MA in Garden History

Entry requirements: First or second class honours degree or relative experience 
Full or Part-time:
School: Back to course finder

The University of Buckingham has introduced as part of its London Programme a new research MA in Garden History which offers a unique opportunity to study the subject.

Interest in British gardens and their history has never been greater than now.  Historic gardens and designed landscapes are a major part of the nation’s heritage, appreciated by more visitors than ever before.  Culturally as well as economically they are important national assets that need to be understood for what they are: works of art that document changing ideas and fashions, and which express the social, intellectual and aesthetic values of those who created them, and for whom they were created.  They are also constantly changing, something that makes them especially rewarding to study as over the course of time they may have been refashioned and reinterpreted by successive generations, and are constantly evolving.  Garden history is not only about the past.  British designers lead the world in contemporary landscaping and gardening, while magazines and television programmes continuously remind us of how important gardens are to us, and of the part they play in our modern society.  Historians of gardens and landscape architecture draw on different kinds of evidence – visual, literary and intellectual, as well as on what there is on the ground – to explore the ideas, attitudes and approaches which any design contains within it.

The course

This is a unique and innovative MA by Research which combines original research with training in the methods, materials and approaches garden history involves.  The Course Directors are Professor Timothy Mowl FSA, who is internationally renowned as a leading scholar and writer on the history of gardens, designed landscapes and architecture, and Dr Katie Campbell, supported by Michael Liversidge FSA and Marion Mako who have each published original research in the subject, as well as by a panel of tutors and, for special research seminars, invited guest lecturers who represent at its best the vitality and vigour of current scholarship and thinking in garden history and related areas.

The MA Garden History Regulations 2013-14 are available to download in PDF format.

Dissertation

Independent research for a dissertation which a student prepares and writes in a close working relationship with a supervisor is at the heart of the Buckingham MA. The degree is awarded on the basis of the dissertation, which should be not less than 20,000 words (recommended count 25,000 words).  The supervisor provides advice in identifying and defining a research topic, locating sources and developing approaches to the chosen topic.  Supervisors and students meet regularly, and the supervisor is the student’s primary contact for academic advice and support.

Locations

This is a London-based course. The Autumn Term seminars will be held at The Royal Anthropological Institute (50 Fitzroy Street, London, W1T 5BT: Warren Street is the nearest London Underground station).

The Residential Weekend is based in Oxfordshire at the Marlborough Arms Hotel, 26 Oxford Street, Woodstock OX20 1SU, where students will be individually accommodated from Friday to Sunday.

Supervisions for MA dissertation research will be arranged individually between students and their supervisors.

Dates 2014

The 2014 Autumn Term day seminars will be held on: 30 September, 7 October, 14 October, 21 October, 4 November, 11 November, 18 November, 25 November.

The 2014 Residential Weekend will take place Friday 3 October – Sunday 5 October.

Full-time or part-time study

The MA can be completed full-time in one year, or in two years by part-time study.  Full-time students submit their dissertations by the end of September, one year from starting the MA. Part-time students attend the Autumn Term seminars and Residential Weekend and the Research Seminars in their first year, and complete the dissertation in the second year.

Associate students

Associate students, who are not degree candidates, may attend the Autumn Term day seminars as auditing students (participating in the classes, but not as candidates for the MA and without supervisions).

Full details in the Curriculum Handbook 

Quality teaching

We offer high quality, traditional Oxbridge-style teaching, which leads to our degrees being recognised around the world. The standards of degrees and awards are safeguarded by distinguished external examiners – senior academic staff from other universities in the UK – who approve and moderate assessed work.

High calibre staff

Most of our academic staff teach for three terms out of four, with the remaining term used for research. Because of this, we have no difficulty in attracting high calibre, highly respected lecturers, many of whom also have a background in business or industry and can offer networking opportunities for students.

Teaching methods

Independent research for a dissertation which a student prepares and writes in a close working relationship with a supervisor is at the heart of the Buckingham MA. The degree is awarded on the basis of the dissertation, which should be not less than 20,000 words (recommended count 25,000 words). The supervisor provides advice in identifying and defining a research topic, locating sources and developing approaches to the chosen topic. Supervisors and students meet regularly, and the supervisor is the student’s primary contact for academic advice and support.

Lectures and Seminars

The MA in Garden History provides a thorough preparation in research techniques and a sound overview of the history of British gardens and designed landscapes from the sixteenth century to the modern period. In the Autumn Term (October to November) there are eight intensive one-day sessions held on Tuesdays in which research training and historical background seminars are led by specialist tutors covering key aspects of the subject. These seminars take place from 11:00 to 16:00 in London, with a break in the schedule coinciding with schools’ half-term holiday to accommodate the needs of students who may have family commitments. There is a residential weekend at the start of the course for visiting major masterpieces of landscape design to introduce students to practices involved in ‘reading’ physical evidence; there are further Study Days in the field during the Winter and Spring Terms.

Study Days

During the Winter and Spring Terms, from March to May, there will be three Study Days out in the field where students will put into practice the skills they have learnt on the course through close site investigation of gardens and landscapes. Dates for the Study Days will be circulated at the start of the course.

See the Humanities Curriculum Handbook for further course details.

Graduate employment

Our graduate prospects are excellentOur graduates have gone on to further study at most of the world’s leading universities, including Harvard, London, Oxford and Cambridge and secured jobs in senior positions around the world. Among our alumni we have a graduate who became the head of his country’s civil service and one who became a leading Formula One motor-racing driver. Another secured a position as the Minister of Sabah and one female law graduate became the first British lawyer to become a French Advocate.

Fees may increase annually in line with inflation. For details, please see our Fees and Finance page.

Due to the mode of study on this course you will not normally need a room in University accommodation during your degree.

However, if you require short-term accommodation in Buckingham we would be happy to provide a list of local bed and breakfast or hotel accommodation. Alternatively, please contact our Accommodation Office for advice.

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