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Historic Preservation


Programs in historic preservation prepare people to restore and maintain old buildings and their surroundings.

Historic preservation programs cover historic construction methods and designs. They include ways to restore and preserve original features of different structures and sites.

Historic preservation includes study in several topics, such as:


Internships allow students to develop skills at companies or organizations. Most historic preservation programs require that students complete projects and internships.


Almost all historic preservation programs are offered at the graduate level. A few schools offer bachelor's degrees.

Many colleges and universities offer historic preservation programs, usually in the graduate schools of architecture or environmental design. A master's degree requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. One-year graduate certificate programs are also available for students who already have a bachelor's degree in architecture or regional planning. A doctoral (PhD) degree program requires two or more years of study beyond a master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Admission to a four-year college does not guarantee admission to its undergraduate historic preservation program. You usually apply to this program after your second year of college and need to fulfill the following requirements:

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree and good grades. You also need to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

Your bachelor's degree does not have to be in any particular field. However, you should major in or take courses in a field that shows you interest in historic preservation. Such fields might include:

Additional requirements at many schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

In this undergraduate program, you typically take courses such as the following:

Graduate Program Courses

Course work in graduate programs tends to vary. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

Many programs require you to complete an externship or field work as part of their curriculums. This is a hands-on opportunity to apply what you learn in the classroom to real-life historic preservation situations.

Possible settings include a state historic preservation office, a historical society, a historic site or museum, or an architectural firm. You might assist with restoration tasks, planning, research, or fundraising. Whatever the setting and situation, you benefit from the guidance and direct supervision of an experienced historic preservation professional.

Things to Know

A doctoral (PhD) degree in this field prepares you to teach historic preservation at the college level.

Many programs incorporate local historic sites and make use of resources in their area. For this reason, you may want to consider location when choosing a school program.


King-Snohomish Area

University of Washington - Seattle