Postgraduate Diploma Conservation of Clocks and Related Objects

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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

Contact Hours


You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, external trips and visits, work placement and workshop practicals. In addition, you have personal tutorials with your subject tutor.

On the Postgraduate Diploma you typically have around 15-16 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:

  • 3-4 hours of lectures
  • 1 hour of seminars
  • 8 hours of supervised workshop practicals (including time spent on placement)
  • 2 hours of external trips & visits (on average)
  • 1 hour 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

Postgraduate Diploma: 47% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity.
Scheduled teaching and learning: 565 hours, Independent learning: 635 hours.

Programme Structure

Programme Structure


You will work in our specialist Clocks workshop with individual benches for each student. The workshop is equipped with a professional standard range of hand and power tools including lathes and drills and facilities for chemical treatments and cleaning. Students have access to the full range of metalworking and woodworking facilities in the adjacent departments. There are facilities for digital photography for the production of photographic records and documentation.

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.

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


  • UK/EU Fee: £13,560
  • International: £13,560

    Tuition fees include much more than is typical of universities, i.e. tuition fees plus basic materials, lunch, morning/afternoon tea/coffee. Included is mandatory study trip cost of £400, which typically includes tailored visits to collections/exhibitions of specific interest to the programme of study. For one day study trips lunch is provided, while for residential study trips meals are not included.

    Additional costs
    Accommodation and living expenses are additional.

Currently a third of all tuition fees are met through bursary or scholarship funding.
In 16/17 almost 60% of students were in receipt of some support. 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.



Many graduates of the programme have gone on to work as conservators in the heritage sector and benefitted from the professional contacts they established while studying here. Others have gone into the 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


Malcolm Archer FBHI

Subject Leader, Clocks (and Related Objects)

Malcolm's extensive experience in private practice, as well as the heritage sector/museums, lies behind his in-depth understanding of the profession. He brings a comprehensive knowledge of traditional craft skills, theory and contextual history. He also has an interest in new and innovative ways of applying conservation to mechanical objects.

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.

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Applications open for 2020 entry

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