Heritage Science

Heritage Science is a new, but rapidly growing field of technical and natural sciences which deals with analysis, restoration and documentation of works of art.

Language of instructions: English
Degree acquired: Master's
Program code: 12.04.01
Faculty Information Measurement and Biotechnical Systems, Faculty of Electronics
Number of students: 10-15
Program: 120 ECTS credits, full-time Master’s Degree (2 years)
Eligibility: Candidates must hold previous degree in engineering area
Academic year includes: 2 semesters beginning on 1st September and 1st February
Holidays: Winter holidays - 2 weeks (January); Summer holidays - 2 months (July, August)
Application deadline: May
Master’s Thesis defense: June

 Program presentation

About the program

"Heritage Science" is interdisciplinary Master of Science program, which aims to give students the technical background allowing them to resolve the most actual tasks of Cultural Heritage preservation by means of combined use of engineering and humanitarian knowledge.

This MSc program provides students with engineering knowledge about the current achievements in the use of physical, chemical, laser and optoelectronic techniques in Cultural Heritage preservation. The process of education includes lectures, practical classes and training laboratory workshops that will acquire and/or upgrade understanding of students of complex problems of restoration, examination, attribution, storage and exhibiting of artworks and their solution by means of use of achievements of modern science.

Master's program "Heritage Science" covers the following areas of knowledge:

  • Art history; Fundamentals of conservation, attribution and expertise of artworks; Basic principles of storage and exhibiting of works of art;
  • Basic physical, chemical, laser and optoelectronic techniques and methods, which can be used in Cultural Heritage preservation for analysis, diagnostics, documentation, restoration and replication of artworks.

Studying in the Master's Program “Heritage Science” allows you to:

  1. Obtain general knowledge about the basic principles of Heritage Science;
  2. Study about advanced physical, chemical, laser and optoelectronic techniques, which are used in Cultural Heritage preservation;
  3. Learn about the design and operation of modern lasers, laser and optoelectronic and physical systems for restoration and analysis of artworks;
  4. Get skills of practical work on modern laser and optoelectronic equipment.

Key points:

  1. Heritage Science is one of the most important modern disciplines in preparing the qualified experts in the field of Cultural Heritage preservation;
  2. MSc Program “Heritage Science” provides unique information about role of modern physical, chemical, laser and optoelectronic techniques in Cultural Heritage preservation;
  3. ETU “LETI” and our partners have considerable experience in this field, as well as specialized laboratory facilities;
  4. Studying in the Program is a good choice for those who want to upgrade professional knowledge through foreign experience;
  5. The students get 2 years of various practice, including access to University’s and our partners research laboratories.

International Academic Mobility

Students of the program have the opportunity to participate in short-term (2–4 weeks) and long-term (6–12 weeks) internship programs, including double degree programs. The main international partners, where students of the program may have internships, are:

Bologna University (Italy);

University of Florence (Italy).

Invited Professors

Prof. Xavier Maldague

Laval University, Canada

Prof. Rocco Mazzeo

University of Bologna, Italy

Prof. Maurizio Becucci

University of Florence, Italy

Prof. Renzo Salimbeni

Institute for Applied Physics, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy

Dr. Patrick Mounaix

University of Bordeaux, France

Prof. Marilena Ricci

University of Florence, Italy

Dr. Alessia Andreotti

University of Pisa, Italy

Prof. Gabriel Bilmes

Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina

Prof. Luis Ponce

International Center for Theoretical Physics, Italy

Dr. Valentina Raimondi

Institute for Applied Physics, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy

Dr. Vivi Tornari

Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser – FORTH, Greece

Prof. Gianluca Poldi

University of Bergamo, Italy

Main disciplines

The educational process covers the following subjects:

Fundamental Courses

Materials of Cultural Heritage Objects (4 ECTS)

The objectives of this course is to provide information on the properties of the most common minerals and rocks as well some metals and alloys, which are used in architecture and arts and crafts. Basic knowledge on fundamentals of mineralogy (including chemical bonds and crystal structures, crystal growth, the physical properties of minerals and mineral identification techniques) and petrography (the different groups of rock-forming minerals, and classification of rocks based on their mineral contents and textures) are discussed. Besides, the basic laws of mineral formation in natural and technological processes are given.

Environmental Impact on Materials, Ageing and Deterioration of CH Objects (4 ECTS)

This course gives to students basic information about the environmental risk to cultural property caused by physical, chemical and biological factors. Also students will study impact of environmental factors of natural and anthropogenic nature. The course provides general information about environmental monitoring as one of the most effective modern instrument in the field of Cultural Heritage preservation around the world.  In addition, the course includes practical laboratory works that allows one to master the methods of assessing the microclimate in the premises for the sustainable protection of CH objects.

Chemistry in Restoration (4 ECTS)

This discipline involves the study of the chemical properties of both restored and restoration materials used in the conservation and restoration of various objects of cultural heritage. The diversity of the nature of these materials determines the problems that restorers encounter in the process of their activities. The objectives of this discipline are the development of the theoretical base, which includes questions of general, inorganic, organic, physic-chemical, colloidal and analytical chemistry, as well as the acquisition of practical skills in working with chemical compounds necessary for both research and restoration work itself.

Biology in Restoration (3 ECTS)

The objectives of this course is to provide information on the theoretical aspects of the of materials biodeterioration problem, methods for evaluating and studying bio-damage of monument materials, mechanisms of destruction processes in the anthropogenic environment and protection of materials from degradation in restoration practice. The role of microorganisms (microscopic fungi, bacteria and algae) in the destruction of monuments in different environment (in the open air in different climates, in the conditions of Museum storage) is discussed. The course will cover examples of biological deterioration to Cultural Heritage objects created from various materials: natural and artificial stone, wood, paper, etc. Special attention is paid to the interaction of biological and physical-chemical factors in the destruction of materials.

Opto-electronic Techniques for CH Materials Characterization (3 ECTS)

The course covers the most widely used methods, techniques and equipment for materials characterization such as light photometry, UV/Vis spectrometry, fluorescence spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR), Raman spectroscopy, ellipsometry, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD) and some others. The course is focused on the basic physical principles, advantages and limitations of each method and their practical application for the investigation and characterization of Cultural Heritage objects.

Physical Non-destructive Methods of Examining of CH Objects (4 ECTS)

This course gives a basic knowledge about physical principles and applications of main kinds of non-destructive methods of examining of Cultural Heritage objects based on the use of X-rays, acoustic and electromagnetic waves. Among non-destructive techniques Infrared Termography, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, X-ray Digital Radiography and 3D Computed Tomography will be considered. Also basic knowledge of Ion Beam Analytical techniques, including PIXE (Particle Induced X-ray Emission), PIGE (Particle Induced Gamma-ray Emission) and RBS (Rutherford Backscattering Spectrometry) will be discussed.

Laser Techniques in Restoration and Analysis of Artworks (4 ECTS)

This course gives to students a basic information about the use of laser techniques in Cultural Heritage preservation. Special attention is paid to consideration of laser cleaning of artworks. Basic physical principles of laser cleaning technology are considered and most important case studies connected with cleaning of CH objects created from different materials are overviewed. Use of 3D laser scanning for documentation, reconstruction and replication of CH objects is considered too. Furthermore, information about physical basics and practical use of other laser measuring techniques (LIBS, LIF, Laser Doppler Vibrometry and others) intended for analysis and non-destructive testing of artworks is presented.

Computer Methods Applications in CH Preservation (4 ECTS)

The purpose of this course is to study the impact of computer technology on art, as well as the specifics of the interaction between art and science and the results of this interaction. The course considers the use of information technologies for study and restoration of artworks, including computer reconstruction of lost parts of Cultural Heritage objects, as well as their archiving, museification and digitization (3D laser scanning, digital photography in the infrared range, etc.) and creation of copies. In addition, the use of computer methods for educational work (virtual museum) and scientific research of artworks (including their authentication and dating) is considered. The issues connected with introducing the blockchain technology to the art market using the case studies of use of new services, platforms and crypto auctions are also discussed.

Basic Special Disciplines

Brief History of Art (4 ECTS)

Brief history of art course serves to navigate in diverse historic styles in art, as ability to distinguish general styles is an obligatory skill in expertise and attribution of art pieces. The course is aimed at formation of skills of study of objects of art in their historical development and historical contexts. Another skill to be formed is the ability to compare different periods in art history and different groups of artworks belonging to different geographical and chronological locations. As for typological groups of artworks, general division is one to works of fine and decorative art.

Introduction in Heritage Objects Conservation (4 ECTS)

The course is focused at basic ideas of conservation/restoration science and practice. A short excursus to the history of conservation theory and practice is aimed onto deeper understanding of its current ideas and methods. Definitions between operative and preventive conservation are discussed. Methodology and methods of practical conservation/restoration are analyzed, traditional and innovative ones being compared. The question of professional ethics in artworks restoration is one more essential topic of the course.

Expertise and Attribution of Artworks (4 ECTS)

Since correct examination and attribution of artworks in most cases is possible only with a combination of various analytical methods, the course focuses on the consideration of art criticism methods of examination and attribution of works of art. None artwork cannot be attributed if it is not analyzed in terms of its state of preservation, technique of creation, composition, origin, previous restorations, and so on. Therefore, the course includes the study of various methods of analysis of fine and decorative arts. In particular, since stylistic analysis is a mandatory part of this process, the course includes consideration of the basic concepts of composition in the visual arts. Important features of existence, origin and restoration that serve as indirect proof of the authenticity of an art object and should be analyzed in the process of attribution are also studied in this course.

Interdisciplinary Project "Analysis and Restoration of Artworks Using Laser and Opto-electronic Technologies“

Partners of the Program

I.E. Repin St.Petersburg Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture
I.E. Repin St. Petersburg Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture
The State Russian Museum
The State Russian Museum
St.Petersburg State Museum for Urban Sculpture
St. Petersburg State Museum for Urban Sculpture

Additional educational opportunities

To support foreign students, the department organizes International Summer and Winter Schools of the ETU “Heritage Science”, which aims to help students with understanding of "how" and "why" the most actual tasks of Cultural Heritage preservation can be resolved by means of combined use of engineering and humanitarian knowledge. 


Prof. Yuri Bobrov

Dr. Sc., vice-rector, head of department of restoration of paintings

I.E.Repin St.Petersburg Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture

Prof. Dmitri Vlasov

Dr. Sc.

St. Petersburg State University

Prof. Vadim Parfenov

Dr. Sc., Director of program

St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University

Georgy Konoplev

PhD, Associate Professor

St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University

Tatiana Shlykova

Candidate of art history, Restorer of 1st category, part-time Associate Professor

State Hermitage museum, St. Petersburg State Institute of Culture

Philipp Bobrov

Candidate of art history, Associate Professor of department of restoration of paintings

I.E. Repin St. Petersburg Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture

Natalia Kirillova

PhD, Associate Professor

Department of conservation and expertise of artworks, St. Petersburg State Institute of Culture

Prof. Nadezhda Shchegoleva

Dr. Sc.

St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University

Alena Viuginova

PhD, Associate Professor

St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University

Oleg Vereshchagin

PhD, Assistant of professor

St. Petersburg State University


Daria Uverskaia

International Student Recruitment & Support Manager

Prof. Vadim Parfenov

Dr. Sc., Director of program

Contact Information

Mon.-Fri.: 10:00-17:00 (admission 10:00-16:30)
197376, Russian Federation, St. Petersburg, Professora Popova str., 5, building 3, 4th floor (room 3418)
+7 (812) 234-35-53
International Students Office
Apply here
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