Programme: Architectural History and Theory - MSc

Year: 2016

After spending a number of years working in an architectural practice Kirill decided to pursue an academic career in the field of architectural history. ECA offered him not only excellent facilities and renowned teaching staff but also several courses on his field of interest - Soviet architecture. 

Since graduating in 2016, Kirill has gone on to complete a PhD at the Scientific Research Institute of Theory and History of Architecture and Urban Planning in Moscow in the summer of 2021. He has also continued to take part in several international research and teaching projects with some of the largest universities in Europe.

Why I chose to study Architectural History and Theory - MSc

In 2014, after devoting a number of years to architectural practice, I decided to pursue an academic career in the field of architectural history. Acquiring an MSc degree was a very important first step in this career path. ECA's Architectural History and Theory programme was one of the first that was recommended to me. The high status of the University of Edinburgh, its longstanding academic tradition, coupled with the convenient location of the university, the presence of a variety of up-to-date facilities, as well as professional teaching staff and interesting courses (especially courses on Soviet architecture, since it's my sphere of interests) made my choice fairly simple.


"From the very first week of the semester, I became deeply immersed in the academic environment and course subject matter.  "

Kirill Stepanov, Architectural History and Theory - MSc alumnus

My time at ECA

The year I spent on ECA's Architectural History and Theory programme was filled with hard work and new discoveries. From the very first week of the semester, I became deeply immersed in the academic environment and course subject matter. The staff members were very helpful in guiding and assisting us, the visiting hours of the faculty and the opening hours of the libraries were very convenient to allow us to complete assignments and study when it suited us. Moreover, the MSc students were given a separate quiet classroom for studies in Minto House.

The most difficult, albeit most useful courses, were "Methods and Paradigms of Research" and "Histories and Theories of Architecture." Both courses required my maximum attention and concentration, although our professors were always there to help and answer any questions we had.

I was looking forward to starting the "Architecture and Socialism 1930 to the Present" course led by Dr Richard Anderson since I had explored this topic for quite some time before in Russia and was keen to see another perspective on this vast and little-explored subject. I was not disappointed - Dr Anderson's course was one of the most interesting and crucial ones for me. So was the "Architecture and Empire in Britain and the British Colonial World, 1783 - 1947" series of lectures by Dr Alex Bremner. Both Dr Bremner and especially Dr Anderson were incredibly helpful and supportive during my work on the MSc dissertation.

During the second semester I was able to take part in Architectural History and Theory Work Placement programme. The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) kindly agreed to provide a few MSc students with some work in the industry. My course mate and I were involved with the preparation work for the upcoming exhibition of the 1950s - 1970s designs of Peter Womersley – an eminent Scottish architect. The skills I learned at the RIAS helped me a lot in my future career.

If I could start my studies at the ECA again I would not change much, but spend more time talking to the interesting people from around the globe about architecture and explore Scotland even more!

Tell us about your experiences since graduating

Graduating was filled with bittersweet emotions. I felt like I did not want to leave such a great city and amazing community of professionals. I decided to continue my studies in the field of architectural history and theory. The next year, 2017, I was enrolled into the PhD programme at the Scientific Research Institute of Theory and History of Architecture and Urban Planning in Moscow, which I successfully completed in the summer of 2021. The knowledge and experience I had received at ECA helped me tremendously to excel at the entrance examinations and throughout the entire postgraduate course.

Since leaving ECA I have been involved in several interesting research and teaching projects; I've worked with major education centers in Russia, including National Research Moscow State University of Civil Engineering, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Scientific Research Institute of Theory and History of Architecture and Urban Planning and others. I have written and published several articles about Architecture and Urban planning of the Russian Far East, and I will keep writing on the subject intensely. At ECA I acquired the skills and ability to speak and debate on complex professional topics in English which has allowed me to participate in several international projects with the largest universities in Europe.

My advice to new and current students

For those lucky ones who are only beginning their studies at ECA I would recommend enjoying every moment of your time in Edinburgh. Explore the city and surroundings from the new perspective of an architectural historian, ask questions and learn from the best scholars in the profession.

I would advise graduates not to stop there and continue to improve, broaden your knowledge in different spheres of architectural history and theory, and hold the title of an graduate of such a renowned institution with pride.


Are you interested in studying Architectural History and Theory - MSc at Edinburgh College of Art?

Related people