Postgraduate Certificate in Architectural History
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.
The admissions cycle for this programme is progressing as planned, and the University is committed to ensuring that offer holders can take up their place as expected. Information will be made available as the situation develops. Find out more here.
What the course offers
The Architectural History course 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. Some 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.
Units 1 and 2 are linked and taught in consecutive terms. Their aim is to enable students to acquire 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 enable a student to acquire a sound understanding of the basic development of medieval buildings and their context.
Students also need to ensure they have sufficient time for directed reading and private study. Tutorials are available by request.
Assessment: three essays, each of approximately 1,500 words.
Unit 2: Historical Studies 2
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 achievements of Historical Studies 1 to enable students to acquire 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. Tutorials are available by request.
Assessment: two essays, each of 2,000 words.
Unit 3: Site evaluation and survey: Local Historic Building Survey
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 introduce 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 workshops, which need to be supplemented by private study and individual fieldwork.
Assessment: workbook record of a selected building to be submitted by mid-May 2021.
Unit 4: Individual dissertation
The dissertation provides 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.
An 8,000-word dissertation on a subject relevant to architectural history, chosen in consultation with the Course Director and due for submission by the end of August 2021. Dissertations are supervised within OUDCE.
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. Individual supervisions are given at mutually convenient times from May to the end of July.
Course structure for 2020/21 academic year
Historical Studies 1:
Settlement, Landscape and Medieval Buildings
Michaelmas Term 2020 – provisional dates
OUDCE, Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford from 9:30am-1:00pm.
Week 1 28 Sept Introduction
Week 2 5 Oct Historic Landscapes
Week 3 12 Oct Traditional Building Materials
Week 4 19 Oct Ecclesiastical
Week 5 26 Oct Virtual (Teams) visit to Christ Church archive
Week 6 2 Nov Castles and Great Houses
Week 7 9 Nov Rural Vernacular
Week 8 16 Nov Guest Lecture by David Clarck
Week 9 23 Nov Urban Buildings
Week 10 30 Nov Timber Framing
Historical Studies 2:
Hilary Term 2021 – provisional dates
OUDCE, Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford from 9:30am-1:00pm.
Week 1 11 Jan Introduction
Week 2 18 Jan Tudor and Jacobean
Week 3 25 Jan Seventeenth Century
Week 4 1 Feb Classical
Week 5 8 Feb Gothic Revival
Week 6 15 Feb Twentieth Century
Week 7 22 Feb Rural Vernacular Buildings
Week 8 1 Mar Urban Buildings
Week 9 8 Mar Industrial and Agricultural Buildings
Week 10 15 Mar Seminar on dissertations
Site Evaluation and Survey
Historic Building Study
This unit is taught on either side of Christmas, in December and January, and around Easter, in March, April, and early May. The detailed timetable for this Unit will be circulated during Michaelmas Term. Class-based lectures are held at Oxford Brookes University, Gipsy Lane, Headington, Oxford. The syllabus will cover drawing and survey techniques, documentary research, photographic recording and practical building analysis.
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.
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 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.
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 will also provide lectures.
Fees and Additional Expenses
Please visit the Postgraduate Certificate in Architectural History page on the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions website for details of course fees and costs.
Any additional expenditure will be towards books and study materials, purchased at students' discretion.
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.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration.
Who should apply
As this is a postgraduate course, you are normally expected to have a good first degree, although in exceptional cases candidates may be admitted on the basis of relevant professional experience. In addition, all candidates will be expected to have a sound background knowledge of English social, economic and political history.
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.
Apply for this course
For information about entry requirements and how to apply please visit the University of Oxford Graduate Admissions website.
Application deadlines are 12 noon on Friday 24 January 2020 and Tuesday 3 March 2020. Please be aware we shall consider applications received in January with the applications received in March. Late applications will be accepted, if places remain.
If you have any questions about the progress of your application, please contact the Graduate Admissions Office (tel: 01865 270059; email: firstname.lastname@example.org); or the Course Administrator (tel: +44 (0)1865 280783; email: email@example.com).
English Language Ability
English is the language of instruction for all courses offered at Oxford. You must submit evidence that you meet the University’s English language requirements for your course if your first language is not English, or if your first language is English but you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country recognised by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). List: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America.
You do not need to submit test results, or request a waiver, if your first language is English and you have always been a resident and citizen of the UK, Ireland or any other majority English-speaking country (see list above).
Score Requirements (Higher Level)
The University only accepts certain standardised tests with results at or above the following scores. Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. The score requirements in each test are as follows:
- IELTS Academic (Institution Code: 0713): overall score of 7.5 (with at least 7.0 in each of the four components).
- TOEFL iBT (Institution code: 0490): overall score of 110 with component scores of at least: Listening 22, Reading 24, Speaking 25, and Writing 24.
- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Overall score of at least 191, with a minimum of 185 per component.
- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Overall score of at least 191 with a minimum of 185 per component.
Asking for a waiver of the requirement
Exemptions from this requirement may be waived if you have completed, or are currently completing, a degree-level course that is full-time, at least 9 months and undertaken at a recognised institution where teaching and assessment throughout the course is entirely in English.
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