Program details

The Certificate in Preservation and Cultural Heritage (P+CH) is a multidisciplinary graduate program that provides the practical skills and background needed to succeed in the fields of historic preservation and cultural resource management.

The curriculum for the Certificate in Preservation and Cultural History was developed among—and involve coursework within—the following departments at the University: Architecture, Community and Regional Planning, History, Interior Design, and Landscape Architecture.

Current Iowa State graduate students:

The certificate program is open to graduate students in all disciplines of the university.

Requirements for admission include:

  • Students must apply to complete the certificate in addition to their graduate degree, and must submit a statement of purpose (describing background, experience, interest areas, career goals), a current transcript, and two letters of recommendation from the student’s home department.
  • To apply and remain in the certificate program the student must maintain a grade-point average of B or higher in these courses.

Students not currently attending Iowa State

Individuals from outside the university may also apply to the program. Requirements for admission include:

  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher plus submission of a Graduate College application, statement of purpose (describing background, experience, interest areas, career goals) and three letters of recommendation.

Current undergraduate students

Undergraduates who complete some of the P+CH classes may, upon graduation, be able to enroll as a graduate student to complete the coursework and obtain the certificate. Interested students should discuss their interest in the program with their departmental academic advisor.


Preservation is an established and growing professional field that shares a common language with archaeology, architecture, history, interior design, planning, landscape architecture and other disciplines. The P+CH program at Iowa State is designed to teach real-world skills and methods that will enhance those you acquire as part of your chosen major. Completion of the certificate provides an operational knowledge of:

  • standards for the rehabilitation and reuse of historic buildings, exteriors and interiors
  • cultural and historic landscape treatments
  • preservation economics, including heritage tourism
  • historic preservation of interiors
  • preservation planning
  • sustainable historic environments
  • preservation history and theory
  • preservation administration, laws, standards and incentives

LIDAR scanning, GIS-based spatial analysis, 3D modeling and other technologies play a significant role in many of the core P+CH classes and electives. Hands-on projects, guest lectures and fieldwork are important components of the P+CH curriculum. You will also have the unique opportunity to participate in international preservation projects through the Iowa State University and U.S. Department of State Cultural Heritage Documentation Project.

Course requirements

You must complete a minimum of 16 credits to receive the P+CH certificate.

P+CH Foundations – Complete the following course (3 credits)

CRP 511: Documenting the Historic Built Environment (3 cr.), Fall

P+CH Areas I – Choose one course (3 credits)

ARCH 568: Historic Preservation (3 cr.), Fall
ARTID 569D: Advanced Studies in Interior Design: Historic Preservation of Interiors (3 cr.), Fall
CRP 521: Historic Preservation Planning: Theory and Practice (3 cr.), Spring

P+CH Areas II – Choose at least one Historical Backgrounds (HB) course (3 credits) and two electives (6 credits)

ARCH 528A: Studies in Architecture: Culture (2-3 cr.), Fall HB
ARCH 567: Preservation, Restoration, Rehabilitation (3 cr.), Spring
CRP 421: Financing Historic Preservation Projects and Revitalizing Communities (3 cr.), Fall
CRP 563: Planning the American Metropolis (3 cr.), Fall HB
DSNS 546: Interdisciplinary Design Studio (4-6 cr.), Spring
HIST 481X: Public History (3 cr.), Fall HB
LA 590D: Special Topics: History/Theory/Criticism (1-6 cr.), Fall, Spring HB

Field School – Complete the following course (1 credit)

DSNS 591X: Field Studies (1 cr.), Summer, Fall, Spring
DSNS 590: Special Topics (1-3 cr.) A 1-credit version of this Special Topics class can substitute for the field school. One way to complete this requirement is to take a DSNS 546 Interdisciplinary Design studio (any Spring semester) and participate in the one-week field trip that is part of this studio. The one-week field trip can count as a DSNS 590 Special Topics 1-credit course.

National Council for Preservation Education

The Preservation and Cultural Heritage program is designed to meet the membership standards of the National Council for Preservation Education (NCPE). The curriculum is evaluated on a regular basis by preservation professionals and updated to reflect changes in the field.

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