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History & Critical Thinking MA

The Architectural Association
The AA School of Architecture
London, England
United Kingdom
History, Theory & Preservation

The History and Critical Thinking in Architecture programme is a unique postgraduate platform for engagement with the contemporary through critical enquiry into history and the politics of historiography.


Over the past twenty years, the 12-month programme has been continually developed and revised to remain positioned within current and emerging debates. The boundaries of what might be regarded as a legitimate object of study are being constantly interrogated and expanded. Rather than dealing with history, architecture and the city exclusively through buildings and methodological classifications, HCT attempts to transform these into distinct resources through which historical and political processes, spatial configurations and built forms can be analysed and better understood.


Writing is essential, both as a practice of thinking and a tool of communication. Different modes of writing – theses, essays, short experimental pieces, critical reviews, commentaries, book proposals and interviews – are explored to articulate the various aspects of study. Seminars with members of staff, as well as distinguished practitioners from different backgrounds – historians, critics, writers, designers, artists and curators – bring a diversity of perspectives and skills to the programme. Architectural writings, philosophical and political thought, ecology, literature, drawings, photographs and film are introduced and considered in analysing the connections between the textual, the visual and the graphic. The aim is to be able to explore, adopt and adapt elements of these disciplines and practices in one’s own writing, while preserving one’s own voice.


The ambition of HCT is three-fold: to explore writings of history and the ways in which social, political and cultural aspirations shape particular accounts of architectural and urban modernity; to connect current debates and projects with a wider milieu and interpret the contemporary from a historical, critical and cross-disciplinary point of view; to investigate technologies of research, production and distribution of knowledge in relation to practices and public cultures in architecture and in the context of recent cultural and geo-political changes.




Seminars, workshops, writing sessions and open debates offer students a range of approaches to expanding and reinterpreting disciplinary knowledge within a broad historical, political and cultural arena. Six courses are to be taken during Terms 1 and 2. Students will then attend a Thesis Research Seminar and produce a written thesis in Term 3. The thesis is the most significant component of students’ work. During the summer term, formal presentations to internal and external critics, as well as individual tutorials, help students to test and refine their ideas. A final presentation of the completed thesis to HCT staff and guests, as well as the new students to the programme, in September provides a formal conclusion to – and celebration of – the work of the year and an inspiring introduction for newcomers.


Collaborations with AA design Units, participation in juries and architectural trips and visits throughout the year enable students to engage with design speculation, as well as particular projects. Other courses outside of HCT can also contribute to the submission requirements for the programme – these must be approved by the programme director. HCT also provides research facilities and supervision (with the assistance of specialist advisers) to research degree candidates registered under the AA’s joint PhD programme, a crossdisciplinary initiative supported by all the Taught Postgraduate programmes.



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Admission Requirements



You are required to meet the minimum academic and reference requirements outlined below for your desired programme. Overseas applicants must also meet the English language qualifications requirements outlined below.


Successful applicants who are awaiting the outcome of future examination results will be issued a conditional offer. These conditions must be met by the date outlined on the offer letter in order to be eligible to enter the School.


Applicants who will not complete their degree until after June 2020 are encouraged to contact the Postgraduate Admissions Team prior to applying for the 2020/21 academic year.


Minimum Academic Requirements


MA History & Critical Thinking (12 months): Second Class Honours or above degree in architecture or a related discipline from a British university, or an overseas qualification of equivalent standard (from a course no less than three years in a university or educational institution of university rank)


English Language Requirements (All Applicants)


All applicants must be able to provide evidence of competency in both spoken and written English. The AA reserves the right to make a place in the School conditional on gaining a further English language qualification if deemed necessary.


More info at:


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General information
1 tear
Marina Lathouri
Not Confirmed
+44 (0)20 7887 4011
36 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3ES
Campus Location
The information of this Master's Degree was extracted from the Official Website of the program.
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