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.

Supervision

For this course, 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.

Graduate destinations

Upon successful completion of this course, some students have gone on to further graduate study at a master's or doctoral level at Oxford and elsewhere; others find employment with conservation and heritage organisations.

Changes to this course and your supervision

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. In certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.

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, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Other courses you may wish to consider

If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.

Courses suggested by the department

Architectural History DPhil

Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21

Proven and potential academic excellence

Degree-level qualifications

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:

  • a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in any subject.

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. 

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

If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.

GRE General Test scores

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

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

  • 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.
  • All applicants must have a broad knowledge of English political, social and economic history.
  • Publications are not required. 

English language requirement

This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement.

Detailed requirements - higher level

The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are:

IELTS Academic7.5Minimum 7.0 per component
TOEFL iBT110

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or C1 Advanced191Minimum 185 per component
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or C2 Proficiency191Minimum 185 per component

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. For more information about the English language test requirement, visit the Application Guide

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

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

Interviews are normally held in April and early May, for applications received in March; for later applications, interviews are held as soon as possible.

Applicants who appear, from the material they submit, to be suitable for the course will be invited to interview. Interviews 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.

Supervision

Any offer of a place is dependent on the University’s ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.

How your application is assessed

Your application will be assessed purely on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course. 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. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.

Admissions panels and assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).

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

After an offer is made

If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, you will be required to meet the following requirements: 

Financial Declaration

If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.

Disclosure of criminal convictions

In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.

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 1,100 full or partial graduate scholarships available across the University. You will be automatically considered for over two thirds of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline, with most scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. To help identify those scholarships where you will be required to submit an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and visit individual college websites using the links provided on our college pages.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2020-21

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£3,545
Overseas£8,780

Course 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 course fees). 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.

Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.

For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave 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 course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2020-21 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,135 and £1,650 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. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2020-21, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.

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

Matriculation confers membership of the University on students. Students who enrol on this course will not be matriculated and will not become a member of an Oxford college. Although not formally members of the University, non-matriculated students are expected to observe the same rules and regulations as matriculated students. Further information about matriculation is available on the Oxford Students website.

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.

Start or continue an application

Step 1: Read our guide to getting started, which explains how to prepare for and start an application.

Step 2: Check that you meet the Entry requirements and read the How to apply information on this page.

Step 3: Check the deadlines on this page and plan your time to submit your application well in advance.

Step 4: Our Application Guide will help you complete the form. It contains links to FAQs and further help.

Step 5: Submit your application as soon as possible (you can read more information about our deadlines).

Application GuideApply

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