I’m Teele, and I’m studying MA International Conservation Studies at York.
Committing to a Masters degree is a huge financial, social and career decision. There are so many reasons to come to York, especially if you’re passionate about archaeology and heritage.
Admittedly, I was initially a bit worried about how I was going to manage. I felt a little underprepared, as the course was much more fast-paced than my undergraduate degree. In reality, the diverse experiences in the classroom meant that there were so many people I could learn from. You’ll be able to get involved in a lot of projects, gaining so much experience while studying.
I studied BA Archaeology and Heritage at York, so continuing my Masters here was a no-brainer. I found a passion for conservation and wrote my dissertation on the conservation and management of cave art. Luckily the Department offers so many courses. They cater to all kinds of niche interests, from early prehistory to digital archaeology as well as two degrees in conservation studies.
The staff are incredible at what they do. It is an absolute joy to listen to lectures from professionals who are passionate about their topics and can tell you about their own experiences. Not only are they knowledgeable, but they’re incredibly supportive and understanding. They always help you strive for more and push yourself. We’ve also had several guest lecturers from English Heritage, the Civic Trust and the York Conservation Trust, workshops and field trips.
You’ll find plenty of opportunities for self-improvement. There are volunteering opportunities, workshops, lectures and talks, with some courses even offering placements. This year I’ve been able to get involved in a collaboration between the Department and the York Civic Trust. We appraise planning applications in the city and can submit comments on behalf of the Trust. I’ve also done some 3D laser scanning and photogrammetry of an old farmhouse in the abandoned medieval village of Wharram Percy.
The city of York is filled with community projects and several heritage organisations you could volunteer for. I’ve volunteered for the York Civic Trust to do some research to produce a local heritage list. I’ve also worked with York Unlocked, ushering people and giving tours in buildings that would normally be closed to the public.
There are research seminars every Friday and student talks organised by the Archaeology Society as well as frequent workshops on things like brick making but also finds processing.
If the array of opportunities and the welcoming department are not enough to convince you, then the city of York should be. Its long history and beautiful buildings and scenery make it the perfect place to study. Most of the teaching is in King’s Manor. King’s Manor is Grade I listed building in the city centre, perfect for studying any archaeology-related degree. There are so many resources from the BioArCh labs to the York Experimental Research (YEAR) Centre on the Campus West, as well as some very cute ducks you can feed when you need a little break. If you want a change of scenery, you can visit the Minster Library or the vast number of cafés and pubs in the city.