Taught course

Conservation Studies - Horology, Clocks 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

The horology courses at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation give you the opportunity to develop the skills and competences to work towards becoming a professional horologist or horological conservator, or to undertake further professional development in horology.

Perhaps you have previously studied engineering, maths or chemistry or are looking for a career change and would like to pursue a subject with a more specific application. Our courses offer the chance to gain practical experience of clock making, conserving and repair.

Depending on the level you wish to study, there are a range of courses to choose from.

Level 6: Graduate Diploma in Conservation Studies

The Graduate Diploma introduces horologists to complex technical repairs and decision-making. Through a grounding in contemporary methodology and conservation science, this course prepares students for a career within the heritage sector. Graduates of the programme usually transition to the MA Conservation Studies.

Level 7: MA Conservation Studies

The global industry standard for conservation which continues to introduce more challenging practical proficiencies and a supplementary in-depth view of materials science relevant to the conservation of historic objects.

Objects from historical and private collections are provided for you to work on, to acquire and practise both established and developing techniques. Recent examples include a wide range of projects from longcase clocks to clocks with balance wheel escapements such as carriage clocks and chronometers as well as antique watch repair. In keeping with professional standards, treatments are discussed and agreed with stakeholders, with reference to the current and historical context of the item, its technical makeup, and a scientific understanding of its materials.

Professional Development Diploma

For those looking to improve their new-making skills, or concentrate on more esoteric and specialised repairs and restoration, the PDD in horology is the ideal pathway. This course is not accredited by the University of Sussex, so makes few academic demands of the student. Instead, the format allows for a great deal of customisation, giving early- or late-career horologists the opportunity to develop the skills they are most interested in. Students are supported by the College’s well-equipped workshop and the 25+ years of horological experience brought by the team of tutors.

Graduates have gone on to work as clockmakers, designers, repairers, restorers, sellers or advisors. There are many areas of specialism within and associated with the profession and graduates occasionally go into watchmaking or automata. Some alumni work independently, whilst others pursue positions as conservators or curators in heritage institutions. Many high-level institutional roles are occupied by College graduates, including at:

  • The British Museum
  • Royal Museums Greenwich
  • Wien Museum in Vienna

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