PGCert in Architectural History | University of Oxford
Divinity School
Vaulted ceiling in the Divinity School
(Image Credit: Fr Lawrence Lew OP)

PGCert in Architectural History

About the course

This one year part-time course consists of three taught units and a dissertation. It covers English architectural history from the Saxon period to the present day. The PGCert is taught in association with the Historic Conservation course at Oxford Brookes University.

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 you to acquire a sound understanding of the basic development of medieval buildings and their context.

Teaching is by means of lectures, held in Rewley House, and field trips. You will also need to ensure you have sufficient time for directed reading and private study. Tutorials are available by request.

Assessment consists of 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 you 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 at Rewley House. You will also need to ensure you have sufficient time for directed reading and private study. Tutorials are available by request

Assessment consists of two essays, each of 2,000 words.

Unit 3: Site evaluation and survey: Local Historic Building Study

This unit is based at Oxford Brookes University in 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 and photographic recording.

This unit will enable you to 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, field trips and practical sessions, which need to be supplemented by private study. You will also have to conduct individual fieldwork.

Assessment is via a workbook record of a selected building, to be submitted by mid-May.
This unit is taught on either side of Christmas and Easter, ending in mid-May, at Oxford Brookes University in 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. Dissertations are supervised within the Department for Continuing Education.

This unit 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.

Graduate destinations

Upon successful completion of this course, some students have gone on to further graduate study at a master's or doctoral level.

Related courses

Changes to the course

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Entry requirements for entry in 2017-18

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in any subject. Applicants need not necessarily have studied architectural history previously, but should be able to show evidence of prior interest in the subject, eg 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.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

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.  

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

Other appropriate indicators will include:

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview(s)

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

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.

Publications

Publications are not required. 

2. 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.

3. 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, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work. 
  • Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.

The provision of supervision, where required, 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 exceptional circumstances a supervisor may be found outside the Department for Continuing Education.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, maternity leave or change in employment.

4. 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 entry requirements appropriate to the course.

Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

5. Assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

6. Other information

Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.

Resources

The department is committed to supporting you to pursue your academic goals. 

The Rewley House Continuing Education Library, one of the Bodleian Libraries, is situated in Rewley House. The department aims to support the wide variety of subjects covered by departmental courses at many academic levels. The department also has a collection of around 73,000 books together with periodicals. PCs in the library give access to the internet and the full range of electronic resources subscribed to by the University of Oxford. Wifi is also available. The Jessop Reading Room adjoining the library is available for study. You will have access to the Central Bodleian and other Bodleian Libraries.

The Graduate School provides a stimulating and enriching learning and research environment for the department's graduate students, fostering intellectual and social interaction between graduates of different disciplines and professions from the UK and around the globe. The Graduate School will help you make the most of the wealth of resources and opportunities available, paying particular regard to the support and guidance needed if you are following a part-time graduate programmes. The department’s graduate community comprises over 600 members following taught programmes and more than 60 undertaking doctoral research.

The department provides various IT facilities, including the Student Computing Facility which provides individual PCs for your use. In most cases, online support is delivered through a virtual learning environment. 

Depending on the programme you are taking with the department, you may require accommodation at some point in your student career. Rewley House is ideally located in central Oxford; the city's historic sites, colleges, museums, shops and restaurants are only a few minutes’ walk away. The department has 35 en-suite study bedrooms, all with high quality amenities, including internet access.

The Rewley House dining room has seating for up to 132 people. A full meal service is available daily. The department operates a Common Room with bar for students. 

Funding

There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.

A range of scholarships are available to students on the programmes offered by the department, along with bursary funds to assist students on low incomes. Full information on these opportunities can be found on the departmental funding pages.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2017-18

Fee status

Tuition fee

College fee

Total annual fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£3,180N/A£3,180
Overseas£7,880N/A£7,880

The fees shown above are the annual tuition fees for this course for entry in the stated academic year; for courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges. College fees are not generally payable for non-matriculated courses although a small number of courses may permit college affiliation for which a charge will be made.

Tuition fees are payable each year for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay tuition fees).

Deposits

If your application is successful, you will be asked to pay a deposit against your course fees at the application stage as a condition of your offer. The deposit amount and date by which payment must be made are shown below.

Fee status

Amount of deposit

Date by which deposit must be paid

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£200On acceptance of a place
Overseas£200

The department's website provides further information about deposits for this course.

For more information about tuition fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details on the impact of the result of the UK referendum on its membership of the European Union.

Additional information

Please note that this course requires that you attend in Oxford for teaching, and also participate in field visits in Oxfordshire, and you may incur additional travel and accommodation expenses for these and for some field-based essay work. The practical unit requires the purchase of some drawing and basic measuring equipment (approximately £150). The practical unit and the dissertation may require additional travel, accommodation or research expenses, depending on the choice of topic/place being studied. 

Living costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2017-18 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between £1,002 and £1,471 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our Living costs page. If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.

Colleges

This is a non-matriculated course and students studying non-matriculated courses do not become members of an Oxford college. More information about matriculated and non-matriculated courses can be found on the Matriculation page.

How to apply

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Personal statement:
One to two pages

Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and any specific areas that interest you.

This will be assessed for your reasons for applying, relevant experience, evidence of commitment to the subject and of motivation.

It will be normal for your ideas subsequently to change in some ways as you investigate the evidence and develop your project. You should nevertheless make the best effort you can to demonstrate the extent of your motivation, suitability and academic aptitude at this moment.

Written work:
One essay of 2,000 words

A piece of written work in English, either from previous education or more recent, is required. Extracts from longer pieces are acceptable, provided they are self-contained and prefaced by a note explaining their context (eg chapter or section of a dissertation).

The subject should ideally be related to architectural history or history, though written work on other subjects is acceptable. The word count does not need to include any bibliography or brief footnotes.

This will be assessed for your command of written English and ability to construct a logical argument.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, generally academic

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

References should generally be academic. However, where academic references cannot be provided, professional references will be accepted in lieu of academic references.

Your references will support your academic ability and suitability for this course.