Conservation of Ceramics and Related Materials

Postgraduate Diploma Conservation of Ceramics and Related Materials

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

You will develop your skills to professional best practice standards by combining theory and practice to undertake advanced projects. A research project is a core component of the programme. You will have the opportunity of a work placement at a museum of private workshop.

You can expect

  • To develop excellent practical skills through object-based treatments
  • To study ceramic technology, material culture and materials science
  • To perform historical research and interpretation of the objects you work on
  • To work on artefacts from public and private collections
  • Visits to collections, sites and workshops
  • Visiting lecturers


Become a conservator in a museum, follow a path into collections care or develop your own private conservation practice.

Graduates have had placements at or gone on to work with: The British Museum, The V&A, The Ashmolean Museum, The Metropolitan Museum, National Museums; Liverpool, Cliveden Conservation, Plowden and Smith Ltd. and Sarah Peek Conservation.

Students often progress from the Postgraduate Diploma onto MA Conservation Studies.

"I have had the opportunity to work on some truly impressive and important objects requiring varying degrees of treatment. One completed project was the conservation of a Chinese Export Hard-Paste Porcelain Blue and White 'Soldier' Vase and Lid, from the Kangxi Period (1662-1722) from the factories possibly in Jingdezhen in China.

Work included the removal and dismantling of previous restoration, cleaning, bonding and filling areas to replace lost material and retouching missing decoration. Thorough examination and research was undertaken, supported by documentary photographs, to assess the condition and to observe the extent of the previous repairs. It has been an immense pleasure to work on such a challenging, historically important and decorative piece."

Harriet Sylvester, Graduate Diploma, Conservation of Ceramics and Related Materials

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.

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


You will work in our well-equipped Ceramics workshop with access to a pottery studio, and our well-equipped 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.



Lorna Calcutt (MA ACR)

Lorna has been a tutor then Programme Leader at West Dean College for fifteen years and prior to that was employed as a conservator in national institutions and in the private sector.

Program advisors

  • Reino Liefkes - Curator of Ceramics, the Victoria and Albert Museum.
  • Errol Manners - BADA member; Specialist in European & English Porcelain.
  • Loretta Hogan - Senior Ceramics Conservator, the Britsh Museum.

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