Master of Science:

Architectural Studies

historic preservation track

Stewardship of the built environment balances the needs of contemporary society and their impact on the built environment with its ultimate effects on the natural environment.  Merging historic preservation and environmental conservation can create innumerable opportunities for reuse of the built environment and fosters a more sustainable environment overall. 

The preservation of historic and existing buildings is the highest and most sophisticated form of recycling available today.  Results from the practice of reusing buildings indicate that reusing buildings can accomplish the social, environmental, and economic goals that form the synergistic foundation of sustainability. Historic preservation practice embodies procedures that seek to protect significant buildings, neighborhoods, and commercial districts yet also can inform how to reuse non-historic existing buildings in an extremely sustainable manner.

The Historic Preservation Program (HP) track equips practitioners with analytical, planning, and design skills that foster stewardship of the built environment.  Participants will learn how to recognize and identify what character-defining features and opportunities are important considerations in the reuse of the built environment and how to manage the processes that ensure the attainment of sustainability goals of contemporary society.

As greater recognition of the sustainability contributions that historic preservation and reusing the built environment become known, there will be an increasing demand for practitioners who can work or effectively communicate within the multiple frameworks and contexts of contemporary practice of stewardship of the built environment. The expected learning outcomes are that the students completing this degree will be able to:

•Identify the historic significance of buildings and their character-defining features and incorporate them into the preservation and reuse strategies commonly found in contemporary practice.

•Develop and complete the necessary processes used to document and list buildings on local, state, and national historic registers.

•Document and record the existing conditions of a building, structure, or site.

•Communicate with other professionals and the public in the interdisciplinary collaborative processes that are common to the advancement of contemporary preservation efforts.

•Analyze construction systems and assemblies used to build a building; identify their deterioration sources; and recommend appropriate treatments to remediate the deterioration or protect them into the future.

•Understand the historical, political, social, environmental, and economic context(s) of preserving and reusing buildings.

•Understand how preservation and reuse of buildings can contribute to community revitalization including issues of social equity, density, gentrification, open space preservation, transportation, law, and land use policies.

•Understand the financial mechanisms and incentives that are available to enhance the economic feasibility of preserving and reusing historic and older buildings for contemporary purposes.

•Engage the planning and design processes used to foster the attainment of sustainability goals of contemporary society.



Historic Preservation is a track intended to equip practitioners with analytical, planning, and design skills that foster stewardship of the built environment.  Participants will learn how to recognize and identify what character-defining features and opportunities are important considerations in the reuse of the built environment and how to manage the processes that ensure the attainment of sustainability goals of contemporary society. 

Faculty Director: Robert Young

© CA+P, SOA 2014 -  UNIVERSITY OF UTAH, COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE + PLANNING  -  375 S. 1530 E. RM 235, Salt Lake City, UT 84010


preservation courses

Historic Preservation Required Courses include the core shared courses across the tracks including ARCH XXXX (TBD) Introduction Seminar, ARCH 6115 Research Methods, and ARCH 6975 Final Project.  In addition, the following track specific courses are required for the content and methods area:

Required courses include the following 24 credit hours.

Introductory Seminar (3)

ARCH-____ (3): Introduces students to the construction industry, key stakeholders, and how facilities, come into being, are developed, managed, maintained, and transitioned.  An introduction to building technology, building delivery, and sustainability are emphasized.  Guest speakers will present current examples across the spectrum of stakeholders including real estate development, architecture, engineering, construction management, and facilities management.

Research Methods (3)

ARCH-6115: Research Methods (3): Presents a survey of methods used in built environment research including historical survey, quantitative/qualitative methods, POE, simulation through computation, interviewing, oral history, archival research, digital research methods, etc. 

Content & Methods (12)

ARCH-6230: Utah Architecture and Cities (3): This course studies key issues and key buildings in Utah. It approaches architecture and architects as both products and producers of the experience of modernity. The readings and discussion emphasize the ways in which buildings may be interpreted in particular historical contexts, and includes an introduction to various strategies of readings, case-study analyses of architectural works, and reading in 19th and 20th century regionalist architecture.

ARCH-6500: Preservation Theory and Practice: Stewardship of the Built Environment (3): History of the theory and practice of the preservation movement in the United States.  Course provides a survey of a range of preservation activities: history of preservation, stewardship of the built environment, design issues, period styles, preservation law, economics, preservation technology, community revitalization, and curatorial management.

ARCH-6535: Field Methods in Historic Architecture (3): Intensive training on selected subject property includes architectural drawings, photographic documentation, archival research, oral history, preparation of preservation oriented manuscripts used for interpretation and professional documentation purposes.

ARCH-6570: Building Condition Assessment and Historic Preservation Technology (3): Course includes the history of construction technology and materials in the built environment, Secretary of the Interior Standards and Guidelines, historic structure report development, conservation technology. Includes community-based, service-learning projects to explore procedures for preservation and reuse as the mechanism for developing a preservation plan or curatorial management of a building or cultural resource.

Master’s Project (6)

ARCH-6975: Final Project (6):  This project is a culmination of learning in the MSAS program, supported by a committee of the track director, the Department Chair, and the Associate Dean.  Advisory committee may also include an industry advisor and one additional advisor from within the university. Students will perform their own research and come to a conclusion writing a report and making a public presentation to their committee and invited guests.

Elective Courses

A total of 9 credit hours must be taken from the Content & Methods and Cognate electives.

Content & Methods (3-6)

ARCH 6353: Advanced Technology: Building Performance Analysis (3): Exploration and analysis of building performance with regards to social, environmental, and economic sustainability. Course includes field work for data collection and analysis of buildings.

ARCH-6581: Main Street Revitalization (3): Exploration of the issues affecting revitalization of commercial business districts. Course focuses on the problems and opportunities associated with the economic impact, technological needs, governmental and municipal design review, and the social benefits of revitalization of the built environment.

Cognates (6-9)

Cognates include courses (as approved by track director) from other MSAS Tracks, M.Arch. (non-studio courses), and City & Metropolitan Planning.  These include but are not limited to:

ARCH-6120: Architectural Photography: Buildings (3)

ARCH-6236: Cultures and Architecture of the Southwest

ARCH-6237: Case Studies in Modern Architecture

ARCH-6239: Topics in Architectural History

ARCH-6770: Architectural Service Internship (3)

ARCH-6820: History and Theory of Architectural Preservation since the 19th Century (3)

ARCH-6955: Independent Studies (3)

ARCH-6965: Special Topics (3)

CMP-6100: Urban Theory & Form (3)

CMP-6260: Law Use Law (3)

CMP-6341: Topics in City & Metropolitan Economic Development (3)

CMP-6400: Urban Design Visualization (3)

CMP-6405: Urban Design Methods in Research and Practice (3)

CMP-6450: Geographic Information Systems in Planning (3)

Cognates may also include courses from other graduate programs (course numbers 6000 or higher) with the approval of the track director.

The historic preservation track shares courses with preservation certificate students in the M.Arch program.  More Information.