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Master of Science in Historic Preservation

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Master of Science in Historic Preservation

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.

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Alumni Q&A

Historic Preservation Theses

Upcoming Events

Open House - In-Person and Virtual
January 14
April 1 - Accepted Students Day
The in-person event will include lunch and a site visit to a Preservation Project. 

Register online at https://forms.gle/hnLMbwg8qajwTW3R8.Contact Amanda Tucker at astucke@clemson.edu if you have any questions. 

  • Plan 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, landscapes, and sites followed by a semester structured around an advanced preservation studio and a conservation laboratory course, both devoted to the development of preservation projects. During the summer between the first and second years, students complete an intensive internship with professional historic preservation practitioners. In addition to gaining valuable hands-on experience and career networking, the internship allows students to gain a first-hand perspective on the professional practice of preservation. 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.

    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. 

    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).

  • Areas of Emphasis

    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.

    Areas 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 program’s experiential curriculum is carried out through community-based preservation projects. Program faculty and students collaborate with a diverse collection of community partners including federal agencies like the National Park Service and the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission, state and county agencies like the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism and Charleston County Parks and Recreation, the City of Charleston, preservation advocacy groups such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Charleston Foundation, Preservation Society of Charleston, and the Lowcountry Land Trust, and community heritage groups like the Progressive Club, Seashore Farmers Lodge, and the South Carolina Society.

  • Curriculum

    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.

    • HP 8080 History and Theory of Historic Preservation (3cr)
    • HP 8070 American Architecture (3cr)
    • HP 8090 Historical Research Methods (3cr)
    • HP 8190 Investigation, Documentation and Conservation (6cr)

    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

    • HP 8050 Preservation Studio (6cr)
    • HP 8330 Cultural & Historical Landscape Preservation (3cr)
    • HP 8100 Conservation Laboratory Science (6cr)

    Summer (Historic Preservation Internship) 

    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.

    • HP 8450 Historic Preservation Internship (3cr)

    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.

    • HP 8030 Building Technology and Pathology (3cr)
    • HP 8020 Historic Preservation Research Seminar (3cr)
    • HP 8010 Preservation Law and Economics (3cr)
    • Approved Elective (3cr)*
    • Approved Elective (3cr)*  

    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.

    • HP 8910 Thesis in Historic Preservation (6cr)
    • Approved Elective (3cr)*
    • Approved Elective (3cr)* 

    *Approved Elective Courses

    • HP 8040 Management and Administration of Historic Preservation (3cr)
    • HP 8110 Advanced Conservation Science Laboratory (3cr)
    • HP 8210 Historic Preservation and Public Memory (3cr)
    • HP 8220 Vernacular Places and Spaces (3cr)
    • HP 8230 Historic American Interiors (3cr)
    • HP 8250 Sustainability and Historic Preservation (3cr)
    • HP 8260 Historic Structures Report (3cr)
    • HP 8270 Adaptive Use (3cr)
    • HP 8280 Case Studies in Preservation Engineering (3cr)
    • HP 8290 Digital Tools for Historic Preservation (3cr)
    • HP 8920 Special Topics in Historic Preservation (3cr)
    • HP 8930 Independent Study in Historic Preservation (3cr)

    Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation (15 credit hours required)

    Track A: Fundamentals of Historic Preservation

    Track B: Advanced Applications of Historic Preservation

    Students create a 15-credit course plan with the approval of the Historic Preservation master's program director, which consists of a combination of fundamentals courses and/or advanced electives that best suit the student's educational goals. This track is designed for students who have an established background in historic preservation, either from an undergraduate course of study or professional experience (documented through coursework on a transcript, or a degree, or through a CV and portfolio submitted as part of the application).

     

    A combination of courses totaling 15 credit hours will be chosen from the list below in consultation with the program director.

    • HP 8010 Preservation Law and Economics (3 cr)
    • HP 8030 Building Technology and Pathology (3cr)
    • HP 8040 Management and Administration of Historic Preservation (3cr)
    • HP 8050 Preservation Studio (6cr)
    • HP 8070 American Architecture (3cr)
    • HP 8080 History and Theory of Historic Preservation (3cr)
    • HP 8090 Historical Research Methods (3cr)
    • HP 8100 Conservation Science Laboratory (6cr)
    • HP 8110 Advanced Conservation Science Laboratory (3cr)
    • HP 8190 Investigation, Documentation and Conservation (6cr)
    • HP 8210 Historic Preservation and Public Memory (3cr)
    • HP 8220 Vernacular Places and Spaces (3cr)
    • HP 8230 Historic American Interiors (3cr)
    • HP 8250 Sustainability and Historic Preservation (3cr)
    • HP 8260 Historic Structures Report (3cr)
    • HP 8270 Adaptive Use (3cr)
    • HP 8280 Case Studies in Preservation Engineering (3cr)
    • HP 8290 Digital Tools for Historic Preservation (3cr)
    • HP 8330 Cultural and Historic Landscape Preservation (3cr)
    • HP 8450 Historic Preservation Internship (3cr) 3 credits
    • HP 8920 Special Topics in Historic Preservation (3cr)
    • HP 8930 Independent Study in Historic Preservation (3cr)
  • Certificate in Historic Preservation
    Clemson/College of Charleston Graduate Program in Historic Preservation
    Graduate Certificate
     
    Fundamentals of Historic Preservation Track
    This track is designed for students without any educational background or professional experience in historic preservation. Students choosing this track seek to acquire a foundation in the fundamental concepts and skill sets of historic preservation. Students in this track typically have or go on to careers in preservation-related fields like community planning, real estate, museum studies, public history, construction management, and architecture. The courses in this track provide intensive instruction balancing theory and skills in architectural description, documentation, and conditions assessment. This track is typically completed in a single semester in the Fall.

    Students can choose HP 8030 OR HP 8090
     
    HP 8030 Building Technology and Pathology 3 credits
    OR  
    HP 8090 Historical Research Methods 3 credits
    HP 8080 History and Theory of Historic Preservation 3 credits
    HP 8070 American Architecture 3 credits
    HP 8190 Investigation, Documentation and Conservation 6 credits
     

    Advanced Applications of Historic Preservation Track

    This track is designed for students who have an established background in historic preservation, either from an undergraduate course of study or professional experience (documented through coursework on a transcript, or a degree, or through a CV and portfolio submitted as part of the application. Pursuing this track, the student works with the MSHP director to construct a 15-hour course plan consisting of a combination of fundamentals courses and/or advanced electives that best suit the student’s educational goals. Students may enroll on either a full-time or part-time basis, and all courses for both tracks are completed at the Clemson Design Center in Charleston, SC.

    A combination of courses totaling 15 credit hours will be chosen from the list below in consultation with the program director.

     
    HP 8010 Preservation Law and Economics 3 credits
    HP 8030 Building Technology and Pathology 3 credits
    HP 8040 Management and Administration of Historic Preservation 3 credits
    HP 8050 Preservation Studio 6 credits
    HP 8070 American Architecture 3 credits
    HP 8080 History and Theory of Historic Preservation 3 credits

     

    HP 8090 Historical Research Methods 3 credits
    HP 8100 Conservation Science Laboratory 6 credits
    HP 8110 Advanced Conservation Science Laboratory 3 credits
    HP 8190 Investigation, Documentation and Conservation 6 credits
    HP 8210 Historic Preservation and Public Memory 3 credits
    HP 8220 Vernacular Places and Spaces 3 credits
    HP 8230 Historic American Interiors 3 credits
    HP 8250 Sustainability and Historic Preservation 3 credits
    HP 8260 Historic Structures Report 3 credits
    HP 8270 Adaptive Use 3 credits
    HP 8280 Case Studies in Preservation Engineering 3 credits
    HP 8330 Cultural and Historic Landscape Preservation 3 credits
    HP 8450 Historic Preservation Internship 3 credits
    HP 8920 Special Topics in Historic Preservation 3 credits
    HP 8930 Independent Study in Historic Preservation 1-3 credits
  • Lowcountry Preservationist - Our Newsletter

    Click here to view the Spring 2021 Lowcountry Preservationist, our program's annual newsletter showcasing the latest work from our students, faculty, and alumni. 

  • Facilities and Resources

    The Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and its students draw on a wide range of resources during their two-year course of study.  One of the program’s most significant assets is its location in Charleston, arguably the nation’s best-preserved city and thebirthplace of many of historic preservation’s most effective tools. 

    The program’s studios as well as its architectural conservation and microscopy laboratories are housed at the new Clemson Design Center located within The Cigar Factory.  The microscopy lab is equipped with digital imaging instruments including a CRAIC photospectrometer.  As students of both Clemson University and the College of Charleston, MSHP students have access to all the laboratories and facilities both schools manage, from the Brick Institute at Clemson to the Avery Research Center at the College of Charleston to the Warren Lasch Conservation Center where MSHP students use XRF, XRD and SEM technology to assess the properties and degradation of historic building materials.

    On-site Materials Conservation Lab (Charleston, SC) An architectural conservation lab is available for students' easy access in the program's main building. The lab is equipped to help students better understand building materials and conservation of those materials through, research, examination, testing and treatment. A Nikon Eclipse 80i microscope in the microscopy lab helps students examine materials from mortar, finishes and wood testing. A full complement of essential lab equipment is available for students use in the conservation lab.

    Lab experiments include:

    • Mortar analysis/gravimetric and acid digestion of mortar and stucco samples
    • Surface water permeability/capillary action
    • Wood maceration/identification
    • Wood swelling and shrinking
    • Stone repair treatments
    • Metal identification
    • Paint/finishes analysis

     
    The Warren Lasch Conservation Lab is located on the North Charleston campus of the Restoration Institute. The lab was originally created to conserve the Hunley — a Civil War-era submarine which was the world's first to sink an enemy ship. The Hunley sank and was lost in 1864, but was found and raised in 1995.

    The goal of the Warren Lasch Conservation Lab is to advance the science of metal artifact conservation. The Hunley has been placed in a massive 55' x 18' x 9' tank filled with fresh water and is undergoing an excavation of the interior. The conservators have implemented an impressed electrical current system to inhibit further corrosion of the Hunley's metal structure.

    The lab is equipped with an x-ray imaging system, XRF spectrum analyzers, remote video devices, precision excavation tools, and various electrical and chemical testing equipment.

    For more information:


    The National Brick Research Center
    is located in Clemson's research park halfway between the city of Clemson and Anderson. The Center focuses on research related to ceramic materials such as brick, tile, and mortar and can perform thermal, X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, and compression/tension tests on a variety of historic building materials. In addition, a scanning electron microscope (SEM) machine is available in close proximity to the Center. 

    For more information, refer to the National Brick Research Center's website


    Clemson University and College of Charleston Libraries (Charleston and Clemson, SC) 
    Students in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation are dual-enrolled in Clemson University and the College of Charleston and have full access to both of these institutions' resources, including their libraries.

    For more information, visit the following links:

  • Centers and Institutes

    A variety of Clemson's centers and institutes can provide useful resources for research related to historic preservation in the Charleston area, the state of South Carolina, the nation as a whole, and internationally.

    Located in the Charleston area Located in the Clemson (Upstate of SC) area
    Located internationally
  • Historic Preservation Organizations

“I work as an architectural conservator with John Milner Associates Preservation, a preservation and conservation consulting firm in Washington, DC. I took both the general and advanced conservation laboratory classes, and I know that my laboratory experience was the principal reason I was offered my current position. As an architectural conservator, I perform paint analysis, mortar analysis, and other forms of material testing, including XRF analysis of historic metals. All of these skills were taught in the MSHP program. I also got a solid background in preservation theory and the Secretary of the Interior’s standards, both of which come up on a daily basis as our team determines the most sensitive means of rehabilitating historic structures. The program’s commitment to familiarizing students with modern construction techniques and the preservation of 20th-century architecture has also been particularly useful, as much of my work involves buildings constructed after 1900.”

Meredith Wilson
Architectural Conservator
John Milner Associates Preservation

Contact

Jon Marcoux, Ph.D.

Director of Graduate Programs in Historic Preservation

Email: jbmarco@clemson.edu |Phone: 843-937-9567

About Jon Marcoux, PH.D.
Jon Marcoux
School of Architecture
School of Architecture | Lee Hall 3-130, Clemson, South Carolina 29634