School of Academic/ Faculty

NUS College of Design and Engineering

Course Highlight/ Description

The Master of Arts in Architectural Conservation (MAArC) is an advanced programme that offers a unique perspective on diverse Asian cultures by providing students with comprehensive knowledge and essential hands-on training and experience to develop skills for a range of careers in historic building conservation and related fields.

About MA in Architectural Conservation
Historic Asian cities are often regarded as the cradle of civilisation and have played a vital role in the development of human societies. In the past few decades, cities across Asia have been experiencing tremendous transformations in their social, cultural, and economic structures due to an unprecedented rate of urbanisation and rural-urban migration. Even as millions living in these cities currently enjoy a share of ‘progress,’ they are nevertheless under the constant threat of destruction. What is at stake is the erasure of the cultural endowments and values of various communitiees, and the rapid and irreversible alteration of the character of inner-city neighbourhoods - these have repercussion on how people live and work, and on the preservation of urban fabric. To that end, we prepare our students with historical perspectives, cultivate intellectual tools, and acquire practical design and conservation skills to manage conservation projects of different scales and context. Our students will understand that the most pressing urban heritage management challenges cannot be solved by a single discipline but requires interdisciplinary collaborations across professions and key stakeholders.

NUS Baba House in Singapore and NUS-Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre for Asian Architectural and Urban Heritage in Melaka (Malaysia) are the unique resources available to the Department of Architecture[1] to facilitate hands-on training and research into architectural conservation and urban environments.

Our teaching (guest) faculty is drawn from an international cast of heritage professionals and practising building craftspersons with diverse theoretical orientations, academic backgrounds, and varied work experience, in addition to the NUS lecturers and professors. The MAArC programme, through its balanced approach towards conservation principles, design and practice, endeavour to train students to contribute to critical discourses and shape the practice by providing thought leadership.

The National University of Singapore, Department of Architecture hosts the UNESCO Chair on Architectural Heritage Conservation and Management in Asia. It is dedicated to promoting research and education in the field of architectural conservation.
[1] #12 in QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020: Architecture/ Built Environment. #11 in QS Global World Ranking 2021.

The MAArC offers the opportunity to engage students with local and international practices, gaining practical and research experience in heritage conservation, by working as an intern in a private company or public organisation both in Singapore and the region. This practical experience can also be validated as a part of the elective internship module (AC5014). Students can take this module between the two semesters.

The internship allows students to participate in relevant heritage management, urban design, planning and/or research projects, and their work will be supervised and evaluated by the MAArC programme director or an appointed tutor. At the end of the internship, the student is required to submit a report explaining the project(s) involved reflecting the methods and practices learned during the experience.

The internship lasts for a minimum period of five weeks on a part-time basis (3 hours/day, 3 days/week).

Study Trip Abroad
The MAArC enhances the learning experience by exposing students to real and professional scenarios. As part of this experience, a compulsory four to six days field trip to infuse in our students the ability to understand, analyse critically, and manage heritage sensitively and reasonably in Asian contexts. This field trip, with input by local government agencies and conservation authorities, private conservation professionals, and academic institutions will provide an in-depth understanding of the relationship of built heritage conservation efforts to the sustainable development of the historic environment. The class travels to a city in the region in the middle of the academic year during the long semester break (June-July).

Head over to the programme page to know more!



Course Duration

Full-time: 12–36 months; Part-time: 24–48 months

Entry Requirement

Bachelor's Degree with Honours in Architecture, Planning/Urban Design, Project and Facility Management, or any built environment-related programmes or qualifications as may be approved by NUS

Note: In exceptional cases, candidates with relevant academic qualifications other than the above may be considered on a case-by-case basis, subject to approval by the Board of Graduate Studies

For holders of undergraduate qualifications other than a Bachelor's Degree with Honours in Architecture, Planning/Urban Design, Project and Facility Management, or any built environment-related programmes or qualifications as may be approved by NUS, two years of relevant work experience

English Language:
Applicants whose native tongue and medium of university instruction is not completely in English:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) minimum score of 85 (Internet-based), or
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) minimum Academic score of 6.0.
Note: TOEFL / IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date and should not have expired at point of application. Expired scores will not be considered for the application.

Total Estimated Fee

S$38,317.76 (excluding GST) / S$41,000.00 (including GST)

Careers Prospects

Many MAArC alumni may return to their core disciplines as heritage conservation-trained professionals. A degree from one of the world’s premier schools of design and environment, NUS enhances their standing and marketability.

The MAArC experience provides them with an enhanced capability to broaden their perspective regarding emerging trends and persistent heritage issues in Asia. With the critical skills and knowledge gained through the programme, they are well placed to excel in heritage conservation or related sectors in the region. Some graduates may segue into research, education, or specialist consulting. Others may continue to pursue PhDs.

Campus Branches

Kent Ridge Campus