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The MA Conservation Studies equips you with the high level specialist skills sought by the conservation sector. The focus is on research through practice, drawing on conceptual, theoretical and critical aspects of the field. This is a rigorous programme that runs concurrently with the Postgraduate Diploma and involves delivery of a major research project.
You will follow one of the following specialisms for Postgraduate Diploma, progressing onto the MA: Conservation of Books, Ceramics, Clocks, Furniture or Metalwork.
You can expect
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 MA Conservation Studies you typically have around 15-16 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:
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 and writing up your final dissertation.
33% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching
and learning activity.
Scheduled teaching and learning: 599 hours, Independent learning: 1201 hours.
You will work in dedicated, well-equipped workshops and studios. 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.
A first degree in Conservation or related subject. If your first degree is in an unrelated subject you can still attain the MA Conservation Studies by first doing the Graduate Diploma, then a single stage Postgraduate Diploma transition into the MA programme. The path to MA is therefore two years, without a relevant undergraduate degree.
You will be able to demonstrate a considered research question.
International students will require English language CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level B2 or ILETS 6.5.
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.
Accommodation and living expenses are additional.
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.
Alumni include professional conservators in high profile museums
and libraries nationally and internationally. They include: the
British Museum, Royal Collections, National Maritime Museum, Royal
Swedish Palaces, Windsor Castle, Gold Museum (Bogota Colombia) and
Columbia University Library (Columbia, USA). They work with public
and private collections. Some pursue a career path into collections
care, or work as independent conservators, advisors or
Image: Tabea Rude Aluma, Photo Credit Michael Goldrei. Tabea is the Dynamic Objects Conservator at the Wien Museum, (Vienna Clock Museum, Austria) and looks after a collection of around 4,000 clocks.
Lorna has been a tutor then Subject Leader at West Dean College for sixteen years and prior to that was employed as a conservator in national institutions and in the private sector.
Head of School of Conservation
David is a book and paper conservation specialist who has tutored more than a generation of book conservators since he began as a tutor in book conservation at West Dean College in 1988. He has taught science for conservators in the UK, USA and Europe, established the analytical laboratory at West Dean College in 2007 and has been the college's science tutor for twenty five years.
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.
Tristram works as a contract furniture conservator at the V&A and in private practice. He has lectured in conservation at the City and Guilds of London and at Camberwell College of Art.
Abigail Bainbridge teaches book conservation at West Dean and worked in the book conservation lab at Columbia University and as a freelance conservator at Paper Dragon Books in New York City
Belinda studied Metalwork Conservation at West Dean College, graduating with an MA in Conservation Studies. She also has a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Practice and Management from the University of Ulster. She works in private practice as a metalwork conservator/restorer
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.