Partner Department: American & New England Studies Program

Program Length: 7 semesters

Historic preservation is both a popular movement and a specialized field. Although it may once have represented only an informal, private decision by the owner of an individual building, historic preservation now involves individuals, private agencies, and various government units in the complex issues of zoning, financing, and community planning.

 Through a program that was the first of its kind in the country, Boston University is playing a significant role in educating preservation professionals. An interdisciplinary program involving both the School of Law and the American & New England Studies Program of the Boston University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences allows students to complete both programs in seven semesters, instead of the nine semesters it would take if the two degrees were pursued independently.

Program Requirements

Required Law School Courses (4)

  • Land Use: LAW JD 855

Suggested relevant law courses include:

  • JD 801 Administrative Law
  • JD 833 Environmental Law
  • JD 855 Land Use
  • JD 889 Introduction to Federal Income Taxation
  • JD 961 Housing Law

Required School of Arts & Sciences Courses

  • Boston Architectural and Community History Workshop: CAS AM 555
  • Places of Memory: Historic Preservation Theory and Practice: CAS AM 546
  • Preservation Planning: CAS AM 554
  • Twentieth-Century Architecture and Urbanism: CAS AH 585
  • Preservation Planning Colloquium: GRS AM 755


An integral part of the program is a paid internship in an appropriate public or private agency, firm, or historical commission. Numerous local and national organizations are anxious to host interns and to provide a close-up look at particular work within the preservation field. Placement is approved by the program director. Internships are available with preservation agencies such as the Boston Landmarks Commission, the National Park Service, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, and private organizations, including the Boston Preservation Alliance, Preservation Massachusetts, Historic New England, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In certain cases, prior experience in the historic preservation field may be considered as equivalent to the internship, with the internship requirement being waived.

Admissions Requirements

Students first must apply to, and be accepted by, the School of Law before they will be considered for admission to the MA program in preservation studies. Students then apply separately to the Graduate School during their first year of law school, in accordance with the Graduate School’s deadlines.

For MA admissions provide the following:

  • Graduate School application for the JD/MA in Preservation Studies
  • Official LSAT or GRE scores (the Graduate School will coordinate submission of scores from the School of Law; the applicant need take no action for this to occur)
  • Scholarly writing sample
  • Three letters of recommendation (the student may use copies of law school recommendations and should contact the Graduate School to have their recommendations forwarded from the School of Law)
  • Personal statement
  • Unofficial transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended
  • CV/Resume

For further information, please contact: Admissions, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 617/353-2696, email:

Contact Information

Jan Haenraets
Acting Director; Preservation Studies Program Professor of the Practice