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MSt in Building History

Course Description

The Master of Studies (MSt) in Building History is an academically rigorous yet practical course aiming to equip students for careers in historic building investigation, research, recording, assessment, management and interpretation. The MSt in Building History draws on expertise in both the academic and the professional sphere.

Visit the website: http://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/mst-building-history

Course detail

The course, devised in collaboration with English Heritage, is unique in combining British architectural history with practical tuition in interpreting building fabric.

It provides an overview of architectural evolution and an awareness of the principal approaches to the exploration of architectural evidence. It also sets out to train students in the rigorous and effective use of primary sources, preparing them for careers in historic building research, recording, assessment and curation, or in suitable cases for progression to doctoral-level research


The course is heavily taught in the first year by invited speakers from a mixture of academic and professional backgrounds. Lectures are matched to field trips. The emphasis is on learning to evaluate architectural and documentary evidence and to formulate informed and accurate assessments.

The second year is divided between a professional placement and a personal research project which constitutes the dissertation.

- Lectures: c.100 hours (first year)
- Seminars and classes: c.60 hours (guided site visits; first year)
- Practicals: c.40 hours (first year)
- Supervision: 3 hours per year


- Dissertation: 20,000-25,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography and appendices).
- Two essays: 3,500 words maximum each.
- One recording project: 3,000-5,000 words, plus drawings and photographs.
- One research proposal: 2,000-3,000 words.
- Log-book/portfolio and report (3,000 words maximum) from professional placement.
- Field test of one hour's duration.
- A non-assessed (formative) essay is required during the first term of Year 1.

Some assignments and the dissertation require literature reviews. Students are expected to undertake 'Crit' sessions on the recording project and dissertation proposals. Feedback is given in supervisions, supervisors' reports and throughout the course on request.


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.

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


- The Building History Bursary fund -

Candidates who anticipate difficulty in funding their studies are invited to apply for a bursary. Applications are assessed competitively and it is expected that the bursaries offered will not normally exceed £2,000 per year, with a minimum value of £500 per year.

To be eligible to apply for a bursary you must already have submitted an application to study on the course, and be a citizen of the EU.

Find out more: http://www.arct.cam.ac.uk/courses/mst-building-history-1/Bursary

- Other sources of funding -

Sources of government funding and financial support including Professional and Career Development Loans: https://www.gov.uk/browse/education/student-finance

Visit the MSt in Building History page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course will normally have achieved a UK 2.i honours degree or overseas equivalent.

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