Historic Preservation


The 44-credit M.S. in Historic Preservation offers a focus different from that of other programs, concentrating on heritage, public policy, and building an in-depth understanding of the issues preservationists so often grapple with beyond the physical preservation and restoration of important structures. We encourage students to understand preservation policies and methods as part of a broader historical and social context while providing the range of skills that practitioners need in today's professional environment.


The Historic Preservation program prepares students for leadership within a continuously changing preservation context. With a broad grasp of cultural heritage issues, law, policy, and practice coupled with documentation, evaluation, communication, and interpretative skills, the program’s scholars are prepared with the essential practical and professional tools of the field. Case studies and interaction with community leaders and practitioners insures an integrative, interdisciplinary, and inclusive approach. The York City environment, its urban context, and an accomplished faculty support the goal of excellence and national recognition in the field.

Courses such as history, documentation and interpretation, adaptive re-use, architecture, preservation planning, in policy, and heritage impart the broad range of skills practitioners need today to practice in this field.  Students are encouraged to analyze preservation policies and methods within a broader historical and social context, a critical approach that enables graduates to practice at the highest professional level.  Internships give students real-world experience.


The faculty is drawn from preservation professionals who bring the real world of preservation practice­-that of the architect, the designer, the historian, of the private sector, the government, and the not-for-profit into the classroom. Students intern at the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, at preservation organizations, and in architects' offices, working at the cutting edge of our field.

The Historic Preservation program resides within the Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment in the School of Architecture. GCPE's mission is to create and sustain a learning community of students, faculty and alumni that is characterized by innovative professional practice and that emphasizes planning and preservation approaches rooted in the principles of sustainability, equity and public participation.

Examples of our core courses beyond the basics include Concepts of Heritage, Adaptive Re-use, Architecture and Urban Form, and the Preservation Colloquium. The program offers electives in areas such as Main Street Revitalization, Green Buildings, and Public History as well as the resources of both the School of Architecture and the School of Art and Design.