Knowlton Church, a listed building

As English Heritage launches its first ever National Heritage Protection Plan, a new part-time Master’s degree at the University of Cambridge is set to make an important contribution to the protection of England’s historic buildings.

This will certainly help highlight the urgent need for real skills in this area.

Sean O'Reilly

The Master of Studies (MSt) in Building History will provide essential knowledge and practical skills for budding architectural historians and professionals looking to develop their understanding of historic buildings. It has been designed by the University of Cambridge Faculty of Architecture and History of Art in close association with English Heritage, and with the University's Institute of Continuing Education.

The MSt coincides with the publication of English Heritage's four-year plan, which sets out how England's vulnerable historic environment is to be safeguarded as public funding diminishes. One of the plan’s key priorities is ‘building capacity’ – helping local authorities and communities to champion their local heritage – and the new MSt will play an important role in training the next generation of professionals.

Dr Sean O'Reilly, Director of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, welcomed the new degree:

"We are especially delighted that the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art is leading, as the RIBA's new conservation register for architects will certainly help highlight the urgent need for real skills in this area."

Students will learn about the issues involved in assessing the significance of historic buildings of all types and the current policy surrounding their conservation and restoration. The MSt is designed as a stand-alone vocational qualification that will prepare students for work in the heritage sphere but also for possible higher-level research.

An interdisciplinary, research-based programme, the MSt will be studied part-time over two years from October 2011 to 2013. The first year consists of three two-week residential modules and a residential assessment week in Cambridge. The second year is a six-month work placement followed by a dissertation.

The closing date for applications is 31 August 2011.

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