Hello! I’m really glad I got this question! Let’s start off with the general requirements in the UD program. There are the expected university requirements as well as the requirements for the college of arts and sciences. In the specific major there are classes in art history, art, art conservation, and four semesters of chem (two semesters of general chemistry and two semesters of organic) and two internships. There is a big emphasis on doing well in chemistry, with the expected grades being B and higher.
From my experiences and what they teach in the art conservation classes is that the UD program is really aiming to help you actually get in to grad school, of which there are only about six programs in North America. Having solely the undergrad degree does leave you options in terms of career, but if you actually want to be an art conservator graduate school is a must.
I am not going to lie, it is a lot of work and I spend a lot of time during my week on homework. My schedule typically starts at 9 and I either have classes or are at work until about 5. My standard semester thus far has consisted of an art conservation, an art history, an art and a chemistry class (with a 3 hour weekly lab). There is also a general requirement that I take too. Sounds hard, and it is, but if it something you really have a passion for, it is really rewarding and fun. I’m more worried about grad school at this point. Hope that helps and if you have any other questions feel free to ask, I love answering them!
When I was looking at my college options my junior year of high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I wanted to major in art, then architecture, then history. The schools on my list were there because either they were where everyone goes (*cough* U of I ) or where I was told I should go. Then a friend who was doing a grad program at UD told me about art conservation. It perfectly fused my passions for art and history and my chem abilities. From that second on I knew what I wanted to do. The only problem is that there are about two schools in the country that have an undergrad program in it. UD was on that short list! That is how UD became an option. The other ones were there because they were in the midwest near home or could “create” the major I wanted and then there was UD.
UD and another school ended up as my top two choices. As May 1st approached, I could not decide. And then I had an epiphany. Why would I not go to UD which had exactly what I wanted? And I sent in my purple slip and check.
It was risky considering I knew nothing about the school, would be moving halfway across the country and never had a chance to visit until I moved in the first day of freshman year, but I’m so happy with the decision I made.
Art conservation is a field that is multi disciplinary. Although art history and art are very important to the field, science is also a huge part. Not only do conservators use chemicals that should be understood, conservators also need to be able to understand what an artifact or material is made out of, what chemical changes have happened to it over time, how it is decomposing and what chemicals should or should not be used to treat it. For my art conservation major in the UD program, I am required to take at the minimum Chem 103 and 104 and two semesters of organic chemistry, as well as the art history and art classes.