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Grad Program: Historic Preservation and Conservation

Basic Information

Historical preservationists take on the duty of preservation by identifying buildings and other parts of what those in the field tend to call the “built environment” that are worth preserving. Working for and with a variety of organizations and communities, from inner cities to remote towns, historic preservationists design and implement plans to restore and maintain historical sites in a way that balances conservation and preservation with commercial and development interests.

Graduate programs prepare students for careers in this field with a combination of class and field work. Students study history, architecture, and techniques of preservation and conservation. Internships with community partners such as museums and historical societies are integral to most programs, providing students with essential hands-on experience.

Degree Information

Historic Preservation degree programs (M.A., M.S., M.S.H.P.) usually take two years. Many programs have a specific interdisciplinary focus (for instance, Historical Preservation and African American Studies or Historical Preservation and Museum Studies), which students should consider as they search for a program. Thesis projects are usually required and may be either creative or research-driven.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program
  • Do you want a program emphasizing design, conservation, history, or planning?
  • Do you want to work in the geographical area after you graduate? This is especially important when determining internships and classes on local history, architecture, or issues.
  • Who are the instructors? What work have they done? How accessible are they?
  • With what organizations (like museums and historical societies) does the school have relationships?

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