Duration: Two academic years (36 weeks each year) full time
​Applications open for 2021/22
Deadline for equal consideration 15 January 2021

Scholarships and bursaries are available from £500 to £10,000. Find out about funding opportunities

On this foundation degree course, you will develop well-rounded metalworking theory and skills that will enhance your employment prospects or allow you to continue your studies in higher education. Projects become more challenging as the course progresses and encompasses both silversmithing and blacksmithing. You will be encouraged to understand historic craft practice to place your own work in a broader context and gain a keen understanding of the time needed for a piece of work in a creative, problem-solving environment.

You can expect

  • To develop excellent practical skills
  • To learn how material properties influence practice and making
  • To learn historic metalwork techniques
  • To learn from dedicated and experienced tutors who are practising professionals and well-connected in the sector

Learning environment

  • Low student: tutor ratio
  • Workshop access 8.30am-10pm, seven days a week*
  • Interdisciplinary environment
  • Visits from practising crafts-persons and specialists from the heritage and private sectors
  • Visits to museums and active links with heritage bodies
  • Work placements and work-related projects

    * Coronavirus update: Workshops may need to close outside teaching hours for thorough cleaning.

How to apply

All applications to our full time undergraduate courses should be made through UCAS. If you only wish to apply to West Dean College of Arts and Conservation we might be able to process your UCAS application for you. Please contact us at admissions@westdean.ac.uk.

The application deadline for equal consideration is 15 January 2021.

If you would like further information please contact our admissions team. Email admission@westdean.org.uk or call +44 (0)1243 818 291.

Apply through UCAS

Facilities

You will work in our well-equipped metals workshop with areas for photography, analysis, chemicals, hot work (casting, soldering, and welding) and a machine shop. Adjacent to the workshop is the newly-built forge to which you will have access. Collaboration with other conservation specialisms makes for a uniquely enriched learning environment. Shared facilities include:

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.

find out more about the facilities

Contact Hours

Teaching

You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, external trips and visits and workshop practicals. In addition, you have personal tutorials with your subject tutor.

At level 4 you typically have around 18-19 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:

  • 4-5 hours of lectures
  • 1 hour of seminars
  • 8 hours of supervised workshop practicals
  • 1 hour of one-to-one meetings/tutorials

At level 5 you typically have around 16-17 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:

  • 3-4 hours of lectures
  • 1 hour of seminars
  • 7 hours of supervised workshop practicals
  • 1 hour of one-to-one meetings/tutorials

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars and workshop or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and preparing coursework assignments and presentations.

Overall workload

Level 4: 53% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity
Scheduled teaching and learning: 633 hours
Independent learning: 567 hours

Level 5: 50% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity
Scheduled teaching and learning: 600 hours
Independent learning: 600 hours

Coronavirus update: International study trips have been suspended in line with current guidelines. We aim to recommence UK field trips and visits in the second semester.

Programme structure

Year 1 / Semester 1 (18 weeks)
  Christmas vacation  

HC-M1
Materials Technology
delivered in pathway workshop and cross-curricular

  10 credits
(common)
HC-D1
Drawing and Aesthetics
 

10 credits

(common)

HC-R1
Study/Research Skills
  10 credits
(common)
MID-YEAR ASSESSMENT
Year 1 / Semester 2 (18 weeks)
  Easter vacation  

HC-M2
Materials Technology (Metal/Wood)
delivered in pathway workshop and cross-curricular

10 credits

(common)

HC-H2
History of Craft
20 credits
(common)
HC-C2M1/C/F/ME
Craft Skills
2-20 credits
(subject specific)
SUMMER ASSESSMENT
Year 2 / Semester 1 (18 weeks)
  Christmas vacation  

HC-P3
Professional Skills incl. work placement

20 credits
(common)

HC-R1
Study/Research Skills

HC-C1M1/C/ME
Craft Skills

10 credits
(common)

1-30 credits

(subject specific)

MID-YEAR ASSESSMENT
Year 2 / Semester 2 (18 weeks)
  Easter vacation  

HC-P4
Professional Portfolio
student led

60 credits

(common)

FINAL ASSESSMENT

 

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff points: 120 Completion of a level 3 qualification, for example: A-Levels, BTEC or Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

Applicants can be considered if they can provide evidence of prior learning and should provide a digital portfolio. You will be invited to a portfolio interview.

International students must provide evidence of English language ability to Level B2 (IELTS 6.0), as well as equivalent level 3 qualifications.

Fees and funding

Course fees are the same for UK and international students

  • £4,230 per term (£12,690 per year)

Included is mandatory study trip costs of £400, which typically includes tailored visits to collections/exhibitions of specific interest to the programme of study. Lunch, accommodation and other living expenses are additional. Find out more

Funding

If you are a UK/EU student you may be eligible to apply for a Student Loan (tuition fees and/or maintenance loans) from the Student Loans Company. 

Student scholarships and bursaries

Scholarships and bursaries are available from £500 to £10,000.  

Find out more about funding opportunities

Careers

Graduates have gone on to work in the sector, both as employees and self-employed, to pursue their studies in higher education, and some have established a high profile for their own designs and craftsmanship. In 2018, 75% of students were in work or study six months after graduation.

Commendations

Commendations from the University of Sussex include:

"The high quality student experience and strength of student representation within the College."

"The introduction of a “maker-in-residence” scheme to the FdA."

"Responding to employer and student feedback in extending the work placement from 2 weeks to 4 weeks to support employability after graduation."

"The range of tailored study trips to suit different student cohorts."

Student perspective

"There were probably three main reasons I chose West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. Firstly, the small class sizes, which offer a high degree of personal tuition. Secondly, the unparalleled access to facilities including the forge, hot work and chemicals areas, which because of the small class sizes you get plenty of time to use. Thirdly is the location - it is unique!

One of the highlights of the course so far has been a project to make a pewter box. Part of the brief was that before construction the box we also had to make the tools to do the repoussé. It allowed us to learn and experience the whole process, from design and methodology to realisation of the final object. I also found great satisfaction from the integrity of hand-making the tools and ensuring they were specialised to create the desired finish."

Mary, metalwork student

 

Tutors

Grant McCaig

Subject Leader

Grant McCaig is an internationally recognised Silversmith and educator. His work is in several major collections including National Museums of Scotland, the Goldsmiths' Company, Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery and Aberdeen Art Gallery. He has taught in Japan and Colombia, is a selector for Cockpit Arts and mentor for the Crafts Council.

Alison Baxter

Head of School of Arts
DACC core team tutor

Alison Baxter started working at the College as a jewellery tutor, then as Head of Short Courses before taking on the Head of School role in 2017. She has many years experience in developing and implementing creative programmes in several Art Schools, as well as teaching across a broad range of subjects. 

Program advisors

Hazel Newey: former Head of Conservation at the Science Museum
Richard Rogers: Richard Rogers Conservation
Alistair Dickenson: specialist in precious metalwork