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MSt Building History

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• COVID-19 preparations: Information for applicants

The MSt in Building History is unique in providing a Masters course combining British Architectural History with practical tuition in interpreting building fabric. Students are taken from a wide variety of backgrounds. The course is heavily taught in the first year by invited speakers. Lectures are matched to field trips. The emphasis is on learning to research, record and assess historic buildings. By the end of the first year students are expected to be able to date buildings from their details and unravel their evolution. They are also given instruction on how to investigate and survey historic structures. The second year is divided between professional experience and a personal research project which constitutes the thesis.

The course has been designed by the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art in close association with Historic England and the Institute of Continuing Education at Madingley Hall.

It teaches both academic and professional knowledge, placing particular emphasis on practical skills of building investigation and analysis. It stresses the importance of rigorous documentary research. Students are taught methods for assigning value and significance, and how to understand buildings in their historic landscape context. 

Course Delivery 

Students taking the MSt will enjoy a wide range of lectures from expert speakers. The lecturers come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, all experts in their fields. See the Contributors section for more detailed information. The subjects covered include architectural history, archaeology, history, historic building recording, conservation and heritage management.  Lectures are delivered in three residential courses in the first year, arranged chronologically, covering the periods from the beginning of the Middle Ages to the present day. Mornings are spent in lectures. Afternoons are spent on visits, accompanied by the lecturers, to buildings of interest, where structural, stylistic and typological issues can be explored in situ. Skills of observation, analysis and interpretation are taught and developed.  Practical skills in building surveying and recording are also developed through a variety of field exercises and workshops.

Background of applicants

The Department’s two-year part-time MSt in Building History is an interdisciplinary research-based Masters degree aimed at applicants with professional interests and ambitions in architectural history, buildings archaeology, historic building conservation and heritage management, and is specifically intended to be compatible with in-service career development as well as with embarking on a new career while continuing to work.   It is aimed particularly at:

  • students from a wide variety of backgrounds – particularly archaeology, architecture, art history and history – who wish to become building historians or to apply building history skills in a broad range of heritage-related fields;
  • existing historic environment professionals wishing to formalise or extend their historical understanding of the built environment;
  • particularly able candidates hoping to proceed to doctoral research on a related topic (students must achieve a mark of 70% or higher to proceed to doctoral research and must find a suitable supervisor within the university to continue at Cambridge). 

Information for applicants

Course length and dates of course:

2 years, October start.

Saturday 9 October – Sunday 24 October 2021  

Saturday 22 January –  Sunday 6 February 2022

Saturday 30 April – Sunday 15 May 2022

Saturday 18 Jun– Friday 24 June 2022

Fees and funding

The fees for 2021 – 2023 will be £7,878 per annum for Home/EU students and £11,574 per annum for overseas students. This includes both the tuition and college membership fees.

Students will be expected to cover the application fee (£65 online) and any costs of travel (except travel costs arising from visits organised as part of the course), accommodation and subsistence during residential sessions in Cambridge.

Candidates who anticipate difficulty in funding their studies are invited to apply for a bursary. Applications are assessed competitively but generous bursaries can be awarded to good candidates.

Sources of government funding and financial support - including Professional and Career Development Loans

MSt Building History students will become members of Wolfson College, which was  specifically established for mature and graduate students and also welcomes part-time students.

How to apply

Applications will be accepted online from mid-September 2020 until 30 June 2021.

Read the MSt Application Guide to find out more about the application process and what you need to do and consider as a potential applicant. See below for details of the supporting documents you will need to provide when applying for this course.

Apply online when you are ready to start the application process.

Application deadline:

30th June 2021.

Academic requirement:

Candidates accepted for this course will normally have at least a 2i honours degree from a UK university or equivalent.

International students:

Under the UK Border Agency’s Points-based Immigration system overseas part-time students who are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland must obtain a Student Visitor Visa unless they already enjoy the right of residence in the UK. See the guidance from the Institute of Continuing Education. Holders of Student Visitor Visas may not undertake professional placements in the UK and will therefore need to identify an overseas placement within the terms of the Placement Guidelines (see the link above).

Students whose first language is not English must meet the University’s minimum English language requirements for this course:


Score requirement


Overall band score of 7.5, with not less than 7.0 in speaking, listening, writing, and in reading.

Course code: ARM12

Course Director: Dr Adam Menuge
Course Administrator: Alexandra Lumley

Course Management Committee:

Dr James Campbell (Architecture)
Dr Frank Salmon (History of Art)
John Cattell (Historic England)
Bob Hook (Historic England)
Dr Wendy Andrews (Architecture)
Emily Cole (Historic England)

Please note that the administration of applications to this course is handled by the Department in conjunction with the University’s Institute of Continuing Education at Madingley.

For all enquiries please contact the Course Administrator Alexandra Lumley.


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