Los Angeles provides a unique laboratory in which to learn and challenge conservation issues. As a relatively young and diverse global city, it is the ideal place to explore a relatively young and diverse global discipline. Our wealth of recent past resources raise a new set of research challenges and the city’s richly diverse communities woven throughout the tapestry of the built environment push us to acknowledge the many layers of history and meaning revealed in the city. It is also a place forever seeking the new, providing opportunities to protect the best of the past while embracing the landmarks of the future.
Embedded in the School of Architecture at USC, heritage conservation students are instantly part of a multidisciplinary environment, linking landscape architecture, building science, architecture, and conservation. As such, the program curriculum is designed to expose students to a broad range of topics including materials conservation, policy and planning, conservation theory, global conservation efforts, architectural and landscape history, best-practices in resource documentation and evaluation, sustainability, and historic site management. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of the many academic resources in the broader university, including taking courses in real estate, regional history, urban planning, and spatial sciences. Program faculty are leaders in the field, a blend of academics and practitioners that grapple with conservation in real time, seeking creative solutions that balance the integrity of the past with a sustainable future. Through this broad exposure, students begin to formulate their professional path within the discipline.
The creation of a graduate thesis enables students to stretch themselves in the direction of their choice. Topics are chosen based on the interests of the student and vary from architectural and landscape history to policy analysis, from materials-based inquiry to industrial archaeology, and beyond. The typical program length is two years, although students may apply for advanced standing.