Want a program with true pedigree? Try the Master of Conservation of Monuments and Sites, run by the RLICC (Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation), founded by Raymond Lemaire. The RLICC has more than 40 years of experience in training, research and consulting in the field of preservation of constructed heritage. Its advanced international and interdisciplinary study program in the conservation and restoration of historic monuments and sites is a three-semester program.
What is the Master of Conservation of Monuments and Sites about?
This three-semester program is organized jointly by the Department of Architecture and the Department of Civil Engineering.
The Master of Conservation of Monuments and Sites, 90 credits, is a three-semester, research-based academic degree spread over two years. The first academic year consists of theoretical courses, seminars and project work.
The first semester is chiefly dedicated to the establishing of a common theoretical framework, providing students from different backgrounds with a common basis, according to the interdisciplinary character of the program. Optional courses offered by the other Advanced Master’s programs of the Department of Architecture, and project-based education oriented towards building archaeology, documenting and surveying heritage, and larger-scale urban sites and landscapes, complete this semester.
In the second semester, the theoretical framework is dedicated to the technical and policy aspects of heritage. On the project level, its backbone consists of interdisciplinary project work integrating all aspects of conservation, based on a group work format, this is completed with a workshop abroad.
The third semester consists mainly of the Master’s thesis, i.e. individual research work in the field of conservation, supported by an ad hoc study program. This semester concentrates on research training with seminars, including a thematic week (open to first and second year’s students), supporting the writing of the Master’s thesis. It is completed with a professional internship, which aims to introduce students to the world of heritage practice.
For more detailed information about the program, admission requirements and application, check our website.
The Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (RLICC) offers an advanced Master’s program in the Faculty of Engineering Science at KU Leuven. The Centre was established by professor Raymond Lemaire in 1976, on the initiative of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and within the framework of the College of Europe in Bruges. The RLICC has more than forty years of experience in training, research and consulting in the field of the preservation of constructed heritage. Its founder, professor Lemaire, was one of the authors of the Charter of Venice, which established the doctrine for the conservation of architectural and urban heritage in 1964. He was also a well-known advisor to the European Union, the Council of Europe and UNESCO. He established the center, which took his name, to strengthen interest in the preservation of cultural heritage worldwide through interdisciplinary training and to promote further reflection on the best possible integration of heritage in today’s society for tomorrow’s generations. In this spirit, more than 700 conservation specialists have graduated from the program. Many of them have leading positions in national or international heritage organizations, have founded their own private consultancy offices or work for public authorities in the field of conservation.
MCMS-graduates master the necessary common language, critical perspective, research methodologies and practices used in the conservation of monuments and sites as reflected in international guidelines, charters, and literature. This allows them to proceed towards a research career (Ph.D.) or high-level professional careers in official bodies or as specialized self-employed activities.
International professors, as well as professionals, are systematically participating in lecture series, studio juries, and workshops.
MCMS has a unique position within the international educational landscape since it is the only English-language and internationally oriented program in Belgium dealing with the preservation of monuments and sites.
The international dimension of the MCMS is embodied in the profile of the students’ population as well as in that of the guest professors and the content of their lectures. The interdisciplinarity rests upon the different backgrounds of the students and (guest) professors, as well as on the integrative set-up of the curricula. This integration is mostly achieved in the workshops and design-studio, which is where the transdisciplinary intentions of the program are the most visible.
There is a diversity of incoming students, both in terms of geographic origin and in terms of professional and educational backgrounds.
The alumni-network covers alumni from 69 countries created over 2 generations (almost 40 years):
- Support of the international workshops by providing the possibility to interact with local organizations, communities, and professionals.
- Recruiting new possible students.
- Providing internships in an international context.
- Support in education (visiting lectures, Master’s thesis, and PhD-supervisors).
The recently revised program of three semesters offers the opportunity to organize a time-schedule which is compatible with first and second-year students (Master’s thesis presentations, design-studio jury's, the international symposium, etc.).
Through the interactive education which links the project work with the theoretical courses the graduates have learned to be flexible, they are capable of working in complex environments within interdisciplinary teams and they are well-skilled in communication.
The MCMS contributes to the research basis of involved departments and other research groups at KU Leuven and abroad, not only because of a substantial number of graduates becoming doctoral students but also because the networking resulting from the educational program overlaps with and strengthens the international networks for research.
The MCMS-program is closely linked to other fields of study such as Civil Engineering, Tourism, heritage and sustainable tourism development, Archaeology and History of Art.
Contributing to the international reputation of the University of Leuven.
UNESCO Chair on Preventive Conservation, Monitoring, and Maintenance of Monuments and Sites.
Partnerships with other universities: the University of Cuenca, University in Santiago de Cuba, Politecnico di Milano, South-East University, Peking University, etc.
MCMS-Alumni are engaged in leadership and policy-making positions at the international level dealing with heritage institutions (ICOMOS, DOCOMOM, UNESCO, Council of Europe, Heritage authorities in different countries, Getty Conservation Institute, Future for Religious Heritage).
The MCMS prepares graduates for intervening in highly sensitive and critically important issues of cultural heritage and has amongst other contributed to the report ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’ (2015) which measure the impact of heritage for sustainable development.
Application deadline for 2018-2019
- 1 March 2018 (for non-EEA citizens)
- 1 June 2018 (for EEA citizens)
KU Leuven uses an online application system. You can download and submit your application form via www.kuleuven.be/application. Students with a Flemish degree can consult www.kuleuven.be/studentenadministratie.
The current tuition fee is € 3,000/semester for EEA and non-EEA student. The tuition fee for the 2018-2019 academic year will be determined in the spring of 2018. Please consult the website for the most recent information: www.kuleuven.be/tuitionfees.
This is an Advanced Master’s program and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
Is this the right program for me?
Applicants should be able to demonstrate a real commitment to the conservation of cultural heritage in general. They should be willing to work in a team and to let ideas from their own backgrounds, training, and cultural contexts be confronted with those of other students. Upon successfully completing the program, you will have acquired and developed sufficient knowledge in all basic fields of conservation and restoration, as well as more specialized knowledge in those conservation and restoration subjects close to your own basic training. As such, you can advance your professional practice or start research in the heritage field.
Ideally, upon entering the program, you will possess:
- An initial Master’s degree in a field related to built heritage or cultural resource management, such as architecture, design, (construction) engineering, archaeology, (art) history, urban planning or cultural studies. Candidates with a five-year bachelor’s degree qualifying them for a professional career as an architect or engineer in their country are also eligible to apply. Motivated candidates with a Master of Science degree in another relevant discipline may also be eligible to apply, but they should contact the program office before applying.
- A special interest and, preferably, a demonstrable commitment to the cause of the conservation of cultural heritage in general.
- A willingness to work in a team and to confront concepts/opinions/methods from your own background and cultural context with those of other students with a different background, training and cultural context.
- Professional experience (recommended).
- Knowledge of languages (recommended; English required).
At the end of the program, the participants will have:
- acquired and developed sufficient knowledge in all basic fields of conservation and restoration;
- acquired specialized knowledge in those conservation and restoration subjects which are closest to the student’s own (first) discipline;
- acquired the necessary common language needed for interdisciplinary communication in a restoration or heritage management project, so as to advance professional practice and/or scientific research in the heritage preservation field.
Employment options for graduates from the RLICC are numerous and wide-spread. Alumni are currently working as independent professionals in conservation and restoration of architectural heritage all over the world. They display highly appreciated the professional experience in private architecture and restoration offices as well as in leadership and policymaking positions in regional, national and international conservation institutions such as UNESCO, ICOMOS and the Council of Europe. All levels of the heritage administration, be they regional, national or international, count RLICC alumni among their ranks.
The master after master program offered by the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation aims at educating young professionals in the conservation and restoration of immovable heritage (buildings, structures, and sites), both into the tradition of the discipline and into the new scientific methods.
Graduates of the MCMS have acquired and developed skills that allow for the necessary interdisciplinary research, communication, and collaboration between the various disciplines involved in the restoration of architectural heritage as for example archaeology, history, urbanism, architecture, engineering, human sciences, conservation and restoration sciences, etc. They have learned to use relevant source material, to approach a problem in a scientific way, to understand the approaches and possibilities of other disciplines than their own, and they have developed the necessary common terminology, methodology, and skills to carry out research and to prepare jointly restoration studies, projects, and long-term programs. They have learned to reflect critically on ongoing concepts and debates on heritage preservation. Based on the above they have acquired the necessary common language and they master with a critical attitude the research methodologies and practices used in the conservation of monuments and sites, as reflected in international guidelines, charters, and literature. They have obtained knowledge and experience (through project works) that strengthens them to be part of interdisciplinary research and to communicate with a restoration team.