Heritage Conservation teaches you the techniques, approaches and methodologies required to work as a heritage consultant in policy development or regulation enforcement, or as a cultural historian and commentator. This exciting field of study is much more than just the simple preservation of existing buildings. Instead, our Heritage Conservation program trains you to understand the social value and embedded capital of significant sites, and determine what should be preserved for future generations. Your degree in Heritage Conservation allows you to draw on our Faculty’s extensive history in this profession, being the first university in the Asia-Pacific region to offer a program in Heritage Conservation.

This program combines the technical and aesthetic principles of architecture and architectural history with the social value of our past. You will be educated in the use of new and old material, alteration design, additions and modifications to existing buildings, and the sustainable, ethical and equitable development of sites in light of its past uses. By engaging with history, your role as a heritage consultant is to provide value to building owners, visitors and cultural bodies, all of which have a shared interest in understanding, adapting and preserving our heritage.

Your core program emphasises the skills required for work with valuable heritage sites. These skills include the assessment, interpretation, management, documentation and formation of policy for culturally significant places, including buildings, sites and cultural landscapes. These core skills are taught by focusing on the duality of historic buildings – their construction (in terms of design and materials) and significance (culturally, historically, economically and socially). From this dual understanding, you will be trained to develop policy that reflects the importance of all aspects of a significant building.


Heritage consultants’ skills are in demand by government and cultural agencies, development firms, historical societies and architectural and urban planning firms. Graduates may also be employed as social commentators, historians or cultural observers. The dual focus of this program – building design and policy formation – equips you to enter either area, and there are an increasing number of opportunities with government and councils to work on conservation projects within their electorates. The approaches taught in this program are recognised internationally, and our internationally-focused approach to conservation education makes your skills readily transferrable to other countries.

There is increasing demand for specialist skills in this area. Many graduates develop a niche specialisation (in a particular era or style of architecture, or in geographic contexts) in their professional practice. The increasing complexity of government regulations – ‘red tape’ - for new project developments presents an opportunity for skilled heritage consultants to work alongside regulators and design teams to help navigate the complexities of significant sites.

Study Options

Our Heritage Conservation program can be taken as a Graduate Certificate (six months full time), Graduate Diploma (one year full time) or Master degree (one and a half years full time). Part time study options are available for domestic students.

Many Heritage Conservation units are taught as ‘block-mode’ intensive classes, delivered over four to six full days, some of which occur on weekends to accommodate students who work. Some units may be delivered in weekly lecture format. Please refer to the current timetable or Faculty Handbook to explore the delivery method of you chosen subjects.

Students may apply to upgrade at the completion of their program from the Graduate Certificate, through to the Diploma and then to the Masters by maintaining a credit average over the course of study. Masters and Diploma students may also opt to graduate with a lower level of certification once the required units are complete.

Individual units can also be taken as short courses for Continuing Professional Development without enrolling into a degree.


If you have a shared interest in Heritage Conservation and Urban and Regional Planning, you may pursue a Heritage Conservation enrichment program within the Master of Urban and Regional Planning. This two-year program equips you with the policy and practical understandings necessary for work as both a heritage consultant and in the allied planning professions. Learn more about this enrichment option by visiting the Urban and Regional Planning program page.

You may also take some Heritage Conservation units as electives within a Master of Urban Design program. Learn more about these elective options by visiting the Urban Design program page.


Qualification Core Option Elective Total
Master of Heritage Conservation 42 18 12 72
Graduate Diploma 30 06 12 48
Graduate Certificate 18 06 00 24




Conservation Methods and Practices 12 Heritage Law & Policy 6
New Design in Old Settings 6 Research Report 6
History and Theory of Conservation 6
Research Report 6



Modern Architectural History 6 Conservation Design Studio 6
Conservation of Modern Materials 6
Conservation of Traditional Materials 6
Students are also encouraged to choose electives from any graduate program. Students are also encouraged to choose electives from any graduate program.


Master degree applicants should hold a Bachelor degree with a credit average. Graduate Diploma applicants should hold a Bachelor degree. Graduate Certificate applicants should hold a Bachelor degree or possess experience that is considered to demonstrate the knowledge and aptitude required to undertake the course.

Applications are completed online. Please visit Courses Online to get started.

Applications must be accompanied by original transcripts of study (or copies issued and certified by the issuing institution), together with certified copies of your identification (Birth Certificate or Passport). Students who are applying for a certificate program based on industry experience should attach a CV and any other supporting documentation that may assist in the assessment of your application.

For further information or enquiries, please contact the program director, Trevor Howells.


Visit the CPD page for more information on Professional Development courses.



I have spent most of my adult life in Asia; two stays in Hong Kong totalling almost nine years and a two year stay in Japan. Both countries had very different strategies for dealing with heritage conservation and the treatment of old buildings

I returned determined to do whatever I could to assist in preserving Australia’s cultural heritage, a young country with a unique story. I felt this degree would be a perfect way to gain a deeper understanding of a profession that seeks to preserve, conserve and protect buildings of historical significance.

I find the Heritage Conservation degree stimulating on so many levels. We have had the opportunity to visit a number of areas of historical interest within Sydney and have met a variety of people working in related fields who all have inspiring stories and experiences to share. The knowledge gained should complement my existing skills as an analyst and my project management experience.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate studies can now be completed easily online.
Visit Courses Online to get started.

Applications must be accompanied by original transcripts of study ( or copies issued and certified by the issuing institution), together with certified copies of your Identification. (Birth Certificate or Passport).
Where students are applying for a certificate level based on industry experience, please attach a CV and any other supporting documentation which may assist in the assessment of your application.

Just want to study one unit of study as professional development?

Visit the CPD page for more information on Professional Development courses.