2nd Cycle Degree/2 year Master in Science for the Conservation-Restoration of Cultural Heritage

Degree programme

Programme type 2nd Cycle Degree/2 year Master
Academic Year 2018/2019
Code 8537
Degree Programme Class LM-11 - Conservation and restoration of the cultural heritage
Years in which the programme is being held 1st and 2nd year
Type of access Open access with assessment of personal competencies
Place of teaching Ravenna
Degree Programme Director Silvia Prati
Language English

Programme profile

The 2nd cycle degree programme in Science for the conservation-restoration of cultural heritage aims to train "Conservation scientists", further developing their solid background in technical and scientific subjects with further knowledge in historical, artistic and archaeological fields and allowing them to participate in the design, implementation and monitoring of cultural heritage diagnostics, conservation and restoration processes based on the specialist skills acquired in the fields of property characterisation, material composition, deterioration and ancient production techniques of cultural heritage and the development of new materials and methods of intervention and diagnosis. This knowledge will allow conservation scientists to collaborate with other restoration professionals, plan strategies for the correct conservation and restoration of cultural heritage and establish appropriate measures to slow down the deterioration process.
The study programme covers four semesters; during the first two, students are introduced to the applications of the various chemical, analytical, physical, biological, mineralogical methods for the diagnosis, study and characterisation of the deterioration phenomena of cultural heritage. The final semester is dedicated to the preparation and production of the final examination. Based on the knowledge acquired during the first year of the programme, the first semester of year II focuses on the knowledge of computing methods for the documentation and cataloguing of cultural heritage and the principles underlying the various restoration operations applied to different types of works of art. It also introduces the main management principles applied to museum collections and sites of archaeological interest, allowing conservation scientists to contextualise their potential role in and contribution to such institutional situations.

More information

The specialist Cultural Heritage Scientist may work in public institutes set up to protect the cultural heritage and with private organisations and private institutes for research, diagnostics, conservation and restoration both in Italy and abroad where the figure of the Conservation scientist enjoys good career opportunities.

It should be emphasised that Article 29 of the legislative decree of 24.1.2004 n.42 (Civil Code on Cultural and Landscape Heritage) identifies this professional figure as among those complementary to the restoration and conservation of cultural heritage.

The degree programme offers highly specialist course units for the study of investigative and analysis methodologies of Cultural heritage. The courses include not only lectures, but also numerous activities in which students have hands-on experience of the principles studied.

The 2nd cycle degree programme enables graduates to take part in the selection process for admission to a related PhD programme at the School of Sciences or a second level professional Master's degree.

The course has established an exchange agreement with the Chinese University of Nanchino.

Expected learning outcomes

Graduates will have advanced knowledge, operative and understanding abilities regarding the main techniques of preventative diagnostics for restoration, material constitution of objects and computer documentation systems for their state of conservation. In addition, they will have knowledge of the main cultural heritage conservation and restoration methodologies used for different types of heritage. These abilities are developed through course units on scientific subjects such as physics, chemistry, earth sciences, biology and computer science, focusing on application aspects linked to cultural heritage diagnostics. In particular, as regards knowledge and understanding ability, graduates:
have the necessary skills to define and conduct, within a multi-disciplinary context made up of professionals from different areas involved in the process of conservation and restoration, archeometric and diagnosis projects, and interventions on archeological and artistic cultural heritage, buildings and furnishings, and are able to propose technologies and materials and methods of intervention as well as systems for the verification of their effectiveness.
The preferred teaching methods are lectures and laboratory sessions supported by a large number of tutorials. These are associated with the tradiotnal methods of assessment with oral and written examinations.

Graduates are able to apply the knowledge acquired and to understand using a professional approach based on the following points:
- they are able to use and apply to the conservation of cultural heritage, complex chemical, physical and mineralogical diagnostic analytical techniques and tools;
- they are able to operate using specialist knowledge within public and private institutes which are in charge of protecting cultural heritage and in Italian and international institutes for research in the sector of conservation and restoration;
- they are able to design, monitor and verify restoration interventions using complex analytical tools and will know the structural characteristics of the relevant heritage as well as the characteristics and properties of the materials of which it is composed;
- they are able to perform specialist diagnostic analysis of materials, even within contexts that are not strictly connected to cultural heritage;
- they are able to use computer systems for managing and processing analytical data and documentation of the state of conservation and the interventions being carried out.
The teaching/learning activities and the specialist laboratory activities which are case-study orientated as well as the work involved in the preparation of the thesis (which may be completed in public and private cultural heritage research and conservation institutes) and its implementation, permits graduates direct contact with other professionals involved in this work and to develop and defend arguments aimed at resolving real conservation and restoration problems (problem-solving oriented). Achievement of the ability to apply knowledge and to understand as set out above is developed through the critical reflection of texts stimulated by activities in lectures, research and application case studies demonstrated by professors, practical laboratory activities, bibliographical research and field-work, as well as individual and/or group projects as provided for particularly in the following core curriculum subject areas: chemistry, physics, biology, mineralogy, computer science, history and art as well as in the preparation of the thesis. Assessment, based oral and written examinations, reports and practical laboratory activities requires the completion of specific tasks in which students demonstrate mastery of tools, methodologies and judgement skills.

Graduates are abl to:
- determine the nature and extent of deterioration and identify the causes;
- interpret the scientific data deriving from the application of a diagnostic protocol completely;
- formulate an analytical problem and propose ideas and solutions;
- give judgements that include reflections on important conservation science and restoration ethics issues;
- adapt to different work environments and topics and to collect and evaluate sources of information, data and literature.
Judgement skills are developed in particular through practical activities, organized seminars, and the preparation of written assignments in the course units of microscopic and microchemistry investigations, biodeterioration, computer science for cultural heritage, mineral-petrographic characterisation, physical methods of diagnostics and principles of conservation and restoration of cultural heritage within the core curriculum subject areas of CHIM, FIS, INF, GEO, ICAR, BIO, L-ART in which importance is given to problem-solving. Judgement skills are also developed during the work assigned by the supervising professor for the thesis. Assessment of judgement skills is through assessment during the course units of the degree programme of the students' home study programme and the evaluation of their level of independence when working alone and in a group during the activities assigned for the preparation of the thesis.

- possess excellent skills for communication with other actors in the restoration process;
- possess advanced skills for managing human resources and equipment;
- are able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing in their mother-tongue;
- are able to communicate in another of the major European languages;
- are able to work both alone and in a group;
- possess advanced planning and time-management skills;
- adapt well to new situations
Written and oral communication skills written are developed especially during practical laboratory activities that require the preparation of reports and other written assignments followed by their oral presentation.

- have advanced learning skills as necessary to undertake future studies and research with a high level of independence;
- have a study method, objective-oriented ability and will work well alone and in a group;
- are able to work independently and advance their professional training.
Learning skills are fostered throughout the degree programme especially during the home study required during the work for the preparation of the thesis. Learning skills are assessed continuously during the course units. The respect of academic deadlines and presentation of data collected independently, tutorials and the presentation of projects and the evaluation of the skills of self-learning matured during the carrying out of the activities in preparation of the thesis are all relevant.

Access to further study

It gives access to third cycle studies (Dottorato di ricerca/Scuole di specializzazione) and master universitario di secondo livello.

Career opportunities

Function in a professional context:
For career purposes, art. 29 of D. Lgs. no. 42 of 24.01.2004 (Cultural Heritage and Landscape Act) expressly refers to the fact that, in addition to the professional profile of “conservator-restorer of cultural heritage”, for which a single cycle degree programme has recently been established, other professional figures perform activities that are complementary to the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage. These complementary activities include those performed by qualified Conservation Scientist, a professional figure recently established by MIBAC and for which a 2nd cycle degree in Class 11 is required (MIBAC circular no. 81 of 16.03.2009, protocol no. 9384).
This professional profile:
- Designs diagnostic campaigns , identifies methods, materials, measures and techniques used to recover, conserve and restore cultural heritage;
- Designs conservation and restoration projects on cultural heritage in order to enhance their legibility, use and knowledge;
- Designs diagnostics protocols for the conservation of cultural heritage;
- Manages cultural heritage diagnostics and/or conservation projects;
- Designs and implements information systems for processing cultural heritage data;
- Consults in a freelance capacity or as an employee in firms or organisations for the conservation, management and protection of cultural heritage, local authorities and specific institutions and offices, museums, archives, libraries and public and private research institutes working in conservation;
- In a wider context of the design and implementation of restoration projects, identifies, implements and assesses diagnostic methods to understand the properties, material composition and/or deterioration of cultural heritage, ancient production techniques and the development of new restoration materials and methods.
Competencies associated to the function:
Know how to use and apply even complex chemical, physical and mineralogical diagnostic analytical techniques and tools in the field of cultural heritage conservation;
Are able to operate using specialist knowledge in public and private institutes in charge of protecting the cultural heritage in Italian and international research in conservation and restoration institutes;
Are able to design, monitor and assess, using even complex analytical equipment, restoration works, understanding their structural characteristics and the features and properties of the materials they are made of;
Are able to perform specialist diagnostic analyses on materials, even in contexts which are not strictly linked to cultural heritage;
Use computer systems to manage and process analytical data and documentation on the state of conservation and the works performed.
Teaching activities and specialist workshops are case-study oriented, while the problem-solving oriented activities carried out for the production and presentation of the final dissertation, which may also be carried out in public or private research and conservation institutes, offer students direct contact with other professional figures, helping them to develop and support opinions to solve concrete restoration and conservation problems.
The above skills are acquired through the critical study of texts proposed for self-study, stimulated by classroom activities, research of case studies and applications presented by the teaching staff, practical laboratory work, bibliographic research and field work, individual and group work in the following core course units: chemistry, physics, biology, mineralogy, computing and historical-artistic studies, as well as during the preparation of the final examination.
These skills are assessed through written and oral exams, assignments and workshop activities and the execution of specific tasks demonstrating the students' command of tools, methods and critical autonomy.
Career opportunities:
- Public and private research bodies and universities
- Offices of the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activity (MIBAC) involved in the protection of Cultural Heritage (superintendences, museums, libraries, archives, etc.)
- Restoration workshops
- Professional organisations and firms working in the field of diagnostics, conservation and restoration of cultural heritage.