Apply to the Dual MS/MA Degree in Conservation and Art History


The dual-degree conservation program, the only one of its kind in the nation, is four years of full-time, funded study: three years of coursework and one year of Internship. With a 98% placement rate, our graduates are leaders in the field of conservation with many serving as museum department heads, within government institutions, or proprietors of their own private practice.

Each year, the Institute receives over 60 applications for the conservation dual-degree program. Over twenty applicants are extended an invitation to interview for an entering class of no more than eight students. Competition for admission to the Institute is high. Admitted students receive a four-year tuition-free scholarship; a living stipend that increases with each year of the program; coverage in NYU's student health insurance program; starter conservation toolkits; and funded round-trip travel and accommodations to Institute-sponsored and co-sponsored archaeological digs, or to Villa La Pietra in Florence, Italy, to participate in annual conservation projects.

To speak to someone about the program or to learn more about the admissions process, contact

Requirements for Admission

The study of art conservation requires a background in studio arts, art history, and laboratory science. Thus, applicants need to provide evidence of having this experience, even if it falls outside their major area of study.

Courses taken in fulfillment of the admission requirements can be taken at any accredited institution, including community college, by enrolling as a non-degree matriculating student. Because we are a dual-degree program, where students earn their MA in the History of Art and Archaeology and MS in the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, we look closely at art history coursework and the ability to excel in a rigorous art history master's program. Ideally, upper-level art history courses should contain a strong writing and research component, where outcomes include substantially researched papers with proper citations and footnotes, following Chicago Manual of Style, or similar. The science classes used towards our prerequisites must also contain a laboratory, hands-on component. Generally speaking, these would be science courses for majors or a pre-med track and not the more simplified chemistry for general studies or applied sciences. See below for more detail on these and all other requirements.

All prerequisite courses in art history and laboratory science must be completed at an accredited institution on a grade basis, not pass/fail, with grades of B or higher. The last course in fulfillment of necessary coursework may be completed up to and including, but not beyond, the spring semester after the application deadline.

Applicants for the Mellon Library & Archive and TBM Art Conservation programs must declare their intention to enter these specializations at time of application. It is optional for all other applicants to declare a specialty, or remain undecided, when applying to the program.

International students wishing to enter the conservation program must satisfy the same admission requirements as U.S. applicants.

Candidates wishing to be considered for admission to the Institute for Fall 2020 must submit their applications by Monday, December 2, 2019.

All applications to the Institute (MA, PhD, and MA/MS) are submitted electronically through GSAS online.

Applications are processed electronically by NYU's Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS) Office of Admissions. Technical questions about the application can be directed to, 212-998-8050.

General Application Requirements

  • Undergraduate B.A., B.F.A., or B.S. degree in any major. Students have come to the program with backgrounds in archaeology, art history, anthropology, classics, language studies, computer science, pre-med studies, studio arts, business, law, philosophy, etc.
  • A reading knowledge of French, German or Italian, or the clear intent to obtain such ability, to be tested once the student begins the program.
  • The GRE is required of all Institute applicants (general test). The Institutional code is 2596. A department code is not needed.
  • Submission of a focused, 2-4 page, double-spaced Statement of Academic Purpose, a recent CV, and an optional personal statement.
  • The Institute requires at least three letters of recommendation that speak to the applicant's research and writing skills, and appropriateness to the art history and conservation fields.
  • One art history writing sample is required.
  • The Graduate School requires applicants who are not native English speakers to submit official TOEFL or IELTS score results. The TOEFL/IELTS requirement is waived if the baccalaureate or master’s degree was (or will be) completed at an institution where the language of instruction is English.

Art History Requirements

  • Minimum of four college-level courses in upper-level art history, not including introductory or survey-level courses. These represent courses where emphasis is placed on research and writing.
  • Acceptable coursework could include studies of different time periods, studio practice, artistic movements, and studies in archaeology.
  • Online coursework and high school advanced placement credits in art history are not accepted.

Laboratory Science Requirements

  • Minimum of four college-level laboratory science courses.
  • Organic Chemistry I is required of all applicants.
  • Additional acceptable coursework can include: General Chemistry I & II, Organic Chemistry II, Physics, Biochemistry, Biology, or Material Science.
  • Acceptable coursework for the TBM specialization only can include: Physical Computing, Programming, Electronics, A/V Engineering, or Optics.
  • Online hybrid coursework and high school advanced placement credits in laboratory science will be accepted on a case-by-case basis. Inquire with the program if you have any concerns or questions.
  • Organic Chemistry I must appear on the transcript at time of application, either completed or in progress. Transcripts showing Organic Chemistry I in the spring semester following the application deadline will cause the application to be considered incomplete.

Studio Art Requirements

Select, qualified applicants are extended an invitation to interview the first week of March with the Admissions Committee, comprised of full- and part-time conservation faculty. At the interview, applicants must present evidence of their familiarity with, and knowledge of, a wide range of artists’ materials and techniques through a portfolio of relevant studio arts and, if applicable, prior conservation work. Studio experience need not come from graded coursework.

A well-prepared interviewee should come ready to show five studio pieces in person to the Admissions Committee—one of which must make use of color. Studio portfolios may contain examples of traditional artist techniques, e.g. watercolor, acrylics, oil paintings, photography, pen and ink drawings, etchings, screenprints, life drawings, pastels, charcoals, ceramics, etc., or craft-based techniques, e.g. glassblowing, needlepoint, costuming, knitting, furniture making, jewelry making, or papermaking.

Applicants to the library & archive program should be prepared to show multiple examples of bookbinding as one of their areas of studio experience.

Applicants to the TBM curriculum can show their experience with video editing, programming, circuit building, animation, app design, 3-D rendering/modeling, etc.

Prior Conservation Experience

  • Pre-program conservation experience is deeply encouraged but not required.
  • Should an applicant have prior conservation experience, a brief 10-minute overview can be provided at time of interview.