Conservation of Clocks and Related Objects

Postgraduate Diploma Conservation of Clocks and Related Objects

Still accepting applications for September 2017 entry

Duration: 1 academic years (36 weeks) full time

The programme has an international profile for conservation of clocks and dynamic objects, and provides an historical and cultural context for the analysis, assessment and treatment of historic objects. You will develop practical, theoretical and professional conservation skills, applying your learning to making treatment decisions for exciting and challenging projects.

You can expect

  • To develop excellent practical skills through object-based treatments
  • To learn the principles and techniques of historical horological manufacture and repair
  • To study materials science and learn about preventative conservation
  • To work on historic objects

Learning environment

  • High tutor: student ratio
  • Workshop access 7am-10pm, 7 days a week
  • Teaches students to understand and apply Icon's Professional Standards in Conservation
  • Interdisciplinary environment
  • Visits from specialists from the heritage and private sectors
  • Visits to museums and active links with heritage bodies


Graduates go on to work as conservators for the heritage, public, corporate and private sectors, or as makers, repairers, restorers, teachers or advisors. There are many areas of specialism within the profession.

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


"I completed an apprenticeship in watch making and repairs in Pforzheim in Germany that includes basic techniques but I didn't want to pursue a career in watch repairs. My tutor recommended West Dean College as the only College that offers this type of Clocks Conservation programme. There are no definitive answers when conserving historical clocks; it's up to you to work out the best approach to each new project, drawing upon the vast experience within the industry.

I spent time last summer as an intern at the National Maritime Museum and later secured an internship in the workshop at James Nye's collection (The Clockworks) in London." Tabea Rude, Postgraduate Diploma in Conservation of Clocks

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


You will work in our specialist Clocks workshop with access to an 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.

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.



Matthew Read (MA ACR)

Matthew Read MA ACR

Programme Leader, Clocks and Related Objects

Matthew Read is a leading voice in the development of conservation within clocks and automaton. An experienced practitioner and accredited conservator in the field of Horology, he originally trained at West Dean College. He has worked at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich as a Conservator and Assistant Curator of Horology. This was followed by five years as a self-employed conservator working with clients from the Museums and Heritage sector including the National Trust.

Malcolm Archer

A former West Dean College student, Malcolm previously worked at The British Museum and is a contract conservator at the Society of Antiquaries in London.

Program advisors

  • David Rooney: The Science Museum
  • Geoff Allnutt: J E Allnut & Son
  • Tobias Birch: Montpellier Clocks

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

Apply for Degree and Diploma courses

Applications open for September 2017 entry for UK, EU and International students.

Learn more about applying and entry

Find out about Funding opportunities here