Historic Preservation

EMU's Historic Preservation Program is the largest graduate program in Historic Preservation in the United States. Certified by the National Council for Preservation Education, the Master of Science in Historic Preservation (36 hours) offers concentrations in Preservation Planning and Administration; Heritage Interpretation and Museum Practice; and Recording, Documentation and Digital Cultural Heritage. The Program also offers a 12-hour Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation and an undergraduate minor in historic preservation.

The Historic Preservation Program was founded in 1979 in the Department of Geography and Geology as an outgrowth of Cultural Geography and its concern for common landscapes, vernacular architecture, and practical application. As cohorts of the only Historic Preservation program embedded in geography, students learn to document, preserve, and interpret historic structures, objects, and places within the context of their cultural landscape setting.

The curriculum reflects the evolving nature of historic preservation theory and practice in the United States and abroad, and an applied approach has remained paramount. Students gain a range of practical experiences, including most forms of preservation documentation, while addressing the real needs of local communities. In this way, the program prepares students for professional service in the fields of preservation planning, historical administration, heritage interpretation, and cultural resource management. Utilizing Fellowships, internships, and partnerships with numerous educational, and local, regional, and national agencies and organizations, the Program produces professionals who become leaders in the field and who improve the awareness and effectiveness of the historic preservation worldwide.

Program Objectives

  • To provide program students from diverse undergraduate backgrounds with a fundamental knowledge in the field of historic preservation sufficient to prepare them for entry-level professional careers in historic preservation.
  • To provide program students with best practices in planning, technical, cultural resource management, and interpretive and administrative skills useful to careers in historic preservation and museum practice.
  • To provide program students with a sound foundation in all aspects of American architectural history as well as the ability to implement and carry out cultural resource surveys.
  • To provide program students with knowledge of geographic concepts, perspectives and methodologies associated with cultural landscape interpretation and regional analysis. High-style and vernacular architecture and landscapes, both urban and rural, as well as settlement patterns are studied as visual manifestations of American cultural history via cultural resource management strategies. 
  • To combine classroom theoretical development with practical community and/or agency field experience.
  • To foster productive relationships among historic preservation, cultural tourism, and sustainability.
  • To improve the effectiveness of historic preservation activities in Michigan, the Midwest, and the United States by preparing qualified professionals for entry into career positions in historic preservation.
  • To foster the effectiveness of historic preservation by increasing community awareness of its broad aims and diverse techniques.