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MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies

Course Description

The MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies (MAUS) is a one-year full-time programme of advanced study on contemporary architecture and the continued development of cities around the world.

The MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies (MAUS) is a 1-year programme of advanced study on modern and contemporary architecture and the continued development of cities around the world. Students from a variety of academic backgrounds work in an interdisciplinary environment with urbanists, environmental specialists, architectural theorists and historians and design practitioners. Students will explore a wide range of ideas, research methods and theoretical approaches in order to undertake critical and rigorous analysis of issues relating to both architecture and the challenges and complexities of the world’s rapidly changing cities.

Key benefits

- 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.

Visit the website: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/aharmpaus

Course detail

The course offers a flexible structure that is tailored to the needs of individual student’s research interests. Seminars and lectures are organised along two basic streams: 1) one focuses on sustainability and environmental design from a more technical point of view; 2) the other emphasises the socio- political and cultural context of architecture and cities with an approach rooted in the humanities and social sciences. Students may participate in both streams, but can also focus on one only. In the second term there is choice of more specialist seminars within both streams. Students are actively encouraged to explore issues across these basic disciplinary boundaries. The course asks students to expand upon their own experiences by pursuing research in their areas of interest.


Teaching in the course is closely integrated with the Department’s research arm, the Martin Centre for Architecture and Urban Studies -http://www.martincentre.arct.cam.ac.uk/ which has a world reputation for research on a wide range of issues and geographical areas. The MPhil benefits from direct input in the form of lectures and seminars and/or individual supervision from the Martin Centre’s research groups:

- Cities and Transport - http://www.martincentre.arct.cam.ac.uk/research/citiesandtransport
- Behaviour and Building Performance - http://www.martincentre.arct.cam.ac.uk/research/behaviour-and-building
- Centre for Urban Conflicts Research - http://www.martincentre.arct.cam.ac.uk/research/conflict-in-cities
- Sustainable Building - http://www.martincentre.arct.cam.ac.uk/research/sustainablebuilding
- Cities South of Cancer - http://citiessouthofcancer.org/
- Digital Studio - http://www.martincentre.arct.cam.ac.uk/research/digital-studio
- History and Theory of Architecture - http://www.martincentre.arct.cam.ac.uk/research/history-and-theory
- Cambridge University Centre for Risk in the Built Environment (CURBE) - http://www.martincentre.arct.cam.ac.uk/research/risk
- Natural Materials and Structures - http://www.martincentre.arct.cam.ac.uk/research/natural-materials-and-st...

Professor Richard Sennett - http://www.richardsennett.com/site/senn/templates/home.aspx?pageid=1&cc=gb, The Department of Architecture’s Sir Arthur Marshall Visiting Professor, contributes a workshop to the programme in the second term. The course also entertains close connections with the Masters in Architectural and Urban Design (ARB/ RIBA Pt2) (MAUD) - http://www.arct.cam.ac.uk/courses/mphil-degree-in-architecture-and-urban-design-maud-arb-riba-pt2 programme enabling research-driven dialogue with designers.

Teaching is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops, which are supported by individual supervisions. Individual supervisions are an essential part of the programme, they help to assist, direct and monitor progress of students’ work while, at the same time, help to provide continuous feedback throughout the course.

There is also a range of activities in the Department of Architecture, and throughout the University, that will help students to develop their research interests and to meet the programme outcomes. These include the Martin Centre lunchtime seminar, the City Seminar and ARCSOC Talks. Students may choose to attend units on the MPhil in Sustainable Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Faculty - http://www-esdmphil.eng.cam.ac.uk/ and the MPhil in Screen and Media Cultures, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages - http://www.mml.cam.ac.uk/graduates/mphil_SMC.html with whom we have a reciprocal arrangement. MAUS students are welcome to be involved with MAUD in reviews and discussions. The programme includes research skills training designed specifically for the needs of our students.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme, students will have acquired the type of research training required to carry on to the PhD, or if conceived as a standalone degree, will have acquired the skills to specialise and enhance their professional prospects.


- The dissertation of not more than 20,000 words represents 50% of the overall mark. 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 July.

- An oral examination (viva voce) on the dissertation and on the general field of knowledge within which the work submitted falls may be required. Students must remain in or be prepared to return to Cambridge for such oral examinations, which will be held in September.

- Three essays of 3,000 - 5,000 words including footnotes but excluding the bibliography, on topics approved by your supervisor and the Faculty will be presented for examination. One will be submitted at the beginning of the Lent (Spring) term and the additional two at the beginning of the Easter (Summer) term respectively. The three essays represent 50% of the total mark.

- Students undertake a review of their work on a termly basis day which take place at the end of the Michaelmas (Autumn) and Lent (Spring) Terms and the beginning of the Easter (Summer) Term. Students present their work to a supportive forum which will include academic critics who will provide constructive criticism about the students' proposed essays and dissertations.


To continue to read for the PhD degree following the course, MPhil in Architecture & Urban Studies students must achieve an overall total score of at least 70%. Continuation is also subject to Faculty approval of the proposed research proposal, and, the availability of an appropriate supervisor.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

There are no specific funding opportunities advertised for this course. For information on more general funding opportunities, please follow the link below.

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

Visit the MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Bob Muhia

The University of Cambridge is an ‘experience’ you will never get anywhere else in life. My time in Cambridge has exceeded all my expectations, from the city itself, the learning you get from expertise across a very wide range of disciplines, college life, student life in general and the unique academic atmosphere in the department.

Coming to the Department of Architecture is not just about learning to be a better architect or researcher, far from it. You will be pushed and challenged to the limits by your professors, distinguished visitors and your peers, who help you grow tremendously not only as an academic but also as a person and a critical thinker.

I am delighted that I considered applying to The Department of Architecture to take the multi-disciplinary course of the MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies. The opportunity to learn and associate with academic staff who are leaders in their field worldwide is an experience that I will forever hold dear and special in my heart.

(Student Profile)

Theodora (Theo) Bowering

Having practiced architecture for over six years, I decided to return to academia to develop my knowledge of architecture and urbanism with a focus on issues of ageing. The University of Cambridge, the Faculty of Architecture and the MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies have offered an excellent environment for this study due to the accessibility of a breadth of disciplines, the expertise of the Centre for Conflict Studies and the incredibly supportive staff. My interest in ageing framed the year's work including courses on the socio-politics of architecture, conflict and film and ethnographic fieldwork in London; culminating in a twenty-thousand word dissertation. Overall, it is an incredibly intense and rewarding year that has challenged me to engage with critical discourses, as well as giving me a platform from which to develop a PhD proposal.

(Student Profile)

Kanchane Gunawardena

I joined the MAUS programme as an architect-planner with the aim of exploring a long-standing interest in urban climate risk management, while also hoping to further my research skills to read for a doctorate.

The flexibility of the programme enables the reader to focus their work in either of the specialist subject streams or to take an integrated approach. I have taken the latter path with consideration given to both the core environmental aspects, as well as the socio-political drivers that influence my topic. The introduction to the use of the moving image in particular was an unexpected methodology that has potential value to my future experiments. I have also acquired core knowledge of state of the art simulation practices and statistical tools that are invaluable to my future research ambitions.

The department is resourced well in both expertise and material facilities. Its personalised attention, ensures that each member of the cohort is guided and supported in their individual paths and will present individual and diverse topics as their final research output. I have enjoyed my experience with the MAUS cohort, and look forward to furthering the research experience I have gained at the department.


Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High II.i Honours Degree. A 1st class or high 2i honours (at least 67%/3.6/4.0 GPA) Bachelor's degree in architecture, engineering, physics, applied science or an appropriate cognate discipline. Find University Minimum Academic Requirements here View Website

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