Taught course

Conservation of Books and Library Materials

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation · West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Entry requirements

GRADUATE DIPLOMA 1 ACADEMIC YEAR (University of Sussex award) Degree or qualification at equivalent level to a second year of undergraduate study e.g. HNC, HND, DipHE, and significant interest in conservation and books. English language: CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level B2 or IELTS 6.5 or above. POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA /MA CONSERVATION STUDIES 1 CALENDAR YEAR (University of Sussex award) 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 (see above); 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. English language: CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) Level B2 or IELTS 6.5 or above.

Months of entry


Course content

With dedicated staff and large, fully-equipped
workshops, students gain the skills necessary
to become professional book conservators.
Practical projects start immediately, with books
and related materials provided from historical
collections for student work. Access to workshops
is from 7am to 10pm seven days a week.
All students have a personal workbench, and the
department has areas for practical work, scientific work
and testing, bookbinding, finishing and tool sharpening,
and secure storage. In addition, you will have access to
the College’s well-equipped analytical laboratory.
The curriculum involves practical treatment on real jobs,
developing the use of current techniques. Work is carried
out with reference to the historical context of books,
their varying structures,and an understanding of relevant
materials science. Work placements prepare students for
life as professional conservators. Recent placements have
been undertaken at Cambridge University Library, the
V&A Museum, National Archives of the Netherlands,
the Lincei Library in Rome, and the National Library
Board in Singapore.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Scholarships and Bursarys are available. Please view the website for further information.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months


full time
10 months


full time
10 months

Course contact details

Registry Office
+44(0) 1243 811301