some cases, Italian. Certain modules in the Swiss CRC are held in English, and thus require a sufficient level of proficiency.

Foreign nationals require valid travel documents recognised by the Swiss government - a visa is often required. In addition, international students must apply for a residency permit and be able to provide a financial guarantee immediately after accepting the course offer. Furthermore, students must purchase health insurance before their studies begin. Please research your specific entry requirements carefully. Further information can be found here.

Admission procedure

In your application, you must provide evidence of your technical qualifications with a detailed list of the courses you have completed and your transcript of records (ToR). Furthermore, you must also submit documentation outlining all of your conservation work to date. We review each individual application to determine to what extent your previous academic achievements correspond to the content requirements in your desired area of specialization. Depending on our evaluation, there is a possibility that you may need to complete additional tasks equaling up to 60 ECTS credits in the MA programme. Alternatively, it is also possible that we may recognize up to 60 ECTS credits that you earned as part of another curriculum and that exceeded 180 ECTS credits, and apply these towards your MA.

Our entrance assessment helps us determine your technical qualifications for your desired specialisation and consists of two parts:

  1. In a brief documentation ‘in confrontation with an art object’, you must demonstrate your comprehensive understanding of objects from your area of specialisation.
  2. We also evaluate a final interview focused on your prior academic history, the documents you have submitted and your expectation of the programme.

Practicalities + Application

Please note the dates and deadlines below, plus the documentation and information required.

Application (per application) and aptitude assessment*  

CHF 250

Matriculation**  

CHF 100

Tuition fees (per semester) 

CHF 750

Tuition fees for international students*** (per semester)

CHF 950

Examination fee (per semester)  

CHF 80

Fee for social, cultural and sport offerings (per semester)  

CHF 24

Membership fee for the Bern University of Applied Sciences Student Association (VSBFH) (per semester)

CHF 15

Leave of absence fee (per semester) 

CHF 100

* The application fee can be paid by credit card or by deposit slip / paper invoice (+ CHF 10.– processing fee). There are no waivers or refunds for withdrawn or abandoned applications. The application is processed after payment has been received.
** If the application leads to matriculation, the matriculation fee is covered by the application fee.
*** International students are defined as persons of foreign citizenship who at the time of obtaining their university entrance qualification were domiciled under civil law neither in Switzerland nor the Principality of Liechtenstein.

There is also a fixed fee for materials whose amount depends on the degree programme as well as additional costs for teaching materials, specialist literature, supplies, etc.

General information relating to scholarships

For questions about scholarships and loans, please contact Felix Seyer.

At the University of Applied Sciences BFH, we promote balance between study, work and family.

A limited number of childcare spaces are available to students at the HKB. Should you wish to find out more about this, you will find the relevant documents on the HKB Intranet.

The fees are income-based and in accordance with the cantonal rates outlined in the Verordnung über die Angebote der sozialen Integration (ASIV) of the Canton of Bern. You can apply for a childcare space using the online form on the HKB Intranet.

If you are a new student or member of staff and do not have access to the Intranet, please contact Corinne Badertscher (Ph: 031 848 33 01, corinne.badertscher@bfh.ch). There is no legal entitlement to a childcare space.  
Students must also fulfill their compulsory service obligations during their studies. Please be sure to plan and coordinate your compulsory service ahead of time.

It is strongly recommended that you complete your basic military training and civil service before commencing your studies. Completing them during your studies results in absences, which can lead to an extension of the duration of the course.

General information about military and civil service

Information zum Rekrutierungsprozess (VBS)  
Police and Military Directorate of the Canton Bern  
Informationen zu Zivildienst und Studium


Support

For more information on how to coordinate your studies and your compulsory service, please contact the HKB Student Administration (+41 31 848 49 49).

Start date fall: 20.9.2021
Application deadline and dossier submission: 15.3.2021

Start date spring: 22.2.2021

So, you have decided to study at the Bern University of the Arts? Then do not hesitate and apply right now! By applying online, you will be kept up-to-date at every stage of the process.

Online Application

You should have the following documents available in electronic form (passport photo: JPG / remaining documents: PDF). No document should exceed 1 MB.

  • ID card or passport 
  • Passport photo
  • A diploma qualifying you for university studies (for example, A-Levels, Matura from a Gymnasium, Berufsmaturität, Abitur)
  • A CV in tabular form
  • A written statement expressing your personal motivation for undertaking this course, as well as your professional aspiration
  • Certificate of previous professional practice (internship) 

For international students, the following documents are also required:

  • Residence permit (if available)

If you were already matriculated at another university:

  • A confirmation of your exmatriculation
  • Diploma and Transcript of previous academic history

In case you do not have the above listed documents, please mention this in the comments section.

Restoration documentation

The restoration documentation has to be sent directly to the Division Conservation and Restoration:

Bern University of the Arts
Division Conservation and Restoration
Fellerstrasse 11
CH-3027 Bern

kur@hkb.bfh.ch

Students who completed their BA at the HKB can apply using the existing documentation in the HKB archive.

Consulting + Location

Do you have any content-related or administrative queries? Would you like an individual, in-person advisory session? We are here to help!

Consulting

We strongly advise you seek out our advisory service before beginning your studies, to allow us to assess your individual qualifications in good time. You may book an appointment with the secretariat of the division of Conservation and restoration.

Infrastructure

Our first-rate facilities at HKB are complemented by centres of excellence in the division of conservation and restoration. We view these as service centres, in which you may pursue project-based activities, such as research, alongside your studies.

Location