Conservation of Furniture and Related Objects

Postgraduate Diploma Conservation of Furniture and Related Objects

The next Open Day will take place on Friday 2 December 2016 and Saturday 4 February 2017. Learn more

Duration: 1 academic year (36 weeks) full time 2016/17

The Postgraduate Diploma brings together practical, theoretical, scientific and technical studies into a unified approach to the treatment and preservation of furniture and related objects. Further develop your specialist craft and conservation skills. Evaluate methodologies, critique and propose new hypothesis. Plan and implement technically complex projects. Completion of the first component of the course can serve as a pathway onto the MA Conservation Studies.

You can expect

To develop excellent practical skills through object-based treatments
To work on technically complex projects
To study preventative conservation
To work on live historic projects

Learning environment

High tutor: student ratio
Workshop access 7am-10pm, 7 days a week
Interdisciplinary environment
Teaches students to understand and apply Icon's Professional Standards in Conservation
Visits from specialists from the heritage and private sectors
Visits to museums and active links with heritage bodies


From the Postgraduate Diploma students usually progress to MA Conservation Studies.

Graduates go on to work as conservators with public and private collections within the heritage sector nationally and internationally, with conservation businesses or as independent conservators, furniture-makers, designers or restorers.

"I chose to study at West Dean as it has such a good reputation in the industry. I like having so much access to the workshops and working on quality objects, as well as the small class sizes. A highlight has been tuition in applied science from an Associate Lecturer one day a week and learning from his practical experience working at the V&A." Cathy Silverman, Postgraduate Diploma - Conservation of Furniture and Related Objects

Entry requirements

To join the PGDip/MA programme you will need to have a good first degree in Conservation or a closely related field; or have completed a Graduate Diploma in a closely related subject; or demonstrate an equivalent proficiency in basic conservation science, academic skills (research, writing and critical analysis) and practical hand skills, including manual sensitivity and dexterity. Progression to the MA is subject to the successful completion of the first semester and the identification of an appropriate MA project. Students may choose to exit the programme at the Postgraduate Diploma stage.

English language:
CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level B2 or IELTS 6.5 or above.


You will work in our specialist Furniture workshop and have access to an analytical laboratory. Collaboration with other conservation specialisms makes for a uniquely enriched learning environment.

The on-site Art and Conservation Library puts thousands of specialist books and journals within your reach and you can access specialist databases in the IT suite.


  • UK/EU Fee: £13,140
  • International: £13,140
    Students have the option to pay fees in instalments by term, 2 weeks in advance of term start date.

Funding available, find out about funding here.

Application deadline for 2017 entry: 1 March 2017.

New Postgraduate Loans

If you are a UK student and plan to take a postgraduate Master's course you may be able to get a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 to help with course fees and living costs.



Norbert Gutowski

Norbert is a furniture maker - conservator with almost two decades of tutoring experience, who has also worked extensively as a fine antique furniture conservator- restorer.

Tristram Bainbridge (MA ACR)

Tristram works as a contract furniture conservator at the V&A and in private practice. He has lectured in conservation at the City and Guilds of London and at Camberwell College of Art.

Program advisors

  • Christopher Claxton Stevens: Decorative Arts Scholar and Consultant
  • Richard Coles: Antique Furniture Dealer
  • Kate Gill: Textile Conservator

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for this course or would like further information please contact admissions either by enquiring online or calling the number below. To make your application you will need to download and fill out our application form.

+44 (0)1243 818 291

Help preserve our future

West Dean is part of a registered charity and relies on the support of generous donors, friends, legacies to help us deliver world-class education in conservation and the creative arts and maintain our award-winning gardens.

Find out how you can help support us