Historic Preservation – University of Kentucky College of Design
D Icon

Historic Preservation

Historic preservation helps communities negotiate change. The historic preservation program at the University of Kentucky trains students to become skilled practitioners through a combination of classroom instruction and applied projects in urban and rural contexts. A rigorous curriculum, outstanding faculty, and an emphasis on community engagement make the program a recognized leader in the field.

The College of Design has three historic preservation offerings: the Master of Historic Preservation degree and the on-campus and online graduate certificates in historic preservation.

learn more:

Historic Preservation Degrees

Historic preservation is an interdisciplinary field of study concerned with the care, use, and interpretation of historic buildings, sites, and landscapes. Preservation specialists study built environments considered historically valuable, assess their importance, and guide decisions about treatment, use, and interpretation. Preservation professionals help communities determine what matters to them and why. The field encompasses everything from creative adaptation of older structures, interpretation of sites associated with historical atrocities, and restoration of examples of high-style architecture. Strong linkages to sustainability and social justice mean that historic preservation will play a vital role in debates about the future of communities worldwide during the coming century.

The Master of Historic Preservation (MHP)

The MHP is a comprehensive graduate curriculum designed to prepare students for careers in preservation. Graduates have attained an outstanding record of placement and career advancement. The MHP requires 48 credit hours and culminates in a major project demonstrating original research ability and thoughtful application of professional skills and knowledge.

Online Master of Heritage Resources Administration (MHRA)

The online MHRA combines historic preservation coursework with training in public and nonprofit administration. The degree is meant to provide mid-career heritage professionals with a pathway to advancement and leadership within their organizations. The online format of the MHRA allows for maximum flexibility with working professionals in mind. The curriculum consists of 36 credit hours (24 core, 9 electives, and a 3-hour capstone project).

On-Campus Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation

The on-campus graduate certificate introduces students in fields such architecture, interior design, history, and geography to the theory and practice of historic preservation. This 12-credit-hour program is designed to supplement graduate studies in a closely related discipline. By introducing fundamental principles and skills, the certificate expands the abilities of students preparing for careers in associated fields.

Online Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation

The online graduate certificate is a 12-credit-hour program of study designed for working professionals and others who are unable to take in-person courses. Like the on-campus certificate, it is designed to introduce core principles and concepts for the purpose of expanding the knowledge and abilities of persons working in related fields. Practicing architects, city planners, archaeologists, design consultants, architectural review board members, and realtors have found it effective in building knowledge that compliments their existing training and experience.

Undergraduate Certificate in Historic Preservation

How does any place become “historic?” And what does that mean? This 12-credit-hour program introduces the history and theory of historic preservation while allowing students to explore specialized areas of practice. Students will explore how culture influences human connections to place and the role revitalization plays in community planning and economic development. A wide range of electives allows students to connect basic preservation principles with studies in their major and minor fields. Aimed at developing broad knowledge, the certificate is intended to prepare students for life in a globalized society and decisions they will face in their professional and private lives. 

Graduate Degree Information | Undergraduate Degree Information

See Curriculum

“Preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future.”
William Murtagh

HP Events

As a leader in the field, the Department of Historic Preservation is able to attract some of the most celebrated preservationists in the industry today while also addressing critical topics relevant to the field. These speakers have shared their insight at the annual Historic Preservation Symposium as well as other lectures and workshops conducted by the program. Stay abreast of all upcoming HP events on this page.

HP Events


The Department of Historic Preservation is a member of the National Council for Preservation Education, the leading organization for preservation education in the United States. Faculty and students are active in a wide range of professional and scholarly organizations, including:

The National Trust for Historic Preservation
The American Bar Association
The National Council on Public History
The American Historical Association
The Organization of American Historians
The Vernacular Architecture Forum
The Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians
Preservation Kentucky
The Association for Preservation Technology
The Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation

Apply to the Department of Historic Preservation

Applying to graduate school is a big step. Fortunately, we make it easy for you. Please choose the option at right that interests you and follow the link.

Applications are submitted online through the University of Kentucky Graduate School website. Prospective applicants apply concurrently to the Graduate School and the Department of Historic Preservation.

Advisory Board

David Ames

Amelia Armstrong

Timothy Condo

Edith Bingham

Betsy Hatfield

Ed Holmes

David Morgan

Craig Potts