Taught course

Building History

University of Cambridge · Department of Architecture

Entry requirements

The normal entry requirement is a first degree at high 2:1 or equivalent level, although consideration will also be given to applicants with lower qualifications who can demonstrate commensurate workplace or life experience.

The course is taught in English and you should be able to read, write and speak English fluently. If English is not your first language, you are required to demonstrate you have the necessary language and writing skills to undertake the programme.

Months of entry


Course content

This part-time Master`s degree is an interdisciplinary research-based MSt. It has been designed by the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art in close association with English Heritage, and with the Institute of Continuing Education at Madingley Hall.

To register your interest for the 2012 intake please email: profstudies@ice.cam.ac.uk

The MSt is aimed at students from a wide variety of backgrounds who wish to become architectural historians trained in both academic and practical skills of building research and analysis, and assigning value and significance. It will also enable students to situate buildings in their historic area and landscape contexts. The MSt will appeal equally to existing professionals wishing to formalise or extend their acquaintance with historic buildings.

Following successful completion of the course you should expect to be fully conversant with effective methods of researching and assessing historic buildings and landscapes, and able to make a significant future contribution to the field.

What will I be studying

The MSt aims to give you a grasp of the issues involved in assessing the significance of historic buildings of all types and the current policy surrounding their conservation and protection. It is designed as a stand-alone vocational qualification that will prepare you for work in the heritage sphere but also for possible higher-level research.

The MSt focuses on British, and more especially English, building history, and ranges across the following broad topics:

  • research methods and sources
  • building analysis and recording
  • building history, medieval to 20th century, by period and theme
  • conservation philosophy and law
  • landscape and area assessments

In addition students will take two optional modules drawn from the following (the four most popular modules will be run):

  • vernacular architecture
  • religious architecture
  • the country house and its landscape
  • conserving industrial heritage
  • post-war 20th-century architecture.

How will I be taught and assessed

The MSt is part-time and studied over 21 months.

First year

Three two-week residential modules in Cambridge (during October, January and April) and one residential assessment week (June).

Lecturers will be drawn from both the academic and the professional sector, and accompanied visits to relevant local sites will be arranged.

As part of the course, you will be expected to submit:

  • written papers
  • a 3,000-word written and drawn survey report
  • a research proposal (2,000-3,000 words)
  • on-site tests, e.g. in building analysis

Second year

A minimum of six months` work placement (June-December) followed by a minimum of three months to write up a dissertation. The dissertation should be submitted in April.

You may be required to attend a viva voce examination after submission of the final dissertation.

Qualification and course duration


part time
21 months

Course contact details

Professional Studies
+44 (0)1223 760860