Preservation Practices

Newly redesigned in 2019, the M.S. Preservation Practices program at RWU is one of the few preservation programs embedded in an architecture school in the country. The program embraces the unique intersections of adaptive reuse, architectural history, collaborative revitalization, and planning.

Master of Science in Preservation Practices

Building on the country's oldest undergraduate historic preservation program, the Master of Science in Preservation Practices provides coursework on the history of the built environment paired with applied learning experiences to introduce students to the interdisciplinary, team-based work of historic preservation practice. The program is designed to prepare students for practice in areas of cultural resource management, community planning, and place-based revitalization and redevelopment.

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 participate in a series of field-based workshop courses and a required, paid internship. Internships are paid through the innovative Career Investment Program, one of the only programs of its kind in the United States.  

Students complete the program with an intensive two-semester sequence of a planning workshop and collaborative studio focused on a major historic rehabilitation or revitalization project. Students may also opt to pursue a thesis under the advisement of SAAHP faculty. 

We offer three distinct pathways to the M.S. in Preservation Practices program, as well as a program for a Joint Juris Doctor degree with the RWU School of Law. 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 Preservation Practices professional degree, for students who have completed Roger Williams University's B.S. in Preservation Studies program. Path One students normally complete this 150-credit sequence in 5 years from the beginning of their undergraduate studies.

Undergraduate Degree Requirements

Required Core

ARCH101Foundations of Architecture
ARCH281Architectural Analysis I
ARCH325History of Modern Architecture
ARCH327History of American Architecture, Urbanism, and Landscape
HIST100Making Global History
MATH124Basic Statistics
PRES101Introduction to Preservation Studies
PRES320American Cultural Landscapes
PRES331Historic Construction Materials and Assemblies
PRES341Building and Site Documentation Research Methods
PRES421History and Philosophy of Historic Preservation


Required AMST Courses (Choose One)

AMST370Topics in Race, Gender, and Sexuality in America
AMST371Topics in Ethnicity, Class and Region in America

Required HIST 200 Series (Choose Two)

HIST240Colonial and Revolutionary America
HIST241Securing the American Republic, 1800-1914
HIST242The United States in the American Century

Required Advanced PRES Elective (Choose One)

ARCH462The Villa and the Garden
PRES371Architecture and Preservation Abroad
PRES430Special Topics in Preservation Studies
PRES471Museum Studies
PRES572Preservation Law and Regulation
PRES573Preservation Economics
PRES430Special Topics in Preservation Studies
PRES471Museum Studies
PRES572Preservation Law and Regulation
PRES573Preservation Economics

Graduate Degree Requirements

Core Requirements

ARCH543Project Development and Finance
ARCH517Collaborative Revitalization Studio
PLAN501Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning
PRES501Fundamentals of Preservation Practice
PRES532Building Materials and Technology Workshop

Graduate Electives (Choose five)

ARCH522Environmental Design Research
ARCH524Evolution of Urban Form
ARCH529History of Landscape Architecture
ARCH530Special Topics in Architecture
ARCH577The Skyscraper
ARCH593Sustainable Paradigms
ARCH594Urban Ecology
ARCH561Landscape Architecture: Theory and Practice
ARCH572Urban Design Theory from the Industrial Revolution to the Present
ARCH573Modernism in the Non-Western World: A Comparative Perspective
ARCH574Regionalism in Architecture
ARCH575Contemporary Asian Architecture & Urbanism
ARCH576Theoretical Origins of Modernism
PRES530Special Topics in Historic Preservation
PRES571Museum Studies
PRES572Preservation Law and Regulation
PRES573Preservation Economics

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

Path 2 and Path 3

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Path Two provides advanced entry to the Master of Science in Preservation Practices 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 34-credit, full time sequence over two semesters of study and a summer internship.

Path Three provides entry to the Master of Science in Preservation Practices degree for students who have completed a four-year undergraduate degree in fields other than historic preservation. Students normally finish this 53-credit full-time program in two years.

Degree Requirements

Required Core

ARCH281Architectural Analysis I
ARCH543Project Development and Finance
ARCH517Collaborative Revitalization Studio
PLAN501Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning
PRES501Fundamentals of Preservation Practice
PRES520American Cultural Landscapes
PRES521History and Philosophy of Historic Preservation
PRES531Historic Construction Materials and Assemblies
PRES532Building Materials and Technology Workshop
PRES541Building and Site Documentation Research Methods

Architectural History Lecture Course (One)

AAH321Art and Architecture in the Classical World
AAH322Art and Architecture in the Medieval World
AAH323Art and Architecture in the Islamic World
AAH324Art and Architecture of the Italian Renaissance
ARCH325History of Modern Architecture
ARCH327History of American Architecture, Urbanism, and Landscape

Architectural History Seminar Course (One)

AAH530Special Topics in Art + Architectural History
ARCH529History of Landscape Architecture
ARCH530Special Topics in Architecture
ARCH573Modernism in the Non-Western World: A Comparative Perspective
ARCH574Regionalism in Architecture
ARCH575Contemporary Asian Architecture & Urbanism
ARCH577The Skyscraper

Graduate Electives (Choose up to five)

ARCH522Environmental Design Research
ARCH524Evolution of Urban Form
ARCH529History of Landscape Architecture
ARCH530Special Topics in Architecture
ARCH577The Skyscraper
ARCH593Sustainable Paradigms
ARCH594Urban Ecology
ARCH561Landscape Architecture: Theory and Practice
ARCH572Urban Design Theory from the Industrial Revolution to the Present
ARCH573Modernism in the Non-Western World: A Comparative Perspective
ARCH574Regionalism in Architecture
ARCH575Contemporary Asian Architecture & Urbanism
ARCH576Theoretical Origins of Modernism
PRES530Special Topics in Historic Preservation
PRES571Museum Studies
PRES572Preservation Law and Regulation
PRES573Preservation Economics

Joint Juris Doctor/Master of Science in Preservation Practices

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Offered with the RWU School of Law. 

The Joint Juris Doctor (J.D.)/Master of Science (M.S.) in Preservation Practices program is designed to provide an accelerated path to a J.D. degree and an M.S. in Preservation Practices 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.P.P. courses (12 to 17 credits) to count toward the J.D. degree, depending on whether or not a student has a prior bachelor's degree 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 bachelor's degree in Historic Preservation can potentially complete the joint degree in three years (with winter/summer coursework) and in four years otherwise.

Degree Requirements

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.P.P. programs who also have a bachelor's degree 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.P.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.P.P. program for a total of 101-103 combined credits instead of 123 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 bachelor's degree 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.P.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.P.P. program for a total of 118-120 combined credits instead of 143 if the degrees were pursued separately.

Application Process

Applicants applying for the Joint J.D./M.S.P.P. degree must apply to and earn acceptance into the School of Architecture, Art  and Historic Preservation and the School of Law separately. Those interested in being considered for admission should adhere to the following process:

  1. Apply to and be accepted to the J.D. program in the School of Law and adhere to the J.D. application instructions and requirements including application and testing deadlines.
  2. After beginning your studies in the J.D. program, complete the graduate application to be considered for the Preservation Practices program as a dual degree student. You should indicate the M.S. Preservation Practices/J.D. dual degree program as your intended program on the Graduate Application.
  3. If you are accepted to the M.S. Preservation Practices program, you may begin your Preservation Practices coursework only after completing your first year of J.D. studies. If you begin Preservation Practices coursework prior to starting the J.D. program, you may not be eligible for the benefits of the shared coursework of the dual degree. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admission at 401-254-6200 or gradadmit@rwu.edu with questions.

Important for students currently enrolled in the B.S. Preservation Studies program at RWU:
Students who are currently matriculated into the B.S. in Preservation Studies 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.P.P. program, contingent on maintaining a 2.67 average or greater.

Students who are currently matriculated in the J.D. program or the two-year M.S.P.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.P.P. program. Students who are currently matriculated in the 1-year M.S.P.P. program cannot apply to the Joint J.D./M.S.P.P. program.

Approved electives for transfer 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.P.P. program elective requirements.

School of Law courses that satisfy M.S.P.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.P.P. program)

  • ARCH 517 Collaborative Revitalization Studio (4)
  • PLAN 511 Interdisciplinary Planning Workshop (4)
  • PRES 501 Fundamentals of Preservation Practices (3)
  • PRES 521 History and Philosophy of Historic Preservation
  • PRES 572 Preservation Law and Regulation (3)
  • PRES 573 Preservation Economics (3)

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.P.P. program and are then matriculated into the Joint J.D./M.S.P.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 preservation coursework. The second year of students’ coursework consists entirely of preservation courses with subsequent years consisting of mixed historic preservation/law coursework.

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

  • Students who are already matriculated in the 2-year M.S.P.P. program and are in their first year of coursework and are then subsequently matriculated into the Joint J.D./M.S.P.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 preservation practices 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 required internship in the M.S.P.P. program that focuses on 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 faculty, tour the campus, and more.

Saturday, January 11, 2020
10:00am - 1:00pm
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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.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
5:00pm - 6:00pm ET
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Monday, January 6, 2019
5:00pm - 6:00pm ET
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Please visit http://grad.rwu.edu/events for current information.

Requirements, Deadlines, & Financial Aid

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Application Requirements

Applicants to the M.S. Preservation Practices program should submit the following items to the Office of Graduate Admission to be considered for admission. Materials do not have to be submitted together in one package. 

  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. Academic writing sample 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.

Where appropriate, documents should be submitted online through the applicant portal or via email to gradadmit@rwu.edu. Any official documents that must be mailed (i.e. transcripts) should be sent directly to:

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

Have questions about the application process? Visit the How to Apply page from the Office of Graduate Admission.

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
Preservation Studies

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