Considering the Art Conservation Field
As a new undergraduate it may seem odd to look at graduate programs too, but that is what we will ask of you. In this way you will understand the goals and prerequisites for the highly competitive graduate conservation programs. With an undergraduate degree it is possible to find a conservation technician or assistant collections care position, but to be a professional conservator, a graduate degree is necessary. In the U.S. there are only four conservation master's degree programs at the following institutions: University of Delaware, New York University, University of California Los Angeles, and Buffalo State University. Therefore, it is important to keep the admissions requirements for these institutions in mind as you plan your undergraduate studies.
Conservation is an interdisciplinary field that relies heavily on chemistry, art history/anthropology, and art. Therefore, our undergraduate program requires our students to do well in all three areas, as well as gain practical experiences working in the field. Many of our undergraduates (35%) do get into the highly competitive conservation graduate programs, especially if they are willing to spend time post graduation to gain additional conservation experience. However, some students prefer to pursue other areas of museum work, such as registration, collections care and art handling, or they pursue work and graduate degrees in areas related to archives, libraries, museum studies, art history, anthropology or historic preservation. Undergraduates gain a strong preventive conservation grounding that can serve them well in many settings within cultural heritage fields.