As a future heritage professional, you will gain the tools and experience urgently needed to identify, activate and conserve the places and objects that reflect our collective and inclusive future as much as our past through an interdisciplinary, critically informed, socially engaged and social justice driven approach.
Pratt’s 47-credit, four-semester Master of Science program in Historic Preservation builds the skills preservationists need to leverage architectural and cultural assets in addressing the challenges communities face—such as gentrification and displacement, racial injustice, social inequality, and climate change. The scholars and practitioners that make up Pratt’s historic preservation faculty offer students a solid grounding in preservation theory, research methods, law and policy tools, architectural and urban history, and conservation practices. In their advanced coursework, students engage in real-time heritage conservation projects and innovative research, working directly with community stakeholders to identify, understand, and save the places they care about.
About the Program
Housed within Pratt’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment (GCPE),the program’s approach is multidisciplinary, place based, equity-oriented, and intellectually challenging. Our location in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, immerses students in New York City’s rich history, and provides the opportunity to work directly with local partners to uplift community stories, protect heritage assets, and apply preservation tools to achieve social empowerment.
Students and faculty are thinkers and doers. Our faculty scholars and practitioners bring their experience and connections to the classroom. Students come from a variety of disciplines, including architecture, design, fine art, history, the humanities, and the social sciences. Core courses such as Historic Preservation History and Theory, Concepts of Heritage, Building Technology, and Heritage Documentation Studio teach students to think critically about contemporary issues in the field while building their analytical and technical skills. Electives explore emerging theory and contemporary practices such as the reinterpretation of historic sites to promote inclusion, and heritage conservation measures to address climate change.
A multidisciplinary approach promotes collaboration. Pratt’s Historic Preservation program is not siloed; partnerships within the Institute enable students to explore multiple disciplines, including Architecture, City and Regional Planning, Sustainable Environmental Systems, Urban Placemaking and Management, Real Estate Practice, Construction/Facilities Management, and art and design disciplines in other schools within the Institute. A student interested in climate-driven design solutions for adaptive reuse might choose a course in sustainable environmental systems; another interested in addressing the city’s affordable housing crisis might choose real estate or planning courses, or participate in the School of Architecture’s Affordable Housing Consortium; another might explore public art as a venue to interpret heritage with a course in urban placemaking. This interdisciplinary education fosters learning and prepares future professionals to solve problems together.
Real-world projects turn students into professionals. Two community-based studio courses—one focused on heritage documentation and another taken with students from all GCPE programs—draw upon Pratt’s deep connections in New York, the US, and abroad. Preservation students prepare for the professional world by working directly with community partners as clients. They tap a neighborhood’s story, cultural heritage, and architectural assets to empower residents to manage and direct change, with a focus on equity and social justice. They propose preservation strategies for real places; recent studios have provided interpretation plans to lift up the history of community gardens in the South Bronx, explored green conservation solutions for deteriorated historic commercial buildings in central Brooklyn, and proposed creative new preservation policies to prevent the loss of affordable apartments in lower Manhattan tenements.
Individual student research influences the preservation field. The program culminates in an in-depth thesis project. Past theses have explored preservation’s role in tomorrow’s sustainable cities, preserving historic landmarks through effective zoning and adaptive reuse, and developing tools for the heritage conservation of informal settlements, among many other topics.
We work with students to make the degree affordable. Pratt offers generous merit scholarships to qualified applicants, as well as transfer credits for those with five-year bachelor’s degrees or previous graduate credits, and work/ portfolio credits for those with relevant professional experience. These resources reduce the cost of the degree and in some cases can reduce the number of semesters needed to achieve it. No additional application is necessary—we make financial award and transfer credit determinations based on the student’s initial application.
Upcoming Information Sessions and Open Houses
March 9, 2023 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM