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Postgraduate Study

8 courses offered in the Department of Architecture

The Cambridge Department of Architecture has been ranked top by the Times Higher Educational Supplement in the UK’s Research Excellence Framework for research quality in a joint submission with Land Economy, one of four Cambridge University disciplines to have achieved first place in their respective Units of Assessment.

A doctoral degree at the Department of Architecture offers the opportunity for independent research under the supervision of a departmental member of staff.  Unless the candidate is part of a research group, the research is undertaken entirely by the candidate on their own, with regular supervision on progress with their supervisor.

The Department welcomes applications from postgraduates to undertake research towards a PhD in most areas, including Urban Studies, History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism, Digital Media Design and Communication, Design, Technology and Natural Materials, Planning and Environment, but is unable to accept candidates for whom no supervisor is available.  The Department does not offer a taught PhD programme. Instead, it admits those applicants who meet the academic admissions criteria and whose research interests match those of an available member of the academic staff who is willing to act as the student's supervisor.

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In the 2022 Research Excellent Framework, Cambridge Architecture’s research work was ranked 1st in the UK, achieving the highest proportion of combined World Leading research. The Cambridge Department of Architecture has been ranked top by the Times Higher Educational Supplement in the UK’s Research Excellence Framework for research quality. A remarkable 56.9% of all of our research outputs are ranked 4*, ‘world leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour’ and 39.7% are ranked 3*, ‘internationally excellent’, whilst 87.5% of our research impact studies are ranked 4*.  This consolidates our top ranking established in the previous Research Assessment Exercises of 2008 and 2014.

Building on this research excellence, the MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies (MAUS) is a full-time programme of advanced study on contemporary architecture and the continued development of cities around the world.


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The MPhil in Architecture is a nine-month full-time or part-time research degree offering the opportunity for independent research under the supervision of a departmental member of staff.  The qualification may count towards the entrance requirements for PhD study, however, applicants are advised that almost without exception students commence their MPhil studies with the intention of later applying to pursue a higher degree.  Please note, that the degree does not 'convert' to a PhD; students wishing to later pursue a PhD must make a new application for PhD study. 

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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 spheres.

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The Postgraduate Certificate in Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment is a ten month, part-time programme that addresses many of the key challenges experienced in the design of the built environment, such as:

  • Global climate change
  • Environmental, social and economic sustainability
  • Human health and well-being

The course will explore the context within which projects within the built environment are procured and designed with a key focus on:

  • The relationship between the design team and the client
  • The responsibility of the design team to the end user/society

The Certificate will introduce students to methods through which design teams can address these challenges through the projects they are involved in, such as:

  • Sustainable and resilient design
  • Innovation and Technology
  • Interdisciplinary practice and team-working skills
  • Design thinking
  • Research skills


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This is a two-year full time professional design and research course leading to the Master of Architecture Degree. It provides exemption from ARB/RIBA Part II as well as research training so that students who get sufficient grades in the dissertation can continue directly on to a PhD degree. UK students carrying on from BA(Hons) RIBA/ARB Part I courses pay undergraduate fees and are eligible for student loans.

It is recommended to take a year out and gain experience in architectural practice following the Part I course. Uniquely amongst MArch courses, students select their research topic and design projects, limited only by the availability of suitable supervisors

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The MSt in Architecture provides an alternative to the traditional full time route to qualifying as an architect where the fees are paid by the employer and the Apprenticeship Levy and students work throughout. Students must have completed ARB/RIBA Part I through a recognised degree course or apprenticeship. Students apply in their year-out through the architectural practice they are working for. The Cambridge course is mainly taught in short two-week residential courses held throughout the year which mix Master Classes, Lectures, Supervisions, Seminars and Studio work. The lectures are taught by experts from inside the University and from elsewhere. The Master Classes are taught by leading practitioners in their particular fields. The result is a unique course that seeks to prepare the student for the rapidly changing world of professional practice in the 21st century. 

The MSt is taken in conjunction with the Government’s Level 7 Architect Apprenticeship scheme. The Master of Studies (MSt) in Architecture (Degree Apprenticeship) is accompanied by its associated Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice in Architecture (End Point Assessment) which includes the End Point Assessment itself, approximately six months later. 

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The Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice in Architecture is awarded by the Institute of Continuing Education and administered by the Department of Architecture.

The Postgraduate Certificate is a one-year, part-time master’s-level programme resulting in 60 FHEQ Level-7 credits and an award from the University of Cambridge. There are three workshop sessions run in Cambridge over the academic year which means that students are not required to be away from their offices for long periods. The sessions cover the topics outlined in the ARB/RIBA Criteria for Part 3 courses. The course and the examination has validation from the ARB and the RIBA.

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1 course also advertised in the Department of Architecture

From the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art

The Master of Studies (MSt) in Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment (IDBE) is a transformative part-time master’s programme at the University of Cambridge for global practitioners working in the built environment. The master's was created by a powerful partnership between the University of Cambridge’s world-leading Architecture and Engineering Departments.  It is designed for professionals working in the built environment who want to deliver the kind of sustainable and resilient places and spaces which are crucial to our common future. Interdisciplinary awareness and related management skills are seldom part of standard architecture, engineering and other built environment qualifications. IDBE helps ambitious built environment professionals meet the increasing demands of their market, their sector and invigorate their personal development.

The learning approach is highly interactive and designed to encourage reflection and debate. Students are supported by a team of expert tutors and supervisors. The speakers, lecturers and facilitators are leading experts and practitioners from both academia and industry.  A key feature of the programme is the collaborative learning experience. The programme facilitates shared learning between peers, and networking with the extensive range of contributors, together providing a rich learning environment.


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Department Members

Dr James Campbell
Head of Department

  • 15 Academic Staff
  • 16 Postdoctoral Researchers
  • 149 Graduate Students
  • 128 Undergraduates

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