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Course overview

What is provenance research?

Provenance research has become one of the main disciplines in museum work. It refers to investigations designed to retrace the history of an object, whatever its nature, from its creation or discovery. More specifically, it aims to establish changes in ownership and to ensure that the object has not been wrongfully seized from its rightful owner.


To a greater extent, it is designed by the Swiss Association for Provenance Research "as a critical approach to the historical context in which works of art, various artefacts and entire collections were acquired. This includes an analysis of Swiss cultural policy, acquisitions in public and private collections as well as transnational interdependencies of the transfer of cultural heritage, in particular in the context of injustices linked to colonization or the National Socialist regime".


The CAS in "Provenance Research" is designed to train museum professionals and, more broadly, individuals working in the cultural sector to meet the new thematic and methodological challenges, providing them with practical and theoretical knowledge and a global vision of themes related to colonial contexts and property looted during the National Socialist period.

Target audience

Professionals from the museum, cultural and heritage fields (historians, art historians, anthropologists, ethnologists, archivists, librarians, etc.); provenance researchers; art galleries; foundations; associations; auction houses specialists; professionals from the legal, customs and police fields; etc.


The CAS in "Provenance research" consists of two modules and concludes with a final written assignment.


Each module can be taken independently, i.e. it is not obligatory to complete the course 'in order' (Module I followed by Module II): direct access via Module II is entirely possible. It is therefore necessary to register for each of the two modules. 

Each module combines a methodological/theoretical angle and a thematic/applied angle. Module I covers provenance research methodology and issues relating to objects acquired in colonial contexts. Module II presents the basics of provenance research and explores the discussion of looted property during the period of National Socialism.

Obtaining the CAS

In order to obtain the title of Certificate of Advanced Studies in "Provenance Research" (13 ECTS) from the University of Neuchâtel, Module I and Module II must be passed, followed by the final written assignment. Regular attendance at both modules is required.

Module evaluation

Modules I and II each end with a written exam granting an attestation of 4 ECTS. 

NB: It is also possible to attend the continuing education courses without taking part in the examinations, i.e. without validating the ECTS. In this case, a certificate of attendance will be issued to the participant, but he/she will not be able to claim the title of CAS in "Provenance Research".

Final dissertation

The CAS concludes with a final written paper of approximately 10-25 pages (excluding appendices and bibliography), which the candidate completes under the supervision of Dr. Claire Brizon, Dr. Carolin Lange or Dr. Thomas Schmutz within three months after completing the second module.

She/he then defends it in an oral defence, during which the experts give their feedback.

The candidate then has a further month to incorporate any corrections into his/her work before final submission.

Successful completion of the written work awards 5 ECTS.

Title issued

Certificate of Advanced Studies in Provenance Research from the University of Neuchâtel

Registration fee

CHF 6080.-*

*CHF 2'800.- per module + CHF 480.- for the supervision and the defence of the dissertation

Payable upon receipt of confirmation of the course.

Payment in several instalments possible.

Next session

Module II – Property looted during the National Socialist era


Module price

CHF 2800.-

[PDF] Download the flyer

[PDF] Download the detailed programm

[PDF] Download the registration form



Caroline Ferrazzo, M.A.

Research associate

+ 41 79 387 30 40

Dates 2024

Module I

January 26, 27 // February 2, 3, 23, 24 // March 1, 2

Module II

August 30, 31 // September 6, 7, 20, 21, 27, 28

Course management

Dr. Claire Brizon, Dr. Carolin Lange, Dr. Thomas Schmutz


University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Teaching languages

French and English

Hybrid format

On site at the University of Neuchâtel & simultaneously by videoconference

Registration fee

CHF 6080.-*

(*Module I + Module II + supervision 

and defense of the final dissertation)

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