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Architectural History Graduate Programs

Jan 25, 2019

Architectural history graduate programs can be found at institutions of higher learning around the country. These programs are designed to prepare students for a number of different careers through diverse coursework, which will be discussed in this article, along with admission standards.

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Students who are interested in graduate programs in architectural history have a few options. Before making a decision about which program is right for them, students will likely want to learn some general information about these programs, like course content and admission standards, which is provided below.

Information About Graduate Architectural History Programs

Graduate programs in architectural history are available as master's and Ph.D. programs at a number of universities in the U.S. Some of these programs are offered specifically in architectural history while others may be offered as a master's in architecture, which then allows students to select an architectural history track. Students in master's programs typically must complete a thesis, while Ph.D. students complete a dissertation, in addition to coursework. Below are five courses that are commonly found in these programs.

Methods in Architectural History

Graduate programs in architectural history usually include a course that focuses on research methodologies. It is often meant for students who have a strong interest in historical research. In a course like this, students learn about different methodological models for writing about architectural history and pursuing research. Courses also cover various historical theories and require ample amounts of reading and analysis of text.

History and Theory of Architecture

In this type of course, students might study a chronologic history of various developments in architecture and architectural theory, both in terms of style preferences and technological advancements. Because there are several hundred years to cover, courses are often separated into two halves, featuring architecture from the 1400's to the 1900's and architecture from 1950 until the present. Classes cover developments in architecture in locations all around the world.

Twentieth-Century Architecture

This type of course will often focus on architecture in Europe and the United States. Students will look at the reasons why modernism began in Europe during the 1920's and then why it ended in the US during the 1960's. Post-modernism and deconstructivism will also likely be discussed, as well as the corresponding effect that these movements had on architecture.

Japanese Architecture

Students in a Japanese architecture course learn about the origins of Japanese architecture as well as its development over the centuries and into modern times. Some topics that may be covered include Buddhist architecture, Shinto architecture, Japanese gardens, and tea houses. Contemporary architects like Tange, Ando, and Maki may also be a focus of study.

Issues in Historic Preservation

These courses will likely cover theories of historic preservation, trends in contemporary preservation, and the role of preservation. Students might also discuss the changing nature of preservation and the way it's implemented and accepted in different cultures. Courses may also focus more specifically on a type of historic preservation, like preservation in urban settings.

Admission Standards for Graduate Programs in Architectural History

Students who would like to be admitted into graduate programs in architectural history will need to make sure they follow the admission standards for each program to which they apply. Generally, these programs expect that students will have completed a bachelor's degree in architecture or a related field like history, historic preservation, or engineering. Graduate programs could also consider students with degrees in fields like French, art history, and American studies, among other options. When preparing an application, students usually submit a personal statement, undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume, GRE scores, and a completed application form. In addition, programs may also require that students submit a portfolio of their past creative work.

Graduate degrees in architectural history are available through master's and Ph.D. programs. These programs are often open to students from a diverse academic background and provide them with advanced instruction in various subfields of architectural history.

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