Graduate Program Overview

SAIC’s dynamic Master of Science in Historic Preservation (MSHP) prepares graduates to revitalize the built environment through the comprehensive exploration of science, history, creative arts, politics, and technology.

Graduate Programs Summer Meet and Greet
Wednesday, August 7, 6:00 - 8:00 pm.
Join us at the historic Roger Brown Study Collection in Chicago to meet with SAIC Graduate Admissions and learn more about our graduate programs.

Application Deadline: January 10

If you are ready to apply to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Master of Science in Historic Preservation program, you will need to first submit SAIC's Graduate Application form and then a corresponding ePortfolio for the Historic Preservation department. You will need to submit an ePortfolio for each additional program to which you wish to apply. All submissions happen via the software SlideRoom. Admission to SAIC is for the Fall term only.

If you would like more information about Historic Preservation in advance of completing your application, you are welcome to contact the Department Chair, Anne Sullivan, at

Completed Online Application

SAIC requires applicants to apply online. Filing an online application requires a valid credit card and a current email address. You may apply to up to three programs with one application and fee. If you are applying to either the MFA in Studio or the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Studio you may select up to three departments of entry. Applications must be submitted prior to 11:00 p.m. (CST) on the appropriate deadline.

Start your application here: SAIC Graduate Application

Questions? Contact the Office of Admissions at or 800.232.7242.

Nonrefundable Application Fee

When you click the "submit" button on your the Graduate Application form, you will be prompted to enter credit card information to pay the application fee. Your application form is not fully submitted until you have entered your credit card information. Under no circumstances will an application fee be waived or refunded. After you submit the application form you will be directed to a dashboard where you can begin working on your ePortfolio(s).

Application fee: $90

Application fees will be discounted by 50% through December 1.

Official College Transcripts

During the application process an unofficial transcript is acceptable for review pending an Admissions decision. Official transcripts are required upon admission. Include transcripts both official and unofficial from all universities/colleges from which a degree was obtained or prerequisites were fulfilled. You can attach unofficial transcripts as .pdf or .jpg files in the Educational History section of the application form. If you are in the process of completing a bachelor's degree when you apply, a transcript showing your first three years of study is acceptable.

Transcripts are considered official if sent directly from the degree- or credit-granting institution to the SAIC Graduate Admissions Office. Hard copy transcripts are considered official if the documents remain in the registrar's original signed and sealed envelopes.

Official transcripts can be sent both in digital and hard-copy format. Digital transcripts can be sent from the degree- or credit-granting institution to Hard copy transcripts can be mailed to:

SAIC Graduate Admissions
36 S. Wabash Ave., suite 1201
Chicago, IL 60603

Statement of Purpose

Write a 500- to 700-word statement that describes your work or research. Discuss how you came to focus on historic preservation at the graduate level. Also discuss future directions or goals for your work, and finally, describe how the Master of Science in Historic Preservation program is particularly suited to your professional goals. Upload your statement of purpose to the Attachments section of your ePortfolio.

Letters of Recommendation

You are responsible for securing two letters of recommendation from persons who are qualified to write about your potential for success at SAIC. If you are currently a student or are a recent graduate, we recommend you request letters of recommendation from current or former instructors.

Letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically via the References section of the application form. In this section you will be asked to provide an email address for each of your references. Once you click "send request," an email will be sent from SlideRoom to your references with instructions on how to submit their recommendations online.

If your references are unable to provide an online recommendation please contact the Graduate Admissions office at


Applicants are required to submit an ePortfolio. You must submit a separate ePortfolio for each program or studio department to which you apply. After you pay the application fee and submit the application form, an ePortfolio for each of the programs you selected in the application form will automatically appear in your SlideRoom dashboard.

All applicants are required to submit a 10–15 page footnoted critical writing sample addressing some aspect of historic preservation or another related academic topic. Applicants with a background in studio art or design may submit an optional visual portfolio of up to 20 images in addition to the critical writing sample.

  • Images: .jpg, .gif, .pdf (up to 5 MB each)
  • Text documents: MUST be in .pdf format (up to 10 MB each)


After an initial review of all applicants, the Department of Historic Preservation may contact some candidates for interviews.


A current résumé is optional. You may upload your résumé to the Attachments section in your ePortfolio.

International Applicants

International applicants are required to submit evidence of English language proficiency. You are waived from this requirement if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • Your native language is English
  • You have an undergraduate degree conferred by a U.S. accredited university
  • You have an undergraduate degree conferred by a university whose primary language of instruction is English

If you do not meet one of these conditions, you must submit official English language proficiency test scores. You are strongly encouraged to schedule a language proficiency test appointment as early as possible in order to receive official test scores prior to the application deadline. SAIC accepts official scores from both Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The TOEFL Institution Code for SAIC is 1713. Please upload an unofficial copy of your test score results to the International Requirements section of the application form.

Minimum Required Scores

IELTS: 6.5
For more information about the TOEFL, please visit here.
For more information about the IELTS, please visit here.

Official test scores that meet the minimum requirement must be received by the application.

Academic Records

Transcripts are records of your studies that list the courses you completed, the grades received, and provide evidence of degree conferral. They may include grade sheets, exam results, final diplomas, degrees, or graduation certificates. Official copies are issued in the original language directly by your university. Copies must bear the official stamp or seal of the institution, as well as the signature of the appropriate official such as the dean, rector, registrar, controller of examinations, or office of teaching affairs. Photos, notarized copies, facsimiles, or email transmissions are not acceptable.

Official translations are expected for all educational documents issued in a language other than English. A translation agency or university language department should issue official translations typed on official stationary and the translator must attest proficiency in the original language and indicate their translations are accurate word-for-word.


A conferred four-year baccalaureate degree or its equivalent is required for admission to all graduate programs at SAIC.

In addition, applicants must demonstrate through a transcript analysis that they have completed a three-semester credit hour course in each of the following areas:

  • Art history survey
  • Architectural history

It is also strongly recommended that applicants have experience in architecture, interior design, or related fields.

The Master of Science (MS) in Historic Preservation program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is a two-year, 60-credit hour graduate curriculum that prepares students for careers in revitalizing our built environment.

Courses are offered in four areas:

  1. Architectural design
  2. Physical conservation
  3. Architectural and social history
  4. Preservation planning

Each graduate student in the program completes two years of coursework in each of these areas as part of the required curriculum. The program is geared toward full-time study.

Core Courses Credit Hours
Architectural Design 6  
  • HPRES 5008 Physical Documentation (3)
  • HPRES 5010 Restoration Design Studio (3)
Physical Conservation
  • HPRES 5003 Historic Materials & Technology (3)
  • HPRES 5012 Building Pathology (3)
  • HPRES 6006 Building Conservation Lab (3)
Architectural & Social History 12  
  • HPRES 5006 History and Theory of Historic Preservation (3)
  • ARTHI 4505 American Commercial and Civic Architecture (3)
  • ARTHI 4509 American Residential and Institutional Architecture (3)
  • HPRES 5543 American Interior Design (3)
Preservation Planning 12  
  • HPRES 5002 Archival Documentation (6)
  • HPRES 5014 Preservation Planning (3)
  • HPRES 5015 Preservation Planning Studio (3)
  • HPRES 6008 Preservation Law (3)
Electives From Any Department 15  
HPRES 6010  Thesis I 3
HPRES 6014  Thesis II 3
Completion of Thesis  
Completion of Internship (210 Hours)  
Total Credit Hours 60 


Two Year Sequence Of Courses

First Year Fall 15 
  • HPRES 5003 Historic Materials & Technology (3)
  • HPRES 5006 History and Theory of Historic Preservation (3)
  • HPRES 5008 Physical Documentation (3)
  • HPRES 5014 Preservation Planning (3)
  • HPRES 5543 American Interior Design (3)
    or Elective (3)
First Year Spring 15 
  • HPRES 5002 Archival Documentation (3)
  • HPRES 5010 Restoration Design Studio (3)
  • HPRES 5012 Building Pathology (3)
  • HPRES 6008 Preservation Law (3)
  • ARTHI 4505 American Commercial and Civic Architecture (3) or
    ARTHI 4509
     American Residential and Institutional Architecture (3)
Second Year Fall 15  
  • HPRES 5015 Preservation Planning Studio (3)
  • HPRES 6006 Building Conservation Lab (3)
  • HPRES 6010  Thesis I (3)
  • Electives (6)
Second Year Spring 15  
  • ARTHI 4505 American Commercial and Civic Architecture (3) or
    ARTHI 4509
     American Residential and Institutional Architecture (3)
  • HPRES 6014  Thesis II (3)
  • Electives (9)
Total Credit Hours 60 


Completion Schedule

Students have a maximum of four years to complete the course work and submit a final thesis. This includes time off for leaves of absences. Thesis in Progress: Students who have not submitted a finished thesis for review and approval by the end of the final semester of enrollment are given a Thesis in Progress grade (IP). All students with a Thesis in Progress grade (IP) will be charged the Thesis in Progress Fee in each subsequent full semester until the thesis is completed and approved and the grade is changed to Credit (CR). If the statute of limitations is reached without an approved thesis, the grade will be changed to No Credit (NCR).

Transfer Credit

A minimum of 54 credit hours must be completed in residence at SAIC. Up to 15 transfer graduate-level credits may be requested at the time of application for admission. No transfer credit will be permitted after a student is admitted.

Full-Time Status Minimum Requirement: 12 Credit Hours

Extracurricular Activities

In addition to course work, the two-year, 60 credit-hour Historic Preservationprogram requires students to undertake an internship. The 210-hour internship with a preservation agency, conservator, restoration architect, or designer enables students to work on historically significant sites and to learn firsthand the latest preservation techniques.

SAIC's Historic Preservation program has extensive international contacts and offers students significant overseas study opportunities. The Historic Preservation program's balanced curriculum and emphasis on real-world experience prepare students for a wide range of professional opportunities.

Continue to explore the Department of Historic Preservation’s website to learn more about graduate curricular offerings, faculty, students, alumni, and more or schedule a tour.

Interested in learning more about how you can apply?

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 800.232.7242 or