Collections Care and Conservation Management

MA Collections Care and Conservation Management

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MA Collections Care and Conservation Management
Duration: 2 years, part time

We are still accepting applications for 2019 entry. The West Dean College Bursary of £2,000 is also now available for new applicants to the MA Collections Care and Conservation Management programme (see below for more details).

This MA provides the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary for a lead role in collections care and management within a historic house context. It is aimed at conservators and curators with significant collections care responsibilities, as well as graduates from conservation or other museum related disciplines intending to develop their careers in this area.

Areas of study include:

  • Understanding, monitoring and managing agents of deterioration
  • Emergency/salvage planning
  • Collections surveys, risk assessment and management
  • Managing staff and budgets
  • Collections care and the fabric of the building
  • Security
  • Introduction to grant-writing
  • Loans, handling and packing
  • Housekeeping and care of typical object types

This two year course offers a flexible study path to achieve your MA. The curriculum is delivered over eight five-day study blocks in themed units, spread out over the two year programme.

Programme units cover a comprehensive programme of theory, coupled with practical conservation exercises and visits that focus on key aspects of contemporary collections care and management practice. Taught blocks are supported by off-site professional practice assignments and a dissertation.

Programme Features

  • A large and diverse collection at the College, comprising objects from all disciplines; the house and collection can be used by students to apply knowledge to real-life problems
  • A collaborative environment with access to experts in a range of conservation disciplines
  • An immersive experience that encourages joint learning and interdisciplinary practice
  • Includes a broad range of transferrable skills in communication, data analysis, critical thinking, and research
  • Opportunity to build professional contacts and networks
  • A low student to staff ratio
  • A requirement for ongoing involvement with a collection for at least one day a week during the academic year; to apply and extend the skills learned during the study blocks

Contact Hours


On the MA Collections Care and Conservation Management you will have around 30-35 contact hours per study block, typically consisting of:

  • 26-30 hours of lectures
  • 2-3 hours of seminars
  • 2 hours of external trips & visits (on average)
  • 30 mins 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

30% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity.
Scheduled teaching and learning: 534 hours, Independent learning: 1266 hours.


Facilities include an analytical laboratory and computer suite. The on-site Art and Conservation Library gives you access to specialist databases and thousands of specialist books and journals.

Collaboration with other conservation specialisms makes for a uniquely enriched learning environment.

Entry Requirements

An upper 2nd class or above UK Honours degree in a relevant subject or a non-UK equivalent.

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

Accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) will be considered for the following types of applicant:

  • Those who have been out of formal education for some years and are over 21
  • Those mature students who do not meet the general (minimum) entrance requirements, but who can demonstrate their capacity for degree-level work in other ways.

Student Experiences

In 2019 I have started a new position as Conservator on the historic ships team for the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

This role includes dealing with conservation issues relating to large historic vessels, such as HMS Victory, HMS Warrior, a number of other vessels and submarines.

Studying the CCCM course has prepared me to deal with a variety of issues and make well-informed decisions. Properties which I need on a daily basis when working with challenging objects such as HMS Victory.

Emily Kelmendi
Alumnus, MA Collections Care and Conservation Management

Programme Structure

Programme Structure



  • £1,593 per term (£4,779 per year)


  • £1,593 per term (£4,779 per year)

Included is mandatory study trip cost of £400, which typically includes tailored visits to collections/exhibitions of specific interest to the programme of study.

Additional costs

Lunch (typically 2 courses) for part time MA students: £180 pa

Accommodation and living expenses are additional, available on request.

Bursaries and Scholarships

A West Dean College Bursary of up to £2,000 is now available to applicants to the MA Collections Care and Conservation Management programme. Please download the West Dean Bursary application form and submit with your application to study before 30 June 2019.

Find out about funding here

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. See


Shayne Rivers MA FIIC

Shayne Rivers is an acknowledged world expert in the conservation of furniture and Asian lacquer. She has lectured on conservation in the USA, Australia, Japan, Europe and the UK, and has been involved in the education of the next generation of conservators throughout her professional career.

Janet Sinclair

Janet Sinclair has recently been appointed as subject tutor on the CCCM MA course in the School of Conservation. Janet is an art historian, curator and lecturer, educated at the Courtauld Institute, Bretton Hall and the Barber Institute, Birmingham, where her MPhil was on the history of British collecting and she taught for many years.

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.

Apply now for Degree and Diploma study

Apply now: we are still accepting applications for all subjects for 2019 entry

Applications are welcome from UK/EU and International students.

Learn more about applying and entry

Find out about funding opportunities