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GSAPP Launches Ph.D. in Historic Preservation

Avery Library by Ofer Wolberger
News Release
16 January 2018

Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation launches a Ph.D. Program in Historic Preservation

The Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (Columbia GSAPP) launches a Ph.D. Program in Historic Preservation, the first in the U.S. The doctoral program continues Columbia GSAPP’s leadership in advancing preservation education since 1964, when it established the first Master in Historic Preservation program. Just as the Master’s Degree Program has acted as a model for education and professional expertise, the new Ph.D. program will set a standard for doctoral level education, provide intellectual leadership by training future generations of preservation scholars, and expand the discipline’s range of intellectual engagements through the cultivation of new paradigms for scholarly research, experimental practice, global action, and communication.

Columbia GSAPP’s range of programs in historic preservation as well as in architecture, planning, urban design, and real estate development bring together imagination, experimentation, and critical thinking towards new forms of practice. GSAPP is committed to shaping a more equitable, sustainable, and creative world by engaging architecture and the built environment from diverse and global perspectives. From its home in the heart of New York City, the school functions as an urban condenser of ideas and drives innovation and change through the leadership of its faculty, the excellence of its academic programs, the expansion of interdisciplinary opportunities as well as the richness of its research initiatives and events.

Professor Jorge Otero-Pailos, Director of the Historic Preservation Program, led the effort to found the new Ph.D. program along with Dean Amale Andraos and Dean Emeritus Mark Wigley. The program will enhance Columbia GSAPP’s already robust doctoral community in Architecture and Planning, creating a unique research cluster on the built environment and a unique lens for advancing Columbia University’s mission to engage the global challenges of our time. The Ph.D. in Historic Preservation will equip scholars to think laterally and make connections to other disciplines, as they articulate a more complete historical understanding of their own discipline, develop new theoretical frameworks, advance experimental practices, probe alternative modes of disciplinary engagement, and take part in GSAPP’s critical scholarly culture.

Today, historic preservation has become one of the major forces shaping cities and landscapes across the world, making it critical to better understand and continue to advance its intellectual frameworks and modes of practice. The Ph.D. in Historic Preservation recognizes the fact that the profession has matured into a vibrant discipline, with a specific body of theoretical and practical knowledge on how to learn from and intervene in historic buildings, cities and landscapes, such that they not only retain their values as historical documents but also serve as resources for designing the future. It is a given that the future will contain the past, not replace it, and this new doctoral program will promote scholarly work on how to incorporate the existing built environment into planning for a better future.

Students enrolled in the Ph.D. in Historic Preservation will receive scholarships, in the form of tuition remission and a stipend, for five years. Doctoral students will work with Ph.D. faculty in Preservation as well as other GSAPP programs, and will also engage faculty in other disciplines at Columbia University where historic preservation is a growing theoretical concern, such as in art, architectural history, planning, engineering, environmental sciences, computer sciences, archeology, and anthropology. In turn, the Columbia GSAPP Ph.D. in Historic Preservation will fill a need within other disciplines for more advanced knowledge on how to study, protect, manage, and physically alter the world’s built heritage. By establishing this framework for doctoral level work, the program will facilitate new inter-disciplinary research to inform and shape the future of Historic Preservation.

The Columbia GSAPP Ph.D. in Historic Preservation Program is supported by a leadership gift of $675,000 from José Roberto Marinho, who has generously endowed the first fellowship in his name.

The application deadline for the first fellowship is March 15, 2018.