Historic Preservation Admissions Requirements


The Masters of Historic Preservation Program is multidisciplinary in nature and expects all students to engage preservation in depth from many perspectives. There are no academic prerequisites for admission to the Historic Preservation Program, but we expect applicants to demonstrate a commitment to historic preservation as a profession. Coursework focuses on the built world and students should have a basic knowledge of the history of architecture. Students will be expected to analyze critically and write fluently about issues in historic preservation. Students specializing in design should have a bachelor’s degree in architecture or another closely related design field (landscape architecture, urban design, etc.).


Students must attend the program on a full-time basis, registering for between 12 and 19 credit points per semester.


DEADLINE: January 15 (11:59 PM EST)

1. On-line application (https://app.applyyourself.com/?id=COL-ARCH)*
2. Application Fee ($75.00 US)*
3. Three letters of recommendation*
4. Personal Statement*
5. Transcripts in English*
6. GRE  (Minimum score:  150 Verbal)
7. International Students Only: TOEFL  (Minimum score: 100 IBT, 250 CBT, 600 PBT)
8. Optional: Work and writing samples
*  indicates materials that should be submitted online

Download the MSHP Checklist of Required Materials

Dual Degree Information for Historic Preservation

Historic Preservation as a discipline can be combined with other graduate programs, so that a student earns two degrees within a compressed time frame. The degree options are Historic Preservation and Master of Architecture or Historic Preservation and Master of Science in Urban Planning.
For a dual degree, students apply independently to each program. If accepted to both programs, students are expected to be in touch with the program administrators to work out the exact course sequence of the degree. Depending on prior academic experiences, and the focus within each of the dual degree programs, a student will develop with the administrators and his/her advisors an individualized program of study. Students are urged to check in with administrator or advisor from each program at least once a semester to track progress.

Dual degree students must complete the requirements for both degrees. Preservation students may take courses in the Planning or Architecture programs but only those students matriculated into both programs will earn both degrees upon graduation. New dual degrees with other programs cannot be created "on demand" for students, as this involves an accreditation process through the university and the New York State Board of Regents.

Historic Preservation and Master of Architecture (4 academic years - 108 credits M.Arch + 36 credits MSHP = 144 credits)

The dual degree with Architecture is a four-year program, requiring one year registered within the Preservation Program. During that year all Preservation course requirements, including the two-semester studio sequence, are fulfilled except for the colloquium and thesis. 

It is highly recommended that the "preservation year" be taken during a dual degree students' first academic year, in order not to disrupt the architecture studio sequence.

During the three years a student is registered in the Architecture program they may continue to take electives within Preservation to fulfill their interests. In these dual degrees, the Historic Preservation portion of the dual degree requires 36 credits, which includes a four-credit thesis developed throughout the final year. The student cannot wait until their final year of study to take the required Preservation courses and simultaneously write their Preservation thesis. A student may be registered in the Architecture program while working on their Preservation thesis in the last year of study. During their third year in Architecture, dual degree students are required to take the joint Architecture/HP studio.

Historic Preservation and the Master of Science in Urban Planning (3 academic years – 45 credits MSHP + 45 credits MSUP = 90 credits)

A dual degree program with Urban Planning is completed in three academic years. In these degrees, the Historic Preservation and the Urban Planning components are each 45 credits. All Preservation students and Planning students are required to complete a thesis, which will take place in the final year of study. Students in the dual degree program between Historic Preservation and Urban Planning write one thesis on a preservation-planning topic.

Special Students

Professionals in fields related to historic preservation may be eligible to take courses in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. These students must be admitted by the Office of the Associate Dean for Admissions as Special Students (non-degree candidates). Studios and visual studies courses are not open to special students. Lecture classes are open to Special Students with the permission of the faculty teaching the course.

Special Students receive library and computer access for the semester(s) in which they are enrolled; they receive a transcript from Columbia University with the course name and grade(s). Special Students pay the current per-point fee for the course; they are not entitled to student health insurance. If at a later date a special student wishes to apply for matriculation in any of the graduate degree programs, the student must file a formal application before the stipulated deadline. The Admissions Committee does not treat the applicant preferentially.
Click here for the Online Application

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