Press Room

PennDesign Introduces a New Post-Professional Degree in Historic Preservation

The University of Pennsylvania School of Design will offer a Master of Science in Design with a concentration in Historic Preservation beginning Fall 2018, increasing the roster of degrees offered by the School to 12. Developed to meet the needs of practicing design professionals seeking post-professional training, specialization, or a career change, the one-year MSD-HP complements the two-year Master of Science in Historic Preservation, which serves students entering preservation from an allied field (e.g., history, art history, and archaeology) and those with undergraduate training in design or planning but little professional experience.

“The MSD-HP takes advantage of PennDesign’s existing long-standing expertise in teaching both preservation and design, bringing both fields into a purposeful collaboration on specialized modes of practice,” explains Randall Mason, chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and associate professor of city and regional planning.

The MSD-HP is informed by developments over the last decade whereby the preservation and design fields have evolved much more complex and intense points of engagement. These include the ascendance of the creative reuse of historic structures and places as design problems, a growing focus on technical understanding and modelling of the performance of existing buildings, and—at the scale of community, landscape, and urbanism—greater attention to conservation as a tool to achieve resilience.

The MSD-HP combines classroom, studio and research work, offering personalized combinations of thesis research and studios. Mentorship by senior faculty, including Professor of Architecture Frank Matero and Professor of Practice Pamela Hawkes, FAIA, supplements the dozens of foundation and elective courses regularly offered. An intensive, three-week preservation design studio, following two semesters of full-time study in history, theory, technology and praxis, provides a capstone project.  

In addition to a renowned faculty in historic preservation, PennDesign hosts leading practitioners and scholars in lectures and workshops on diverse topics ranging from the future of the national parks to the application of laser cleaning for art and architecture. The School is also home to PennPraxis, the center for applied research, outreach, and practice at PennDesign, the Architectural Conservation Laboratory, which provides unique hands-on experience to students at important historic sites at home and abroadin Philadelphia and across the country, and Change Over Time, a semiannual international journal publishing original, peer-reviewed research papers and review articles on the history, theory, and praxis of conservation and the built environment.

Candidates for the MSD-HP should have a professional degree in one of the recognized design fields (architecture, landscape architecture, interior architecture, urban planning, urban design, engineering) and some five years’ experience in practice. To request a program prospectus, email the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at

Applications are due January 14, 2018. For information, contact the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at To apply, contact the Office of Admissions.