University of Oregon

Historic Preservation Program

About the Program

Ornamental facade

The University of Oregon’s Historic Preservation Program, established in 1980, was the first program in this field on the West Coast and remains one of the premier programs in the nation. As part the College of Design (formerly the School of Architecture and Allied Arts), the program is connected to many related departments, including urban planning, landscape architecture, and nonprofit management.  Faculty members include academics with essential research programs and practitioners who bring their real world experience directly into the classroom. Graduate students can pursue dual master’s degrees in preservation and architecture, city planning, or other fields.

UO’s graduate program in historic preservation operates out of the White Stag Block, a recently-renovated historic building in central Portland that houses several UO programs, including architecture, business, and journalism.  With its many individual landmarks and historic neighborhoods, Portland offers students numerous opportunities to apply their academic studies to actual preservation projects.  At the same time, the city’s booming economy demonstrates the challenge of maintaining historic resources against strong development pressure.  UO’s preservation program features studio courses that allow students to have hands-on practice in all aspects of the preservation process, from building fabric and historical research to development economics and public policy.  

Our program focuses on both the theory and the practice of preservation, with a dual emphasis on the technical aspects of preserving historic resources and the cultural qualities of what we choose to protect.  Students investigate the specific forms, materials, construction, and use of historic resources while also considering the cultural context in which these resources originally developed and continue to exist today.  A set of core courses provide basic skills and knowledge, including research methods, preservation history and theory, architectural history, and the economic, legal, and administrative processes of preservation.  Master’s students choose to concentrate in one of three focal areas: 1) sustainable preservation theory, design, and technology 2) cultural resource management; or 3) resource identification and evaluation.

Courses are augmented by fieldwork in the urban, suburban, and rural areas of the region. UO offers a summertime Preservation Field School that provides opportunities to learn about preservation techniques in some of the most iconic locations in the American West.  Recent programs, for example, have allowed students to restore a historic fire lookout on Mount Rainier and renovate a historic sheep barn on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound.  Other hands-on work opportunities include a summer field school in which students work with traditional masonry craftsmen in Croatia. 

For further information, please contact:

James Buckley, Director

Historic Preservation Program
College of Design
70 NW Couch Street, Floor 4R
Portland, OR 97209-4038

Phone: 503-412-3718

UO Preservation Field School
Shannon Sardell, Director