Program Information

The PhD program in the Conservation of Material Culture (CMC) is offered by the UCLA/Getty Interdepartmental Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials (CAEM), housed under the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA. The CMC PhD is distinct from our practice-focused CAEM MA degree that trains professional conservators in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials. For those interested in the details of each program please see the Student Handbooks on our website.

The PhD program is designed to train the next generation of multidisciplinary researchers and cross-cultural leaders in the theoretical and experimental developments and policies of cultural heritage conservation. Through rigorous research and multidisciplinary scholarship students acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to become leaders in the field. They have the opportunity to build their academic training through a combination of interdisciplinary coursework, academic mentored research, teaching experience, and skilled guidance from academic advisors and mentors.

The program’s aim is to provide:

  • An integrated, comprehensive curriculum to foster the next generation of conservation leaders with strong research, theoretical and applied qualitative and quantitative skills;
  • Rigorous training in conservation theory, ethics, policy and research;
  • Substantive research training in a specific domain of application in conservation;
  • Experiential learning and mentoring in communication, scientific writing skills, and the ability to work in multidisciplinary teams.

Participating members in the new PhD degree course include IDP faculty and academic staff who are committed to teach all the core courses and faculty from various divisions and schools across UCLA with expertise in different classes of materials such as archaeological, cultural and environmental materials (both organic and inorganic); their structure, properties, deterioration and conservation; materials characterization techniques; documentation and data processing, mining and visualization; environmental studies; museum and library science; geology/geoscience; archaeology/anthropology; art history; public policy; ethnography and indigenous studies.


Research Domains

The Conservation of Material Culture Program offers eight interdisciplinary research domains. Students are encouraged to develop their research proposal within one of the following areas. Additional ad hoc research domains in emerging cross-disciplinary areas of research related to conservation will also be considered.

For additional information on each research domain please see the PhD Program Handbook