The PHD in Historic Preservation was launched in 2017 and is oriented toward the training of future historic preservation scholars. The first of its kind in the United States, the program aims to expand the discipline’s range of intellectual entanglements and cultivate new paradigms for scholarly research, experimental practice, global action, and communication.
As a doctoral program, it underscores a historical understanding of the discipline’s evolving challenges and purposes; promotes theoretical speculation on alternative modes of practice suited to deal with the ethical, technical, aesthetic, and social problems of the twenty-first century; and fosters a critical and scholarly culture conducive to preparing the discipline’s next leaders. Candidates are expected to conduct independent research with support from the preservation faculty’s wide range of expertise, the Historic Preservation Laboratory, the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, and the rest of the scholarly community at GSAPP and Columbia University, more broadly.
The curriculum requires two years of coursework, one year to prepare and take general exams, and two years for independent research and writing. The total time to completion is expected to be five years. The Ph.D. in Historic Preservation is a program within the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) while the actual degree is granted by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).
Admission for 2024
Please visit the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) for admissions details.
In addition to the requirements shown on the GSAS website, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, and three letters of evaluation from academic sources.
Applicants are encouraged to submit an optional portfolio if it speaks to their research interest in experimental preservation approaches that explore material intersections of the PAAST (Preservation Art Architecture Science and Technology) with urgent contemporary environmental and social issues. For more information on the portfolio format, please review the Admissions FAQ.
All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.