View the exciting projects and latest news.Read more now
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. You will also 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.
(Subject to re-validation)
On the MA Conservation Studies you will 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: 600 hours, Independent learning: 1200 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.
An upper 2nd class or above UK Honours degree in an appropriate subject or a non-UK equivalent. In the absence of a BA, the requirement will be demonstrable research and writing abilities commensurate with BA level.
Students typically enter at Graduate Diploma level and progress onto the MA Conservation Studies for year two. Progression from Graduate Diploma to Master's requires successful completion of level 6 with an average grade no less than 2. Applicants with experience equivalent to the Graduate year may enter directly at Master's stage.
International students will require English language CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level B2 or ILETS 6.5. Applicants are interviewed and required to undertake practical and observational tests.
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, available on request.
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.
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.
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.
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
Metalwork Conservation Studies
Dr Eric Nordgren (AFHEA) 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.
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.