Master of Preservation Studies
The Master of Preservation Studies (MPS) program at the Tulane School of Architecture offers an interdisciplinary opportunity to learning about urban preservation in one of America’s most historic cities. New Orleans maintains a wealth of experience in architectural heritage protection resulting from its over seventy years of historic preservation legislation and its history of preservation achievements.
The MPS program was founded by architect and preservationist Eugene Cizek, Ph.D. in 1996, with guidance and support from the noted American preservation educator James Marston Fitch, who also attended Tulane’s School of Architecture. Since July 2011, the MPS program has been directed by John H. Stubbs, international architectural conservation practitioner, former director of field projects for the World Monuments Fund, and teacher of preservation theory and practice at Columbia University for over 20 years.
The MPS program has four principal tracks of learning: preservation planning, technology, methodology, and architectural history. Its course work may be accomplished in three semesters: two of intensive course work, plus a semester to complete either a thesis or a work practicum.
Students from varied backgrounds are accepted in the MPS program and the majority of its graduates are working in a variety of positions in the U.S. and abroad. A Tulane Preservation Alumni Group was organized in 2011 and a biennial Preservation Matters symposium addresses new directions in the field.
Students in Tulane’s M.Arch I programs may obtain a dual degree in Preservation Studies to supplement their professional degrees. Applicants with other degrees in preservation will be considered for advanced standing.
The rich history of New Orleans as expressed in its architecture and its extraordinary tri-lingual historical archives makes the study of historic preservation here a unique learning experience. Endowed with a variety of cultural traditions, the remarkably well-endowed built environment of New Orleans offers a laboratory for learning about past preservation efforts, including some influential law and precedent established over the past century. Today, New Orleans features many new lessons and challenges in architectural preservation associated with disaster recovery, urban revitalization, and tourism management. The city’s current position as an international leader in cultural heritage protection is an inspiration in and of itself.
First hand participation in actual preservation projects is accomplished through the internship, heritage studies, national and international study travel and the optional six credit-hour Practicum. Preservation Studios I and II involve research, documentation and preservation planning work on actual projects within the region of New Orleans, usually involving their primary stakeholders.
The MPS program frequently interacts with faculty and programs across the School of Architecture including the Tulane City Center and the Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development program. The MPS program also fosters collaborations with Tulane’s Center for Environmental Law, the business school’s Program in Cultural Management, and the Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies.
The MPS program enjoys close and cordial relations with historic preservation organizations and government agencies in the Louisiana region, including the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, the New Orleans Historic Districts, Landmarks Commission, the Historic New Orleans Collection, the Louisiana State Museum, Louisiana Landmarks Society, Save Our Cemeteries, and the U.S. National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, as well as local and regional museums and preservation advocacy groups. MPS graduates hold positions in most all of these organizations, where students in the program often intern as well. Others may intern or gain employment in architectural, planning or heritage conservation consultancy firms. Such exposure to professional practice gives a competitive advantage to MPS students upon graduation. The interdisciplinary approach offered by the Master of Preservation Studies program prepares graduates for participation in all facets of the architectural preservation profession.
Note: Tulane’s MPS curriculum conforms to the standards of the National Council for Preservation Education and includes courses in architectural history, preservation theory and practice, research and documentation methodologies, building conservation, preservation law, and architectural and urban preservation planning. It also includes a practicum derived from practical field experience or a thesis.