Degrees and Diplomas

Why West Dean College?

  • Degrees and diplomas are validated by the University of Sussex
  • Low student-to-staff ratio
  • Teaching from specialists in their field
  • Individual studio space in fully equipped workshops, open 7 days a week
  • Bursary and scholarship opportunities
  • Strong connections in the heritage and arts sectors
  • Facilities include exhibition space, specialist arts and conservation library, analytical laboratory and artist-in-residence programme

An international reputation

"As a student you can expect a rich learning experience in a diverse and unique environment that will challenge you whilst exposing you to a stimulating mix of ideas and knowledge. The programmes have a strong practical as well as academic focus and our tutors are experts in their fields. You will have access to exciting projects, develop your skills, collaborate across disciplines and have the opportunity to gain a qualification to further your employment opportunities or support your personal goals."

Francine Norris BA (Hons) MA FRSA, Director of Education

Select your study path:

If you are a graduate with a good first degree in your chosen specialism

Master of Arts (MA) Degrees - an internationally recognised postgraduate qualification (180 credits at Level 7), validated by the University of Sussex.

MA Conservation Studies and MA Visual Arts are one calendar year full time (46 taught weeks). Applicants may continue to MA following successful completion of the first stage of the Postgraduate Diploma, and subject to the agreement of an appropriate project proposal.

MA Collections Care and Conservation Management, and MA Creative Writing and Publishing are 2 academic years part-time.

Master of Fine Art (MFA) - an internationally recognised professional qualification in Fine Art practice. (240 credits at Level 7). Validated by the University of Sussex.
Apply directly for the MFA, or extend your study by a year on successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma in Visual Arts.

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) - validated by the University of Sussex (Level 7 award).
For graduates with a first degree in conservation or visual arts, or a high level of specific professional experience.

If you are a graduate from an unrelated discipline

Graduate Diploma - validated by the University of Sussex (Level 6 award).The Graduate Diploma prepares you with the practical and academic skills for postgraduate study in conservation or visual arts.

If you want to attain high level hand skills and aim to set up your own workshop or work in the trade

Foundation Degree (FdA) - validated by the University of Sussex (Level 5 award).

School of Conservation

The School of Conservation offers you a dynamic, internationally connected and respected learning environment. Conservation graduates from West Dean College are amongst the most sought-after in their field.

Engage in your chosen specialism: Books, Ceramics, Clocks, Furniture, Metals or Collections Care and Conservation Management*. A close proximity to other programmes and an increasing focus on research allows for cross-discipline study and support in a rich collaborative environment.

As a conservation student you will typically work on objects from public and private collections and visit leading studios, workshops and museums.

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"West Dean's practice-based learning has enabled me to fine tune my hand skills while giving me a strong foundation in ethics, science, and research to feel confident about the decisions I make for each object."

Tamsen Dippel, Postgraduate Diploma/MA Conservation Studies

School of Creative Arts

Explore and expand your work in a uniquely immersive environment with its own connections to art history. Students enjoy exceptional studio space and support and undertake original theoretical research to inform practice, benefitting from the heritage of founder and Surrealist patron Edward James.

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"West Dean is a unique and surreal place... an excellent place to come to expand and challenge your practice."

Lotti Closs, MFA (Sculpture), shortlisted for the 2014 Bloomberg New Contemporaries

Applying and entry

As there are limited places available on each course, we encourage you to apply early and to explore your funding options early. Full entry requirements are detailed on each specific programme page.

The deadline for applications for 2017 entry is March 1, 2017. The deadline for Conservation of Books and Library Materials applications for 2017 is 1 February, 2017. The application deadline is not applicable for the PDD Historic Building Conservation and Repair programme.

Bursary and scholarships application deadline is April 1, 2017. later course applications will be considered if there are still places available.

For Admissions information

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for UK/EU and international students are indicated on each programme page.

How you fund your study is an important consideration. A number of scholarships and bursary funds are administered by the college and students can also approach other organisations directly. Find out about Bursaries and Scholarships here

Accommodation options can be found here

Research Groups

Research is essential in underpinning the college's academic ambitions, helping West Dean to be at the forefront of the specialisms it supports, positively impacting it as a teaching and learning environment.

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