Graduate Certificate Program

Certificates Offered

  • Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation and Regionalism (GCERT)
  • Graduate Certificate in Urban Innovation (GCERT)

The School of Architecture and Planning offers graduate certificate programs in Historic Preservation and Regionalism and in Urban Innovation. These certificates require 18 credit hours, some of which can also be applied to a graduate degree program, and are open to applicants not currently enrolled as UNM graduate students.

Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation and Regionalism

Francisco Uviña, Interim Director
School of Architecture and Planning

The graduate certificate in Historic Preservation and Regionalism is designed for students wishing to contribute to the conservation of architectural and cultural heritage, and to the contemporary vitality of valued regional traditions. The program integrates proven historic preservation techniques with the spectrum of related planning and design approaches for cultivating local history, and cultural distinctiveness. The graduate certificate in Historic Preservation and Regionalism is open to students pursuing a graduate degree in a related field at the University of New Mexico, those who already hold such a graduate degree, and those with a bachelor’s degree and appropriate related experience.


Students must either:

  • Hold a graduate degree in architecture, planning, landscape architecture, history, American studies, anthropology, architectural history, communications and journalism, environmental studies or other related field;
  • Be admitted to or be currently enrolled in a graduate program at the University of New Mexico in one of these disciplines;
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in one of these disciplines, and demonstrate in a resume and the letter of intent experience or accomplishment such as professional licensing, publications, professional practice, or professional, non-profit or government work with responsibilities in preservation, heritage tourism development, regional design or planning, or related fields that indicate ability to complete this program.

Students who are not currently enrolled as graduate students at the University must apply through Graduate Studies.

Application Submission requirements:

  • A letter of interest explaining your reasons for seeking admission to the program, and your expected time line for completion of the certificate, and noting the criteria above that you satisfy, and your social security number, mailing address and email address;
  • Two letters of recommendation from people who know your educational or work accomplishments and abilities;
  • A resume;
  • Academic transcripts for all higher education coursework.

To insure consideration for a Fall semester admission, completed applications are due no later than March 1; for a Spring semester admission, no later than November 1. Depending on space availability, applications received after those dates may be considered.

To receive the certificate, students must successfully complete a minimum of 18 credit hours, including:

ARCH/CRP/LA 590 Historic Research Methods
ARCH/CRP/LA 591 Introduction to Preservation and Regionalism
9 hours of electives chosen in consultation with the certificate program Director from an approved electives list
an approved Final Project (minimum 3 hours)

List of approved electives:

ARCH 662 Sem: Alternative Construction Methods and Materials
ARCH 662 Sem: Preservation Technologies and Adaptive Reuse
ARCH 662 Sem: Southwest Architecture and Cultural Landscapes
ARTH 507 Museum Practices
CRP 570 Sem: Preservation, Eco-tourism, and Community Development
CRP 570 Sem: Preservation Law
CRP 573 Planning on Native American Lands
CRP 586 Planning Issues in Chicano Communities
LA 512 Sem: Cultural Landscape Planning
  and other seminars with appropriate content as approved by the Director.

Graduate Certificate in Urban Innovation

John Quale, Director
School of Architecture and Planning, in collaboration with the Urban Innovation graduate certificate Curriculum Committee

Cities and towns are among humanity's largest and most complex achievements. The buildings, public works, plazas and parks of even a small community embody substantial amounts of capital, energy, natural resources, history and aspirations. Cities are among our greatest creations, yet typically no single individual creates them.

New Mexico and the American Southwest offer a unique variety of settlement and district types for study, including Native American pueblos; strip mall development; Spanish Colonial settlements; streetcar suburbs; gated residential developments; downtown revitalization districts; acequia villages; railroad, company, courthouse square, military and Mormon towns; second-home sprawl; ghost mining towns; Interstate commercial clusters, colonias; and communes. Ruins of ancient Native cities, myths of lost cities, and a rich literature of place provide further opportunities for research and design. Interactions between the natural and built environment are particularly vivid and strong in New Mexico’s desert and alpine ecosystems, as well as other parts of the Southwest. Examples of both extractive settlements and centuries-old renewable resource based settlements are clearly represented in the State and region.

The graduate certificate in Urban Innovation examines settlements from village to megalopolis and from street to planet-wide patterns to provide a foundation for students to engage one of humanity’s greatest needs and challenges - how to create sustainable and vibrant 21st-century cities.

The program aims to give students the foundations to explore critical questions about, study examples of, and propose approaches to creating specific sites, neighborhoods, districts, towns, cities and regions within a globalized world.

  • How can vibrant cities, towns and regions be created —places that are sustainable, convivial, and even poetic—while dismantling structures that produce and reproduce inequality?
  • How to respond to contested and conflicted histories and cultures?
  • What are the goals, aspirations, and tools when there are multiple independent stakeholders?
  • What design, policy and environmental interventions support the creation of vital public spaces and urban landscapes?
  • How does a city’s or town’s infrastructure work to configure the character of the place?
  • How does the relationship between professionals and other key stakeholders shape, constrain and inform a place?
  • How can emergent technology affect existing and emergent settlements?

The graduate certificate in Urban Innovation has three tracks for completion:

Urban Design is intended for students currently enrolled in a design program, or with a previous design degree, or substantial design experience demonstrated in a portfolio and an interest in urban and/or biophilic design.

Urban Ecologies is intended for students that want to explore the complex relationship between the built and natural environment, with a particular focus on rebuilding ecological systems, climate change, water resources and biophilic settlement patterns.

Urban Policy is intended for a variety of students that want to explore how social, housing, development, historic preservation, economic development and infrastructure policy impact social organization and the built and natural environment.

Students in the Urban Innovation graduate certificate program should develop:

  • knowledge of the theory, history and praxis of urban design with particular emphasis on sustainability and policy;
  • ability in multi-player design, development and regulation methods;
  • knowledge of concepts of urban ecology; and 
  • ability in analysis and prediction of urban design outcomes.

Admission Requirements


Students must either:

  • be currently enrolled in one of the graduate programs in the University of New Mexico with a minimum GPA of 3.0., or
  • already possess a graduate or professional degree from any university.

Students must apply to and be accepted by the Urban Innovation graduate certificate program.

Application Submission Requirements

Urban Design track, the Urban Ecologies track, or the Urban Policy track:

  • Resume.
  • Statement of intent outlining the applicant's goals in pursuing the graduate certificate, proposed track/program of study, and schedule for completion.
  • Samples of original written work, with no more than five 8.5x11” pages. This work should demonstrate the applicant's ability to write cogently.
  • Current academic transcript.
  • Names and contact information for two people who can speak to the applicant's qualifications for this graduate certificate program.

Urban Design track additional application requirement:

  • PDF file with no more than six to eight 8.5x11” horizontal pages that includes a brief graphic portfolio of design and planning work. Note: these materials should demonstrate (1) serious initial investigation of urban design issues in prior work, (2) strong design and/or planning skills, (3) attention to craft and care for the context and external consequences of design and planning work.

The certificate program Director and the certificate curriculum committee may waive or substitute other coursework for any of the above requirements if the application as a whole demonstrates that the student has the skills, background, and ability to successfully complete the graduate certificate. In certain situations, students with no experience in one of the tracks to completion may be required to take a foundational course to prepare them for more advanced work.

Students who have strong applications but whose skills in a particular area need development may be asked in the admission letter to add another course to their studies depending on their previous background.

Applications to the Urban Innovation graduate certificate must be submitted by March 1 for fall semester admission, or by November 1 for spring semester admission. Applications may be emailed to the attention of the graduate certificate Director, John Quale


The certificate requires the completion of 18 credit hours in one of the three tracks: Urban Design, Urban Ecologies, or Urban Policy.

The introductory core course, Introduction to Urban Innovation, is 3 credit hours. This interdisciplinary course addresses the core concepts in all three tracks. The course focuses on theories and methods of policy, ecology and design in urban environments. The course emphasizes leadership in all of these realms, and will require case studies on relevant topics.

Although it is ideal to complete the Introduction to Urban Innovation course at the beginning of the certificate, it is a prerequisite before the last six credit hours of the individual track are completed.

In addition to the Introduction to Urban Innovation course, students pursue the following number of credit hours in courses from the approved lists for the tracks in Urban Design, Urban Ecologies and Urban Policy, as selected by the Urban Innovation Curriculum Committee. The lists of acceptable courses will be posted online prior to the start of registration, during the semester before the courses are offered.

Required coursework by track:

Urban Design

  • Introduction to Urban Innovation, 3 credit hours
  • Urban Innovation Design Studio, 6 credit hours
  • Urban Design coursework, 9 credit hours (not design studios)

Urban Ecologies

  • Introduction to Urban Innovation, 3 credit hours
  • Urban Innovation Seminar, 3 credit hours
  • Urban Ecologies coursework, 12 credit hours

Urban Policy

  • Introduction to Urban Innovation, 3 credit hours
  • Urban Innovation Seminar, 3 credit hours
  • Urban Policy coursework, 12 credit hours

Note: The Urban Innovation Seminar and Design Studio are scheduled to overlap. The entire group of seminar and studio students will work collaboratively on a complex challenge in a particular urban environment. The location of the seminar/studio will change from year to year.

A total of 9 credit hours may count towards both the certificate and a master’s degree within the School of Architecture and Planning. Shared credit in other degree programs will be determined by those departments. Non-certificate students are allowed to take courses in the curriculum.

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Office of the Registrar

MSC 11 6325
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Phone: (505) 277-8900
Fax: (505) 277-6809