Historic Preservation

The College of Built Environments (CBE) offers two complementary certificates in historic preservation which emphasize the field of historic preservation and related developments in allied fields that address the multiplicity of issues in the identification, evaluation, and protection of cultural resources. The certificates are intended to enhance the education of students beyond their regular course of study to allow those with allied interests to incorporate preservation knowledge and skills in their future careers, expanding the reach of this discipline which is integral to our cultural knowledge and to future cities, suburbs, and rural districts.

The CBE Certificate in Historic Preservation is open only to students in professional and graduate degrees in the college. This certificate can be completed using elective credits from within students’ home degree programs.

The Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation is open to all graduate students at the University of Washington, including Graduate Non-Matriculated students. This certificate consists of 18-19 credits, at least 12 of which must be in addition to the student’s degree. The additional required credits can be from degree credits.

The College of Built Environments has a longstanding commitment to education in historic preservation, first with a certificate program for architecture students beginning in in 1980s and expanding college-wide in 1991. The Historic Preservation Program can link students with local historic preservation institutions and with experienced local professionals. The College houses the new Center for Preservation and Adaptive Reuse. The city of Seattle represents an excellent urban laboratory with its strong record of preservation activity and the particular issues it presents for study. Outside the city, small town and rural settings within the region may also be vehicles for studio and thesis work.

The curriculum, offered by faculty drawn from the larger College along with visiting lecturers from the preservation community, is designed to provide students with knowledge of the historic preservation field to include history, theory, law and policy and to give them the ability to apply that knowledge in contemporary preservation practice. They will be able to examine historic sites using learned research methods and prepare documentation for a range of historic properties in both domestic and international settings.

The required curriculum consists of 18 to 19 credits including core requirements, an immersive course, and a capstone experience. Depending upon student selection of core and capstone courses, students may need to complete 21 credits. Two-thirds of the coursework (minimum 12 credits) must be unique to the certificate (meaning not required for students’ home degree programs) but may be unrestricted electives in students’ home degree programs.

CORE (required: 10 credits): History/Theory; Practice; and Methodology. Expected to be completed in Year 1.

i. History/Theory
URBDP 585: Introduction to Historic Preservation Planning (offered in autumn). This course is a broad overview of the profession of HP in the US, its history, theoretical underpinnings and diverse contemporary threads of practice.

ii. Practice (Prerequisite: URBDP 585)
URBDP 586: Implementation in Preservation Planning (offered in winter). Course covers the multiple threads of historic preservation practice across primarily design and planning disciplines.

iii. Methodology (Prerequisite: URBDP 585)
ARCH 579: Technical Issues in Preservation (offered in spring). This course covers preservation techniques across multiple property types to accommodate landscape and planning students as well. 

Other courses that would be acceptable substitutes for the methodology requirement are:

  • ARCHY 495: Quantitative Archaeological Analytic Techniques
  • ARCHY 473: Historical Archaeology Laboratory
  • ARCHY 573: Indigenous Archaeology
  • ARCHY 469: Cultural Resource Management in Practice
  • MUSEUM 520: Learning in Museums
  • MUSEUM 570: Research Design and Museology Practice

IMMERSIVE (3 Credits). Should be completed before Capstone. Select one elective (3 credits) from the following:

  • ARCH 538: Building Reuse Seminar (offered in autumn)
  • ARCH 590: Urban and Preservation Issues in Design (offered in autumn)
  • ARCH 598: History & Theory of Historic Preservation (next expected to be offered Spring 2020)
  • L ARCH 552: History of Landscape Architecture
  • L ARCH 553: History of Modern Landscape Architecture (offered in winter)
  • URBDP 565: American Urban History (offered in Spring)
  • URBDP 505: The Urban Form (offered in autumn)
  • Other courses with historic context may be appropriate for your course of study—contact the program for course approval

CAPSTONE (5-6 credits). Any one from the following list with faculty approval:

  • Studio: Enroll in a studio with preservation content that is offered in any department within CBE.
  • Project: Develop a capstone project on any preservation topic. Work with two faculty members (one from student’s home department and the other a CBE preservation faculty member).
  • Research Paper: Conduct in-depth research into historic preservation topics to evaluate how they were applied in specific case studies. Work with at least one HP core faculty member.

Grading/Assessment and Minimum Standards

Successful completion of the GCHP requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for CORE certificate courses and a grade of 2.7 or higher for each course counted toward the certificate. Students are required to enroll in all courses and receive a grade rather than requesting to take the course on a satisfactory/non-satisfactory basis.

The certificate program is open to all matriculated and non-matriculated graduate students at the University of Washington. Applications will be accepted twice per year, in Autumn and Spring quarter.

Admission preference will be given to those in fields relevant to historic preservation, such as: planning, architecture, landscape architecture, history, geography, public policy, and museology.

Application packages may be sent to histpres@uw.edu. The application package should include:

  1. Letter of interest
  2. Current UW transcripts (unofficial is fine)

Alternatively, applicants may complete this online form.

Students should apply to GCHP and be admitted before taking the core courses if they would like to receive the certificate. However, if they have already taken relevant courses and later decide to pursue the certificate, they may still apply.

The program also welcomes students who do not wish to pursue the certificate, but who want to take preservation courses and/or have a general interest in the field. Anyone interested in preservation is welcome on the program’s email list to hear about preservation courses, events, and opportunities. Contact histpres@uw.edu to request addition to the email list.

Faculty names are linked to their departmental information pages.

Program Director: Manish Chalana (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and Planning)

Daniel B. Abramson (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and Planning)

Meredith Clausen (Architecture, Art History)

Kimo Griggs (Architecture)

Jeffrey Hou (Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and Planning)

Ann Huppert (Architecture)

Louisa Iarocci (Architecture)

Kathryn Rogers Merlino (Architecture, Landscape Architecture)

Jim Nicholls (Architecture)

Jeffrey Karl Ochsner (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and Planning)

Vikramaditya Prakash (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and Planning)

Nancy Rottle (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and Planning)

Tyler Sprague (Architecture)

David Strauss (Architecture)

Thaisa Way (Architecture, Landscape Architecture)

Questions about the Historic Preservation Program? Email histpres@uw.edu.