Historic Preservation

As one of the oldest programs of its kind in America, Historic Preservation at RWU couples multidisciplinary coursework in subjects like history, architecture, law and economics with rigorous field-based professional workshops and internships. Because preservation is as much about people and place as it is about history, you’ll study historic buildings, landscapes and communities both here in New England and abroad in Florence, Italy.

Master of Science in Historic Preservation Program

Building on the country's oldest undergraduate historic preservation program, the Master of Science in Historic Preservation provides a broad background in history and philosophy, archival research, planning, architectural conservation, documentation, law and regulation, economics, and heritage management. The program emphasizes pragmatic, values-based planning through engagement with local municipalities, non-profits and the private sector on preservation planning and rehabilitation projects. Students will learn to work with community stakeholders through coursework that emphasizes the use of social science methods to help identify and protect historic resources. Accepted students have the option of completing a research thesis or an applied capstone project in their last semester, depending on their career and professional interests. Although not required, students are encouraged to work with a sponsor organization on their thesis or capstone to build their professional network and experience.

We offer three distinct pathways to the M.S. in Historic Preservation program, as well as a program for a Joint Jurist Doctor degree. Students in each path develop individualized degree plans to maximize their skills, interests and time to completion, including summer study options.

Path 1

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Path One provides a continuous sequence from undergraduate to graduate study leading to the Master of Science in Historic Preservation professional degree, for students who have completed Roger Williams University's B.S. in Historic Preservation program. Path One students normally complete this 152-credit sequence in 5 years from the beginning of their undergraduate studies.

Degree Requirements

Foundation Courses

ARCH101Foundations of Architecture
HIST151United States History I: From Colonial Times to Reconstruction
HIST152United States History II: Reconstruction to the Present
HP150Introduction to Historic Preservation
HP175Historic Building Documentation
HP301Principles of Architectural Conservation
HP302Principles of Preservation Planning

Building Styles, Technology and Culture

AAH121History of Art and Architecture I
AAH122History of Art and Architecture II
HP160American Buildings in the Western Tradition
HP341Pre-Industrial America
HP342Industrial America

Field Training and Professional Practice

HP324LArchival Research
HP351History and Philosophy of Historic Preservation
HP382LArchitectural Conservation Lab
HP384LPreservation Planning Lab
HP525Preservation Economics

For Honors Students

HP451Senior Thesis Project

Core Historic Preservation Courses

HP501Fundamentals of Historic Preservation
HP524LArchival Research
HP525Preservation Economics
HP526Preservation Law and Regulation
HP542Professional Practices in Historic Preservation
HP551History and Philosophy of Historic Preservation
HP569Preservation Internship
HP582LArchitectural Conservation Lab
HP631Preservation Graduate Thesis Seminar
HP681LHistoric Rehabilitation Workshop
HP682LPreservation Planning Workshop
HP651Graduate Thesis in Historic Preservation

Course Catalog

To read more about our academic offerings, or to view full course descriptions, please refer to our University Catalog.

Download PDF (6 MB)

Elective Offerings

Historic Preservation Electives

ARCH530Special Topics in Architecture
ARCH542Professional Practice
ARCH572Urban Design Theory from the Industrial Revolution to the Present
ARCH573Modernism in the Non-Western World: A Comparative Perspective
ARCH574Regionalism in Architecture
ARCH576Theoretical Origins in Modernism
ARCH577The American Skyscraper
ARCH581Construction Contract Documents
ARCH593Sustainable Paradigms
AAH530Special Topics in Art and Architectural History
HP530Special Topics in Historic Preservation
LEAD501Leaders and the Leadership Process
LEAD502Communication Skills for Leadership Roles
LEAD503Data Management and Analysis for Organization Leaders
LEAD505Budgeting and Finance in Complex Organizations
LEAD506Human Resource Management for Organizational Leaders
LEAD507Strategic Leadership in a Globalized World
LEAD509Negotiation Strategies
LEAD510Stakeholders Relations in Complex Organizations
PA501Foundations of Public Administration: Legal and Institutional
PA502Foundations of Public Administration
PA503Quantitative Methods in Public Administration
PA504Public Policy and Program Evaluation
PA505Public Budgeting and Finance
PA506Public Personnel Management
PA511Public Organizations
PA512Intergovernmental Relations
PA514Urban Administration and Management
PA516Grant Writing and Management

Path 2 and Path 3

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Path Two provides advanced entry to the Master of Science in Historic Preservation degree for students from other universities who have completed a four-year undergraduate degree in Historic Preservation. Individualized placement occurs following an evaluation of the student's undergraduate transcript. Path Two students normally complete a 32-credit, full time sequence over two semesters of study and a summer internship.
For degree requirements and elective offerings, refer to Path 3.

Path Three provides entry to the Master of Science in Historic Preservation degree for students who have completed a four-year undergraduate degree in fields other than historic preservation. Students normally finish this 52-credit full-time program in two years.

Degree Requirements

Core Historic Preservation Courses

HP501Fundamentals of Historic Preservation
HP524LArchival Research
HP525Preservation Economics
HP526Preservation Law and Regulation
HP542Professional Practices in Historic Preservation
HP551History and Philosophy of Historic Preservation
HP569Preservation Internship
HP582LArchitectural Conservation Lab
HP631Preservation Graduate Thesis Seminar
HP681LHistoric Rehabilitation Workshop
HP682LPreservation Planning Workshop
HP651Graduate Thesis in Historic Preservation

Course Catalog

To read more about our academic offerings, or to view full course descriptions, please refer to our University Catalog.

Download PDF (6 MB)

Elective Offerings

Historic Preservation Electives

ARCH530Special Topics in Architecture
ARCH542Professional Practice
ARCH572Urban Design Theory from the Industrial Revolution to the Present
ARCH573Modernism in the Non-Western World: A Comparative Perspective
ARCH574Regionalism in Architecture
ARCH576Theoretical Origins in Modernism
ARCH577The American Skyscraper
ARCH581Construction Contract Documents
ARCH593Sustainable Paradigms
AAH530Special Topics in Art and Architectural History
HP530Special Topics in Historic Preservation
LEAD501Leaders and the Leadership Process
LEAD502Communication Skills for Leadership Roles
LEAD503Data Management and Analysis for Organization Leaders
LEAD505Budgeting and Finance in Complex Organizations
LEAD506Human Resource Management for Organizational Leaders
LEAD507Strategic Leadership in a Globalized World
LEAD509Negotiation Strategies
LEAD510Stakeholders Relations in Complex Organizations
PA501Foundations of Public Administration: Legal and Institutional
PA502Foundations of Public Administration
PA503Quantitative Methods in Public Administration
PA504Public Policy and Program Evaluation
PA505Public Budgeting and Finance
PA506Public Personnel Management
PA511Public Organizations
PA512Intergovernmental Relations
PA514Urban Administration and Management
PA516Grant Writing and Management

Joint Juris Doctor/Master of Science in Historic Preservation

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The Joint Juris Doctor (J.D.)/Master of Science (M.S.) in Historic Preservation program is designed to provide an accelerated path to a J.D. degree and an M.S. in Historic Preservation degree through an electives credit-swapping structure that allows for 3 law courses (9 credits) to count toward the M.S. degree and 4 to 5 M.S. in HP courses (12 to 17 credits) to count toward the J.D. degree, depending on whether or not a student has a prior B.S. in Historic Preservation. Other than changes in allowable electives, which are detailed below, the existing requirements for the  J.D. and M.S. programs described in the University Catalog and School of Law Catalog remain the same. Students who enter the joint-degree program with a B.S. in Historic Preservation can potentially complete the joint degree in three years (with winter/summer coursework) and in four years otherwise.

Degree Requirements

Offered with School of Law. Full-time enrollment required.

Note: Applicants applying for the Joint J.D./M.S.H.P. degree must apply to an earn acceptance into the School of Architecture, Art  and Historic Preservation and the School of Law separately.  Applicants who intend to pursue the Joint degree must so indicate on the application for admission. Submit applications sufficiently in advance of the application deadline to assure adequate processing time at both schools. Applications to each school normally need to be filed simultaneously, even though students will normally only be taking courses in the School of Law for the first year. (This sequence is required due to School of Law prerequisites for electives.) Students who are currently matriculated into the B.S. in Historic Preservation program in the School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation must notify the Dean and Program Director by the end the junior year to indicate their intent to enroll in the Joint J.D./M.S.H.P. program, contingent on maintaining a 2.67 average or greater.

Three-year Joint J.D./M.S. in Historic Preservation
The joint degree can be completed in three years for students matriculated into the J.D. and M.S.H.P. programs who also have a B.S. in Historic Preservation from an accredited National Council for Preservation Education (NCPE) member institution, with the assumption that coursework would need to be taken in the summers and/or winters as well as the normal fall and spring semesters. The School of Law accepts 12-14 M.S.H.P. program credits towards J.D. program requirements and the School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation accepts 9 J.D. program credits towards the M.S.H.P. program for a total of  101-103 combined credits instead of 122 if the degrees were pursued separately.

Four-year Joint J.D./M.S. in Historic Preservation
If a student is not entering the program with a B.S. in Historic Preservation, it is still possible to complete the joint degree in an accelerated timeframe of four years, with the assumption that coursework would need to be taken in the summers and/or winters as well as the normal fall and spring semesters. The School of Law accepts 15-17 M.S.H.P. program credits towards the J.D. program and the School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation accepts 9 J.D. program credits towards the M.S.H.P. program for a total of 118-120 combined credits instead of 142 if the degrees were pursued separately.

Applying to the Joint Juris Doctor/Master of Science in Historic Preservation Program

Each program requires a separate application. Refer to the application requirements for each individual program in the University Catalog and the School of Law Catalog. When applying for the J.D. and M.S.H.P. programs concurrently the application fee for the M.S. program will be waived (only the application fee for the J.D. program is required).

Students who are currently matriculated in the J.D. program or the 2-year M.S.H.P. program and are in their first year of coursework are eligible to apply to the program in which they are not matriculated for consideration for the Joint J.D./M.S.H.P. program. Students who are currently matriculated in the 1-year M.S.H.P. program cannot apply to the Joint J.D./M.S.H.P. program.

Allowed electives for credit swap between the Juris Doctor and Master of Science in Historic Preservation programs

The following courses will count toward both the J.D. and M.S. H.P. program elective requirements.

School of Law courses that satisfy M.S.H.P. degree elective requirements (choose 9 credits):

  • Law 631 Administrative Law (3)
  • Law 673 Environmental Law: Natural Resources (3)
  • Law 728 Human Rights (3)
  • Law 770 International Law (3)
  • Law 743 Land Use Planning (3)
  • Law 747 Legal Drafting: Commerce Real Estate Development and Finance Law (3)

School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation courses that satisfy a portion of the J.D. degree elective requirement (12-17 credits will be applied to J.D. elective requirements depending on whether or not the student is matriculated into the 1-year or 2-year M.S.H.P. program)

  • HP 501 Fundamentals of Historic Preservation (3)
  • HP 525 Preservation Economics (3)
  • HP 542 Preservation Professional Practice (3)
  • HP 526 Preservation Law and Regulation (3)
  • HP 551 History and Philosophy of Historic Preservation (3)
  • HP 681L Historic Rehabilitation Workshop (4)
  • HP 682L Preservation Planning Workshop (4)

Required coursework sequence for various degree entry points

  • Students who are not previously matriculated in the J.D. program or the 2-year M.S.H.P. program and are then matriculated into the Joint J.D./M.S.H.P. program take required first-year law courses for the J.D. program for their first year and thereafter complete another two or three years of mixed law and historic preservation coursework. The second year of students’ coursework consists entirely of historic preservation courses with subsequent years consisting of mixed historic preservation/law coursework.

  • Students matriculated into the Joint J.D./M.S.H.P. program who have a B.S. in Historic Preservation from an accredited NCPE member institution and are in their first year of the J.D. program take mixed historic preservation/law courses for the next two years.

  • Students who are already matriculated in the 2-year M.S.H.P. program and are in their first year of coursework and are then subsequently matriculated into the Joint J.D./M.S.H.P. program spend the next year completing the first year course sequence required by the J.D. program. The final three years thereafter consists of mixed law and historic preservation coursework.

Shared requirement for M.S. program thesis and J.D. writing project
The thesis required for the M.S. program satisfies the J.D. program’s writing requirement. The student is required to have at least one thesis reader from the School of Law faculty.

Shared internship/public service requirement
Students who complete the 140-hour internship required of the M.S.H.P. program that focuses on historic preservation and law and incorporates at least 50 hours of non-remunerated activities satisfies the internship requirement of the M.S. program and the public service requirement of the J.D. program. (Reimbursement of expenses is allowed.)

Upcoming Events

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Open Houses

Meet us on campus in Bristol, RI, and hear about admission and financial aid, meet the Historic Preservation faculty, tour the School of Architecture, Art, & Historic Preservation, and more.

Saturday, January 5, 2019
10:00am - 1:00pm
Register

Saturday, June 8, 2019
10:00am - 1:00pm

Virtual Information Sessions

Short on time or just want to learn more about us from the comfort of your home, school, or office? Join us for a Virtual Information Session.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
5:00pm - 6:00pm ET
Register

Monday, January 7, 2019
5:00pm - 6:00pm ET
Register

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
All full-time RWU graduate programs will be covered at this event.
5:00pm - 6:00pm ET
Register

Thursday, January 10, 2019
All full-time RWU graduate programs will be covered at this event.
5:30pm - 6:30pm ET
Register

Requirements, Deadlines, & Financial Aid

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Read full instructions and learn how to apply from the Office of Graduate Admission

While application materials do not need to be submitted in one package, a complete application to the Master of Architecture program includes the following required materials:

  1. Completed online application form accompanied by the $50 application fee
  2. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework
  3. Letter of Intent (two double-spaced pages maximum) describing your interest in the Master of Architecture program, relevant past experiences and career goals
  4. Two letters of recommendation attesting to your potential to succeed in graduate school
  5. Scholarly research paper, 10 pages minimum, with sources cited employing a conventional style
  6. If your first language is not English, an official report of TOEFL or IELTS results.

The Graduate Records Examination (GRE) is not required for admission. International applicants should also read additional requirements for non-U.S. residents.

All documents to be mailed should be sent directly to:

Office of Graduate Admission
1 Old Ferry Rd.
Bristol, RI 02809

For more information or if you have questions about the application process, please contact us at any time.

Application Deadlines (Fall Admission)

Priority Deadline I - January 15th 

Priority Deadline II - March 1st

Final Deadline - May 1st 

Applications received for each of the priority deadlines will be guaranteed an admission decision within 30 days of that deadline and will receive priority consideration for financial aid. Students who miss the final deadline may contact the Office of Graduate Admission for consideration for admission on a space available basis. 

Financial Aid

All accepted Historic Preservation students will be awarded a guaranteed paid assistantship or internship grant through the Career Investment Program. Full-time students will receive $3,000 per year, paid at $18 per hour, and part-time students receive $1,500 per year. Students who fall below full-time status during the year will be pro-rated. 

A headshot of Christina Pokwatka

Maintaining History: A Glimpse into a Capstone Project

Christina Pokwatka, RWU Class of 2017
Historic Preservation

For her capstone project, Christina Pokwatka surveyed structures and created a conditions report on a real evaluation project. Here, she reflects on some of her experience and shows what an RWU historic preservation student sees when they survey historic pieces.

Read full story