MA in Buddhist Art History and Conservation

Course Overview


From 2022, the Conservation studios will be located in Somerset House. Teaching in Conservation will be at Somerset House and at our Vernon Square campus.


Full-time: 12 months

Awarding body

University of London


12 per year

The MA, affiliated with Robert H. N. Ho Foundation Centre for Buddhist Art and Conservation at the Courtauld, provides a comprehensive grounding in Buddhist art history and theoretical aspects of conservation.

You will obtain widely transferrable research and practical skills, and sensitivity to world cultures and religions. The objective of the MA is to address the issue of the preservation — through appreciation, continuing use and conservation — of the vast heritage of Buddhist art worldwide, drawing on key sites where The Courtauld has been involved in conservation. The preservation of Buddhist art requires an appreciation of Buddhism as a religion, and the ways in which Buddhist belief, practice, patronage and social role have influenced artistic expression. You will receive essential grounding in conservation and art history reflecting diverse traditions of Buddhism, in objects of all kinds, in collections and in sites. Visits to collections and sites are central to the degree.

The degree is taught by leading specialists in Conservation and Buddhist Art. Teaching focuses on theoretical and ethical frameworks for the conservation of Buddhist art, and methods for assessing risk and implementing preventive measures that underpin sustainable conservation. Following formal teaching in semester 1 and 2, you will undertake an independent research project on an aspect of conservation or art history in the summer term. The 12-month MA is enriched through courses with graduate students majoring in Conservation and Art History.

The Courtauld MA provides you with outstanding tailored support and supervision to help you to realise your full academic potential and to go on to flourish in your career.

Download the postgraduate prospectus 2022/23:

Courtauld PG Prospectus 22/23

Entry requirements

UK qualifications: Students will normally have achieved a good 2.1 in their Bachelor’s degree, considered to be an overall average 65% or above.

Overseas qualification: Equivalent to a good 2.1 in a UK first degree (e.g. US applicants should have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above).

Please note that applicants are invited to interview on a case-by-case basis.

Applications: Please see ‘How to Apply‘ page for information.

English language requirements: If your first language is not English, we require proof of English language proficiency –please see the English Language Requirements page.

Programme structure

The programme is structured in research-led modules taught over two terms that introduce the History of Buddhism, Approaches to Conservation and Art History, and concludes with an independent research project during the summer.

In semester 1 and 2 you will take modules on Buddhism, a substantial module on Art Historical Survey of Buddhist Art, and modules in Principles and Ethics of Conservation, Materials and Making and Preventive conservation and collection care.

In semester 2 you will focus on modules devoted to Art History and Conservation of  Buddhist Paintings and Sites and Art History and technical study: Understanding Buddhist art through the close study of Objects. During summer you will complete a 10,000 word dissertation.

Teaching and assessment

The degree is taught by leading specialists from the Department of Conservation and Department of Art History and delivered in lectures, workshops and research-based seminars.

Skills are developed through tutorials, seminars and preparation for seminars, tutorials and private study.

Assessment is based on coursework, a written examination, seminars and your research dissertation.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees are subject to change each academic year. Fee information, including what qualifies as home, EU, and overseas fees, can be found on our fees & funding pages.

Financial support for your studies:

Postgraduate Master’s Loan Please visit the Student Finance England website for further information and to apply online.

Courtauld Institute of Art Scholarships: Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit combined with financial need. The average postgraduate scholarship awarded in 2019/20 was £6,000. Applications are welcomed from Home, EU and Overseas students.

Generously funded scholarships are available from the Robert H. N. Ho Centre at The Courtauld – details to be added in due course.

Alumni Loyalty Scheme: This scheme is open to any graduate of The Courtauld Institute of Art admitted to a taught postgraduate programme of study. Recipients will receive a 10% loyalty discount off their tuition fee for the duration of the course.

Further information about loans, grants, and bursaries to support you during your studies at The Courtauld can be found here.

Careers and employability

The degree will provide you with the ability to integrate, present and contextualise research related to the history of Buddhism, Buddhist art and its conservation and effectively summarise research and use it to support an argument made in a small-group or team setting.  The course is designed to allow you to pursue further specialist conservation education, or related fields such as art-historical research, curating, or site-management. Graduates of the course have gone on to study Wall Painting Conservation, and have leading roles in collections and museums.


To support you through the degree, we offer:

Wellbeing: We have a dedicated Wellbeing team, with counsellors and advisors.

Academic and Practical Skills: You will have academic support from your tutors in Conservation and Art History, which will include mentoring and supervision as well as guidance for your research project.

MA in Buddhist Art History and Conservation Open Day

Studying at The Courtauld 2022/23: an overview

Applications open