Architectural critics help people in understanding the nature of a project, a set of projects and even the design of a city. Their work helps people develop a critical judgement of the projects. In simple words, their explanation makes the picture clearer. Needless to say, architectural criticism requires a vast skill set, that includes open judgment, knowledge of many disciplines associated with architecture, years of experience, logical reasoning and delivery skills.

Criticism is very objective and must be inclusive of various viewpoints, representing the different users of the space. It also requires the critic to put themselves in the shoes of the architect to understand their viewpoint too.

The assessment may include the details of the project, the objective or the wider context, by incorporating planning or aesthetics or even the social and psychological aspects of the space.

There are many courses available in universities and colleges around the world that offer to teach explicit methodologies that help one to interpret architectural work explicitly and communicate their findings and views to the masses using various platforms. Here is a list of colleges and courses they offer in this distinct field, in no particular order of preference.

1. Harvard University

The Graduate School of Art and Science

Program: History of Art and Architecture (graduate program)
Duration: 2 years

This Graduate program offered by the well-known institute of Harvard University offers teachings in history and theory. The course offers instructions about periods that include African, Greek and Roman, East Asian, Islamic, Latin American, Medieval/Byzantine, Modern, Baroque and Renaissance and South Asian.

The curriculum is designed to ensure cross-disciplinary learning, in terms of both field distribution and methodology.

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Harvard University Campus_©forbes.com

For more information visit: https://gsas.harvard.edu/programs-of-study/all/history-art-architecture

2. Cornell University

Program: History of Architecture and Urban Development (MA and PhD)
Duration: 2 years

Cornell university is working with Harvard University in the archaeological exploration of Sardis in Turkey. Students and faculty members get a unique experience of working here.

The program is available for both postgraduate and doctoral students.

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Cornell University Campus_©progressive.org

For more information visit: https://gradschool.cornell.edu/academics/fields-of-study/field/architecture/

3. Boston University

Program: History of Art and Architecture (BA, MA, PhD)

The Department of History of Art and Architecture provides degrees in history of art and architecture on various levels, as well as certification in Museum Studies.

The focus is on understanding the historical and also the social, political and cultural contexts from various critical perspectives.

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Boston University Campus_©bu.edu

For more information visit: https://www.bu.edu/haa/

4. The University of Illinois at Chicago

Program: Masters of Architecture/ MA in Design Criticism Joint Program
Duration: 2 years

The course structure depends and varies on the choice of students and their previous level of preparation. This is decided at the time of admission.

The program offers exploration in the field of architectural technology, design and structure, along with theory and history and design criticism.

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University Campus_©illinois.edu

For more information visit: https://catalog.uic.edu/gcat/colleges-schools/architecture-design-arts/arch/march-ma-dcrit/

5. London Metropolitan University

Program: Architectural History, Research and Writing (MA)
Duration: 1 year (full-time), 2 years (part-time)

This course offers an exciting platform for approaching architecture through different stories and narratives. Also including styles, as well as methods of writing- academic essays, short journalists like reviews, reflections and creative writing.

This course is interdisciplinary and aims at creating a sense of openness. It includes a rich variety of lectures, workshops and research activities.

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London Metropolitan University Campus_©londonmet.ac.uk

For more information visit: https://www.londonmet.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/architectural-history-research-and-writing—ma/?utm_source=postgraduatesearch&utm_medium=profile&utm_campaign=postgraduate2021&utm_content=profile

6. Savannah College of Art and Design, USA

The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private and non-profit institution. It has locations in Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong and Lacoste, France. It provides two degrees (bachelors and masters level) in the History of Architecture.

The curriculum of both degrees delves into medieval, premodern, modern and American contemporary architecture in varying degrees, as per the course requirement.

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Savannah College Campus_©racked.com

For more information visit: https://www.scad.edu/academics/programs/architectural-history#:~:text=SCAD%20is%20one%20of%20only,setting%20for%20exploring%20this%20craft.&text=The%20vast%20world%20of%20architectural%20history%20awaits.

7. University of London, Birkbeck, UK

University of London

Program: Masters of Arts- Architectural History
Duration: 1 year

Birkbeck, University of London’s history dates back to 200 years. Birkbeck is one of the world’s foremost research universities.

This MA History of Architecture course explores built and designed objects as well as their social, economic and political contexts, and their connections to culture and thought, and their urban and landscape settings.

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University of London_©studentuniverse.com

For more information visit: https://www.bbk.ac.uk/prospective/postgraduate?utm_source=Postgraduatesearch&utm_medium=profile&utm_campaign=hl-q1-helm&utm_content=pg-web-click

8. University College London, UK

UCL

Program: Masters of Arts- Architectural History
Duration: 1 year

UCL (University College London) is a world-renowned university, situated in the heart of London. It is a place that encourages novel thinking and fosters an inclusive community.

The program available explores what history can do for architecture. It examines architecture, not just as buildings but as a whole, as a part of a system of city and society.

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UCL Campus_©study.eu

For more information visit: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/change-your-life?utm_source=postgraduatesearch&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=113261_cam_pgt_home_2020&utm_content=profile_visitwebsite

9. Trinity College Dublin

The University of Dublin

Program: History of Art and Architecture (Bachelors 4 years); History of Art and Architecture (Joint Honors 4 years)

This undergraduate program offers students the opportunity to study architecture and art. And develop a deep knowledge of specific periods, geographical areas and themes of choice.

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Trinity College Campus_©tcd.ie

For more information visit: https://www.tcd.ie/History_of_Art/undergraduate/

10. University of Edinburgh

Program: MSc: Architectural History and Theory
Duration: 1 year (full time), 2 years (part-time)

This is a program for students who aim to train in the history and theory of architecture. Methodological and conceptual tools essential for contemporary research are provided. This allows the students the opportunity to study the topic in-depth.

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University of Edinburgh_©ed.ac.uk

For more information visit: https://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/degrees/index.php?r=site/view&edition=2021&id=843

11. SOAS University of London

SOAS

Program: Masters of Arts: History, Architectural History, Comparative Linguistics of Middle East
Duration: 2 years

SOAS London is the home to a large postgraduate community. The university’s courses aim to provide courses with an understanding of complex contemporary issues and knowledge of non-western theories.

This department of the History of Art and Architecture contains some of the world’s best leading experts.

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SOAS_©ukeas.com

For more information visit: https://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/?utm_source=postgradsearch&utm_medium=profile&utm_campaign=HL_PG&utm_content=pgstudy

12. Architecture Association School of Architecture

AA School

Program: (MA) History and Critical Thinking in Architecture
Duration: 1 year

AA is a flexible and self-directed school, that aims to combine the independence and truly global nature of the institution.

The HCT (History and Critical Thinking) programme is a unique post-graduation platform. It looks into aspects like a critical and theoretical reflection on contemporaneity through systematic enquiry into history.

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AA Campus_©archdaily.com

For more information visit: https://www.aaschool.ac.uk/academicprogrammes/postgraduate/history-and-critical-thinking

13. The Center for Environmental Planning and Technology, India

CEPT University

Program: Masters in Architectural History and Theory
Duration: 2 years

This program aims to train students to critically research, visualise and write about architecture; how it is produced, inhabited, symbolised and represented, both globally and in the South Asian context in particular.

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CEPT Campus_©cept.ac.in

For more information visit: https://cept.ac.in/faculty-of-architecture/master-s-in-conservation-and-regeneration

14. The University of Sydney, Australia

School of Architecture, Design and Planning

Program: Architectural History and Theory (Postgraduate Research)

This university is Australia’s top-ranked school in the field of architecture and the built environment and is more than 100 years old.

The University of Sydney offers students a Postgraduate Research Degree in five domains, from which Architectural History and Theory is one. 

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The University of Sydney_©sydney.edu.uk

For more information visit: https://www.sydney.edu.au/architecture/our-research/architectural-history-and-theory-research.html

15. University of Oxford, England

University of Oxford

Program: Architectural History
Duration: 11 months

This one-year part-time course consists of three taught units and a dissertation. It covers the history of English architecture from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day. The course is designed such that it offers a progression from supported learning, with regular essays and feedback.

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Oxford University Campus_©ox.ac.uk

For more information visit: https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions

Mansi Dengre
Author

Currently, in the fourth year of B.Arch course at IIT Roorkee, Mansi Dengre is a young and passionate writer. Her area of interest lies in the softer aspects of design, the society, culture and narratives, and green architecture. Sometimes you might find her lost in books and music.

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