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Perrine LeSaux working in paper lab
Student working in paper lab

The Garman Art Conservation Department practices a holistic admissions process that relies on multiple criteria to identify the most promising candidates. We do not require the submission of GRE scores. We are committed to equity in the admissions process and our requirements and criteria for assessment are explained below. Please note: these requirements were updated in February 2022.

Submission deadline:  January 7, 2024

1.) Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of at least 2.8, as evidenced by official transcripts from accredited institutions of higher education.

2.) Applicants must have satisfactorily completed course work in the three areas below. Please note that the required course credits are given in semester credit hours. To translate quarter hours to semester-hour equivalents, multiply by 2/3. For example, 6 quarter hours are equal to 4 semester hours.

A grade for each class must appear, except for some qualifying studio art and craft courses (see 2c. below). We may request catalog descriptions or syllabi to determine if a course meets the requirements. For courses taken in Spring 2020 and later, pass/fail grades will be accepted. For courses in progress at the time of application, please provide evidence of enrollment with your application.

2a.) Art History, Cultural Heritage & Archaeology: 18 Semester Credit Hours including 9 credits of Art History coursework
Course distribution: Qualifying courses include art history, archaeology, classics, library or information studies, and physical anthropology courses. These courses should focus on art and artifacts.

This requirement ensures exposure to and understanding of a wide array of artistic, cultural, and historic works, as well as critical thinking and writing skills.

2b.) Chemistry: 16 Semester Credit Hours
Course distribution: Must include two semesters of introductory/general chemistry with labs and two semesters of organic chemistry with labs. Courses for non-science majors will not be accepted.

This requirement ensures applicants have the necessary chemistry background including familiarity with laboratory skills, equipment, and techniques, and the scientific grounding for advanced content in each conservation specialty.

Note: In-person laboratory courses are required, however, if your education was affected by the pandemic (Spring 2020 through Spring 2022), online courses will be accepted.

2c.) Studio Art and Craft:  12 Semester Credit Hours or equivalent (see note below)
Course distribution: Hands-on courses in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional arts and crafts, such as drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking, bookbinding, jewelry and metalwork, textiles, ceramics, calligraphy, woodworking, glass blowing, papermaking, etc.  

We also accept equivalent formal studio courses taught at museums and community centers. Each course should provide approximately 70 hours of studio time. Please submit documentation including institution name, course description, and course duration; no grade submission is required.

The intent of this requirement is to demonstrate fine hand/motor skills, manual dexterity, and a familiarity with materials and techniques. Courses in techniques and media such as computer graphics, photography, and abstract or expressionist art, do not convincingly demonstrate manual skills.

Note: Hands-on studio courses are required, however, if your education was affected by the pandemic (Spring 2020 through Spring 2022), online courses will be accepted.

3.) Portfolio of studio art and craft: Works in both two and three dimensions are preferred. Works submitted do not have to be the result of formal studio courses.

Please submit 7-10 artworks and/or crafts with a cover sheet detailing the following information for each work:

3a.) Title (if any), media and support (include all materials and techniques employed), year created.

3b.) A brief description of the context under which the artwork was created (academic course, independent project, etc.).

3c.) How the work shows your skill or proficiency with the particular materials and/or techniques. Include detailed images where appropriate. Please bear in mind that some techniques and media, such as computer graphics, photography, and abstract or expressionist artworks, do not convincingly demonstrate manual skills.

This requirement demonstrates your hand skills and communicates your mastery of materials and techniques to the selection committee. A high level of manual proficiency is necessary to learn and perform refined conservation treatments and scientific analyses.

4.) Curriculum Vitae (C.V.): Please follow the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) Guidelines available here.

5.) Personal Statement: Please provide a 1,000-word statement explaining why you are pursuing art conservation as a career, your strengths, your interest in the graduate-level education provided by the Garman Art Conservation Department, and how such training relates to your personal objectives. 

6.) Conservation experience: Hands-on experience working under the guidance of a professional conservator at a museum, library, archive, regional center, and/or in a private conservation practice is highly recommended. This experience is helpful in developing hand skills and gaining familiarity with the field before committing to a graduate program. In addition, preventive conservation, object handling, and other museum/library/archives tasks are also beneficial experiences.

7.) Letters of Recommendation: Please submit (only) three letters of recommendation. Two letters must be from conservators and/or allied professionals who can indicate your level of experience and likelihood of future success in the field of conservation. One must be from a professor or other academic reference who can speak to your academic ability and likelihood of success in an intensive graduate program. We recognize that some applicants may have difficulty obtaining an academic reference and in such cases, a reference from a professional or supervisor will be accepted.

8.) Applicants for whom English is a second language must submit a score of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Duolingo English Test as documentation of English language proficiency. Applicants with a minimum TOEFL score of 550 or higher on the paper exam or 79 on the Internet exam, an IELTS score of 6.0 or higher, or a Duolingo score of 100 or higher may be considered for admission.

For further information, please refer to the Graduate School's Information for International Applicants:

In addition, all applicants should review the Admission to a Graduate Program section on the Graduate School's website.

Application Deadline: Completed admission applications must be received by the department office no later than January 7 of the year in which admission is sought.

Admission to the department, as in all other departments of the college, is based on the applicant's qualifications without regard to sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, age, handicap, marital or veteran status, and arrest and/or conviction record.

Interview Process
Interviews for the Class of 2025 were remote and interviews for the Class of 2026 will be handled in the same manner. We recognize the burden of travel costs on applicants so, in an effort to keep our application interview process more accessible, we plan to keep them in a virtual format. Invited candidates will be asked to submit documentation of their conservation and related experiences in advance. During the interview, please present 5 conservation treatments and/or related projects, ideally demonstrating experience with a range of materials and disciplines. More information will be provided to invited applicants.

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Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department

1300 Elmwood Ave  •  Rockwell Hall 230 •  Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: (716) 878-5025 •  Fax: (716) 878-5039