Architectural History and Theory

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
191 place StudyQA ranking:5508 Duration:36 months

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Students enrolling for an MPhil or PhD become members of the Schools Architectural History and Theory Group (AHTG). The group, which forms the core of our research community, holds regular seminars and provides a lively and intimate forum for the discussion of ideas among staff and students. The AHTG organises international conferences, and five research journals are edited by members of the group.

Research in architectural history, in order to accommodate diverse interests, covers a broad range of topics, methodologies and contexts. These are linked by a common concern for the practice of architecture, and are placed under the general headings of Theory and Practice, Critical Practice, Mechanics of Practice and Cultural Practice. A major focus in all these areas is 20th-century architecture and urban design: their ideas, materials, constructions, protagonists and critics. World Architecture is an important theme in the School as a whole, and the AHTG encompasses PRASADA (Practice, Research and Advancement in South Asian Design and Architecture), a pre-eminent centre in its field.

As a free-standing programme, or as preparation for a doctorate, the Schools Masters programme in Architectural History and Theory (MPhil), attained through research, offers a fruitful alternative to a taught Masters degree. It allows students to focus on their particular interests, under individual supervision and within a well-respected research group. The programme allows for an emphasis on research through design.

Research areas: The groups research interests include theory and practice, critical practice, mechanisms of practice and cultural practice.


The groups research interests include the City, Landscape and Environment; Cultures, Histories and Ideas; Visual Cultures; Cultures of Practice and Pedagogy; World Cultures. Cultures of the City, Landscape and Environment The Group sees its work in the settings of wider geographies and cultural contexts, such as the construction of the public realm in urban design, 17th and 18th century British architecture and gardens, the morphology of cities, shifts between public and private realms, John Ruskins naturalism and sustainable urbanism . Cultures, Histories and Ideas Understanding culture and religion, and the resultant typologies and identities, informs the work on the history of architecture in South Asia, specifically Indian temple Architecture and studies of Welsh Non-Conformism and Chapel architecture. The historiography of science is also explored by the Group. Visual Cultures The fundamental architectural practices of drawing and critical observation permeate many aspects of the Groups investigations. Cultures of Practice and Pedagogy Many of the Group have practiced extensively, or remain linked to architectural practice, and are centrally concerned with the ethical making and procurement of architecture; most also teach in the design studios of WSA. The professional and legal aspects of design and building procurement are also considered. World Cultures AHTG has a strong reputation in research into the history and theory of non-Western cultures, as is reflected in the diverse interests and backgrounds of its postgraduate community. Particular areas of interest are South Asia and the Middle East.


Suitable for graduates in architecture and history-related disciplines. An upper second class honours degree is required. Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS). Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 General Student visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 6.5 TOEFL paper-based test score : 600

IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.


For information on funding and scholarship opportunities available at Cardiff University please see our funding and scholarship search:

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