Building Conservation and Adaptation MSc/PGDip/PGCert

Building Conservation and Adaptation MSc/PGDip/PGCert

School of Art, Design and Fashion


Post- graduate





Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Full time: one year (2 days a week attendance on campus) Part time: two years (1 day a week attendance on campus) Timetables are fixed to daytime study only.

  • Level:


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  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time and Part-time

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Why study this programme?

This course focuses on the conservation of heritage buildings and sites and the proactive management of change in the historic built environment. It is designed to help forge and develop the career prospects of individuals wishing to work in this fascinating and rewarding field of industry. The course examines the re-use of existing buildings and heritage assets and explores the role historic buildings play in the sustainable revitalisation of our towns and cities. Techniques of conservative repair, adaptation, retro-fitting and extension are scrutinised, and the legislative context of heritage planning is analysed in depth. The professional standards and quality of the course have been recognised through its accreditation with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IBHC).


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Entry Requirements

Minimum second class honours degree. Students with relevant and extensive industry experience will also be considered.

Those who chose to study on this course are likely to have previously studied, or been interested in, topics such as: architectural history, architecture, architectural technology, archaeology, construction management, geography, heritage, history, housing, social studies/sociology, building surveying, town planning, tourism or urban studies.

Programme at a Glance

  • History of Buildings & Towns
  • Building Conservation
  • Adaptive Re-Use
  • Building Recording & Analysis

  • Conservative Repair
  • Urban Regeneration
  • Dissertation (triple module)

Further Information

This course has a two decade track-record of facilitating graduates with the skills and attributes necessary to forge successful careers working within the heritage sector and the historic built environment. Our alumni include conservation officers, planning consultants, architects and technologists, surveyors, project managers, heritage officers and other multidisciplinary professionals. Their feedback has ensured that the course provides students with the perfect blend of theory and practise, supplemented by by-weekly on-site workshop sessions. Our industry connections also guarantee that all students wishing to obtain relevant work experience can do so through liaison with the course team.

Contact the Course Leader

Chris O’Flaherty

Module Details

Urban Regeneration

This module is designed to enable students to study the aims of urban regeneration, critically evaluate the philosophical and theoretical underpinning and examine the physical, environmental, social, political and economic dimensions.

The module will provide a programme of study that evaluates urban regeneration in terms of the key themes and approaches, and policies, issues and debates. It seeks to enable students to understand the context of historical and contemporary regeneration agendas and the ways in which actors and stakeholders can help to assure a sustainable future for the human and built environment. The module lays emphasis on identifying underlying causes and problems and the solutions that have been advocated in order to evaluate how appropriate they are in terms of regeneration.

Preston Bus Station 

The conservation and adaptation of C20th heritage is an area of increasing interest explored upon the course

Derelict Manor House

This course explores buildings at risk and finding new viable uses which are economically sustainable but that conserve what is special about the building.

Adaptive Re-use

The aim of this module is for students to develop a knowledge and understanding of adaptive re-use in the built environment, focussing upon traditional buildings and historically sensitive sites. The module explores regulatory, technical and economic factors, analysing how these factors influence options for change thereby enabling students to develop an appreciation of problem solving techniques.

History of Buildings & Towns

This module examines the development of buildings and human settlement. The aim is to introduce students to the historical background of the built environment so that they can identify what is significant today in terms of surviving buildings and settlement patterns. The module considers the development of urban morphology, architectural styles and the influence of traditional construction materials and technology. The module considers the interplay between interplay between technology and social, economic and geographical influences and their impact on the built environment through history. As such it considers some of the complex issues relating to architectural and/or urban history and the influences that have shaped the built environment.

Building Recording & Analysis

The module aims to enable students to develop the skills required to record and analyse historic buildings. They will learn conventions in surveying and recording buildings and interpreting their history through archival research and inspection of the building fabric. They will also develop analytical skills in the appraisal of heritage values and determining the significance of buildings for the purposes of intelligently managing change.

The module will provide students with experience of the purposes and processes of building recording an analysis in a historical context. It will provide an opportunity for supervised but independent self-directed study and primary source research which will enhance the appreciation of factors relating to the initial conception and historical development of buildings. This will include consideration of a wide range of influential factors such as: function; construction technology; architectural fashion and taste; social and economic contexts; legislation.

Building Conservation

The aim of this module is for students to consider and debate the philosophical issues and principles that underpin heritage conservation in the historic environment. Students will evaluate how the nature and distinctiveness of buildings and places are dynamic; and they will consider how our understanding and perception of heritage assets is contested - being constructed through the interaction of physical & environmental processes and social, economic & political considerations. These processes and considerations operate at various geographical scales, in different cultures, geographical regions and/or chronological periods. By developing an understanding of the nature and meaning of heritage assets students will be able to interpret their significance.

Another aim of the module is for students to appraise how philosophical approaches to building conservation inform legislation and policy. Students will develop a knowledge and understanding of the planning and legislative framework; they will assess the significance of heritage assets, based on the premise of ‘managing change’ and heritage values; they will also consider policy issues and funding arrangements

Conservative Repair

The module is designed to equip the student with a thorough understanding of defects which occur in ‘traditional buildings’ as a result of material decay and/or structural problems. The module evaluates the conservative repair approach, which seeks to ensure traditional buildings survive for as long as possible. The module alerts students to the special considerations that apply when conservation must be as non-destructive as possible: to preserve the maximum heritage value/significance in the heritage asset(s) in question.

Bank Hall Site Visit

Site visit to grade II*, listed Bank Hall, Bretherton

Castlefield Manchester

Castlefield, Manchester - an excellent example of the adaptive re-use of old industrial buildings and urban regeneration, both topics covered on the course.


Traditional buildings have been constructed using traditional methods, materials and technology. Buildings and structures that are deemed worthy of conservation are protected by legislation, which informs the nature of any maintenance or repair work that can be carried out on them. Traditional buildings that are not deemed worthy of conservation, however, do not enjoy this protection. The module evaluates the benefits of advocating a conservative repair approach to all traditional buildings, whether they are protected or not.


The following case studies give a flavour of the industry partnerships the course has worked with in recent years:


Workshop visit to grade I listed Martholme medieval manor house, where the specialist conservation contractor gave a guided tour of various repair works.

Site Visit Nelson Regeneration

Workshop visit to Nelson where students were shown the renovation and adaptation of C19th textile workers houses as a part of a heritage led regeneration project.

How to Apply

Our Postgraduate section has more information around applying including visiting UCLan and the support available.

If you want to continue and apply now, you can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400


Fees 2020/21

Full-time: £6,900 per year (UK/EU)
Part-time: £765 per 20 credits (UK/EU)

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme

If you're thinking of studying a master's or doctoral degree you could be eligible for a loan from the Government to help you study.

For additional help with financing your studies, UCLan offers a range of Postgraduate scholarships, studentships, bursaries and the Alumni loyalty discount.

View further information

Industry Links

The course has numerous industry links who help provide case study material, workshop visits and occasional student work experience. These include:

  • English Heritage
  • The Heritage Lottery Fund
  • The Methodist Church in Britain
  • The Dovenest Group
  • Preston City Council
  • Chorley Borough Council
  • Blackpool Borough Council
  • Wyre Borough Council
  • Rossendale Borough Council
  • DWA Architects Ltd
  • Frank Whittle Partnership
  • Clitheroe Civic Society
  • Jubb & Jubb Ltd

Professional Accreditation

The course is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The course is also formally ‘recognised’ by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC).



Learning Environment and Assessment

Modules area assessed in various ways, including written assignment work, group presentations and examinations.

Modules are class taught and supplemented by regular workshops which include site visits and on campus guest lectures.

The course team comprises practitioners and academics with extensive experience working within the heritage and construction sectors.


Through liaison with the course team, students are offered the opportunity to secure voluntary work experience with one of industry partners. This commonly involves working within the conservation department of local planning authorities. These working arrangements are made between the student and the industry partner: UCLan acts only as a facilitator.

Regular workshops and site visits offer the students opportunities to network with industry professionals. These commonly include former students of the course.

In recent years, students of the course have been involved in research projects with UCLan working in partnership with English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and several local authorities. New opportunities of this nature are always being explored.

Our alumni include conservation officers, planning consultants, architects and technologists, surveyors, project managers, heritage officers and other multidisciplinary professionals.