MS in Historic Preservation


College of Architecture & the Built Environment


Master of Science


East Falls


On Campus



Enrollment Options

Full Time, Part Time

Meet the Challenges of Tomorrow – Preserve the Past to Shape the Future

Today, Historic Preservation is a major force both in maintaining our cultural heritage and in shaping the neighborhoods and cities of tomorrow.

Jefferson’s MS in Historic Preservation not only prepares graduates to preserve historic buildings and sites, but also to reenvision and repurpose the past to serve present and future needs. The program focuses upon the conservation and the rehabilitation of the already-built environment. Our “back to the future” approach not only preserves but also re-envisions and re-purposes historic buildings and sites. Preserving the past is the template for a sustainable future.

Adaptive Reuse, Sustainability & Climate Change

Historic Preservationists are fond of saying that the greenest building is the one already built.” Studies have shown that the construction and demolition of buildings accounts for 48% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Reusing and retrofitting already existing buildings constitutes “recycling” on a grand scale, reduces these emissions dramatically and is an indispensable source of renewable energy.  

In studio-based courses, using real clients and real sites, you will gain hands-on experience and develop the skills needed to lead in the revitalization of buildings as potent historical documents and invaluable design opportunities for future use.

Urban Regeneration & Social Justice

Impact underrepresented communities. A vital preservation issue is the development of frameworks that order the urban fabric into viable neighborhoods and facilitate “place-making” through incorporation of historic structures as part of sustainable development and healthy communities.

New & Emerging Technologies

Learn to apply the new digital technologies that are part of the 21st century Historic Preservation toolkit. Today Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), Photogrammetry/Drone Survey, Augmented Reality and Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) are increasingly used for managing, documenting, conserving, and interpreting culturally significant structures and places.

You will apply both analog and digital documentation methods to “real world” projects at multiple scales from the micro of individual buildings to the macro level of community planning.

Student Opportunities

As the first UNESCO World Heritage City in the United States, Philadelphia is a living laboratory of architectural styles and periods, offering a wealth of real-world projects and internship opportunities utilizing buildings and technologies, dating from 18th century Georgian through mid-20th century Modern.

At Jefferson’s new Center for the Preservation of Modernism, students develop preservation protocols tailored to the unique character of early and mid-century modern architecture, the next preservation frontier as these buildings age. Students also have the opportunity to study the preservation of modernist architecture abroad at the iconic Bauhaus Building in Dessau, Germany or at the Giuseppe Terragni Archive in Como, Italy.

Students customize their course of study by selecting one of two tracks: Research and Documentation; or Preservation Design; and specialize in a field compatible with their track drawn from the College of Architecture and the Built Environment’s graduate offerings including Sustainable Design, Geographic Information Systems, Façade Technologies, Architectural History or Real Estate Development. The curriculum affords students the freedom to explore topics that suit their interests and further their professional goals.

The M.S. Historic Preservation is a STEM designated program (CIP Code 04.0902). 

Richard Neutra’s Hassrick House, LiDAR Scan

Take a virtual tour of renowned architect Richard Neutra’s Hassrick House (1958), captured in a ‘fly-through’ of a LiDAR point cloud. LIDAR, which stands for “Light Detection and Ranging,” is a 3D laser scan comprised of millions of points used to capture and document every detail of the building’s interior and exterior. LIDAR scanning has become an essential tool for Historic Preservation. LIDAR’s non-intrusive nature provides a hands-off method of documenting and assessing the condition of heritage structures, as well as charting structural changes.

See the location of the Hassrick House, and other houses in the area on this Modernism Map.

Historic Preservation Video Lectures