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Postgraduate Certificate in Architectural History

Key facts

TypesOxford Qualification - Part-time
Professional Development
DatesMon 26 Sep 2016 to Thu 31 Aug 2017
Subject area(s)Architectural History
Fees2016 fees: £3,085 (EU) and £7,650 (Non-EU). (You may pay by instalment.)
Application statusApplications being accepted
Application deadlineFri 08 July 2016
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. 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 to10 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 deadlines are 22 January 2016, 11 March 2016 and 8 July 2016. Please be aware we shall consider applications received in January with the applications received in March. Late applications will be accepted, if places remain.

Programme details

Course Content

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, 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. Tutorials are available by request.
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 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.
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, field trips and practical sessions, which need to be supplemented by private study and individual fieldwork.
Workbook record of a selected building, to be submitted by mid-May 2017.

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 2017. Dissertations are supervised within OUDCE.
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.

Course structure

Historical Studies 1:
Settlement, Landscape and Medieval Buildings
Michaelmas Term 2016 at OUDCE, Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford from 9:30am-1:00pm.
Week 1 26 Sept Introduction
Week 2 3 Oct Historic Landscapes
Week 3 10 Oct Traditional Building Materials
Week 4 17 Oct Ecclesiastical
Week 5 24 Oct Reading Week
Week 6 31 Oct Castles and Great Houses
Week 7 7 Nov Rural Vernacular
Week 8 14 Nov Site Visit to Dorchester
Week 9 21 Nov Urban Buildings
Week 10 28 Nov Timber Framing

Historical Studies2:
Post-Medieval Buildings
Hilary Term 2017 at OUDCE, Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford.
Week 1 9 Jan Introduction
Week 2 16 Jan Tudor and Jacobean
Week 3 23 Jan Seventeenth Century
Week 4 30 Jan Classical
Week 5 6 Feb Gothic Revival
Week 6 13 Feb Twentieth Century
Week 7 20 Feb Rural Vernacular Buildings
Week 8 27 Feb Urban Buildings
Week 9 6 Mar Industrial and Agricultural Buildings
Week 10 13 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.

Entry requirements


1. Criteria
In agreement with equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of a candidate’s ability to meet the following criteria:

2. Academic ability
Proven and potential academic excellence.
Applicants are normally expected to have demonstrate undergraduate study to degree level, usually with a first-class or an upper second class undergraduate degree (or equivalent other UK or international qualifications ). This requirement is not subject-specific.

3. Professional qualifications and/or experience
Applications are also considered from those who do not have previous higher education. Vocational qualifications equivalent to NVQ level 4 are acceptable substitutes, as is at least three years’ experience in a conservation-related profession.

4. Other criteria
Applicants need not necessarily have studied architectural history previously, but should be able to show evidence of prior interest in the subject, e.g., through work-related activities, voluntary work in a related field, completion of previous courses (including evening classes), or membership of relevant local or national societies.

All applicants must have a broad knowledge of English political, social and economic history.

Applicants must show the ability to study or work both independently and in groups or teams. Possession of a first degree or equivalent qualification will be taken as evidence of both; for those with no such qualification, evidence such as attendance at evening classes and team working (whether in employment or in voluntary activities) will be acceptable substitutes.

5. Appropriate indicators of academic ability and/or professional experience
These will include:

Three references are required, which may be either academic or professional.
Referees should comment upon the applicant’s intellectual ability, academic aptitude and motivation.

Written work produced by the student.
A piece of written work in English, either from previous education or more recent, is required. The subject should normally be related to architectural history or history, but as the main purpose is to assess applicants’ command of written English and ability to construct a logical argument, other subjects are acceptable. Work should ideally be around 2000 words in length. Extracts from longer pieces are acceptable, provided they are self-contained and prefaced by a note explaining their context (e.g., chapter or section of a dissertation).

Personal statement
A personal statement, in English, of one to two sides of A4 should be included. It should outline the applicant’s reasons for applying, relevant experience, evidence of commitment to the subject and of motivation.

Performance at interview
Applicants who appear, from the material they submit, to be suitable for the course will be invited to interview. Interviewers will normally be conducted in person by the course director and another academic from the Department for Continuing Education. The interview will seek to resolve any questions arising from the application, to explore prior educational or other experience, prior interest in the subject, and motivation, and to assess the applicants’ ability to communicate orally. Interviewers will also seek to ensure that applicants have a full understanding of the workload and implications of embarking on the course.

6. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places
The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:
• The ability of the Department for Continuing Education to provide the appropriate supervision and teaching, together with research opportunities and facilities (bearing in mind the part-time, non-residential nature of the course) for your chosen area of work.
• The acceptability of any arrangements for research opportunities, access to facilities, and support for your chosen area of work to be provided by a third party (for example, your employer).
• There are minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted onto Oxford’s research and taught programmes. The provision of supervision is subject to the following points.
• The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Department for Continuing Education and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff.
• Under some circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Department for Continuing Education: in such cases a second, internal, supervisor will be appointed.

7. English language requirement
Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.

8. Deadlines and required full set of application materials
Please refer to the Graduate Admissions website:
www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate_courses/apply/application_guide.html#awhen_to_apply for information on the deadlines which must be met, and the full set of supporting materials required, in order for applications to be guaranteed to be considered.

9. Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until we are satisfied that you have sufficient funding to cover your fees for the standard period of fee liability for your course. For some courses this is undertaken by the college, for others by the Department for Continuing Education. Where there is a compulsory residential period of study, we shall also need to be satisfied that you have sufficient funding to cover travel and accommodation costs.

10. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties.
Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the selection criteria appropriate to the programme of study. Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available here:


11. Other information
Applicants who are in doubt as to their eligibility to apply for the course are welcome to contact the course director informally before applying. The receipt of positive advice concerning eligibility does not guarantee a place on the course.

12. Assessors
All applications will be assessed by more than one member of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise.

13. Course webpage at Graduate Admissions

Course aims

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.

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?

Please see the Graduate Admissions website at: http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/courses/pgcert-architectural-history.

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.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate_courses/apply/application_guide.

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 deadlines are 12:00pm on 22 January 2016, 11 March 2016 and 8 July 2016. 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: 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 £3,085 (EU students), £7,650 (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.

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