For people who want to create livable cities rooted in history and culture, the Master of Heritage Conservation/Master of Urban Planning (MHC/MUP) dual-degree program offers the best of both worlds. MHC/MUP students are deeply curious about why the built environment is the way it is—and how they can make it work for everyone. They care about their community. They see a neighborhood’s identity as the heart of its vibrancy. They’re open to new experiences. They may have a background in urban planning, or they may be architects, historians, engineers, librarians, community organizers, curators, or anything else.
Dual-degree students attend both the School of Architecture and the Sol Price School of Public Policy, both of which seek to improve people’s lives through the built environment. While Los Angeles and California are particularly well suited to exploring this potential, the program explores planning and conservation practice throughout the U.S. and internationally.
Taught by leaders in both fields, the curriculum teaches the philosophies, theories, and practices of conservation and planning—including their roles in social injustice and what we can do about it. Topics range from urban design and public policy to architectural history and materials conservation. Students gain critical skills necessary to investigate, interpret, and evaluate the world around them.
“This program has opened my eyes in so many ways. I have a spatial lens now that I can use to analyze the world. I walk around the city, my neighborhood, any space in a different way. And that is so powerful. It's just really cool. I can read the landscape like a text. I'm much more critical of what I'm observing and why certain places attract people and make people feel a certain way, and different ways cultural memory and conservation show up outside of typical preservation.”
— Lindsay Mulcahy, MHC/MUP ‘21
Students conduct groundbreaking research that aligns with their personal passions, as illustrated in our Master Thesis Showcase and on our podcast, Save As: NextGen Heritage Conservation. We honor one outstanding thesis each year.
Qualified students admitted to the graduate programs in both the School of Architecture and the Price School of Public Policy complete both degrees in a highly integrated five-semester program.
The Heritage Conservation programs at USC include:
- Master of Heritage Conservation/Master of Planning dual degree
- Master of Heritage Conservation
- Graduate Certificate in Heritage Conservation
- Summer Short Course in Heritage Conservation
We invite you to learn more and contact USC/MHC Director Trudi Sandmeier for a conversation.
“Our MHC program is the only program of its kind in California. We seek to celebrate diversity in all the ways you might define it. Just as Los Angeles is a dynamic cosmopolitan urban hub, so, too, is the practice of conservation in this context.”
— TRudi Sandmeier, DIRECTOR OF GRADUATE PROGRAMS IN HERITAGE CONSERVATION
Following is the program curriculum for the 2023-2024 Academic Year. For previous years, please consult the online USC Catalogue archive.
- ARCHITECTURE (TOTAL UNITS: 30)
549 Fundamentals of Heritage Conservation (3 units)
550 Heritage Conservation Policy and Planning (3 units)
551 Conservation Methods and Materials (3 units)
552 Introduction to Historic Site Documentation (2 units)
553 History of American Architecture and Urbanism (3 units)
554 Heritage Conservation Practicum: Advanced Documentation (3 units)
555 Global Perspectives in Heritage Conservation (2 units)
556 Readings in Heritage Conservation Theory (2 units)
558 Fundamentals of Place-Making (2 units)
691ABZ Heritage Conservation Thesis Preparation and Thesis (1-4-0 units)
Electives taken within the School of Architecture (2 units)
Dual degree students, like all other MHC students, must complete a thesis.
- PLANNING (TOTAL UNITS: 30)
PPD 522 Planning Theory and History for a Just Society (4 units)
PPD 523 Urban and International Development (4 units)
PPD 529 Planning Law and Legal Frameworks of Planning (2 units)
PPD 531L Planning Studio (4 units)
PPD 534 Data, Evidence, and Communication of the Public Good (4 units)
PPD 629 Capstone in Urban Planning (4 units)
CONCENTRATION METHODOLOGY: There are six concentrations available in the Master of Urban Planning program: Arts and Culture, Design of the Built Environment, Environmental Planning and Analysis, Housing and Real Estate Development, Economic Development, and Mobility and Transportation Planning. Students must select a concentration gateway and methodology course (4 units each, 8 units total). Please see the Master of Urban Planning section of the catalogue for the concentration descriptions and course lists.
Dual degree students, like all other MUP students, must fulfill the internship requirement.
The USC Catalogue is the document of authority for all students. The program requirements listed in the USC Catalogue supersede any information which may be contained in any bulletin of any school or department. The university reserves the right to change its policies, rules, regulations, requirements for graduation, course offerings and any other contents of this catalogue at any time.