Degree Requirements

Students in the UCLA/Getty Program in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units per quarter; units average 4 per course, with all of the courses at the graduate level. Most of the required courses will be a combination of lectures and practical laboratory work, with a strong emphasis on the application of learned skills. Electives may be taken in a variety of related departments, including Anthropology, World Arts and Cultures, Materials Science and Engineering, Atmospheric Sciences, Folklore and Mythology, etc. The distribution of coursework is as follows:

Required Courses and Labs 72 units

Electives or Research Projects (500 series) 16 units

Total Units Required 88 units


In total, 11 months of internship work are required for graduation: one 10–week summer internship between the first and second years, and one 9–month internship following the second year. To expose the student to both field and institutional environments, it is preferred, but not required, that one internship be associated with a field project and the other be with a museum or similar institution. Field experience includes archaeological excavation projects, ethnological field projects, work at an indigenous cultural center, or other similar situations.

The program will work with other institutions to develop internship positions and projects. All intern placements must be pre-approved by the program and will be developed in collaboration between faculty and students. Interns will work and study under the supervision of a senior conservator; progress will be monitored through reports submitted by both the internship supervisor and the intern. As much as possible, faculty within the program will attempt to visit the interns during their internship to assess the work of the students.

The program is considering creating centralized projects with internship opportunities in both the Old and New Worlds, but students will have a choice of other internship opportunities in a variety of settings, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Master’s Thesis

Each student will organize a research project in consultation with an appropriate advisor no later than the end of the third quarter of their first year. The research project will include some or all of the following aspects of conservation research and practice: examination of archaeological and/or ethnographic artifacts, assessment of their cultural context, analysis, experimentation with treatment or analytical techniques, and conservation treatment. It will likewise stress the establishment of a research methodology that will guide the development of the project. The results will be presented in a paper of approximately thirty pages to a three-member faculty committee for evaluation.

In view of the large amount of coursework required to graduate from the program, the subject and scope of the master’s thesis should be carefully considered in terms of feasibility and duration.