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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Architecture and Urban Studies is no longer accepting new applications.


Teaching is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops, all held together by regular individual supervision. Individual supervisions are an essential part of the programme: they help to assist, direct and monitor the progress of students' work, while at the same time providing continuous feedback throughout the course.

The weekly lectures and seminars provide a framework to explore a variety of research approaches from a range of relevant disciplines available in the Department. Students receive general seminars and specific guidance on research methods, the use of libraries, and writing techniques. Upon arrival at Cambridge, students will be given a handbook including guidance on how to submit the required coursework, and on all the lectures and seminars available to them.

Research methods, techniques and analytical skills are developed through the lectures, coursework and dedicated training courses.

The teaching methodology also includes individual research activities, oral presentations and written essays to encourage students to identify and solve problems. These activities are supported by regular feedback sessions and in supervision. This methodology, particularly through specialist supervisions, is built upon when the student embarks on their independent dissertation or design dissertation research programme.

Students are also offered physical laboratory testing and receive guidance on the use of environmental sensors and data loggers.

The course is intense and demands effective time management; it requires independent research work in close collaboration with the supervisor.

One to one supervision

Students are encouraged to suggest a preferred supervisor when applying. Students will be allocated a supervisor at the beginning of the year who will support their academic progress for the duration of the programme. They should expect to meet for one hour typically once every two weeks to discuss readings, essay drafts and research directions during term time for the duration of the programme.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

In the Michaelmas term, students attend a lecture and seminar series in both thematic streams: two hours weekly per stream. In addition, students attend weekly research skills seminars and workshops: two hours weekly. In the Lent term, students will have access to a range of advanced lecture and seminar series. They will be required to attend two advanced seminar series in History and Theory, and required to attend the advance lecture series in Technical Studies and Sustainability. There are no lectures or seminars in the Easter term when students are expected to focus on their dissertations. 

The course also entertains close connections with the Master of Architecture (ARB/RIBA Pt 2) enabling research-driven dialogue with designers. MAUS students are welcome to be involved with MARCH in reviews and discussions.

Throughout the course, the Course Director will arrange regular and informal group meetings to discuss course progress, approaches to publishing and to provide post-MPhil advice.


Students must attend the fortnightly City Seminar series and are encouraged to attend the Martin Centre lunchtime seminar series and the ARCSOC talks.

Attending other lectures is optional but students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the wide range of activities in the Department of Architecture and other faculties relevant to their research.

Students may choose to attend units on the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development, Department of Engineering and the MPhil in Screen and Media Cultures, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, with whom we have a reciprocal arrangement.

Students will also have access to courses offered by the Language Centre, the Social Sciences Research Methods Programme and the Personal and Professional Development.

Posters and Presentations

Students undertake a review of their work in the fourth or fifth week of Michaelmas and Lent term prior to submitting their essays at the end of each 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.

The reviews are intended to be constructive events which will benefit the writing up of work. They are also an opportunity for candidates to test out ideas with experts in a supportive forum.


Students will be provided with feedback via seminar and workshop activities, coursework feedback, review exercises, supervisions and the supervisor's termly reports.


Thesis / Dissertation

The dissertation of not more than 20,000 words represents 50 per cent 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 dissertation for examination during June.

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 examination, which will be held in late June.


Three essays or other exercises represent 50 per cent of the overall mark. In Michaelmas and Lent, two essays of 3,000–5,000 words including footnotes but excluding the bibliography, on topics approved mutually by the supervisor and the Faculty, will be electronically submitted for examination. At the start of Easter term, the third exercise is the production of a 1,500 – 3,000 word dissertation proposal and progress report along with a 10 minute presentation with feedback.

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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