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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Architecture and Urban Studies is no longer accepting new applications.

The MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies (MAUS) is a programme of sustainability science and design for buildings and cities, and 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 and technology 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 a critical and rigorous analysis of issues relating to both architecture and the challenges and complexities of the world’s rapidly changing cities.

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) A History and Theory Stream focusing on the socio-political and cultural context of architecture and cities with an approach rooted in the humanities and social sciences; 2) A Technical and Sustainability Stream offers a more quantitative approach to architecture and urban planning (including transport, health and well-being, sustainability and environmental design, technology for society). Students are encouraged to participate in and draw from or combine both streams. In the second term, there is a 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 groups which cover a wide range of issues and geographical areas. The MPhil benefits from direct input in the form of lectures, seminars and individual supervision.

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 research and writing skills to specialise and enhance a wide range of professional prospects.

The programme positively encourages students to acquire knowledge and develop and apply research skills in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding of:

(i) Sustainability and environmental design

  1. the role of environmental design in architecture and urban planning;
  2. the history of environmental design and technology for society;
  3. the building physics associated with environmental design (ie principles of heat transfer, light, air movement, acoustics, energy demand and supply, etc.);
  4. modelling of building performance;
  5. monitoring and surveying of buildings;
  6. occupant perception, health and comfort.
  7. urban geo-spatial analysis and modelling
  8. the history of environmental design and technology;

(ii) Socio-politics and culture of architecture and the city

  1. The role of architecture and the built environment in political, social and cultural representation and contestation
  2. current debates in urban studies with an emphasis on the role of informality, conflict and post-  and neo-colonialism in global urbanism
  3. underlying theories in the humanities and social sciences that influence research on cities
  4. the modern history of urban planning in its political dimensions
  5. qualitative visual research methodologies including mapping and site observation

(iii). Intellectual skills:

  1. to reason critically and analytically;
  2. to apply techniques and knowledge appropriately;
  3. to identify and solve problems;
  4. to demonstrate independence of mind.

(iv). Research skills:

  1. to identify key knowledge gaps and research questions;
  2. to retrieve, assess and identify information from a wide range of sources;
  3. to plan, develop and apply research methods;
  4. to apply key techniques and analytical skills to a new context;
  5. to report clearly, accurately and eloquently on findings.

(v). Transferable skills:

  1. to communicate concepts effectively orally and in writing;
  2. to manage time and structure work;
  3. to work effectively with others;
  4. to work independently;
  5. to retrieve information efficiently;
  6. to assimilate and assess existing knowledge and ideas.


MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies students wishing to apply for a PhD 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.

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the end of October. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

See further the Postgraduate Admissions Events pages for other events relating to Postgraduate study, including study fairs, visits and international events.

Key Information

9 months full-time

Study Mode : Taught

Master of Philosophy

Department of Architecture

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Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
March 28, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 4, 2024
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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