Collections Care and Conservation Management

MA Collections Care and Conservation Management

Awarded by University of Sussex

Duration: 2 years, part time

This new 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.

The two year course offers a flexible study path to achieve your MA. The curriculum is delivered in themed 5 day modules spread out over the two year programme. Course modules 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. Residential modules are supported by off-site research assignments and a dissertation.

You can expect

  • To learn key theoretical concepts and apply them in practical exercises
  • To assess and prioritise risks to a collection in order to develop management strategies
  • Use of the diverse collection at West Dean in real-life scenarios
  • To study all aspects of collections care including context, security, salvage planning, loans and more
  • Collaboration with conservation students
  • Transferrable skills in research, academic writing, data analysis and critical thinking

Learning environment

  • High tutor: student ratio
  • Study within a working historic house and estate
  • An interdisciplinary environment
  • Networking and building of professional contacts
  • Access to a range of experts in different object disciplines

Programme subject to validation.

Entry requirements

An upper 2nd class or above UK Honours degree in an appropriate subject, or a non-UK equivalent. Students will also need to demonstrate an established relationship (employment or other arrangements) with a historic house, museum or collection that will support their research assignments. West Dean College aims to offer 2 in house placements. In the absence of a BA the requirement will be demonstrable research and writing abilities commensurate with BA level combined with relevant professional experience, which will be assessed on a case by case basis.

International students will require English language CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) Level B2 or IELTS 6.5.


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.


UK/EU Fees: £4,650 pa

International: £4,650 pa

Fees payable by term, 2 weeks in advance of term start date.

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.


Find out about funding here


Shayne Rivers (MA)

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.

Program advisors


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