Preservation Studies MA
What We Do
The Preservation Studies Program trains students for productive careers working in historic preservation and the stewardship of cultural resources and heritage. Boston and New England have historically stood out as leaders of the national historic preservation movement. Drawing upon the traditions of its vibrant preservation locality, Boston University itself has a long history of inventively recycling historic buildings to house its students and faculty; the University was founded in 1869 in two adaptively reused Beacon Hill townhouses adjacent to the Boston Athenaeum and Charles Bulfinch’s Massachusetts State Capitol. In 1883 Boston University moved its College of Liberal Studies into an adaptively reused Baptist Church on Somerset Street. The University subsequently adapted for its own uses the Copley Square building of the Harvard Medical School, key commercial buildings along Commonwealth Avenue’s Automobile Row, the Boston Braves Baseball field, rowhouses and apartments along Bay State Road, and mansions in the Cottage Farm neighborhood; more recently, the University has undertaken a 20 million dollar renovation of the University Law Tower, a landmark of Boston modernism designed in 1962 by Spanish architect Jose Lluis Sert. Successful, environmentally minded, stewardship of historic buildings is part of the institutional DNA of Boston University; the Preservation Studies Program draws inspiration and vitality from the rich context.
Students in the program learn preservation in the classroom and through hand’s-on preservation planning, historical research and exploration. They study the built environment and cultural landscape through courses taught by leading experts who teach in departments across the University and numerous professionals who do amazing work in regional and national preservation field. Class projects take advantage of the tremendous scope of preservation activity in the region, from large-scale regional initiatives to grassroots neighborhood efforts in cities and towns. Applicants should have a BA and demonstrated interest in the fields that contribute to historic preservation.
The Preservation Studies Program has educated hundreds of preservation professionals, most of whom continue to pursue these careers in communities across the nation. Graduates of the Program have gone on to distinguished leadership positions in preservation, particularly in Boston and New England. The Program’s network within these communities, through its faculty and alumni, is among its greatest strengths.
If you have any questions or are planning to be in Boston and would like to arrange a campus visit, please call (617) 353-2949 or send us an email. We would be happy to meet with you and arrange for you to speak with other faculty and students in the program.