Taught course

Architecture and Urban Design

University of Cambridge · Department of Architecture

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High II.i Honours Degree or its international equivalent. For information regarding our MPhil in Architecture & Urban Design (MAUD) course see: https://www.arct.cam.ac.uk/courses/mphil-degree-in-architecture-and-urban-design-maud-arb-riba-pt2 https://www.arct.cam.ac.uk/courses/mphil-degree-in-architecture-and-urban-design-maud-arb-riba-pt2 http://www.cambridge-design-research-studio.com/ http://www.cambridge-design-research-studio.com/ If you do meet the admissions requirements for the course you will then need to determine whether the design thesis you wish to produce can be hosted by the Department.  We can host design theses which relate to the following areas:  explorations into strategies for resilience (environmental, socio-economic and cultural), approaches to civic engagement, and the study of fabrication techniques.  In each case students are expected to focus on either urban planning measures, the structure of neighbourhoods or institutions, or to examine and promote direct action in the form of 1:1 built structures, public engagement exercises or forms of performance and exhibition. Interviews for this programme will take place during February 2016.  Following the interview, the Faculty’s Degree Committee will then consider the application and make a recommendation to the Graduate Admissions Office as to whether an offer of a place on the course should be made, and if so, with what academic conditions.

Months of entry


Course content


In the 2014 Research Excellent Framework, Cambridge Architecture’s research work was ranked 1st in the UK, achieving the highest proportion of combined World Leading research.  88% of the research produced by the Department was rated as World Leading or Internationally Excellent (Unit of Assessment 16: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning).  This consolidates our top ranking established in the previous Research Assessment Exercise of 2008.

Ranked 1st for Architecture by the Guardian's 2015 University Guide.

This two year course uniquely combines a professional course; that is, an ARB/RIBA Part 2 course with a Cambridge Master’s degree in Philosophy. It provides advanced teaching, research and practice opportunities in environmental design, including the social, political, historical, theoretical and economic aspects of architecture, cities and the global environment.

The course is a hybrid of independent research through design and a structured technical learning resource. It is designed for mature students that join the program with a distinct area of interest and provides guidelines to their scientific research, access to specialists of various fields relevant to their studies, and a matrix of deliverables that foster an informed body of work underpinned by a sophisticated set of design and presentation techniques.

Fees and funding

Fee (First Year) Home: GBP9000, EU: GBP9000, Overseas: GBP24963 (Second Year) Home: GBP4500, EU: GBP4500, Overseas: GBP12483

Qualification and course duration


full time
24 months



The design thesis represents 60% of the overall mark and consists of a:

  • written dissertation of not more than 15,000 words (20%). The word count includes footnotes but excludes the bibliography. Any appendices will require the formal permission of your Supervisor who may consult the Degree Committee. Students submit two hard copies and one electronic copy of their thesis for examination at the end of May.
  • design project (40%) submitted for examination at the end of July in hard and electronic copy.

Candidates present their design thesis to examiners at an Exam Board held at the end of the second year. Students must remain in or be prepared to return to Cambridge to attend the examination.


Four essays or equivalent exercises of 3,000 - 5,000 words, including footnotes/endnotes but excluding the bibliography, on topics approved by the Course Directors will be presented for examination. The first three of these essays are submitted during Year 1; one at the beginning of the Lent (Spring) Term and two at the beginning of the Easter (Summer) Term. The remaining essay is submitted at the beginning of the Easter (Summer) Term in Year 2.

The first essay constitutes an essay or equivalent (5%) and an oral presentation (5%), the second is a pilot study (10%) and the third is a design submission (10%). The final essay is a project realisation essay (10%).

Students must submit two bound paper copies and one electronic copy of each essay or equivalent exercise.

The essays and equivalent exercises contribute 40% towards the final mark awarded.

Practical Assessment

The course requires regular written, visual and oral presentations in the Studio. Effective communication of research findings and design concepts are an important criterion in all areas of the students' work, and assessed at all stages.

Other Assessment

A logbook of work and research carried out during the fieldwork period will be presented at the beginning of the Easter Term of Year 2 for assessment. The logbook is not awarded a mark.

Course contact details

+44 1223 337733