Program Mission
The purpose of the Heritage Conservation program is to educate students in the preservation of the built environment as part of a comprehensive conservation ethic. The intent of the curricular program, which leads to a Graduate Certificate in Heritage Conservation, is to be:

  • Interdisciplinary, teaching holistic problem-solving within an integrated environment of natural and cultural resources including the disciplines of anthropology, archaeology, architecture, art history, history, landscape architecture, materials science, and planning; 
  • Inter-institutional, promoting collaborative engagement between public and private institutions with a curriculum incorporating community service as a method of learning; and
  • International in scope and regional in application, defined by the arid lands geography of the Greater Southwest.

The learning outcomes of the Graduate Certificate in Heritage Conservation are intended to balance theory and practice, as well as research and outreach, including:

  • Awareness of geographic, cultural, technological, economic, and political factors that shape the built environment;  of building traditions of cultural groups and historic periods that define the Greater Southwest.
  • Understanding of heritage conservation terms, concepts, and philosophical foundations; of legal, regulatory, and economic development tools; of treatment standards for historic properties;  of cultural resource management business and ethical principles.
  • Ability to conduct research using primary and secondary information resources; to survey, document, and communicate cultural artifacts, buildings, sites, districts, and cultural landscapes according to professional(Secretary of Interior) standards; to analyze building construction systems, components, and materials to make conservation treatment recommendations;  to interpret the meaning of built environments to a larger audience.

The Graduate Certificate in Heritage Conservation is accredited by the National Council for Preservation Education.

Admission and Graduate Requirements

The Graduate Certificate in Heritage Conservation is designed as both a stand-alone program and to be integrated with other degrees, including the M.Architecture, M.S.Architecture, M.Landscape Architecture, M.S.Planning, and M.A.Anthropology degrees. The student is responsible for choosing the appropriate option and, in the case of a degree program, working with the Heritage Conservation Certificate Coordinator and his/her degree program advisor to develop a mutually agreeable plan of study. Students must comply to the University of Arizona’s Graduate College eligibility requirements including a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4-point scale from a baccalaureate degree.



The program is constructed to serve two audiences: Degree-seeking graduate students obtaining a Masters degree in their chosen discipline (e.g. Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Planning, Archaeology, Art History) and Certificate-seeking students whose program is based in the Outreach College. Regardless of your status, all students wishing to obtain the Graduate Certificate in Heritage Conservation must be registered as a certificate-seeking student. While the Graduate Certificate in Heritage Conservation is intended to provide an overview of the principles, methods, and regulatory tools to advance yourcareer options in heritage conservation or in any of its allied fields, it is not an accredited program for art, material, or museum conservators nor provide the technical application required for each.

Coursework Courses for each audience will be co-convened but will be listed as two different course numbers representing the distinction between their degree-seeking and certificate-seeking status.
Fees Degree-seeking students in Colleges that require program fees (e.g. College of Architecture & Landscape Architecture) will be charged those fees.  Effective Fall 2012, certificate-seeking only students will be charged an additional differential tuition of $200 per student credit hour.


For additional information on admissions requirements, contact Amy Moraga, Graduate Program Coordinator/Academic Advisor at 520-621-9819

Certificate Curricular Structure

Students interested in a Certificate in Heritage Conservation are required to complete 18 units including an internship.



ARC/LAR/PLG 571f | Introduction to Heritage Conservation (3)

Overview of the interdisciplinary paradigms, principles, and programs in the field of heritage conservation ranging from local to international contexts.  It addresses the conservation of cultural resources generally and the built environment specifically by introducing students to the terms, concepts, and philosophical foundations of heritage conservation, as well as the legal, regulatory, economic development tools, and treatment standards for historic properties.


ARC/LAR/PLG 597j | Documentation and Interpretation of the Historic Built Environment (3)

Examination of the methods to document buildings, districts and cultural landscapes combined with the methods to interpret their historical and architectural significance according to professional standards.  Course will focus on the historic built environments of the Greater Southwest and will include a semester-long service-learning project that applies the documentation and interpretation methodologies introduced in this course.


ANTH 540a | Cultural Resources Management (3)*

Reviews various topics related to cultural resource management (CRM), including the development of CRM archaeology, relevant laws and regulations, real world economics, ethical issues, management labor relations, fieldwork and archival research methods, roles of research designs and sampling strategies, modes of data dissemination and preservation, public education strategies, international approaches, interests of various groups and career paths.


PLN 564 | Preservation Planning Issues (3)

Reviews preservation policy and jurisdictional issues within a community development context, addresses complex social equity considerations associated with historic designation, examines economic incentives, and explores preservation philosophy, cross-cultural values and emerging trends.  Provides skills to connect technical and policy requirements of historic preservation with pragmatic social and economic concerns of community development.


ANTH 595A | Introduction to Archaeological Conservation (3)*

Course introduces the principles of archaeological conservation, techniques for characterizing artifact materials and burial conditions, methods for documentation, stabilization, removal and packing of delicate finds in the field, and controlled excavation of block lifts in the lab.


ARC 593 or equivalent |  Internship (3 units; required, not graded)

Application of knowledge involving a significant period of practical experience at a venue based on student specialization (see below).  Internship sponsor must be approved by Coordinator. Option to waive based on experience at the discretion of the Heritage Conservation Coordinator.

  * could be substituted with CHEM/ANTH/MSE 532a—Chemical Characterization for Cultural Material (Odegaard) or MSE 568—Heritage Conservation Science (Odegaard/Simmons) or ARH coursework (e.g. ARH 596 - Special Topics) based on the approval of the Heritage Conservation Coordinator and student's primary advisor.



The internship requirement is a vital component of the Heritage Conservation curriculum. It provides the student with the opportunity to observe and participate in the implementation of preservation policies, design principles, and regulatory mechanisms in a real-world context.

Internships are developed in conjunction with the Coordinator to integrate the student area of specialization with existing venues. Internship sponsors may include private-sector design, archeological and historical firms, university, governmental, and tribal agencies as well as non-profit organizations. Internship sponsors must apply for authorization and are requested, but not required, to provide financial compensation to the student.

Potential internship venues include:



City of Tucson, Historic Preservation Office

  Oro Valley Historic Preservation Commission

Pima County Cultural Resources Office


Statistical Research Inc.


Vint & Associates, Architects


Poster Frost Mirto, Architects and Planners


Center for Desert Archaeology


Western Archaeological Conservation Center


Arizona Historical Society, Southern Arizona Division


Arizona State Historic Preservation Office, Phoenix


Cornerstones Community Partnerships, Santa Fe, New Mexico


Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH)


National Park Service

Other internship sites may be considered upon approval of the Coordinator.


Heritage Conservation Lecture Series

The Heritage Conservation Lecture Series supplements the CAPLA Lecture Series by sponsoring an annual lecture focussing on preservation issues. Past lecturers include Mohammad al-Asad, Director of the Center for the Study of the Built Environment (Amman Jordan), Chris Wilson, J.B. Jackson Professor of Cultural Landscape Studies, University of New Mexico, Donovan Rypkema, Preservation Economist, and Steve Farneth, from Architectural Resources Group.


Desert Southwest/Cooperative Ecosystem Study Unit (DS/CESU)

The Heritage Conservation program at the University of Arizona has been selected by the National Park Service to participate in an inter-agency Cooperative Ecosystem Study Unit (CESU). The purpose of the CESU  is to integrate the cultural resource needs of National Park Service's Desert Southwest region with the technical expertise available from the faculty and students in the Heritage Conservation program through funded projects.   The projects vary from national register nominations and cultural landscape inventories to historic structures reports and new facilities design in the parks' scenic and historic contexts. Dr. Pat O'Brien, the DS/CESU Cultural Resources liaison, is housed in the Smith House/Center for Heritage Conservation and works directly with Heritage Conservation students.


Core Faculty



Pat O’Brien, Adjunct Professor, Heritage Conservation.  Cultural resource management, National Park Service, American history. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


R. Brooks Jeffery, Coordinator, Graduate Heritage Conservation Program, Director, Drachman Institute.  Architectural history, documentation, vernacular and cultural landscapes of the Middle East, Latin America, and American Southwest. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


T.J. Fersuson, Professor, School of Anthropology, Director M.A. Program in Applied Archaeology.  Cultural resource management, social identity and cultural affiliation, cultural landscapes, Western Pueblo settlement and land use. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Lauri Johnson, Professor, School of Landscape Architecture.  Cultural landscapes. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Nancy Odegaard, Conservator, Arizona State Museum.  Materials conservation. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Pamela Vandiver, Professor, Materials Science and Engineering. Materials conservation, building technologies. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it





Smith House | Center for Heritage Conservation

The Smith House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, serves as the center for Heritage Conservation from which its instructional, research and community outreach programs are based.  The 1904 Queen Anne residence, located across the street from the Architecture Building, was home to G.E.P. Smith, agricultural engineer and university faculty member responsible for early research and legislation on Arizona groundwater management.  The Smith House contains offices, student work stations, a conference room and library.


College of Architecture + Planning + Landscape Architecture Building

The CAPLA Building is the administrative facility for the College of Architecture + Planning + Landscape Architecture and contains the design studios and faculty offices for the School of Architecture, School of Landscape Architecture and Planning, and the Drachman Institute.  In addition, the CAPLA Building houses a variety of facilities for use by the graduate students of all CAPLA programs, including the Architecture Library, a branch of the University Library, Computer Lab, Exhibit Gallery, Visual Resources Collection, as well as a wood, glass and metal labs.  Studios and offices for the School of Landscape Architecture, as well as CAPLA’s Metal Lab and Visualization and Simulation Lab, are located in facilities within walking distance of the Smith House.


Arizona Architectural Archives

The Arizona Architectural Archives was established in 1976 to collect, preserve, document and disseminate records pertaining to the architectural development of southern Arizona.  The Archives currently houses over 50,000 original drawings of Tucson’s most significant architects, including Roy Place, Henry Jaastad, Josias Joesler, William Wilde, Nicholas Sakellar, and Judith Chafee.


Drachman Institute

The Drachman Institute is the research-based outreach arm of the College of Architecture + Planning + Landscape Architecture (CAPLA) at The University of Arizona dedicated to sustainable design and planning with a focus on underserved and vulnerable communities.  It engages students, staff, faculty, and citizens as an interdisciplinary collaborative striving to make our communities healthier, safer, more equitable, and more beautiful places to live.  The Drachman Institute acts as a nexus between community needs and the College's skills and knowledge in architecture, landscape architecture, and planning with a specific focus on Affordable Housing, Neighborhood, Community & Regional Planning, Heritage Conservation, and Public Health. 


Southwest Center

The Southwest Center seeks to define, illuminate and present the character, of the Greater Southwest: the heartland of Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora, and Chihuahua, and its peripheries. A particular research interest of the Southwest Center is to document the Southwest’s architectural history in the face of dramatic change, to describe comprehensively the architectural cultures of the Sonoran Desert Region. It is also the mission of the Southwest Center to seek out, publish and support projects by architects, planners, landscape architects and others who are attempting to apply traditional models, in intelligent and meaningful ways, to contemporary architectural problems. 


Environmental Research Laboratory

As a research unit within The University of Arizona, Environmental Research Laboratory scientists, engineers and planners have been researching the relationship between the basic human needs of food, water, energy and shelter, and the ability of the environment to supply these needs. From this research ERL has developed innovative technologies and applied a systems approach to problems and projects in arid regions worldwide for more than 30 years. ERL’s Desert Design and Planning Group coordinates with CAPLA to provide sustainable solutions to community development issues.  With a primary focus on arid regions, the ERL provides technical support and technology transfer to entities interested in developing projects and communities in that are more resource efficient and livable. 


Arizona, State Museum

The Arizona State Museum is the oldest and largest anthropology museum in the region and brings to life the culture history of the Greater Southwest, from the mammoth hunters to the present, through many ongoing research projects. The museum's rich and varied collections are among the most significant resources in the nation for the study of Southwest anthropology.  The Museum, a Smithsonian Institution affiliate, houses the Office of Ethnohistorical Research, Documentary Relations of the Southwest (DRSW), the Arizona Archaeological Site and Survey Database (AZSITE) and conservation laboratories.


For more information, contact

Lecturer, School of Landscape Architecture and Planning
Coordinator, Heritage Conservation Certificate Program

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