HP @ UK – University of Kentucky College of Design

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Historic Preservation at UK

The Department of Historic Preservation at the University of Kentucky is a leader in the field. Now in its 20th year, the Master of Historic Preservation (MHP) is a rigorous, intellectually challenging program with an outstanding record of placement. Graduates hold positions with architecture, engineering and cultural resources management firms; local, state and federal agencies; and nonprofit organizations. The MHP curriculum emphasizes critical investigation of historic buildings and sites, preservation planning and policy, and adaptive reuse. We strive to develop capable practitioners with the skills and knowledge needed for long-term success. Our graduates are shaping the communities where they live and work for the better, and will continue to do so as globalization, climate change, and technological innovation remake communities large and small in powerful, as-yet-unimagined ways.

Our program enjoys several major strengths:

Exceptional Faculty

The department has one of the largest and most diversified faculties of any graduate program in historic preservation. Our roster includes experts in law, planning, historical and architectural research, traditional cultural properties, and neighborhood revitalization. Affiliated faculty provide expertise in 19th- and 20th-century American history, geography, landscape architecture, historic interiors, and anthropology. Students benefit from small class sizes, opportunities to work directly with faculty, and an active lecture and workshop series.

An Interdisciplinary Environment

The department’s location in the College of Design places students in ongoing dialogue with faculty and students in architecture and interior design. Close ties to other departments and research centers on campus create a truly interdisciplinary environment. Courses and workshops introduce students to methodologies and theoretical perspectives drawn from disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. Fieldwork provides students with hands-on experience in real-world settings, under circumstances typical of professional practice.

A Focus on the Future

Preservation has changed dramatically in recent years, and all signs suggest that further changes lie in store. Our curriculum teaches foundational skills and knowledge while preparing students to think critically and creatively about problems they will encounter in professional practice. New attention to the social and cultural relevance of historic places has made social justice, equity, and sustainability major emphases. Moreover, since preservation has a vital role to play in addressing the effects of growing inequality, housing shortages, and climate change, our courses include discussion of these topics.

The Resources of a Major Research University

As the flagship public university for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the University of Kentucky offers outstanding resources for graduate study. The University library system oversees collections with extensive holdings, including more than 4 million bound volumes, access to over 400 commercial databases, and approximately 27,000 linear feet of manuscripts and archives. The Hunter M. Adams College of Design Library offers easy access to collections relating to architecture, architectural history and theory, interior design, and historic preservation. The Special Collections Research Center houses an outstanding collection of rare books, archives, Kentuckiana, and the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History. Finally, the College of Design Workshop and Digital Fabrication Lab – commonly known as the “Fab Lab” – offers students a safe, well-maintained environment for working with advanced technology and three-dimensional construction in most media. In short, the university offers superb facilities exploring preservation practice and theory.