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Student doing detail work on a painting

Please note: The department is currently reviewing and revising admission requirements for Fall 2021 to address the current circumstances of the pandemic and BLM movement. More information will be forthcoming soon.

To be considered for admission, an applicant must satisfy the requirements listed below by January 3, 2020.

1. Have satisfactorily completed the following minimum course work. Please note that the required course credits are given in semester hours. To translate quarter hours to semester hour equivalents, multiply by 2/3. For example, 6 quarter hours is equal to 4 semester hours.

Art History (21 semester hours)
Courses should include broad surveys of art history and more focused studies of particular movements or works of significant artists. Courses in theory and philosophy will not be accepted, as the intent of this requirement is to ensure an exposure to and an understanding of works of art and artifacts.

At the discretion of the admissions committee, courses can include up to 12 semester hours outside of an art history department. For example, classics, archaeology, or anthropology courses that focus on artifacts, history of the book, history of photography, history of furniture, and other material culture courses may be accepted. Up to 12 of the 21 required credits may be from on-line courses. The admissions committee may ask for syllabi to verify the content of coursework.

​​Chemistry (16 semester hours)                                                                                                   A science major two-semester introductory (general) chemistry lecture course with accompanying laboratory sections, and a two-semester organic chemistry lecture sequence with accompanying laboratory sections. In-seat lecture and lab classes are preferred, but hybrid classes comprising on-line lecture with in-seat laboratory are also acceptable. Chemistry courses designed for non-science majors will not be accepted. 

Studio Art (9 semester hours)
Experience in both two- and three-dimensional work is desirable, as is an emphasis on producing works demonstrating hand skills and mastery of materials. Suggested are jewelry making, wheel thrown pottery, printmaking, drawing (graphite, silverpoint, conté crayon, even ball-point pen), bookbinding, textile arts, traditional painting, and other media and techniques that clearly display your abilities. Media and techniques such as photography, abstract/expressionistic painting or monoprinting usually do not provide convincing evidence of your manual abilities.

Once the minimum course requirements have been fulfilled, it is usually not necessary to take additional formal studio classes for credit to strengthen your portfolio. Any guided activity that strengthens and develops your manual skills is acceptable. The artwork submitted as part of the portfolio is not expected to derive solely from formal studio courses.

As mentioned above, the purpose of your portfolio is to demonstrate your mastery of materials and to communicate that fact to the selection committee. A high a level of manual proficiency will allow you to quickly learn and perform refined conservation treatments.

With this goal in mind, your portfolio cover sheet should list the following points for each work submitted:

1. Materials and techniques employed, and the year it was created

2. A brief description of the context under which the artwork was created and the process(es) employed

3. How each artwork demonstrates your skill or proficiency at using those particular materials or techniques.

Note: The classes must be from accredited academic institutions of higher education; a grade for each class must appear on your transcript. Pass/fail grades are not accepted. 

2. Have a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.80 (out of 4.0) in the last 60 hours of the baccalaureate degree. (For applicants who do not meet this minimum grade point average, consult the college's Graduate Catalog.) Most successful applicants have GPAs much higher than 2.80.

3. Have taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test (verbal, quantitative, and analytical). Most successful applicants have combined verbal and quantitative scores of over 300 on the GRE revised General Test (2011).  

4. Have fulfilled the other graduate admission requirements of the college.

5. The admissions committee highly recommends that all applicants garner hands-on conservation experience working under the guidance of a professional conservator at a museum, library or archives, regional center, and/or in a private conservation practice. Successful applicants have significant supervised pre-program internship experiences often conserving a variety of objects. Pre-program internships should be intensive enough and in a variety of conservation specialties to give applicants a basic understanding of treatment methods, materials and techniques, conservation problem solving and related issues. Successful candidates usually have about a year of supervised hands-on conservation treatment experience.

Projects that involve re-housing collections, database work, and other museum/library/archives tasks are useful but do not compare with supervised conservation treatment experience. 

6. International students interested in this program must meet the above requirements and have a good command of the English language. Applicants for whom English is a second language must show proficiency in English as demonstrated by TOEFL and/or IELTS English proficiency tests. A minimum TOEFL score of 94 or higher, or a minimum band score of 7.0 or higher on the IELTS will be required. 


The department does not accept non-degree or special students, and no variations from the stated admission requirements are permitted. Although they are not admission requirements, applicants are encouraged to take courses or attend workshops in specialized areas such as archaeology, geology, bookbinding, physics, and others, based on individual interests and career goals.

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

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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