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Degrees and Certificates

Clemson University’s School of Planning, Development, and Preservation in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities are pleased to invite applications for the Master of Science in Historic Preservation degree and the Certificate in Historic Preservation offered jointly with the College of Charleston.

The two year, professional-track degree and the certificate are based in historic Charleston, South Carolina.  We are seeking a small and selective group of interdisciplinary graduate students interested in building national careers in historic preservation.

For more information about the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, please contact us.

Master of Science in Historic Preservation

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, landscapes, and sites followed by a semester structed around an advanced preservation 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 economics, elective courses in historic interiors, project administration, and other topics, and completion of an individual research project in the form of a thesis.Students at Work

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).

Students are dual enrolled in Clemson University and the College of Charleston's Graduate School.


Master of Science in Historic Preservation Curriculum (60 credit hours required)


Semester I (Core Semester)
Documentation and Analysis: A semester of "core" curriculum in historic preservation that revolves around developing a deeper understanding of historic architectural fabric through a connected series of NCPE-mandated courses. 15 credits.

  • History and Theory of Historic Preservation (3)
  • American Architecture (3)
  • Historical Research Methods (3)
  • Investigation, Documentation and Conservation (6)


Semester II (Implementation Semester)
An "advanced" semester that focuses on acquiring advanced skills in digital recording, pursuing a preservation project through a studio, investigating and analyzing cultural landscapes and broader assemblages of historic resources as well as a conservation laboratory science class. 15 credits.

  • Preservation Studio (6)
  • Cultural & Historical Landscape Preservation (3)
  • Conservation Laboratory Science (6)


Historic Preservation Internship  (Summer)
Historic Preservation Internship in Historic Preservation: A required non-credit internship offered through a variety of organizations and foundations, including the Historic American Building Survey (HABS), Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS) and the Historic American Engineering Survey (HAES), the International Committee on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the National Trust, and local museums and foundations as well as preservation practitioners in America and Europe. 3 credits.


Semester III (Advanced Semester)
Implementation/Intervention: A semester focusing on implementation and intervention. At this point in the curriculum, students begin their theses. 15 credits.

  • Building Technology and Pathology (3)
  • HP Research Seminar (3)
  • Preservation Law and Economics (3)
  • Approved Elective (3)
  • Approved Elective (3)


Semester IV (Thesis Semester)
Thesis: A final semester during which the focus is on completion of the thesis with additional opportunities to pursue elective courses related to career goals. 12 credits.

  • Thesis in Historic Preservation (6)
  • Approved Elective (3)
  • Approved Elective (3)

Certificate in Historic Preservation

The Certificate in Historic Preservation is designed to enhance a variety of other degree programs at Clemson through advanced studies in historic preservation. The graduate certificate uses the first semester curriculum of the M.S. in Historic Preservation, otherwise known as the "foundation" semester, which is taken while in residence in Charleston. The first semester focuses on documentation and analysis of the design and craftsmanship of the buildings of historic Charleston and the exploration of the philosophy of preservation. Prerequisites and further course requirements are determined by the student's degree program of study.

Semester I (Core Semester)
Documentation and Analysis: A semester of "core" curriculum in historic preservation that revolves around developing a deeper understanding of historic architectural fabric through a connected series of NCPE-mandated courses. 15 credits.

  • History and Theory of Historic Preservation (3)
  • American Architecture (3)
  • Historical Research Methods (3)
  • Investigation, Documentation and Conservation (6)

Additional program requirements: Additional courses necessary to fulfill the program of study.