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Postgraduate Certificate in Architectural History

Key facts

TypeOxford Qualification - Part-time
DatesMon 22 Sep 2014 to Mon 31 Aug 2015
Subject area(s)Architectural History
Fees2014 fees: £2,910 (EU) and £7,205 (Non-EU). (You may pay by instalment.)
Application statusApplications being accepted
Application deadlineSun 31 August 2014
Course contactIf you have any questions about this course, please email ppaward@conted.ox.ac.uk.


The Postgraduate Certificate in Architectural History covers English architectural history from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day. It will be of interest to those seeking to develop their
• knowledge of the broad sweep of English architecture
• understanding of the evolution of the historic environment more widely
• practical skills of recording and analysing buildings.

Students come from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances, including those who
• wish to learn more about architectural history for its own sake;
• are seeking to start a career in a conservation related profession;
• are already engaged in a conservation career and wish to expand or update their knowledge;
• may ultimately wish to pursue further academic study in architectural history, conservation studies or a related field.

The Architectural History course is part-time and consists of three taught units and a dissertation. The taught units are delivered in association with the MSc in Historic Conservation course at Oxford Brookes University. The first two units, Historical Studies, are taught at OUDCE, Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, and the third unit, Site Evaluation and Survey, is taught at Oxford Brookes in Headington. The dissertation is supervised within OUDCE.

Teaching takes place on Monday mornings, from 9.30am to 1pm, over three terms commencing in the autumn each year. Two of the sessions in Unit 3 will be held on Monday afternoons between 2pm and 5.30pm, and one continues on to a Tuesday.

The number of Certificate students is normally limited to 10 in each year. There may be up to a further 25 students in each class from Oxford Brookes University.

Although it offers a qualification in its own right, the course is designed to enable successful students to progress to the Oxford Brookes MSc in Historic Conservation with exemption from the three taught units, subject to the admission requirements of Oxford Brookes University.

Applications will be considered up until 31 August 2014.

Programme details

Course Content

Units 1 and 2 are linked and taught in consecutive terms. Their aim is to give an understanding of the evolution of England's architecture, and of different approaches to the history of buildings.

Unit 1: Historical Studies 1
Settlement, Landscape and Medieval Buildings
Unit 1 concentrates on the medieval period. It provides an introduction to the evolution of the landscape and the major elements of architectural history in England up to the sixteenth century.
The aim of the unit is to provide a sound understanding of the basic development of medieval buildings and their context and of the need for such understanding in the decision-making processes of historic conservation.
Teaching is by means of lectures and field trips. Students also need to ensure they have sufficient time for directed reading and private study.
Three essays, each of 1,500 words.

Unit 2: Historical Studies 2
Post-Medieval Buildings
The unit will continue the themes introduced in Historical Studies 1 and will analyse the major architectural developments from the sixteenth century to the present century.
The unit will seek to build on the Historical Studies 1 to provide a sound understanding of the development of English architectural history and its broader context down to the present century in a manner which is relevant to historic conservation.
Teaching is by means of lectures. Students also need to ensure they have sufficient time for directed reading and private study.
Two essays, each of 2,000 words.

Unit 3: Site evaluation and survey: Local Historic Building Study
Held at Oxford Brookes University, Headington.

This is a skill-based unit designed to develop expertise in understanding the special architectural and historical characteristics of a particular site, building (or group of buildings) and to develop techniques for its representation through research, measurement, and drawn/photographic recording.
This unit will develop the skills necessary to plan, prepare and execute a programme for the recording of structures and sites, and will create an awareness of the main sources of archive material for investigations into historic buildings, sites and monuments. It provides an introduction to the making of a competent analytical record of a site through text, photographic and measured surveys, and drawn representation.
Teaching is by means of lectures and practical sessions, which need to be supplemented by private study.
Workbook record of a selected building, to be submitted by mid-May 2015.

This unit is taught on either side of Christmas and Easter, ending in mid-May 2015, at Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Headington, Oxford. The detailed timetable for this Unit will be circulated at the start of Michaelmas term. The syllabus will cover drawing and survey techniques, documentary research, photographic recording and practical building analysis.

Unit 4: Individual dissertation
An 8,000-word dissertation on a subject relevant to architectural history, chosen in consultation with the course tutor and due for submission by the end of August 2014.
To provide an opportunity for an extended exploration of a single topic based on primary and secondary research to demonstrate the skills and knowledge gained in the other elements of the course.

Dissertation topics are chosen during Hilary Term, and all students make a short initial presentation of their subject in the last session of that term. There may be another class seminar in June, by agreement with the students. Individual supervisions are given at mutually convenient times from May to the end of July. Dissertations are submitted by the end of August.

Programme outcome
By the end of the course students should have achieved:
• a broad understanding of English architectural history
• an awareness of the critical literature relating to the subject
• the ability to make a record of a building
• the ability to conduct independent research.

Selection criteria

There may be specific subject requirements for your course, so do check the selection criteria below. These will be used by the University in assessing your application.

Read full selection criteria

Assessment methods


Assessment will be by coursework. The three units and the dissertation will each count for 25% of the final mark. To be successfully awarded the Certificate, you will need to attend 80% of the taught classes and achieve an overall mark of 50%. Full regulations and examination conventions can be obtained from the Registry, OUDCE, Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JA.

Teaching methods

Teaching Staff

Dr Paul Barnwell, Director of Studies in the Historic Environment
Historical Studies and the dissertation are taught by Paul Barnwell, who formerly worked for English Heritage. Primarily a medievalist, he has researched, and managed research, on a wide range of building types and historic landscapes from medieval churches to the monuments of the Cold War, and has published widely on historical and architectural subjects. He is a former President of the Vernacular Architecture Group, the national society for those interested in traditional buildings.

Staff from Oxford Brookes University School of the Built Environment and from English Heritage.

Apply for this course

Who can apply?

As this is a postgraduate course, students are normally expected to have a first degree. In exceptional cases candidates may be admitted on the basis of equivalent alternative qualifications (e.g. NVQ Level 4) or at least three-years’ experience in a relavant profession. All candidates will be expected to have a sound background knowledge of English social, economic and political history.

Entrance Requirements

English Language Ability
A high standard of English, both written and spoken, is required in order to undertake this course. Students whose first language is not English should be aware that proof of their English language ability is required and must consist of one of the Higher Level English Language qualifications, as follows:

• IELTS: 7.5 overall score; minimum 7.0 per component (www.britcoun.org)
• TOEFL: 630 overal score; minimum test of written English score of 5.0.
(www.toefl.org - the TOEFL code for the University of Oxford is 0490)
• TOEFL (Computer-based): 267 overall score; minimum essay writing score of 5.0.
• TOEFL (Internet based): 109 overall score.
• Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Overall score of B.

How to Apply

The University requires online applications. Paper applications are only acceptable where there is no option to make an online application to the course or in other exceptional cases where it is not possible for you to apply online.

Application Form and Supporting Materials

The application form is obtained by going to the Application and Admissions procedure section of the online prospectus, at Graduate Admissions Office.
For a full explanation of application methods, see www.graduate.ox.ac.uk/apply.

Paper applications
If it is not possible for you to apply online, a paper application form can be requested from the Graduate Admissions Office. Please email the Graduate Admissions Office at: graduate.admissions@admin.ox.ac.uk or contact:

Graduate Admissions
University Offices
Wellington Square
Oxford OX1 2JD
Tel: 01865 270059

Please note that in order to submit a paper application you must be able to pay the application fee by credit or debit card using our online store. If this is not possible, you may pay by cheque or bankers draft drawn on a UK bank account.

You will need to submit the application form and all supporting materials:

Completing your application
You will need to submit :

• Three references.
Note: If you anticipate having difficulty providing 3 referees who have an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for this Programme of Study, please contact the Award Programme Administrator for advice.
• Transcripts of previous higher education results.
Note: If it would be impossible for you to obtain transcripts of previous higher education qualifications because of the length of time since you studied or because you have substantial experience but not a degree, please contact the Award Programme Administrator before you submit your application. The transcript requirement can be waived in certain circumstances.
• Current CV/résumé.
• One piece of written work of approximately 2,000 words.
• A statement (see application form) of your reasons for applying to the course. This should include what you feel the course would offer you, and what you feel you could bring to the course.
• English proficiency score (if applicable).

Please note that supporting materials cannot be returned.

Application Deadline

Applications will be considered up until 31 August 2014.

If you have any questions about the progress of your application, please contact the Graduate Admissions Office (tel: 01865 270059; email: graduate.admissions@admin.ox.ac.uk ); or the Course Administrator, (tel: +44 (0)1865 280154; email: ppaward@conted.ox.ac.uk).

Non-EU students This course is not suitable for non-EU students who do not already live in the UK before the course begins. For information, refer to www.ukvisas.gov.uk.

Fees and Additional Expenses
The fee for the course is £2,910 (EU students), £7,205 (non-EU students). A deposit of £200 is required on acceptance of a place on the course and the remaining sum is payable in instalments. Any additional expenditure will be towards books and study materials purchased at students’ discretion.

Residency category
For detailed information on fee status please visit: www.ukcisa.org.uk/International-Students/Fees--finance/Home-or-Overseas-fees/England-Higher-Education.

Financial Assistance For Part-Time Students

For information on student funding, please visit our website: www.conted.ox.ac.uk and follow links to `students’ and `sources of funding’. You will find information on student loans, bursaries and Professional and Career Development Loans as well as details of external sources of funding. For further information on funding, see the Oxford Funding Search www.ox.ac.uk/feesandfunding/search.

Please read our Terms and Conditions and Student Contract before applying for this course.
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