Master of Science in Historic Preservation

The School of Architecture offers a two-year Master of Science in Historic Preservation program, which complements the School’s mission in a variety of important ways, and enriches its intellectual life.  It has long been felt by faculty and students that an understanding of the techniques and materials employed by well-built historic buildings is natural to an institution dedicated to the design of buildings and places that are lasting and meaningful.  This program broadens the School’s academic focus and reinforces its curricular objectives by extending its focus to include the analysis and care of great existing buildings and places through thoughtful preservation practices.

Historic Preservation is a field that embraces both art and science. Preparing students to enter this field requires a multi-disciplinary approach to a broad range of subjects, including art and architectural history, social sciences, building materials and systems, conservation methods, environmental science, transportation, urban and regional planning, and landscape design.  The Master of Science in Historic Preservation program at Notre Dame includes all of these areas of study, integrating them within a distinctive perspective on the relationship between the built environment and contemporary art and culture. The curriculum emphasizes not only the tangible heritage of physical structures and landscapes, but also the intangible heritage of bodies of knowledge, craft traditions, and formal languages that produced our historic places and that, in many cases, survive or are recoverable today. Preservation, from this viewpoint, becomes a bridge uniting past, present, and future.

The mission of the Master of Science in Historic Preservation (MS in HP) program is to prepare talented, avid, and socially conscious students to become leaders in architectural design, preservation consulting, government service, and heritage advocacy. The program emphasizes respect for cultural heritage as the basis for informed conservation and the design of harmonious new development. These objectives are pursued in the context of the Catholic ideals of community, environmental stewardship, and civic engagement.

Students will study for four semesters, including one semester in Rome, plus one introductory summer course and a second summer internship. The program’s faculty includes recognized leaders in the field, and the semester in Rome offers a unique opportunity for students to work with international professionals and researchers involved in heritage conservation at the highest level. Interdisciplinary coursework, field study, and individual research will offer students opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, and perspective necessary to graduate with readily marketable skills, excel in this growing field, and advance the discipline in both the academy and the profession.

Curriculum Outline

Graduate Curricula and Course Descriptions

Recent graduates and working professionals with professional or non-professional degrees in architecture are invited to apply.

Inquiries regarding the MSHP program and application may be directed to Steve Semes, Director of Graduate Studies in Historic Preservation, at or Samantha Salden Teach, Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies, at


Digital Historical Architectural Research and Material Analysis (D.H.A.R.M.A) is a research team founded in 2007 based at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. The team, under the direction of Professor Krupali Krusche, works on documenting historic monuments and World Heritage Sites around the world with the use of Leica 3D laser scanners. These high-speed, long-range scanners are ideal for projects that are difficult to document by traditional methods. The scanner provides researchers with the most field-efficient means of data collection. Recently the team has also used 3D scanning to document aging effects on historic buildings and reconstruction processes of buildings with historical value.

In cooperation with the Academic Technologies under the direction of Paul Turner, Ben Keller has accompanied the team on each site to photograph the site using Gigapan technology. With this technology the visual and scientific study of the monuments off-site has become extremely relevant and advanced.

The VisArray project team under the leadership of Dr. Christopher Sweet is exploring methods for combining two primary technologies into a single interactive system for cataloging, analyzing and displaying both point and raster data at extremely high resolutions.

All School of Architecture students are eligible to participate as team needs may arise.

Visit the D.H.A.R.M.A website to learn more about this initiative.

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