Come and find out what makes West Dean College of Arts and Conservation such a unique place to study with an international reputation.Find out more
The MA Conservation Studies equips you with the high level specialist skills sought by the conservation sector. This rigorous and highly respected programme draws on an extensive sector network, nationally and internationally, including industry bodies such as Icon.
The focus is on research through practice. You will draw on
theoretical, scientific, and analytical study of artefacts and
materials, and analyse the context and practice of conservation. MA
Studies students deliver a major final research project.
Elements of interdisciplinary work are involved, but you will choose from one of the specialisms below:
All disciplines are accessible from both humanities and science study backgrounds.
You can expect
The content of this programme has been developed in line with the Institute of Conservation's Professional Standards in Conservation and the UK Quality Code for Higher Education.
You will work in dedicated, well-equipped workshops and studios with access from 8.30am to 10pm, seven days a week, which is exceptional in higher education. Collaboration with other conservation specialisms makes for a uniquely enriched learning environment. Shared facilities include:
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.Find out more about the facilities
On the MA Conservation Studies you will typically have around 19-20 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:
For semester 2, outside of the work placement, you will continue to have full workshop access and have 10 contact hours per week in the above areas.
For semester 3 you will continue to have full workshop access and have approximately 1 hour tutorial time per week.
When not attending lectures, seminars and workshops 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, preparing coursework
assignments and presentations and undertaking and writing up
your final research project.
Total scheduled teaching and learning: 600 hours
Independent learning: 1200 hours
In semester 1, 41% of your time will be spent
in scheduled learning activities or under supervision.
In semester 2, 25% of your time will be spent in supervised activities.
In semester 3, you will be expected to work independently with tutorial support.
Progression from the Graduate Diploma in Conservation Studies to Masters requires successful completion of the graduate programme with a good pass.
Applicants with conservation experience and scientific knowledge equivalent to the Graduate Diploma in Conservation Studies may enter directly on to the Masters programme, in which case an upper 2nd class or above UK Honours degree in an appropriate subject or a non-UK equivalent is required. Alternatively, accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) will be considered for those who have been out of formal education for some years and are over 21, who do not meet the general (minimum) entrance requirements, but who can demonstrate practical skills or evidence of practical interests and research and writing abilities commensurate with BA level.
International students will require English language CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) Level B2 or IELTS 6.5 or above.
Course fees are the same for UK and international students
Included is mandatory study trip costs of £400, which typically includes tailored visits to collections/exhibitions of specific interest to the programme of study.
Lunch, accommodation and other living expenses are additional. Find out more
Student scholarships and bursaries
Scholarship and bursary awards are available for students who have accepted an offer to study at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. Applicants for a scholarship award should show outstanding potential and a commitment to their studies and future career in their chosen subject. Applicants for a bursary award are required to demonstrate financial need.
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 £10,906 to help with course fees and living costs. See www.gov.uk/postgraduate-loan
Graduates have interned at Royal Observatory Greenwich and worked at The British Museum, The Clockworks (London) and Wienmuseum (Australia).
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.
Head of School of Conservation
Elizabeth Neville has over thirty years' experience as a book conservator, interspersed with teaching and supervising on the Graduate Diploma in Books and Library Materials and MA Conservation Studies courses at West Dean.
Lead tutor MA Conservation Studies
Subject Leader, Ceramics (and Related Materials)
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.
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.
Mariluz Beltran de Guevara ACR - Subject Leader Conservation of Books
Mariluz Beltran de Guevara has been an accredited book and paper conservator since 2008, and joined West Dean College in 2017 after many years at the British Library.
Subject Leader, Furniture & Related Objects
Associate Fellow of the HEA
Norbert is a furniture maker - conservator with almost two decades of tutoring experience, who has also worked extensively as a fine antique furniture conservator- restorer.
Metalwork Conservation Studies
Dr Eric Nordgren brings over 20 years' experience as a metals conservator working with museums, universities, heritage agencies and private practice in the UK and around the world. He is active in the Icon Metals and Heritage Science groups, and is an associate member of AIC, ICOM-CC and the Historical Metallurgy Society.
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.
Associate Tutor, Books
Abigail Bainbridge co-owns Bainbridge Conservation, specialising in the conservation of books and paper for private clients and institutions. She has worked as a conservator at Columbia University and taught Conservation Science at Camberwell College of Art, as well as actively teaching workshops in bookbinding and book conservation internationally.
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.