Post-Bac in Conservation Program Curriculum | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

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Post-Bac in Conservation Program Curriculum

The Post-Bac Certificate in Conservation program requires, encourages, and fosters a high degree of commitment, dedication, and self-discipline. The curriculum is founded on the belief that advanced conservation students should specialize in study in conservation and restoration areas such as paintings on wood panels and canvases; wood (sculptures and frames); paper; murals; textiles; and archaeological artifacts (Etruscan, Picenian, and Roman).

During the year of study, Academic, Practical, Technical, and Business aspects of conservation are explored. At the beginning of and throughout each semester, students meet with the Director of the Post-Bac in Conservation Program to solidify courses. Students must complete 30 credits of course work within one academic year, and normally enroll in 15 credits in both the Fall and Spring semesters and complete a total of 300-350 hours of practical training.

For additional information, view or download the Post-Bac in Conservation brochure.


Students are required to take the following courses. For descriptions and syllabi for all SACI courses, visit Course Listings. Use the category filters to view only Studio or Academic courses.

Fall Semester

3 semester hours: Graduate Seminar in Conservation I

3 semester hours: Beginning Painting Conservation I

3 semester hours: Conservation of Archaeological Artifacts

3 semester hours: Conservation Law, Business, and Management

3 semester hours: Mural Conservation

Spring Semester

3 semester hours: Graduate Seminar in Conservation II

3 semester hours: Beginning Painting Conservation II

3 semester hours: Conservation of Archaeological Artifacts*

3 semester hours: Diagnostic Techniques for Conservators

3 semester hours: Mural Conservation*

*During the Spring term, a Directed Independent Study (DIS) in a Conservation area may be substituted for either Conservation of Archaeological Artifacts or Mural Conservation.

The Study Proposal

At the beginning of each semester, students write a new Study Proposal, which includes: a clear statement defining the student’s focus within his or her Major Discipline; proposed goals for the semester; problems that the student is seeking to resolve and questions he or she is proposing to answer; themes or subjects to investigate; the means and resources that will be used to realize these goals (courses, museums, libraries, materials, techniques, and other resources); and a statement about how all the above relate to the student’s prior work. The Study Proposal is submitted to the Program Director/Conservation Area Head for review and approval, and serves to define and redefine the student’s goals and provide major points of reference throughout his or her entire course of study.

Major Discipline

All students in the program work intensively in one of the three Major Disciplines listed below:

  • Painting Conservation
  • Conservation of Archaeological Artifacts
  • Mural Conservation

Directed Independent Study

Students have the option of working at an advanced level with a SACI faculty member in a Directed Independent Study (DIS) course on Paper Conservation, Painting Reproduction, Wood Conservation, or another Conservation area topic. The DIS is an intensive and individually-designed tutorial in which the student meets weekly with an instructor to review studio or academic work created specifically for the DIS. The DIS format enables a student to propose a study plan to meet a specific educational need pertinent to an individual’s artistic or scholarly development.

The Journal and Portfolio

Students in the program are required to keep a journal in which they record what they have absorbed and learned, setbacks and discoveries, problems and solutions, and changes in perception and direction. This Journal serves as a means of recording and synthesizing experiences for present and future reference. Students are encouraged to record in it their thoughts, feelings, ideas, work experiences and processes, and reactions to the various techniques learned, concepts explored, and stimuli encountered. It must include images and texts, both of one’s own and of others. The journal, which is submitted to the Graduate Review Board at the end of the Fall semester, can be of critical value to the student and his or her principal advisors in suggesting productive directions for future work.

Work on the journal leads directly to compilation of a Portfolio, which must be submitted to the Graduate Review Board at the end of the Spring semester. The portfolio includes images and descriptions of conservation work undertaken by students during their period of study in the program. Students are advised about how to prepare a curriculum vitae and compile a professional portfolio that can serve to advance their career goals upon graduation from the program.

Final Papers/Presentations

Final Research Paper is prepared by each student for each Spring semester course and presented at the end of the semester. It is based upon an area of research related actual completed and should serve as a final summary of the year’s exploration.

For the Final Presentations, which are required and scheduled at the end of the Spring semester, each student presents visual documentation of work completed in the program and presents themes, problems, and concepts found that are relevant to his or her own visual, conceptual, and art-historical concerns.


The Thesis, approximately 30 pages in length, is based upon substantive research undertaken throughout the academic year by the student on a topic related to the Major Discipline and approved by the Program Director/ Conservation Area Head. Each student begins planning and researching his or her thesis during the Fall semester and completes researching and writing of the thesis during the Spring semester. 

At the end of the Spring semester, the thesis is presented to the Graduate Review Board and the student meets with the review board to give an oral presentation on the thesis and answer board members’ questions about the thesis. The thesis and oral presentation must be approved by the Graduate Review Board prior to conferral of the Post-Bac Certificate. A copy of the approved thesis is retained in the SACI Worthington Library.


Learn more about all program curriculum components, including grades, transcripts, documentation, and degrees, in the Post-Bac in Conservation brochure.

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