LSU College of Art & Design Implements Doctor of Design in Cultural Preservation

lsu doctor of design

The Board of Regents has approved the LSU College of Art & Design’s proposal for a multi-disciplinary Doctor of Design (DDes) in Cultural Preservation. Arising from the confluence of current professional trends, educational conditions, and college administrators’ interest in leveraging existing resources into new opportunities, the DDes is the first advanced academic degree offered within the College of Art & Design—and the first of its kind in Louisiana and the Gulf Region. The degree will be launched in fall 2017.

“The Doctor of Design in Cultural Preservation is a landmark in the history of the College of Art & Design,” said Dean Alkis Tsolakis. “The program’s support from the LSU Office of Academic Affairs and approval by the Board of Regents show recognition for the unique importance of Louisiana’s culture and the role of our college in the stewardship and preservation of the state’s heritage.”

Several years ago, the lieutenant governor’s office identified cultural resources as one of the state’s top engines of economic development.  The college’s DDes program highlights the many ways in which the study, preservation, and enhancement of cultural initiatives benefit the state’s economy and, in turn, takes advantage of the research resources across LSU’s campus and centered in the college. The new advanced degree serves a market of interdisciplinary professionals by building on the strengths of existing faculty in the College of Art & Design and across the university, integrating expertise to address contemporary issues in design, policy, production, and preservation.

The DDes gives practicing design professionals an opportunity to blend interests in design and the studio arts with scholarship and research, either to gain further experience in aspects of their field of practice or to expand their professional capacities into new, emerging, and related fields. Graduates will find work in the increasingly interrelated array of professional fields, governmental agencies, businesses, and academic disciplines.

The DDes in Cultural Preservation includes four choices for specialization:

  1. History and Theory of Material Culture: studies in the production and history of art, architecture, cultural landscapes, interiors, and representation, with explorations through different lenses of environmental consideration, geographical location, national/international movement, and corresponding examples from related cultures.
  2. Environmental Policy: investigations of policy and technical expertise arising from environmental and social sciences, law, and public policy to build on previous academic training and professional practice experience in the design and planning disciplines (architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, regional planning).
  3. Fabricative Cultures: Materials & Technology: inquiry and exploration through digital design as a research tool contributing to the analysis, understanding, and improvement of the built environment at new levels of scale and complexity, with an experimental design project that develops new methods, material systems, or technologies in digital design and fabrication through production of a large-scale artifact and a critical thesis.
  4. Museum Studies: combined academic study of art history with training in administration, conservation, and interpretation skills through a blend of managerial, presentation, and technical skills.

The 60-credit-hour program encompasses six semesters of study and 45 hours of new course offerings specific to the curriculum and its advanced nature, mostly devoted to individual, supervised research, requiring students to work one-on-one with faculty. Students will share a common core of seminars on cultural preservation and research methods, while the curriculum for each specialization includes allied subjects and special requirements to ensure cross-disciplinary study.

As an advanced academic degree, the DDes will generate graduates prepared to fill leadership positions in numerous professional and academic fields related to the cultural economy and thereby make significant contributions to the advancement of cultural preservation in Louisiana and throughout the country.

For more information, contact Dr. Lake Douglas, associate dean of research and development and associate professor of landscape architecture, at

About LSU College of Art + Design
The LSU College of Art + Design includes programs in studio art, art history, architecture, graphic design, digital art, interior design, and landscape architecture. The college brings together a focus on creativity and expression, talented faculty, specialized concentration areas, outstanding studio and gallery spaces, and a connection to the community to create a dynamic program. For more information, visit