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About the Program

Master of Design Studies in Historic Preservation

Using Boston's historical built environment as a laboratory, the BAC's distance Historic Preservation master's degree addresses the technical, cultural, and policy dimensions of preservation in today's world.

Take part in week-long learning intensives in Boston  

Online learning during the program is personalized in periods of study at the BAC's Newbury Street campus, located on a legendary street in a world-class city. This format combines the best of low-residency and online learning. During these high-energy, intensive weeks, you will work with instructors and fellow classmates in small learning groups. The result is a learning charrette that is part hands-on workshop, part discussion seminar, and part design studio with the historic buildings and neighborhoods of Boston serving as a design lab.

Study at a leading design college with a century of experience in design education 

Located in the heart of Boston's historical Back Bay, the BAC, founded in 1889, is the largest independent, accredited college of spatial design in New England. The BAC offers undergraduate and graduate first professional degrees in Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Landscape Architecture and undergraduate and graduate degrees in Design Studies.

Is the BAC's Historic Preservation graduate program for me?

The MDS in Historic Preservation is open to both design professionals and those in the allied fields of preservation planning, administration, and advocacy. A broad range of design and related professionals attend the program. This gives students direct experience with the kinds of preservation coalitions necessary in the real world.

Connect preservation and sustainable design

Over 30 graduate-level, online courses in sustainable design are available to preservation students. Among these courses are:

  • Sustainable Design and Preservation 
  • Sustainable Design as a Way of Thinking 
  • Life Cycle Assessment of Building Materials 
  • Greening Existing Buildings 
  • Sustainable Neighborhoods


Preservation education at the BAC includes opportunities to travel to destinations rich in history and preservation craft such as Charleston, South Carolina and Santa Fe, New Mexico. A recent trip to Greece addressed preservation philosophy in the context of ancient buildings and artifacts.

Fellow students are drawn from around the country, adding opportunities for exposure to alternative preservation contexts. The radically interactive nature of online learning will ensure contact with a wealth of local preservation issues and policies.

Program Senior Mentor

Jack Glassman, preservation activist and senior preservation architect, is the Senior Program Mentor. He provides guidance to each student pursuing an in-depth design or research project of personal interest. Jack has direct experience in governmental, private and non-profit preservation areas. Learn about his rich and varied experience on our faculty page.


The BAC is located on Newbury Street in Boston's historical Back Bay neighborhood. Students study online and attend three 8-day learning intensives in Boston (during semesters 1, 2, and 4) where they work with instructors and fellow classmates in small learning groups.

Program Partners

North Bennett Street School—Since its founding in 1885, North Bennett Street School's mission has been to train students for careers in traditional trades that use hand skills in concert with evolving technology to preserve and advance craft traditions, and to promote greater appreciation of craftsmanship. Students come to North Bennet Street School from all corners of the globe to enroll in offerings united by a simple purpose-instruction of students in the time-honored skills and methods that produce work of the highest standards.

Landscape Institute—Coursework addressing preservation of cultural and historic landscapes is enriched by the program's affiliation with the Landscape Institute, a 40-year-old Boston institution specializing in advanced study of landscape design and preservation. Founded at Radcliffe College, the Landscape Institute's courses and faculty are now part of the lifelong learning program at the BAC.

Enjoy online collaborative learning

The program's innovative use of emerging learning technologies enables effective communication with faculty and colleagues at a distance. In experiencing these technologies, students master the kind of online collaborative learning strategies increasingly central to contemporary professional life.