Taubman College

Master of Science / Areas of Concentration


The Master of Science concentration in Conservation (MS_C) is a 2.5 semester (fall, winter, spring half), 36 credit-hour post-professional degree that expands upon conventional notions of Historic Preservation to encompass the multiple scales that shape the cultural and environmental heritage of a community and its region. The course of study offers participants an innovative approach to connecting physical, social and ecological contexts as a means of probing architecture's active role in the construction of culture. Participants will explore how to imaginatively design the future of historic structures, as well as progressively develop under-utilized historically significant urban sites and landscapes. Participants will be given the tools to bridge the gap between historic preservation of the built environment and the conservation of natural resources.

The program is designed for participants who have an affinity for the architectures and landscapes of the past who want to take an active role in defining a better present and future. Participants will focus on socio-cultural artifacts of memory and the role of conservation in architecture's and landscapes' physical embodiment of historiography. The program builds upon faculty expertise in areas of cultural history and memory, material science, environmental sustainability, social justice, and community development. The course of study capitalizes on the rich modern architecture and post-industrial legacy of the region, as well as our faculty's international expertise.

Pedagogical Goals

Modern and pre-modern landscapes, environments, and cultural sites are at risk of being destroyed or altered to such a degree so as to lose their original relevance. Conservation combines a deep affection for and knowledge of heritage with an engaged understanding of how the past might enhance the vitality of contemporary neighborhoods and cities. Conventional historic preservation fails to capture the holistic role of community advocacy and economic development in conservation processes. At the same time, conventional approaches towards the preservation of natural resources has excluded addressing the man-made landscapes that affect ecological systems. A holistic approach towards conservation has proved to be a highly effective element in community organizing and neighborhood identity, as well as a highly effective economic development strategy.

The degree coursework will combine conservation, activism, and entrepreneurship, and allow participants to analyze historic districts, sites, landscapes, and territories as well as propose alternatives for the future. It will combine technical training in conservation methods from outstanding practitioners; perspectives on urban history; urban design; community organizing; economic development; and public policy that draw on the college's and the University of Michigan's strengths in those areas and hands-on participation in exemplary conservation projects. Student projects and case studies will take advantage of the rich modern architecture and post-industrial legacy of Michigan, as well as the wealth of our faculty's research abroad.

Participants will have access to the advanced technology available at Taubman College, including state-of-the-art building documentation equipment, the Geographic Information Systems resources available at the SANDLab, and rapid prototyping equipment available in the Digital Fabrication Lab.

Degree Requirements

Completion of a minimum of 36 credit hours with a GPA of 3.0 (B) or better. Specifically a student must complete the following in good standing (grade of 'B' or better):

Core Requirements:

  • One course (3 credit hours) in MS Proseminar (Arch 714);
  • One course (3 credit hours) in MS Concentration Theory (Arch 716);
  • Two courses (6 credit hours) in MS Concentration Core A & B (Arch 717 / 553);
  • One course (6 credit hours) in MS Practicum (Arch 700, Section 003);
  • One course (6 credit hours) in MS Capstone (Arch 739, Section 003);

Electives (must be taken for letter grades):

  • Two courses Open Elective (6 credits).
  • Two courses Cognate Elective non-Architecture program graduate level defined by Rackham Graduate School (6 credits).

Sample Schedule

Fall Term Credits
Arch 714 MS Proseminar 3
Arch 716 Theories in Conservation 3
Arch 717 Documentation in Conservation 3
Arch 553 American Architecture 3
Open Elective 3
Total 15
Winter Term Credits
Arch 700 MS Practicum 6
Open Elective 3
Open Elective 3
Open Elective 3
Total 15
Spring Term Credits
Arch 739 MS Capstone 6
Total 6


Milton S. F. Curry
Associate Dean, Associate Professor of Architecture, Director of Post-Professional Degrees

Robert Fishman
Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning

Eric Hill
Professor of Practice in Architecture

Mireille Roddier
Associate Professor of Architecture

Gregory Saldaña
Lecturer in Architecture

Anya Sirota
Assistant Professor of Architecture

To learn how to apply to this program, click here.