Integrated Historic Preservation Certificate

The Integrated Historic Preservation (HPres) Certificate in Architecture/Interior Architecture at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago allows candidates for the Master of Architecture and Interior Architecture to secure a certificate in Historic Preservation, based on the successful completion of five departmental courses, taken as electives in the MArch degree, and a design studio project approved by the Historic Preservation Director.

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.

Students bring their design training abilities to the service of preservation through studio projects that focus on the adaptive re-use, rehabilitation, or preservation of a historic structure or structures. In addition, students complete an internship in preservation at an architectural office or other agency. They may also enroll in a study trip.

Six Program Areas

  1. Preservation Documentation
  2. Materials Conservation
  3. Architectural History
  4. Preservation Planning
  5. Design Studio Focused on Preservation
  6. Preservation Practicum

Program Requirements

An asterisked (*) marks courses that require a prerequisite or a waiver of the prerequisite which in each case must be submitted to the registrar by the Chairs of Historic Preservation and Chair Arch.

  • HPres 5002 Archival Documentation

    This lecture/discussion course examines the discovery and use of written, pictorial, and photographic resources for architectural, cultural, and historical research: how to find and use Chicago area libraries, historical agencies, government archives, etc.  Students develop the analytic and writing skills needed in historic preservation by writing National Register nomination.  Field trips included.

    HPres 5008 Physical Documentation

    This course develops the drawing and drafting skills needed to both record and represent historic sites and buildings.  It also gives an overview of the uses of photography, computer graphics, photogrammetry, and other specialized techniques in historic preservation.  Site visits included.

  • HPres 5003 Historic Materials and Technology

    This course investigates the materials and techniques used in North American building construction.  The history and development of materials, their physical properties, and characteristics are studied.  Building construction methods are explored including adobe, wood, stone, brick, concrete, and steel construction.  Research papers and oral presentations are required.  Lecture and field trips are included.

    HPres 5012 Building Diagnostics*

    Why do buildings get sick and how do we make them well?  This course examines the deterioration (by humans and nature) of building materials and their component systems.  Through lectures and field studies, students study the symptoms, diagnose the problem, determine what tests are needed, and learn how to remedy the effect.  Field trips are included.

    HPres 6006 Building Conservation*

    In this seminar/lecture/lab course, students learn the fundamentals of building conservation and repair techniques. Basic microscopy practices are taught through historic finishes analysis. Means of chemical and physical testing of historic building materials, cleaning methods and agents, protection, water repellents and consolidation, patching and repair, use and abuse of adhesives, etc. are discussed. Student presentations, guest lectures, laboratory work and field trips

  • HPRES 5543 American Interior Design

    This course is a study of commercial, civic, and other public architecture (both high style and vernacular examples), and their response to the social, economic, and technological changes which transformed American society.  European, Middle Eastern, and Asian influences are traced and examined.  Field trips are included.

    ARTHI 4505 History of American Commercial and Civic Architecture

    This course is a study of commercial, civic, and other public architecture (both high style and vernacular examples), and their response to the social, economic, and technological changes which transformed American society.  European, Middle Eastern, and Asian influences are traced and examined.  Field trips are included.

    ARTHI 4509 History of American Residential and Institutional Architecture

    This course examines the history of American housing, the architecture of religion, and the buildings of educational and other institutions.  The focus is on how these buildings responded to the changes in American society and the impact of technology.  Prevalent and vernacular styles are examined as well as their precedent in foreign architecture.  Field trips are included.

    HPRES 5006 Historic Preservation: Hist & Theory Of Historic Preservation

    This lecture/discussion course surveys the various historical theories, philosophies, and practices of building conservation, preservation, and restoration both in Europe and America. Students investigate historical and contemporary attitudes towards 'history' and how these attitudes influence preservation planning and restoration today. Students develop a personal preservation ethic through discussion of preservation theory.

  • HPRES 5014 Preservation Planning

    This lecture/discussion course examines practical and philosophical issues in planning for preservation and the methods for implementation.  Among the topics included are preservation surveys and ordinances, zoning, and building codes, historical district and landmark designation, design review, preservation agencies (local, state, and national) and their roles, preservation economics and incentives, public relations, and interpretation.  Lecture with field trips are included.

    HPRES 6008 Preservation Law

    This lecture/discussion course covers the history, theory, and practice of preserving historic resources by law.  Analysis of significant national, state, and local preservation law; legal strategies for protecting historic sites and districts; preservation case law, etc.

    HPRES 5016 Preservation Seminar or HPRES 5017 Preservation Practicum (Topic Varies)

    Advanced seminar for historic preservation graduate students centered on a current theme in historic preservation and incorporating relevant theoretical readings.  Students lead weekly discussions on issues ranging from authenticity and archaeology to reception of theory and commercialization.  Actual preservation projects are studies in terms of various theoretical approaches and faculty members’ current work.

  • HPRES 5010 Restoration Design Studio

    This studio and lecture course focuses on the restoration design of existing historic buildings (following the Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines) using historic photographs, working drawings, and descriptions; stylistic analysis, and similar building topologies.  Historical structural systems, construction methods, and mechanical systems are also studied and researched.  Restoration drawings are prepared to document the changes needed for restoration.

    Demonstration of having worked on an existing or historic building in an AIADO studio may serve as a substitute for this requirement.

  • In addition to the course requirements, each student will complete a Preservation Practicum that can be fulfilled with the completion of an internship in the field of preservation (either with an architectural office or some other agency), through an SAIC study trip, or by taking an additional course offered by HPres or approved by the Director.  Both curricular components and internship are approved by the Chair of Historic Preservation and the Chair of AIADO.  The Chair of the Historic Preservation Program serves as the official Director of the Certificate Program. A letter of verification is required from the host upon completion.

Admissions Requirements

The Professional Certificate in Historic Preservation is available to students in the Master of Architecture (MArch) and MArch: Interior Architecture Track programs at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

For admission to the certificate program, candidates:

  • Interview with SAIC's Historic Preservation program director
  • Submit a Statement of Purpose for review by faculty in the Historic Preservation program

Upon admission, the director and student draft and annually review a schedule for the completion of required courses and projects. The curricular components and the internship must be approved by the director of the Certificate program and by the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects program director.

Curriculum Requirements

The 15-credit Professional Certificate in Historic Preservation program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers students in the Master of Architecture and MArch: Interior Architecture Track a working knowledge of the field of historic preservation.    

AreaCredit Hours
Preservation Documentation and Planning 
Choose one of the following:
  • HPRES 5002 Archival Documentation (3)
  • HPRES 5008 Physical Documentation (3)
Material Conservation 
Choose one of the following:
  • HPRES 5003 Historic Materials and Technology (3)
  • HPRES 5012 Building Pathology* (3)
  • HPRES 6006 Building Conservation* (3)
Architectural History 
Choose one of the following:
  • ARTHI 4505 History of American Commercial & Civic Architecture (3)
  • ARTHI 4509 History of American Residential & Institutional Architecture (3)
  • HPRES 5543 American Interior Design (3)
  • HPRES 5006 History and Theory of Historic Preservation (3)
Preservation Planning 
Choose one of the following:
  • HPRES 5014 Preservation Planning (3)
  • HPRES 5016 Preservation Seminar (3)
  • HPRES 5017 Preservation Practicum (3) 
  • HPRES 6008 Preservation Law* (3)
Design studio focused on preservation 
Choose one of the following:
  • HPRES 5010 Restoration Design Studio (3)
  • AIADO design studio with project focus on historic building (3)
Completion of 210 hours of internship, study trip, or equivalent as approved by Historic Preservation Director and/or Program Director of Master of Architecture 
Total Credit Hours15

* Courses marked with an asterisk require a prerequisite or a waiver of prerequisite submitted by the Program Director of Historic Preservation or Program Director of Master of Architecture program.

Take the Next Step

For more information, please contact the Historic Preservation Chair Nicholas Lowe at