Degree Requirements

Ph.D. students in the Conservation of Material Culture are required to obtain 40 units of coursework and 8 units of mentored-research experience. Full time graduate students must register for a minimum of 12 units per quarter. These 12 units can be made up of a combination of required core coursework (28 Units), mentored-research experience (8 Units) and other courses including prelim and qualifying exam preparation, and Ph.D. research. Students’ courses, as well as, any changes of coursework throughout the quarter, must be approved both by the faculty dissertation advisor and graduate advisor prior to registering for classes each quarter.

Students with master’s degrees from UCLA or another recognized institution can petition to have up to 12 units (3 graduate level courses) from their master’s degree recognized towards the Ph.D. degree requirement. UCLA students who have already taken the CAEM required core courses may petition to replace these with other relevant (to their field of specialization) courses.

Additional Special Requirements

Mentored-research experience: CAEM 290 (8 Units) 

This required mentored research-based conservation project aims to complement the cluster area courses and introduces students to the conservation challenges while helping students gain research experience and skills in the field. This requirement may be satisfied by participation in a research project at a museum, conservation or science laboratory/national facility, archaeological project, NGO and industry.

Teaching Experience
At least one quarter of Teaching Experience. We acknowledge that for Ph.D. candidates interested in academic and leading careers, teaching experience would not only provide them with additional communication and pedagogical skills but also with additional qualifications that will increase their competitiveness as leaders. Teaching assistantship opportunities could be supported through:

  • TA positions in other departments
  • TA positions in the Conservation IDP for core course instruction

Field Examinations and Other Pre-Qualifying Examinations Oral Preliminary Examination
During the first year of full-time enrollment in the Ph.D. Program, the student is encouraged to take the pre-candidacy oral preliminary examination, which encompasses the body of knowledge in the Conservation of Material Culture at the level equivalent to that required for a master’s degree. Students must choose 4 out of 5 subjects for the oral preliminary examination (30 minutes for each subject) and must pass all four 4-subject examinations they choose to take. The 5 subjects are: 1) Chemistry and properties of material culture; 2) Environment and environmental deterioration of material culture; 3) Conservation methods and materials (polymers, chelating agents, solvents, inorganic mineral consolidants etc.); 4) Documentation and characterization of material culture and 5) Conservation principles and ethics. Each oral exam will be administered by three senate faculty members associated with the program. Students may not take a pre-candidacy examination more than twice.

Written Qualifying Examination
The qualifying examination consists of one-three hour written exam from the research thrust/cluster area coursework. The qualifying examination is graded by three readers (Ph.D. dissertation committee and course instructors or other qualified ladder faculty members) as high pass, pass (provisional Ph.D. pass), M.S. pass or no pass. Students may not take a pre-candidacy examination more than twice.

University Oral Qualifying Examination
The oral qualifying examination requires a presentation of the student's proposed dissertation research. The proposal includes information about the background and significance of the area of research, the specific aims to be addressed and experiments proposed (if applicable). The proposal is presented orally to the committee, and the committee questions the candidate on the proposal, general knowledge of the subject area, and dissertation research progress. The proposal represents independent work and offers the doctoral committee the opportunity to judge the student's ability to think creatively and to formulate significant ideas for research.

All students are required to take the University Oral Qualifying Examination by the end of the fall quarter of their third year (seventh quarter from admission to the Ph.D. Program). The committee's decision to advance a student to candidacy, to allow the student to repeat all or part of the oral, or to disqualify the student, is based on the student's overall record at UCLA as reflected in coursework and examinations, and the student's research ability and productivity.

Advancement to Candidacy
Students are advanced to candidacy (ATC) upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.  Normative time for advancement to candidacy is 2 years.

Doctoral Dissertation
Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student's ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Final Oral Examination/Viva Voce (Defense of Dissertation)
Required for all students in the Ph.D. Program. Final oral examination/viva voce make take place only after all other degree requirements have been met. In this exam, the student demonstrates to her or his committee satisfactory command of all aspects of the work presented and other related subjects, if applicable. A student is not considered to have passed the final oral examination with more than one “not passed” vote, regardless of the size of the committee.

Master’s Degree (en route to the Ph.D.)

The CMC M.S. degree is not intended to be a stand-alone, terminal degree and should not be confused with the practice-focused CAEM M.A. degree also offered by the Conservation IDP that trains advanced conservation practitioners. Students entering the CMC Ph.D. degree Program may choose to receive the M.S. degree while in progress to the Ph.D. degree.

For the award of the M.S. Degree all required courses (core and elective area courses) as well as the oral preliminary and written qualifying examination required for ATC in the Ph.D. Program need to be fulfilled. Students need to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0. Mentored-research experience requirement equivalent to 8 Units is also required for the M.S. degree.

The normative time-to-degree (TTD) for the M.S. degree Program is 2 years (6Q) from the time of admission to the Program. The maximum time-to-degree is 3 years.