Heritage Conservation Program

The Heritage Conservation program educates students in the preservation of the built environment as part of a comprehensive ethic of environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability. The focus of our program is to prepare students for practice in the field of Heritage Conservation. Our alumni work in the public and private sectors, from jobs with the National Park Service, local historic preservation offices, and museums, to cultural resources consulting firms. The Southwest United States is a unique laboratory within which to explore a range of cultures, architectural styles and landscapes.

The Graduate Certificate in Heritage Conservation is:

  • Interdisciplinary, teaching holistic problem­solving, integrating natural and cultural resources and learning from 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;  building traditions of cultural groups and historic periods that define the Greater Southwest.
  • Understanding of heritage conservation terms, concepts, and philosophical foundations;  legal, regulatory, and economic development tools;  treatment standards for historic properties;  cultural resource management business and ethical principles.
  • Ability to conduct research using primary and secondary information resources; survey, document, and communicate cultural artifacts, buildings, sites, districts, and cultural landscapes according to professional(Secretary of Interior) standards; analyze building construction systems, components, and materials to make conservation treatment recommendations;  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.

Graduate Certificate Curriculum
Students interested in a Certificate in Heritage Conservation are required to complete 18 units including an internship. The program can typically be completed in one calendar year.

ARC/LAR/PLG 571f | Introduction to Heritage Conservation (Fall, 3 units)
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 597j | Documentation and Interpretation of the Historic Built Environment (Spring, 3 units)
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 documentation historic resources according to professional standards.

ANTH 540a | Cultural Resources Management (Fall, 3 units)*
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 (Spring, 3 units)
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, cross­cultural values and emerging trends. Provides skills to connect technical and policy requirements of historic preservation with pragmatic social and economic concerns of community development.           

ARC 597c l Materials Conservation (Pre-Summer, 3 units)
Provides an overview of materials conservation practice for adobe, brick, stone, wood and metal, with a focus on materials typical of the Southwest. Lectures and laboratory work will complement hands-on work in the field. Students will have an opportunity to participation in an on-site conservation project.            

ARC 593 or equivalent | Internship (Summer, 3 units)
Application of knowledge involving a significant period of practical experience at a venue based on student specialization. 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 real­world context. Internships are developed in conjunction with the Coordinator to integrate the student area of specialization with existing venues. Internship sponsors may include private­sector design, archeological and historical firms, university, governmental, and tribal agencies as well as non­profit organizations. Internship sponsors must apply for authorization and are requested, but not required, to provide financial compensation to the student. Option to waive based on experience at the discretion of the Heritage Conservation Coordinator.

Our Heritage Conservation students have completed internships with the following organizations:
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), and the National Park Service.

Heritage Conservation Lecture Series
The Preservation Lecture Series supplements the CAPLA Lecture Series by sponsoring an annual lecture focussing on preservation issues. Past lecturers include Mohammad al­Asad, 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 inter­agency 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.

Core Faculty

Gina Chorover, Lecturer and Coordinator, Heritage Conservation Program, School of Landscape Architecture and Planning. Historic landscapes, preservation planning, documentation of cultural resources, internship coordinator. gchorove@email.arizona.edu

Helen Erickson, Adjunct Lecturer and Project Coordinator. School of Planning and Landscape Architecture, Heritage Conservation Certificate Program. Historic preservation planning, historic and cultural landscapes and streetscapes. hbe@email.arizona.edu

T.J. Ferguson, 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. tjf@email.arizona.edu

R. Brooks Jeffery, Professor, Associate Vice President, Research and Discovery.  Architectural history, documentation, vernacular and cultural landscapes of the Middle East, Latin America, and American Southwest. rbjeffer@u.arizona.edu

Jennifer Levstik, Adjunct Lecturer, School of Architecture, Heritage Conservation Certificate Program, and Historic Preservation Specialist, Logan Simpson.  Architectural history, historic preservation law, policy, and practice, cultural landscapes, and urban development. jlevstik@email.arizona.edu / jlevstik@logansimpson.com

Nancy Odegaard, Conservator, Arizona State Museum.  Materials analysis, conservation, and treatment; laboratory testing. odegaard@u.arizona.edu

Admission and Graduate Requirements
Students may pursue the Graduate Certificate in Heritage Conservation alone, or may combine it with other degrees, including the M.Architecture, M.S.Architecture, M.Landscape Architecure, M.S.Planning, and M.A.Anthopology degrees. The student is responsible for choosing the appropriate option and, in the case of a degree program, working with the Heritage Conservation Graduate Certificate Coordinator and his/her degree program advisor to develop a mutually agreeable plan of study.

To be eligible for admittance into the Heritage Conservation program students must comply with the University of Arizona’s Graduate College eligibility requirements which include a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4­point scale from a baccalaureate degree.  Students who bring in units from NDS, outside transfer, or a UA Major other than MS PLNG, MLA LAR, MS ARCH, must complete a minimum of 12 units ‘in residence’ in the certificate program. If they bring in more than 6 units from another program, they may take ARC 597B Special Projects in Architecture to complete the residence units.”

For additional information on admissions requirements and tuition/fees, contact Amy Moraga, Graduate Program Coordinator/Academic Advisor at 520­621­9819 or amoraga@email.arizona.edu.

University Facilities

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 research­based 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 about the Heritage Conservation Program, contact:

Gina Chorover
Coordinator, Heritage Conservation Graduate Certificate
Lecturer, School of Landscape Architecture and Planning
Program Chair, MS Architecture Heritage Conservation

Amy Moraga
Graduate Advisor, Program Coordinator
College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape ArchitectureCAPLA Student Advising Center 101



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