About Historic Preservation

Historic preservation is a multidisciplinary field that cuts across the social sciences, the humanities, and professional practice. Preservationists today must grapple with social, historical, and cultural issues to work with the public and a broad range of professionals in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. The graduate program in historic preservation at the University of Maryland draws from the fields of American studies, anthropology, history, landscape architecture, and urban studies and planning. The program trains professionals who will be skilled in the different disciplines and approaches that make up contemporary preservation practice.

Maryland’s historic preservation program draws on the extraordinary resources of the state and the Washington/Baltimore metropolitan region. The program also enjoys close relationships with several prominent national, state, regional and local preservation organizations. Guest lecturers and instructors include leading professionals in the field, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, US/ICOMOS, the Maryland Historical Trust, the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission and numerous other county governments, Preservation Maryland and Prince George’s Heritage. On the university campus, the National Trust Library is contained in the holdings of the special collections library, which provides an unmatched archive and research resource.

Academic research is complemented by both project- and field-based professional training in documentation, policy analysis, and interpretation to prepare our students for entry into the preservation field. Students take a series of required courses to develop core professional and academic skills, which provides the basis for tailoring their education according to personal interests and goals. Students leave Maryland with a portfolio of professional quality papers and reports that clearly demonstrate their skills and value to potential employers.

UMD Historic Preservation Values

  • Community engagement is fundamental to the practice of historic preservation: We are committed to educating leaders who engage communities around issues of preservation and heritage, and to cultivating a sense of community among and between our students, faculty, and constituencies.
  • An inclusive preservation practice that embraces diversity of race, gender/sexuality, ethnicity, and other aspects of identity: we are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive academic and professional practice that works side by side with community leaders, residents and stakeholders, and that builds long-term, equitable relationships.
  • The interdisciplinary nature of historic preservation practice: we are committed to supporting and encouraging collaboration across our campus and within the profession.
  • Approaches to preserving our past that recognize and enhance social justice in the present: we are committed to directing preservation practice to embrace marginalized communities and communities of color and encompasses fairness, equity, and justice.
  • Innovation and critical analysis that moves us beyond traditional concepts of preservation philosophy and practice to ensure the relevance of historic preservation in the 21st century: our focus on inclusion and equity as a core value of preservation pushes the boundaries of traditional practice, as does our focus on a broad suite of resources, both tangible and intangible, and the application of the latest digital approaches and technologies to solving preservation’s pressing issues.
  • Hands-on, experiential learning made possible by a talented and diverse faculty and a location amidst the urban centers of Washington and Baltimore, and the broader mid-Atlantic region: our courses engage with community leaders, government actors, and practitioners to hone the skills and instill the professional values required to succeed in a career in preservation. In turn, we prepare students to be future leaders in the field of preservation in society at large.


The UMD Historic Preservation Program provides a high-quality academic experience for its students while it prepares them for a career. The curriculum is noteworthy for its reach and diversity, which draws effectively not only on historic preservation’s inherently multi-disciplinary character but also on a rich array of programs, departments, and projects whose courses and research complement the core courses.