Taught course

Architecture and Urban Design

University of Cambridge · Department of Architecture

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High 2:1 Honours Degree or its international equivalent.

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.

This two-year course uniquely combines a professional course – that is, an ARB/RIBA Part 2 course – with a Cambridge Master of Philosophy degree. It provides advanced teaching, research and practice opportunities in environmental, 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 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.

This is a course that enables each student to identify a unique thesis topic and to test the possibilities of using a set of design proposals as a research methodology. This course provides a platform for bringing together the research interests in Cambridge with its studio objectives. The means by which this happens is continually evolving and places the debate about the relationship between research and design at the centre of the school. Each project is an individual exploration of contemporary issues in the built environment consolidating months of research, discussion and interdisciplinary collaboration in a design proposal.

The course is structured in two parts: the residential period dedicated to the intensive study of the cultural, theoretical, and technical factors shaping each thesis topic, explored through a rigorous set of design tests and culminating in a full written thesis and project portfolio; and the second, a fieldwork period (after two terms of study) in which the implications of outline proposals are examined on site, or within a professional context. These components provide an opportunity to explore distinct design approaches in various settings, while offering a sound framework to pursue meaningful research.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPhil
    full time
    22 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details