Collections Care and Conservation Management

MA Collections Care and Conservation Management

Please enter the characters 9E57 in reverse order in the box below

We will use this data to carry out our obligations arising from your enquiry or booking. For details of how we handle data please refer to our Privacy Statement.

MA Collections Care and Conservation Management
Duration: Two years, part time
Applications for 2021/22 TBC
Deadline for equal consideration 29 January 2021

Course subject to re-validation

Bursaries are available, see funding opportunities

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.

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.

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

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


West Dean College has a large and diverse collection comprising objects from all disciplines. The house
and collection are used by students to apply their knowledge to real-life problems. 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


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 and peer to peer presentations
  • 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

40% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning and work-based learning activity.
Scheduled teaching and learning: 280 hours
Work-based learning: 504 hours
Independent learning: 1016 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  

Collections Care and Conservation Management 1
Professional Skills: Introduction

  40 credits
Year 1 / Semester 2 (18 weeks)
  Easter vacation  

Collections Care and Conservation Management 2
Professional Skills: Development and Research Project Conception

40 credits
Year 2 / Semester 1 (18 weeks)
  Christmas vacation  

Collections Care and Conservation Management 3
Professional Skills: Extending Practice and Research Project Development

40 credits
Year 2 / Semester 2 (18 weeks)
  Easter vacation  

Collections Care and Conservation Management 4
Professional Skills: Fluency and Research Project Realisation

60 credits


Entry Requirements

You will need to have an upper second class or above UK honours degree in a relevant subject, or a non-UK equivalent.

Accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) will be considered for those who have been out of formal education for some years and are over 21; and mature students who do not meet the general (minimum) entrance requirements, but who can demonstrate their capacity for degree-level work in other ways. International students will require English language CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) Level B2 or IELTS.

Fees and funding

Course fees are the same for UK and international students

  • £1,630 per term (£4,890 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. Lunch, accommodation and other living expenses are additional. Find out more

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 £10,906 to help with course fees and living costs. See

Student scholarships and bursaries

Bursaries are available from £500.

Find out more about funding opportunities

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

University of Sussex Logo


Commendations from the University of Sussex include:

"The discussions undertaken with employers, such as the National Trust, in developing the curriculum to ensure the course is complementing industry training."

"The introduction of lecture capture in support of students’ learning."  



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.

David Howell BSc BA

David Howell is an Institute of Conservation accredited conservator with over 30 years in the conservation profession. David has extensive experience of teaching and student supervision, having been on the first group of teachers on the RCA/V&A MA in Conservation, a frequent lecturer on conservation summer schools, internal and external PhD supervisor, and a PhD assessor at a number of Universities.

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.