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About Us


The Graduate Program in Historic Preservation is a unique collaborative effort launched by Clemson University and the College of Charleston in 2005. The program, which is based in Charleston, South Carolina, offers a two-year course of study that leads to the Master of Science in Historic Preservation degree. The program is interdisciplinary in character and admits small and selective classes composed of a wide range of undergraduate majors who are interested in building national careers in historic preservation.

The mission of the collaborative Clemson University / College of Charleston Graduate Program in Historic Preservation is to educate future leaders in the documentation, evaluation, interpretation, and conservation of historic structures, sites, objects, and landscapes with the goal of developing appropriate preservation strategies for a sustainable future. Utilizing Charleston and the Lowcountry as a laboratory, students in this professional degree program acquire the diverse skills necessary for rewarding professional careers.

Students Measuring a HeadstoneAreas of emphasis include:

  • Architectural History and Cultural Significance
  • Documentation and Interpretation of Landscapes, Buildings, Interiors, and Objects
  • Historic Building Materials, Techniques, and Treatments
  • Contextual Design and Planning
  • Conservation Science and Material Analysis
  • Preservation Policy and Cultural Resource Management
  • Sustainability and the Economics of Rehabilitation

The Graduate Program works in close collaboration with a number of national and Charleston-based initiatives including the American College of the Building Arts,  Colonial Williamsburg, Drayton Hall, Historic American Building Survey of the National Parks Service, Historic Charleston Foundation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Action, the Preservation Society of Charleston, and Warren Lasch Conservation Center as well as local architects and preservation professionals.

Click here to see a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the MSHP Graduate Program. 

Program of Study

The 60-credit MSHP curriculum is structured in layers, beginning with an initial core semester devoted to the acquisition of skills in the analysis and documentation of historic buildings, landcapes, and sites followed by a semester structed around an advanced preservatino studio and a conservation laboratory course, both devoted to the development of preservation projects. The second year highlights advanced analysis and conservation studies, historic preservation law and economcis, elective courses in historic interiors, project administration, and other topics, and completion of an individual research project in the form of a thesis.Student Drawing

MSHP students complete their theses in their third and fourth semesters in the program.  Determined by the specific topic of investigation a student pursues for his/her thesis, these semesters include the preparation of drawings, lab work, oral histories, surveys, and national register nominations to supplement the text. Click here for a comprehensive list of our graduates' theses.

The organizational structure of the degree program and the curriculum have been developed with the guidance of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the National Council for Preservation Education (NCPE), and the regional professional community in preservation and design, as well as faculty from peer graduate programs.  The program’s curriculum is certified by the National Council for Preservation Education (NCPE).

Student Handbooks

Read the Clemson Graduate School Policy Handbook here.

This handbook is produced by Clemon's Graduate School and is a guide to being a graduate student at Clemson University.

Read the College of Charleston Student Handbook here.

This handbook is produced by the College of Charleston's Division of Student Affairs.