The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is excited to announce a stand-alone certificate program in historic preservation.

The Historic Preservation Certificate is a 15-credit hour certificate ideal for:

  1. Individuals wishing to embark on a career in the field of historic preservation, or pursue study for personal enrichment.
  2. Current practitioners in the field who want to update or enhance their skill set.
  3. Those considering a Master's-level program who wish to secure foundational competence.

Students bring their prior experience and interests to the service of preservation through studio projects that focus on the adaptive reuse, rehabilitation, or preservation of historic structure(s). In addition, students complete an internship in preservation at an architectural office or other agency or opt to participate in a study trip.

Program Benefits

  • Our faculty are respected professionals committed to preserving and reusing historic buildings, furnishings, sites, and landscapes as well as social inclusion and cultural representation. Their professional affiliations in Chicago and abroad provide a powerful network of connections.

  • Students benefit from access to SAIC's state-of-the-art facilities and resources, including our Art Institute of Chicago and Ryerson and Burnham libraries - a major art and architecture research collection. Your peer group includes practicing artists and designers from across the globe.

  • Chicago is a living laboratory and program projects involve buildings, sites, archives, and collections relating to rural, industrial, urban, and suburban communities.

  • Students gain valuable experience through an internship with preservation agencies, conservators, restoration architects or designers of their choosing, or by participating in an SAIC study trip. Other SAIC courses or external professional training may satisfy this requirement.

  • Students who successfully complete the certificate program may choose to work with the program director to transfer credits to our Master of Science in Historic Preservation. Twenty-five percent of the degree requirements are satisfied upon completion of the certificate program.

  • The SAIC Historic Preservation Certificate is recognized by the National Council for Preservation Education.

Application and Admissions Information

  • Application Deadline:  
    Priority Deadline: December 1
    Regular Application Deadline: Accepting applications

    $30 Application Fee  
    Apply online via SlideRoom

    1. Completed online application.
    2. Official college transcripts - a conferred four-year baccalaureate degree or its equivalent is required.
    3. Statement of intent (completed with online application). Write a 500 - 700 word statement that describes your work or research. Please be sure to address the following:​
      1. Why you wish to pursue this historic preservation certificate.
      2. Future directions or goals for your work.
      3. Your understanding of preservation, architecture, and place-making. (Save your statement of intent as a PDF and upload it as an attachment.)
    4. 2 Letters of reference - a recent employer or educational reference is recommended.
    5. Resume/CV
    6. English Proficiency Scores: for students whose first language is not English, we require proof of English proficiency which may be submitted via one of the following tests: TOEFL: 100, IELTS: 7, DULINGO: 120.

Course Sequence

The certificate includes five courses, totaling 15-credit hours, along with an external practicum, that meets the minimum standards and guidelines promulgated by the National Council for Preservation Education (NCPE), consistent with current standards for architectural education being reviewed nationwide by the American Institute of Architects' Historic Resources Committee.

Six program areas:

  1. Preservation Documentation
  2. Materials Conservation
  3. Architectural History
  4. Preservation Planning
  5. Design Studio Focused on Preservation
  6. Preservation Practicum
Preservation Documentation - choose 1 from the following:
Physical Documentation
Archival Documentation
Material Conservation - choose 1 from the following:
Building Conservation Lab
Historic Materials and Techniques
Building Diagnostics
Architectural History - choose 1 from the following:
History and Theory of Historic Preservation
Other approved Architectural History course
Preservation Planning - choose 1 from the following:
Preservation Planning
Preservation Law
Preservation-Focused Design Studio - choose 1 from the following:
Design Action North Lawndale
Restoration Design Studio
Other approved studio course in Architecture or Interior Architecture
Preservation Practicum - choose 1 from the following:
SAIC study trip
SAIC class or other practicum experience, professional training, workshop or course (external to SAIC)

Take the Next Step

For additional information about the program, please contact the SAIC Historic Preservation Administrative Office at 312-629-6650 or hpres@saic.edu.

Image of stained glass ceiling.

Historic Preservation Brochure