Historic Preservation

Historic Preservation is a critical component of healthy, sustainable communities. Understanding, interpreting, and managing tangible and intangible heritage strengthens connections to the past as it exists in the present, and fosters a more inclusive and equitable society.

The Tulane Historic Preservation program champions how historic preservation has the power to celebrate diverse heritage, sustain communities, and protect the environment.

The program is framed by an interdisciplinary approach that brings together perspectives from across historic preservation and its allied disciplines. The mission of the Tulane Historic Preservation program is to train the next generation of leaders in historic preservation with national and global perspectives with innovative, sustainable, and resilient approaches to making the past more durable and effective for 21st-century society.

New Orleans and the Gulf South are incomparable places to study historic preservation. In addition to its extraordinary inventory of some of the most distinctive historic architecture in the U.S., is a microcosm of global issues, from climate change to housing affordability and social justice. Through studio and laboratory learning at the Tulane School of Architecture and the McAlister Historic Preservation Lab and hands-on high-impact learning with our partners in Louisiana, the US, and around the world, students are equipped with the skills needed to make an immediate impact in the preservation profession. Students leave the Tulane Historic Preservation program ready to become leaders in Historic Preservation and the allied fields of the historic built environment.


Place-based Learning in Historic New Orleans

New Orleans is the place to experience the history of preservation and contemporary preservation practice. The rich history and culture of the city, as seen through its architecture and extraordinary tri-lingual historical archives, create an immersive learning experience. The remarkably well-endowed built environment of New Orleans offers an ideal training ground for learning about past preservation efforts, including influential law and precedent. An international leader in cultural heritage protection, New Orleans is currently tackling globally-relevant challenges in architectural preservation associated with disaster recovery, urban revitalization, and tourism management.

Beyond New Orleans

Our program undertakes field research and learning around the nation and the world, from projects in South Carolina, Maryland, and Mississippi, to work in Bermuda, Barbados, Jamaica, and St. Helena in the Caribbean and Atlantic to Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria in West Africa, our students gain critical national and international perspectives that positively impact communities and stakeholders.


  • Built Heritage Documentation: Documentation is a foundational element of the program providing students with skills in analog and digital approaches to recording historic buildings and landscapes. Beginning with hand-measurements, discover a wide set of skills in field notes, sketching, architectural photography, AutoCAD, InDesign, and more.
  • Architectural Conservation: Gain valuable knowledge in the conservation of historic building materials through coursework that incorporates research, analysis, and treatment. Program students work directly with building material experts and trained conservators, both in the field and the Preservation Lab, to foster holistic historic building management and care.
  • Digital Technology: Our faculty are leaders in the application of digital tools such as laser scanning, drone survey, and GIS mapping for historic preservation practice and research. Through our curriculum, our students not only learn to master these digital tools but also learn to process data and make key insights. This technology-first approach gives our students a competitive advantage when entering the professional sector.
  • Social and Heritage Justice: Be at the forefront of a new era of the preservation and re-interpretation of sites that champion inclusive and equitable understanding of our past. Tulane supports “Historic Preservation for All” by working to highlight under-represented narratives and documenting vernacular sites.


MSHP faculty are researchers, teachers, and active practitioners. They know first-hand the skill sets and knowledge students need to succeed. Small class sizes allow students to develop close relationships with faculty and connect to their professional networks. View our school's faculty, listed by program, on our Faculty Page.


The MSHP is a four semester, two-year program, that provides a rigorous foundation in the core principles and concepts of historic preservation practice in the United States and beyond. Elective courses give students the opportunity to specialize in an area of preservation and its allied disciplines. A thesis or practicum forms the program’s capstone project that demonstrates a mastery of knowledge in the field.

The Certificate in Preservation Studies is open to graduate students only. Due to the robust presence of historic preservation in America today and that roughly half of the country’s construction work involves rehabilitation of existing buildings, a Certificate or Dual Degree in Preservation from an established program such as Tulane’s Preservation Studies program is a valuable addition to one’s terminal degree in Architecture or Sustainable Real Estate Development (MSRED).

Students in the undergraduate Minor in Preservation Studies program learn the fundamentals of historic preservation practice through courses in historic preservation theory and practice, preservation technology, and architectural history.


Brent Fortenberry

Director of Preservation Studies, Christovich Associate Professor of Historic Preservation