Master of Studies in Building History​

Cambridge University. Department of Architecture. Cambridge, UK






24 months


Local 7,500 LBS

Overseas 10,500 LBS



The MSt in Building History is unique in providing a Masters course combining British Architectural History with practical tuition in interpreting building fabric. Students are taken from a wide variety of backgrounds. The course is heavily taught in the first year by invited speakers. Lectures are matched to field trips. The emphasis is on learning to research, record and assess historic buildings. By the end of the first year students are expected to be able to date buildings from their details and unravel their evolution. They are also given instruction on how to investigate and survey historic structures. The second year is divided between professional experience and a personal research project which constitutes the thesis.


The course has been designed by the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art in close association with Historic England and the Institute of Continuing Education at Madingley Hall.


It teaches both academic and professional knowledge, placing particular emphasis on practical skills of building investigation and analysis. It stresses the importance of rigorous documentary research. Students are taught methods for assigning value and significance, and how to understand buildings in their historic landscape context.


Course Delivery

Students taking the MSt will enjoy a wide range of lectures from expert speakers. The lecturers come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, all experts in their fields. See the Contributors section for more detailed information. The subjects covered include architectural history, archaeology, history, historic building recording, conservation and heritage management. Lectures are delivered in three residential courses in the first year, arranged chronologically, covering the periods from the beginning of the Middle Ages to the present day. Mornings are spent in lectures. Afternoons are spent on visits, accompanied by the lecturers, to buildings of interest, where structural, stylistic and typological issues can be explored in situ. Skills of observation, analysis and interpretation are taught and developed. Practical skills in building surveying and recording are also developed through a variety of field exercises and workshops.


Background of applicants


The Department’s two-year part-time MSt in Building History is an interdisciplinary research-based Masters degree aimed at applicants with professional interests and ambitions in architectural history, buildings archaeology, historic building conservation and heritage management, and is specifically intended to be compatible with in-service career development as well as with embarking on a new career while continuing to work. It is aimed particularly at:


students from a wide variety of backgrounds – particularly archaeology, architecture, art history and history – who wish to become building historians or to apply building history skills in a broad range of heritage-related fields;

existing historic environment professionals wishing to formalise or extend their historical understanding of the built environment;

particularly able candidates hoping to proceed to doctoral research on a related topic (students must achieve a mark of 70% or higher to proceed to doctoral research and must find a suitable supervisor within the university to continue at Cambridge).

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