Master of Architecture MArch

Key information


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Module details

Due to the impact of COVID-19 we're changing how the course is delivered.

Programme Year One

You will take entirely mandatory modules in your first year. These modules are classed as Level 6 (pass mark 40%), and will make up 30% of your final degree classification. Design A,B,C and D are a consecutive related set of design projects.

Year One Compulsory Modules

  • Design A (ARCH401)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    The aim of this module is to introduce students to graduate level of urban analysis and design, resulting in the manifestation of a critical position on a given urban setting, which will form the basis for module ARCH402.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Urban analysis and its recording

    (LO2) Critical thinking

    (LO3) Developing an understanding of urban design, planning and the skills involved in the urban design process

    (LO4) Understanding of the relationship between people and buildings, and between buildings and their environment, and the need to relate buildings and the spaces between them to human needs and scale

    (S1) Improving own learning/performance - Reflective practice

    (S2) Time and project management - Personal organisation

    (S3) Information skills - Critical reading

    (S4) Research skills - All Information skills

    (S5) Personal attributes and qualities - Initiative

    (S6) Critical thinking and problem solving - Creative thinking

    (S7) Critical thinking and problem solving - Problem identification

  • Design B (ARCH402)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    Following module ARCH401 and the formulation of a critical position on a given urban setting, the aim of this module is to develop an urban strategy and a larger scale proposition.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) The ability to articulate a critical response to urban analysis

    (LO2) The manipulation of information towards formulation of urban strategy

    (LO3) The influence of the design and development of cities, past and present on the contemporary built environment

    (LO4) The impact of buildings on the environment, and the precepts of sustainable design

    (S1) Improvement of own learning/ performance - Reflective practice

    (S2) Time and project management - Personal organisation

    (S3) Information skills - Critical reading

    (S4) Research skills - All Information skills

    (S5) Personal attributes and qualities - Initiative

    (S6) Critical thinking and problem solving - Creative thinking

  • Design C (ARCH403)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    Following successful completion of modules ARCH401 and ARCH402, the aim of this module is to focus on architectural design at an advanced, postgraduate level. Students will carry forward their investigations by developing an urban site/ building to comprehensive level of architecture resolution

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Formulating a complex design brief appropriate for their urban site

    (LO2) Conceptual development through the understanding of a range of design methods

    (LO3) Producing a coherent set of drawings, models and other modules of visualisation that adequately presents their project

    (LO4) Developing architecture into "appropriate" detail, emphasising the central role of technology, and appropriate representation at every stage

    (S1) Improving own learning/performance - Reflective practice

    (S2) Time and project management - Personal organisation

    (S3) Information skills - Critical reading

    (S4) Research skills - All Information skills

    (S5) Personal attributes and qualities - Initiative

    (S6) Critical thinking and problem solving - Creative thinking

    (S7) Critical thinking and problem solving - Problem identification

  • Design D (ARCH404)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    The intention in this module is to develop aspects of the individual urban buildings designed in the course of ARCH403 to a detailed tectonic resolution. Design staff will collaborate with specialists to provide technical support.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) The ability to design, plan and detail a realisable building of appropriate complexity

    (LO2) The ability to make informed decisions on structures, materials and provision of environmental services

    (LO3) Knowledge of the energy implications of their design decisions

    (LO4) Knowledge of the building regulations and their impact on the student's design

    (S1) Improvement of own learning/performance - Reflective practice

    (S2) Time and project management - Personal organisation

    (S3) Information skills - Critical reading

    (S4) Research skills - All Information skills

    (S5) Personal attributes and qualities - Initiative

    (S6) Critical thinking and problem solving - Creative thinking

    (S7) Critical thinking and problem solving - Problem identification

  • Practice Management & Contract Law (ARCH405)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    This module aims to provide students with the basic skills and understanding needed to run a small architectural practice, together with the legal and regulatory framework within which a small practice operates, and key relationships with other professionals.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Students will have an understanding of the basic principles of architectural practice management and the regulatory, financial, organisational and procedural factors related to running a design practice.

    (LO2) Students will have an understanding of the inter-relationships of individuals and organisations involved in the procurement and delivery of architectural projects, and how these are defined and effected through a variety of contractual and organisational structures.

    (LO3) Students will have an understanding of contract law as relevant to the design and delivery of architectural projects.

    (LO4) Students will have an understanding of the ethical and professional duties and responsibilities of architects, as defined and described in the Codes and Standards relating to their professional practice.

    (LO5) Students will have an ability to identify and manage their individual learning needs so as to maintain professional standards.

    (S1) Critical thinking and problem solving, including problem identification.

  • Sustainability in Practice (ARCH410)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    1) Students will evaluate the implications of construction and management in sustainable design.
    2) Students will have an understanding of the common construction techniques.
    3) Students will examine the practicalities and implications of sustainable construction and management and analyse current practice for commercial developments.
    4) Students will appreciate the impact that sustainable construction and management have on building design.
    5) Students will appreciate the environmental impact of specification choice.
    6) Students will understand the principles of environmental comfort and link with sustainable design.
    7) Students will evaluate the role of the architect in creating a sustainable building and more specifically the financial implications.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Students will be able to assess design, economic and sustainability implications of sustainable design and construction on a whole life basis.

    (LO2) Students will be able to make value judgements and develop optimal solutions by considering what options are realistic in the current market.

    (LO3) Students will be able to identify and develop alternative strategies based upon passive design methods.

    (LO4) Students will be able to develop design strategies and technical solutions to design structural and environmental problems.

    (LO5) Students will be able to understand the impact of climate change on design solutions.

    (S1) Ability to critically analyse construction and management

    (S2) Industry ready knowledge of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC)

    (S3) Clear understanding of how sustainable design can be achieved

  • Humanities and Research Methods (ARCH480)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    This module examines key skills needed to prepare a written dissertation in architecture. It consists of a series of lectures, seminars and exercises. As well as, staff and final year student presentations about their own research, dissertation preparation and methods. With the overall aim of assisting students to select, define and launch their dissertation projects.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Topics include:

    How to identify a topic and understand the stages of developing and conducting a research project.

    (LO2) An introduction to a variety of research methods used in architectural research.

    (LO3) How to set up and manage a research project.

    (LO4) How to use bibliographies, referencing, citations and quotations.

    (LO5) Understanding the principles of preparing and performing an effective oral presentation.

    (S1) Improving own learning/performance - Reflective practice.

    (S2) Time and project management - Project planning.

    (S3) Research skills - All Information skills.

    (S4) Personal attributes and qualities - Initiative.

    (S5) Critical thinking and problem solving - Creative thinking.

  • Urban Design: Theory and Practice (ARCH406)
    Level3
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    To introduce students to the origin, theories and key design principles of urban design; To engage students in the debates of current issues and challenges faced in the discipline and wider urban environment;   To promote understanding of the design context for practice and the ways through which urban design theories, principles and best practice examples can be translated into local practice;   To encourage students to think critically about urban interventions in the complex system of cities locally and globally for long-term sustainability and place-making; To provide the opportunity for students to understand and familiarise themselves with a wide range of urban analytical techniques and methods which would benefit their master-planning studio;   To develop students’ understanding of the policy role of urban design, its implementation through the planning system and general issues about design governance.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) After this module, students will be able to understand the key theories and principles of urban design and their influence on or applications to practice.

    (LO2) Students will be able to critically discuss current issues and challenges faced in urban design in their local area.

    (LO3) Students should be aware of broader urban issues and challenges faced by other cities globally, not only in the Western context, but also in the global south.

    (LO4) Students will be able to apply a variety of urban analytical techniques and methods in their practice for sustainable development and place-making.

    (LO5) Students will be able to understand the process and role of urban design governance and its relationship with the planning system.

    (S1) Communication skills.

    (S2) Literacy application of literacy, ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning

    (S3) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

    (S4) Global perspectives demonstrate international perspectives as professional/citizens; locate, discuss, analyse, evaluate information from international sources; consider issues from a variety of cultural perspectives; consider ethical and social responsibility issues in international settings; value diversity of language and culture.

Programme Year Two

You will take entirely mandatory modules in your second year, but must choose EITHER ARCH520 or ARCH523. Your second year modules are classed as Level 7 (pass mark 50%), and will make up 70% of your final degree classification. Design Studies is a design module that is set and tutored by a professional practice.

Year Two Compulsory Modules

  • Dissertation (ARCH521)
    LevelM
    Credit level30
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    The dissertation aims to provide an opportunity for students to explore an aspect of Architecture (and closely-related fields, such as Urban Studies, Planning, Art, Computer Aided Design, etc.) systematically and in detail, and to present their findings in an academic way. The exploration is important, but so are the skills in academic writing.

    Students will utilise appropriate analytical techniques with appropriate reflection and insight, and analyse and synthesise complex narratives, debates, ideas and theories and present their findings coherently in a succinct and clear manner. The dissertation will be a well-presented, well-structured written document that has met a clear set of aims and objectives. Academic integrity and quality of independent thinking are important. Due consideration should be given to research ethics, including where necessary, an application for University approval.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Ability to investigate an aspect of architecture or closely related fields

    (LO2) Ability to report their findings in a coherent and appropriate form

    (LO3) Ability to prepare a well-documented, and referenced report, or an equivalent presentation using contemporary media in a rigorous fashion

    (S1) Improving own learning/performance - Reflective practice

    (S2) Time and project management - Personal organisation

    (S3) Research skills - All information skills

  • Thesis Design (ARCH522)
    LevelM
    Credit level45
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    The thesis design project provides the opportunity for final year students to demonstrate their ability to pursue an independent and coherent line of investigation leading to either an architectural or urban design study. In either event it is to be pursued with thoroughness, and supported by the thesis design report. Students will demonstrate their ability to systematically develop an architectural/urban design agenda; pursue a coherent line of investigation; and undertake a range of complex design-based investigations leading to a comprehensive visual, written and oral presentation. The work will be placed within a wider cultural context that identifies the key technical, environmental and social implications of their project.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) By the end of the thesis design project, students will have demonstrated their ability to systematically develop an architectural/urban design project to a sophisticated level commensurate with undergraduate masters level in a professionally accredited programme.

    (LO2) By the end of the thesis design project, students will have demonstrated the architectural/ urban relevance of their project, and appreciated its place in a wider cultural context.

    (LO3) By the end of the thesis design project, students will have identified the key historical, social, legal and procurement implications of their project and addressed these issues in terms of planning and the detailed resolution of the building.

    (LO4) By the end of the thesis design project, students will have identified the key environmental, structural and constructional implications of their project and addressed these issues in terms of planning and the detailed resolution of the building.

    (S1) Communication (oral, written and visual) - Presentation skills – oral.

    (S2) Critical thinking and problem solving - Creative thinking.

  • Project Report (ARCH524)
    LevelM
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    The Project Report is prepared in conjunction with a major piece of design or research work (which is the Thesis Design project for all MArch students) and aims to summarise the architectural and intellectual content of a project. Therefore, requires the student to demonstrate the:

    Structure and content of the contextual and focused research methodology;

    Coherent development of a project;

    Comprehensive strategies for the environmental, social, legal issues raised;

    Clear identification of the main structural and constructional strategies needed;

    The ability to understand and articulate a full range of architectural design issues.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) The ability to communicate in a written report the coherent development of a project/study the design thesis.

    (LO2) The ability to communicate in a written report the comprehensive strategies for the historical, social, legal and procurement issues raised by the design of the thesis.

    (LO3) The ability to communicate in a written report the clear identification of the main environmental, structural and constructional strategies employed in the design of the thesis.

    (S1) Improving own learning/performance - Reflective practice.

    (S2) Time and project management - Personal organisation.

    (S3) Research skills - All Information skills.

    (S4) Personal attributes and qualities - Initiative.

    (S5) Critical thinking and problem solving - Creative thinking.

Year Two Optional Modules

  • Design Studies (ARCH520)
    LevelM
    Credit level30
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    The module aims to explore in detail a changing current issue in contemporary architectural design. Visiting tutors engaged in professional practice or academia bring an external (often international) perspective to the area of study. A theme associated with a specific building type (e.g. education, healthcare, housing, commerce) or a theoretical agenda (e.g. architecture and tourism) identifies the thrust of the project. An overseas study trip with a visiting tutor and module staff forms a catalyst for the project. Research and exploration is undertaken in groups to determine the focus of the design agenda. Projects can be developed into a specific building design, an urban strategy, or a theoretical architectural agenda. Students submit drawings, reports and models/constructions that are presented to review panels for open forum discussion.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) Knowledge and awareness of important contemporary architectural and urban design issues and precedents.

    (LO2) The ability to prepare designs, concepts, strategies that relate to and satisfy the ambitions of the project.

    (LO3) The ability to select and utilise appropriate visual, oral and written methods that will effectively communicate complex architectural theories, concepts and designs.

    (LO4) Additional learning outcomes are specifically identified in the course notes for what is inherently a regularly changing agenda. A lecture presentation series and associated study tour signals the direction of the research and the design project.

    (S1) Improving own learning/performance - Reflective practice

    (S2) Time and project management - Personal organisation

    (S3) Information skills - Information accessing: Locating relevant information, identifying and evaluating information sources

    (S4) Research skills - All Information skills

    (S5) Personal attributes and qualities - Initiative

    (S6) Critical thinking and problem solving - Creative thinking

  • Exchange Studies (overseas) 3 (ARCH523)
    LevelM
    Credit level30
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims

    Depends on the module selected at the host institution. They should be equivalent to those of ARCH520.

    Learning Outcomes

    (LO1) They will depend on the module selected at the host institution. However they should be equivalent to those of ARCH 520.

    (S1) Improving own learning/performance - Reflective practice.

    (S2) Time and project management - Personal organisation.

    (S3) Critical thinking and problem solving - Creative thinking.

    (S4) Research skills - All Information skills.

    (S5) Personal attributes and qualities - Initiative.

The programme detail and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.


Teaching and Learning

Year One of the programme comprises a series of interconnected modules, which are designed to lay the foundation for future years. The initial aim is to teach basic graphic communication and to give you the tools to develop your own design agenda. 

Year Two modules put increased emphasis on the context of architecture such as urban design, responsibility to society, and relationships with the construction industry.

The final year of the programme provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate you have acquired the necessary knowledge and skill to embark on a professional career in architecture. Building on the expertise and understanding of the previous two years, the design modules allow you to develop the necessary skills to design medium and large-scale buildings with a high degree of complexity.


Assessment

Written exams count for roughly 25% of your overall marks, with the balance coming from the creativity, reasoning and imagination you’ve shown in your work during the programme. In the studio modules, assessment is always carried out by a team of staff, who review all of the designs to arrive at a consensus on marks.

At the end of each academic year, portfolios of designs are reviewed by all architectural staff to reach a further consensus understanding of each student’s progress. We believe that excellent design is encouraged as much by what we teach, as by how far the student is prepared to pursue their architectural ideas.

We avoid a box-ticking approach to marking, looking instead for exploration and consistency in the design that demonstrates independence and invention. Our approach to marking by consensus gives, we believe, the best guarantee of fairness while encouraging personal experiment. The best coursework shows an awareness of the greater world of architecture and the building industry, and contributes to knowledge. We try hard to avoid templates of performance while keeping within best practice. To this end, guidance issued is as clear and precise as we can make it, whilst expecting that creativity will dominate.