Taught course

Conservation Studies - Furniture and Related Objects

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

Depending on the level you wish to study, the furniture courses give students well-rounded woodworking theory and skills that enhance your employment prospects and work towards becoming a professional furniture maker or conservator. Skills such as wood carving, wood turning, hand veneering and hand finishing will be developed. You will benefit from close connections with the heritage sector, study trips, placement opportunities and visits from industry experts.

Level 6: Graduate Diploma in Conservation Studies

Allows you to further your interest in furniture conservation and the repair of historic objects and progress to the MA Conservation Studies.

Level 7: MA Conservation Studies

The global industry standard for conservation.

Students are provided with objects from historical and private collections to work on (from archaeological finds to decorative arts objects), to acquire and practise both established and developing techniques. Recent examples include a c.1786 ceremonial Verge from The Admiralty, oriental lacquer boxes and an 18th century chair owned by Horace Walpole from Strawberry Hill Trust. You will have the unique opportunity to undertake interdisciplinary work with students from other specialisms, for example where an object is mixed materials, to broaden your understanding of a variety of materials.

Significant emphasis is placed on developing hand skills through practical work. In conservation, your application of treatments to historic objects will be underpinned through understanding both structural and decorative materials, their properties, identification, degradation and stabilisation.

Your projects will use appropriate methods to document objects and assess their condition, discuss treatment strategies, and take part in decision-making. Outcomes are recorded, discussed and communicated as part of learning through practice. The work will increase in complexity and throughout your time you will work with increasing autonomy.

See examples of student projects in our furniture blogs.

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