Historic Preservation FAQ


What sort of background do I need?

We understand that Historic Preservation is a multidisciplinary field; therefore students from different backgrounds and disciplines are encouraged to apply. We prefer that students have training or previous experience in architecture, urban planning, architectural history, art history, history, conservation, or archaeology. Knowledge of the history of architecture and construction is particularly helpful. That said, we also accept students from a wide array of backgrounds in the liberal arts and sciences. Work experience in a professional setting is helpful. 

How long is the course of study for the Historic Preservation Programs?

The curriculum to obtain an MSHP is designed to be completed in two academic years. The Historic Preservation and Master of Science in Community & Regional Planning specialization is typically a two-year endeavor. Students obtaining a specialization in preservation via the MArch program require one-and-a-half years. The doctoral degree should be achieved in four to six years.

Do you offer Study Abroad Programs?

The regular MSHP student will take courses that include fieldwork or study abroad experience. The work in these courses will focus on historic structures and current conservation, preservation, and rehabilitation issues found in real case studies. The settings vary from world heritage cities to rural towns, highlighting the varied forms of cultural heritage in the Americas. For many years, our partnership with the National Parks Service has allowed us to offer a distinctive set of experiences where our students have faced real preservation challenges to be discussed and resolved in the classroom. 

What are the foci of the Preservation curriculum?

The program's strengths are architectural conservation, architectural history, preservation planning, and design.

What does the final graduate project for master's students entail?

MSHP students are required to create a final report that presents substantial research and is written as a thesis on independent and original research. Students focusing on design will complete this report emphasizing their design inquiries and the completion will consist of a final design project. 

How many hours is the master's degree?

The MSHP degree is a 48-hour degree program. Students usually take 12 credit hours per semester (3 or 4 classes).

Can I really finish my master's degree in two years?

The great majority of our students are able to complete their work in two years. Of course, there are a few exceptions that make it longer. Students continuing on to a Ph.D. degree can expect to spend three or four additional years in the program.

Do I get hands-on training?

The program is designed to give students an excellent working knowledge of theory and practice and provide them with hands-on training. Courses like Graphic Documentation, Lab Methods, and Field Methods are based on hands-on experiences. In addition, many students work on individual projects (often connected with their theses or dissertations) during their time at the university. Many of our students also work for preservation firms or government offices during their studies. Because Austin is the location of the State Historic Preservation Office and a regional center for Historic Preservation, there are ample opportunities for employment in the field. Students with architectural skills, in particular, are in demand.

What types of financial aid or scholarships are available?

All students applying to the program will be considered for two highly-competitive recruitment scholarships for their first year. In addition, the School of Architecture offers various scholarships and assistantships to students beyond the first year of study. Financial Aid for first-semester students is normally in the form of federal loans. Commensurate with previous experience, first-year students may be offered teaching and research assistantships or other scholarships when available.

Why go on to do a Ph.D.?

Generally speaking, a Ph.D. is appropriate for those who wish to teach or work in policy, research, or the international arena. Those who would prefer to practice usually require only a master's degree in the field.

Are there jobs in Historic Preservation?

Currently, the job market for Historic Preservation is excellent, and all indicators suggest that there will be steady growth in the coming years. We generally have more job offers than graduating students.

Make an appointment with the Career Services Office as soon as you arrive to discuss your career goals and job search opportunities. You will discover beneficial resources and guidance to ensure you are successful in obtaining valuable experience in your field.

What types of job opportunities are available for Preservation students on and off-campus?

Within the School of Architecture, preservation students are eligible for various office, research, and teaching assistantships. Preservation and School of Architecture faculty are available to assist students in finding preservation-related employment off-campus. Most students obtain summer internships between the first and second year that may lead to full-time opportunities after graduation. 

Where do students live?

Graduate student housing is available to students who fit certain criteria through the Division of Housing and Dining. Students must apply for this option which is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Most students reside in apartments throughout the city of Austin. 

How do I join the Preservation Listserv or sign up to receive the HP News e-newsletter?

If you have not used the mailing list system before, go to the main UT Lists page and select the First Login link. Enter your e-mail address and click the Send Me My Password button. Your new password will be sent to your e-mail address, and you can log on using it.

  • After you have successfully logged on, click the tab called List of Lists. Scroll down to find the list you would like to join. Click on the name of the list you would like to join:
  • To join the Preservation community listserv, click on preservation@utlists.utexas.edu.
  • Along the left sidebar, there will be a link to "Subscribe". Click on this link. You may receive a message stating that your subscription on the list is pending approval by the listserv owner. You will be notified by email when the listserv owner has approved you subscription.
  • Once you are subscribed to the listserv, you can manage your listserv accounts through the main UT Lists page. From your home page you can unsubscribe, change you password, or update your name and email information.
  • If you are already receiving mail from one of these listservs and would like to log on to the UT Lists page, please use the email address at which you are currently receiving messages. You can change this email address once you have successfully logged on.

For more information, see the Graduate Admissions FAQ.