Program Information

The Master of Science in Historic Preservation (MSHP) is a 45 credit hour program, usually completed in 15 or 18 months (three regular semesters and possibly part or all of one summer). It is designed to accommodate the background and needs of both those students with substantial experience and those new to the field. The course of study is for students seeking training in spatial, technical and design aspects of the broader field; it encompasses architecture, cultural landscapes, preservation, planning, building technology, project management, documentation, interpretation and representation.

Historic preservationists come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are well-educated in the humanities and desire to increase their technical understanding. Those familiar with the social sciences might be seeking “real world” applications for their expertise. Many already with “first professional degrees” in design and planning disciplines, as well as law and business, seek to deepen their competence in the vibrant and interesting professional niche of historic preservation. Our program is compliant with National Council of Preservation Education Standards.

Career Paths of Graduates

Employment opportunities for graduates in historic preservation are with state historical societies and preservation offices, historic sites and museums, conservation societies, city and state governments, heritage trust and nonprofit organizations, and environmental and design consulting firms.

Our MSHP Program graduated its first class in 2011. Some alumni are now intern architects or designers, completing the “experience” requirement for architecture licensure. Others work for the National Park Service, with the title project specialist or cultural resource specialist.

Historic preservation has become an integral part of such diverse practices as local planning, architectural design, environmental permitting, and real estate development tax credits, in addition to the conventionally conceived roles specifically related to historical analysis. Today professionals often combine skills in the planning and design fields with those in preservation.

Why historic preservation?

The design and planning professions are rapidly changing, and even professionals with what seemed to be secure careers are discovering a need for new skills to remain informed and competitive in the job market. It will always be a more sustainable practice to reuse existing buildings than to tear them down and harvest or manufacture new materials. An increasingly larger percentage of the money spent on construction (and by extension, design work and planning approvals) is in reuse and renovation of existing structures. As many of these projects are either themselves historic or in areas that may impact historic environments, design and planning professionals are realizing the importance of knowledge and skill in this field. This is a program designed to prepare students for a 21st Century career.