Conservation and Restoration

Head: o. Univ.-Prof. Mag. art. Dr. phil. Gabriela Krist

The study programme of Conservation and Restoration prepares students for an academic conservator’s continually changing and expanding field of activity.

The study programme objective is to enable students to independently carry out measures for examining, conserving and restoring art and cultural goods in line with the appropriate standards of professional ethics. To achieve this, the knowledge of current methods of prevention and preservation form the basis of the programme. At the same time, students will receive guidance in the pursuit of scientific conservation research and interdisciplinary cooperation with other specialist areas.

The study programme will convey the internationally recognised quality criteria for the development of long-term and sustainable preservation strategies. The knowledge imparted will be based on conservation sciences, natural sciences and the humanities. During the course of the programme both theoretical and practical contents are treated as equally important and are set up to mesh with each other. Individual emphasis on certain topics will be enabled depending on the programme framework. On top of that, international cooperation activities and projects will serve to expand professional skills.

More information on the programme here.


Registration for the academic year 2020/2021 is already closed.
The next admission process is projected for February 2021.
Further information regarding registration and admission exam will follow.

We suggest getting details of the admission exam and the diploma degree programme in good time from the management of the Institute during their office hours (!

The following skills and abilities are required in the study programme:  

The future restorer should possess artistic aptitude and enjoy  practical-manual, craft-based work, but also show an interest in the humanities (art and cultural history, archaeology …) and natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics). We recommend undertaking a pre-study internship of several weeks at a restoration studio. First and foremost, all those interested should gather information about a restorer‘s everyday work beforehand. Also, they should carefully consider which area of specialisation to choose. A higher school-leaving certificate is not a legal requirement, but Matura certificate (or equivalent) has proven to be a good foundation for our study programme.  
Sufficient German language skills (both spoken and written) are a necessity from the start as most courses are held in German. Also, basic knowledge of English is a prerequisite, as some courses are held in English. We would like to point out that due to the extent of compulsory practical work during the first semesters of the programme there will be hardly any opportunity for part-time work or the pursuit of a second study.
The head and assistants of the Institute would be happy to answer any questions in a face to face meeting regarding the study programme and the entrance exam. We recommend making an appointment at least six months prior to the entrance exam for a critical discussion of the portfolio and to deal with questions regarding the studies.
Admission to the diploma degree programme is based on a two-tier process (submitting portfolio, exam):

Prerequisite for admission to the entrance exam is the positive assessment of the application portfolio. The portfolio should be of generous proportions (sheet size A3 to A2) and contain approx. 20 current works. The Institute asks for precise freehand drawings and studies of nature in pencil (e.g. life drawing, still life, landscape, etc., preferably a series). Aim for an image of the chosen item that is as close to nature and as accurate in every detail as possible. The second part of the portfolio can/should contain works in colour (e.g. watercolours, pastels) and may be more freely designed.

  • submission of a portfolio with recent works (approx. 20 pieces, required are mainly studies of nature in pencil / red chalk / charcoal /watercolour, etc.)
  • completed 17th year of age
  • educational certificate (e.g. Matura certificate, BHS vocational higher school leaving certificate, certificate of apprenticeship, and similar)
  • artistic aptitude and crafting skills
  • overview knowledge in art history
  • basic knowledge in natural sciences (chemistry, physics)
  • computer knowledge (Microsoft Office programmes: Word, Power Point, Excel (basic knowledge), Adobe Photoshop)

Recommendations on how to prepare (PDF)

Within the framework of the entrance exam, applicants‘ artistic-creative skills are tested, plus their manual skills such as moulding, object construction, drawing, and colour mixing. Also, their basic knowledge in art history and chemistry (at secondary school level) is tested.
In addition, written papers are to be produced, such as an art-historical description of a painting, and a personal interview takes place to cover information regarding the occupational profile and the applicant‘s motivation to train and work in the area of conservation-restoration.