Message from the Conservation IDP Chair

Greetings and welcome to the UCLA/Getty Interdepartmental Program (IDP) on the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials (CAEM) Interdepartmental Degree Program (IDP).

Conservation is a fascinating field. Conservators work hands-on with beautiful and unique cultural heritage objects that present interesting challenges to scientists and curators alike. To deconstruct an object and understand its complex nature requires creative, critical thinking and expertise in integrating ideas, concepts, and principles from many different fields. For the conservation of an object, various factors need to be considered: provenance, aesthetics, artist’s intent, original technique, physical condition, and conservation history. Understanding the physical properties of materials and exploring ways to characterize original techniques, as well as defects caused either by faulty construction or as a result of aging and weathering, is key to the conservation of artifacts.

The UCLA/Getty Conservation Program on the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials provides an excellent platform for education and research in the preservation and management of material culture. It supports discovery and innovation through research that transcends the boundaries of traditional disciplines. It uniquely trains the next generation of conservators in the best practices and methods of cultural heritage conservation through various pedagogical approaches, including, but not limited to, core teaching and learning, independent research, and laboratory experience in museums and in the field. Finally, it positively impacts the community by engaging with a more informed public that would seek to protect cultural heritage from imminent threats.

Our program is currently comprised of four ‘core’ faculty members with split appointments in the Conservation IDP, a full time academic staff (with appointments in the Specialist and Lecturer series), and a 50% time administrative staff with the title of Program Coordinator.

The three-year program leading to a master’s degree consists of two years of coursework and laboratory work on artifacts, emphasizing research-based practice, combined with two internships: a-ten-week summer internship between the first and second years and a nine-month long internship in the third year. A master’s research paper is completed at the end of the second year of study to allow students to concentrate on their internship duties and conservation work in the third year.

I encourage you to explore our recently redesigned Website, which provides detailed information on our academic and research programs, faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Enjoy your visit and please do not hesitate to contact us for further information. 


Ioanna Kakoulli

Chair and Prof. UCLA/Getty Conservation IDP

Prof. Materials Science and Engineering Department