Conservation at HKU

The Master of Science in Conservation equips graduates with the technical competencies and intellectual skills required to guide decision-making in conservation planning, management and design in the 21st century.

The programme emphasizes the integration of sustainability in conservation training, which enables graduates to address the growing risks and challenges to built heritage conservation, including climate change, disasters, and various pressures from urbanization, gentrification and tourism development. Through a combination of dedicated studios, seminar and elective courses, students will gain theoretical and practical insights into the latest policies, methodologies and best practices and apply their knowledge to real-life projects.

With its internationally recognized expertise in planning, architecture, landscape architecture and building construction with established connections to professional practice, the Faculty of Architecture at HKU provides an ideal interdisciplinary setting for educating well-rounded conservation professionals and future heritage leaders.

The programme is supported by the Built Heritage Research Collaborative (BHRC), a new research lab established within the HKUrban Labs with a mission to facilitate knowledge exchange and collaborative projects amongst heritage researchers across HKU and other academic and professional institutions.

Programme objectives

  • Understand heritage as a key driver and enabler for sustainable development.
  • Acquire knowledge about the latest policies, legal frameworks and methodologies relevant to the conservation of buildings, landscapes, and infrastructures.
  • Gain theoretical and practical insights into different types of built heritage projects in Hong Kong, Greater China and the Southeast Asian region.
  • Develop strategic solutions for conservation planning, management and design through individual and team-based studio works.
  • Acquire effective communication skills to advocate conservation for local communities and engage with multiple sectors.

A highlight of the programme is a visit to an outstanding heritage site in the region.

Career prospects

Graduates may take up professional positions in governments, NGOs, architectural and planning practices as well as heritage consultancies in Hong Kong, Mainland China and beyond. Graduates may also pursue further studies in the MPhil and PhD programmes at HKU and other reputable universities around the world.


Students will take eight compulsory core courses, two elective courses and the Thesis capstone course to be completed in full time mode within three semesters of one academic year, or in part-time mode between two to four academic years.

At the time of their application to the programme, students are required to select one of the two specialized streams:

  1. Conservation Planning and Management; or
  2. Design for Conservation.

In the fall semester (full-time mode), all students will take four core courses and one elective. In the spring semester, students in their respective streams will take one common core course, one 6-credit specialization course, a 12-credit studio and a 6-credit elective. All students will take the 12-credit thesis course in the summer semester.

The first semester is dedicated to the completion of four core courses and an elective. The second semester focuses on each stream of specialization. At the core of each stream, a 12-credit studio course provides the opportunity to apply the theories and methods learned from core courses to practical, on-site projects and to deliver strategic conservation solutions through individual and team-based work.

The summer semester is dedicated to an independent 12-credit conservation thesis through which students pursue an area of interest in their specialization to greater depth and develop a critical proposition through a rigorous research process.

The programme is not accredited by the Hong Kong Institute of Architectural Conservationists (HKICON). The University will seek accreditation from HKICON and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for the degree upon completion of studies of the graduating class in 2023.