Taught course

Conservation Studies - Books and Library Materials

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Entry requirements

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.

Months of entry


Course content

Develop the skills and competences to work towards becoming a professional book conservator. Books and Library Materials is the largest specialism in the material conservation sector, and this programme has a very high success rate with alumni going on to work in Libraries and Archives in the UK and internationally.

Perhaps you have previously studied English or history but would like to pursue a course with a more applied approach. Our courses offer the chance to gain practical experience on live conservation projects.

Level 6: Graduate Diploma in Conservation Studies

Allows you to further your interest in conservation and progress to the MA Conservation Studies.

Level 7: MA Conservation Studies

The global industry standard for conservation.

Objects from private collections, museums and from our own unique Collection and Archive are provided for you to work on to acquire and practice both established and developing techniques. In keeping with professional standards, treatments are discussed and agreed with stakeholders, with reference to the current and historical context of the item, its structure and a scientific understanding of its materials.

You will study historic bookbinding techniques and the relationship between structure, mechanical use and deterioration through the observation of original material and model making of book structures. You will also become familiar with ethical considerations when taking decisions about treatments of books and archive material from special collections and private collections. Challenges and strategies in object and collections care are introduced, including considerations of usage, exhibitions, environmental monitoring, enclosures, and protective systems. Reflective practice is continuously developed to integrate practical, theoretical, conceptual and professional skills.

Information for international students

International students will require English language CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) Level B2 or IELTS 6.5 or above.

Fees and funding

UK students
£17,040 per year (MA)
International students
£17,040 per year (MA)

Scholarships and bursaries are available from £500 to £10,000. Find out more about funding opportunities.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PGDip
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • MA
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Registry Office
+44(0) 1243 811301