Historic Preservation

Program Category: PhD Programs
Website: arch.columbia.edu
Degree Programs: Full-Time: MPhil, PhD

This program is not accepting applications for 2020 enrollment.

Please note: The degree for this program is conferred by GSAS, but program specifics, such as admissions and financial aid decisions and degree requirements, are administered by other schools of the university.

The PhD program in Historic Preservation is oriented toward the training of scholars in the discipline of historic preservation. Its structure reflects the understanding of the role of the scholar within historic preservation at large, as both teacher and researcher engaged in contributing original historical, theoretical, and practical knowledge to the discipline. The academic curriculum provides a solid foundation in the historical understanding of the discipline’s evolving challenges and purposes, promotes theoretical speculation on alternative modes of disciplinary engagement suited to the new ethical, technical, aesthetic, and social problems of the twenty-first century, and fosters a critical scholarly culture conducive to training the discipline’s future leaders. Students are expected to conduct independent research, supported by the preservation faculty’s wide range of expertise, the Historic Preservation Laboratory, Avery Library, as well as strong connections to the rest of GSAPP’s scholarly community, and other departments within Columbia University.

The curriculum requires two years of coursework, one year to prepare and take general exams, and two years for independent research and writing. The total time to completion is expected to be five years.

Special Admissions Requirements: 

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, and three letters of evaluation from academic sources.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to our Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

Resume Requirement: Yes
Writing Sample: Yes
Writing Sample Number of Pages: 10-15
GRE General: Yes
Letters of Recommendation: 3
Degree Programs: Full Time


Eligibility for admission to the program is generally limited to students holding a Master of Historic Preservation degree. Students who hold a master's degree or equivalent in another field are also considered for admission.