Courses

Students in the  Conservation of Material Culture (CMC) PhD program will required to take a set of core courses that offer all students the basic and fundamental theoretical knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a graduate research degree in the conservation of material culture and help bring all admitted students at the same level of understanding on the materials properties, values, ethics and environmental issues pertaining to the conservation and sustainable preservation of material culture. Elective courses related to the student's research area will also be taken and aim to offer disciplinary breadth and depth in choosing a dissertation topic and to develop competencies and skills to conduct original research in an identified conservation area.  

The required core courses are listed below.  You can find more information on the approved elective courses for each of the  PhD research areas here or by contacting the IDP.

Required Core Courses

CAEM core courses required 

  • Science Fundamentals in the Conservation of Materials - CAEM 211 (4 units)
    Introduction to important scientific parameters in conservation of materials that are of great importance for both fundamental science and practical applications. Students gain better understanding of intrinsic properties of materials, mechanisms of deterioration, and conservation treatments. General chemistry, physics, and physical chemistry (atomic structure bonding, etc.), fluid transfer in porous materials, diffusion, interfaces, surface tension, wetting, adsorption, adhesion, dissolution and crystallization, mechanical properties (properties/characterization), phase transformations (glass, metals, polymers).
  • Cultural Materials Science I: Analytical Imaging and Documentation in the Conservation of Materials - CAEM M215 (4 units)
    Basic and advanced techniques on digital photography, computer-aided recording tools, and scientific imaging to determine and document condition (defects) and technological features of archaeological and ethnographic materials. Development of basic theoretical knowledge on imaging and photonics technology and practical skills on conservation photo-documentation, analytical (forensic) photography, and advanced new imaging technologies
  • Science of Conservation Materials and Methods I - CAEM M216 (4 units)
    Recommended requisite: Materials Science 104. Introduction to physical, chemical, and mechanical properties of conservation materials (employed for preservation of archaeological and cultural materials) and their aging characteristics. Science and application methods of traditional organic and inorganic systems and introduction of novel technology based on biomineralization processes and nanostructured materials.
  • Principles, Practice and Ethics in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Materials - CAEM 221(4 units)
    Introduction to preservation of cultural heritage materials, including what should be preserved and why, as well as who should be involved in decision-making process. Use of several examples of issues and problems involved in preservation of works of art, from L.A. Murals to Sistine Chapel, from ancient wall paintings to Statue of Liberty. Discussion of issues of preservation and restoration of these cultural heritage materials both in museum and outdoor environment contexts. Materials and techniques used to make cultural heritage materials, in relation to preservation efforts needed to prevent decay and loss. Introduction to examples of conservation issues related to sites, buildings, monuments, and collections. Ethical and contextual aspects with reference to changing values in conservation of cultural materials, illustrating how cultural materials may have been treated differently according to those values.
  • Environmental Protection for Museums, Libraries and Archives - CAEM M240 (4 units)
    Requisite: Information Studies 432. Required of graduate conservation students. Review of environmental and biological agents of deterioration, including light, temperature, relative humidity, pollution, insects, and fungi. Emphasis on monitoring to identify agents and understanding of materials sensitivities, along with protective measures for collections.

 

Additional CAEM core courses (minimum of 4 units from the following)

  • Structure, Properties and Deterioration of Materials: Ceramics, Glass, Glazes - CAEM 260 (2 units)
    General introduction to different types of ancient ceramic and glass materials. Relationship between composition (chemistry), structure (crystals, molecular arrangement, and microstructure), and properties of ceramics, glass, glazes. Nature of frit and faience deterioration explained using basic concepts from physics and chemistry. Chemical, optical, and structural properties. Deterioration phenomena, defects, and products of alteration of ceramics and vitreous artifacts. Hands-on examination of variety of samples and artifacts.
  • Structure, Properties and Deterioration of Materials: Stone and Adobe - CAEM 261 (2 units)
    Introduction to igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks (geological context, mineralogical composition, macrostructure, and microstructure). Clay minerals: composition, structure, and properties. Rocks and stone: geographical distribution and occurrence, and usage by ancient cultures. Adobe: clay-based manmade materials. Mechanical and petrophysical properties of stone and adobe. Relationships between composition/structure and properties. Intrinsic and structural stability, resistance to weathering. Deterioration mechanisms and factors (physical, chemical, and biochemical).
  • Structure, Properties and Deterioration of Materials: Organics - CAEM 262 (2 units)
    General introduction to different types of plant sourced ​organic materials used to produce cultural heritage: wood, bark, paper, bast fibers, grasses, ​as well as ​plastics and composites. Relationship between composition (chemistry), processing, and properties of natural and manufactured materials using concepts of morphology​ and chemistry. Structural stability and deterioration phenomena of these materials as found in cultural collections.
  • Structure, Properties and Deterioration of Materials: Organics - CAEM 265 (2 units)
    General introduction to different types of animal sourced organic materials used to produce cultural heritage: skin and leather, hair and wool, quills and feathers, bone and ivory. Relationship between composition (chemistry), processing, and properties of natural and manufactured materials using basic concepts from biology and chemistry. Structural stability and deterioration phenomena of these materials as found in cultural collections.​
  • Structure, Properties and Deterioration of Materials: Metals - CAEM 263 (2 units)
    General introduction to different types of ancient and ethnographic metals. Relationship between composition (chemistry), structure (crystals, molecular arrangement, and microstructure), and properties of metals explained using basic concepts from physics and chemistry. Chemical, optical, and structural properties. Deterioration phenomena, defects, and products of alteration of metallic artifacts. Hands-on examination of variety of samples and artifacts.
  • Structure, Properties and Deterioration of Materials: Rock Art, Wall Paintings, Mosaics - CAEM 264 (2 units)
    Recommended preparation: basic knowledge of general chemistry and materials science. Introduction to materials and techniques of rock art, wall paintings (including painted surfaces on cement and composite decorative architectural surfaces), and mosaics. Archaeological and ethnographic context, techniques, and materials. Pigments, colorants, and binding media. Chemical, optical, and structural properties. Relationship between composition (chemistry), structure (crystals, molecular arrangement, and microstructure), and properties explained using basic concepts from physics and chemistry. Intrinsic attributes and resistance to weathering. Causes, sources, and mechanisms of deterioration (physical, chemical, and biochemical).

 

Research Design 

  • Research Design - ARCHAEOL M201C (4 units)
    Seminar, three hours. How to design archaeological projects in preparation for M.A. thesis or Ph.D. phase. Students do exploratory research to select subject, then write research design that could form basis for extensive paper, grant application, or oral examination. Students work closely with faculty members and report weekly on their progress. Preparation of at least two oral progress-report presentations, one on theoretical framework and one on practical aspects of project. Final written research design that incorporates theoretical and practical aspects of research and formulates bridging arguments required. S/U or letter grading.

ARCHEOL: Archaeology IDP; CAEM: UCLA/Getty IDP on the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials