There are few better places in Britain to encounter some of the most characteristic examples of European architecture from the eleventh century to the present day. Studying architecture in Cambridge provides a rich opportunity to become acquainted with architectural history. The city is home to buildings designed over the past one thousand years. The wealth and significance of Cambridge and the university has endowed the city with architecture that demonstrates the historical development of building types and changes in architectural styles.

This intensive four-week programme closely examines the diverse range of construction materials and techniques that have shaped the architecture of Cambridge. Participants will discover the secular and religious buildings in the city, especially exemplified by the colleges of the University of Cambridge.  Cambridge has been a cultural centre of Europe for 800 years. Its art collections are among the best in the world. From the Museum of Classical Archaeology to the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Fitzwilliam Museum to Kettle's Yard, they hold significant artworks and artefacts that illustrate the history of western civilisation.

Students will have the Cambridge experience, living and studying in college. At the end of the course, students will receive a Girton College certificate and course credits can be transferred back to their home university. The course is taught by world-leading academics, architects, project commissioners, and heritage experts.



Architecture Department

The Department of Architecture at Cambridge is an exciting place to study. Regularly lauded as one of the leading architecture schools in the world, students study under the guidance of world-renowned researchers and ground-breaking practitioners.

Creativity, curiosity and strong intellectual grounding are central to the course. The innovative design programme is delivered by tutors working at the cutting edge of contemporary architecture and balanced with outstanding teaching in the history and philosophy of architecture, contemporary culture and urbanism, as well as construction, structural design and environmental design.



Students on this 4-week intensive programme will take two modules, with each module focusing on architecture in a different historical period. Each module is centred around a particular design project, such as the building of a College library or a conservation project. The structure of each module will include 15 hours of classroom teaching and site visits, so that students will not only learn about architecture from a theoretical perspective but will also see real life examples in Cambridge. A number of professionals, such as architects, project commissioners and heritage experts, will also be invited in to give different perspectives on real life architectural design projects in the theme of the module. Students will then complete and be assessed on their design projects at the end of each module. These projects will be completed in small groups, and in this work students will be advised by a graduate student in Architecture at Cambridge.

Module ONE
The Stones of Cambridge: British Architectural History, 1300-1900

Through lectures and site visits, we will pay close attention to the use of construction materials and techniques that have shaped the architecture of Cambridge. Examining secular and religious buildings in the city, and especially the colleges of the University of Cambridge, we will chart the evolution of architectural forms and styles, including Romanesque, Gothic and Classical, focusing on the thirteenth to eighteenth centuries.
We will also discover how architects in the nineteenth centuries rediscovered these historical styles to create new architecture.
This module will include teaching on the following topics: 

  • Secular and religious buildings
  • Historical development of building types and changes in architectural styles
  • The revival of historical styles to create new architecture in the 19th century 
  • Classical architecture
  • Romanesque architecture
  • Gothic architecture (e.g. King's College Chapel, Ely Cathedral - early English Gothic)

Module TWO
Prominent Issues in Modern and Contemporary British Architecture

This course will explore some of the most significant modern and contemporary buildings in Cambridge and the surrounding areas and consider what the future might hold for architecture and the development of the city.

Providing students with a study of the origins, history, and legal basis for modern and contemporary architecture. The course explores several key topics such as urban development and its environmental impacts, urban planning practices in the United Kingdom, including urban design, community, and economic development. The course also examines key challenges and opportunities in urban design and planning including sustainability, environmental justice, and community well-being.

Overall, students will trace and analyse socio-political, cultural, and economic influences on modern and contemporary architecture. Students will also observe the techno-future of city developments by exploring emergent technologies and innovations. Students will gain a perspective to see how these issues form the complex fabric of cities, regions, and countries, which must be considered and incorporated into planning analysis and decision-making.

This module will include teaching on the following topics: 

  • Urban development in the United Kingdom
  • Urban design and planning
  • Socio-political/cultural/economic influences and ideas in modern architecture
  • Socio-political/cultural/economic influences and ideas in contemporary architecture
  • New and innovative technologies of construction


Mini lectures

Academic Lectures


Site Visit


Group Discussion

Studying in Library

Final Design Project


Girton College is one of the larger constituent colleges of the University of Cambridge. Founded in 1869, Girton is a vibrant community of scholars, from all walks of life, united in their passion for learning. The College’s beautiful buildings and spacious grounds are located just outside the city centre, and Girton is well known for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Students will live in Cambridge student accommodation on the main Girton College site, and all rooms are single occupancy study bedrooms.
Hall outside

Welcome Buffet

Students will have a welcome buffet on arrival, experience a traditional English Afternoon Tea, with sandwiches, cakes, scones and jam, and tea and coffee.

Daily Meals

Eating together is an important part of college life, and therefore meals are offered in the College’s excellent cafeteria. At each meal there is a wide choice of food available, including hot and cold meals, a salad bar, sandwiches, and delicious puddings. Students wishing to have a lighter option may use the Social Hub, the College’s coffee shop.

Formal Dinner

Students will also attend two Formal Halls during the programme. Formal Halls are a Cambridge tradition going back centuries and these three-course meals, served in Girton's splendid dining hall and preceded by drinks, are particularly special and memorable occasions.
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Students in corridor
College Facilities
Students on the summer programme will have access to all the usual College facilities, including the bar, common room, indoor swimming pool, gym, chapel, and squash courts, and students are also free to use the woodland, orchard, gardens, lawns and sports fields.

Social Programmes

Cambridge students will act as Student Assistants (SAs) throughout the summer programme. The SAs will organise social activities on afternoons and evenings to ensure students make the most of their Cambridge experience!  
Such SA-organised activities may include:

  • Traditional Girton sports
  • Trip to a traditional pub
  • Visits to other Cambridge colleges
  • Punting on the River Cam
  • Visit to the famous King’s College Chapel, 
  • Walk along the River Cam to take tea at The Orchard Tea Room at Grantchester
  • Visits to the Fitzwilliam museum or the University Botanic Garden. 

Cultural Visits - Day Trips to London and Ely

The summer programme also includes two day trips to London and Ely by private coach. These trips will enable students to see many of the major sights in London, as well as the magnificent Gothic cathedral at Ely. 

On the weekends, students will have some free time and so they may either choose to take part in activities with the SAs in Cambridge, or to travel independently. Summer students in Cambridge often take advantage of their time here to visit other notable places around the UK, such as Oxford, Brighton, Stonehenge, and Edinburgh.