Master of Architecture MArch

Course duration: 2 years full-time

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

The Master of Architecture (MArch) programme is accredited as a RIBA Part 2 and a LAM Part 2 award, and is a professional/undergraduate Masters qualification available to students with a BA/BSc in Architecture and RIBA Part 1 or LAM Part 1. We also welcome applications from non-RIBA/LAM validated Architecture or Interior Design courses, but applicants must have a 1st Class degree classification as a pre-requisite, and applications will be assessed based on folio and experience as stated in the entry requirements. This degree is validated by the RIBA and LAM, and prescribed by ARB as a Part 2 qualification towards access to the Architectural Profession in the UK.

Candidates should be aware that those who do not have RIBA Part 1 on joining the MArch here at Liverpool, may apply to the Architects Registration Board (ARB) upon MArch course completion to be considered for RIBA Part 1 (for a fee payable to ARB). The University of Liverpool has no say in this process, which is undertaken independently by the candidate.

Find out more about the design work produced by our most recent MArch4 students and MArch5 students.


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Programme in detail

Our MArch Programme provides an environment for intellectual discussion about current architectural and cultural discourses. We promote creativity, innovation, imagination and experimentation in our studios, where we integrate research by design methods, hands-on seminars and the inclusion of various new technologies, media and formats in the design process. Our tutors have strong research and professional backgrounds, which grants our students competence and confidence in all areas of the profession and scales of intervention, from urban design to the technical development of the building. Our design schemes explore both local and international issues. Working with real projects in the UK context allows input from national stakeholders to the briefing and review process. By tackling international issues we reinforce global citizenship, acknowledge the international nature of our cohorts and develop the skills to work in different contexts on site and remotely. Our successful international field trips, design competitions, collaborations with different universities and the diverse range of our exchange programme further support this vision.

Year one focuses on the relationship between architecture and the contemporary city. Architectural design is supported by lectures, seminars and carefully planned individual and group work. Taught modules on urban design, professional practice, research methods and contemporary approaches to technology also complement the work in the studio.

Students will then begin the second year with a design project led by the their own interests, with brief-making and a personal exploration of a wide range of media and resources as part of the design process, strongly supported by seminars and guest lectures delivered by world-class tutors, academics, practitioners and Honorary Professors. These included Ian Ritchie and Hans Van De Heijden in 2020/21.

The programme builds towards the Dissertation and Design Thesis, where students will produce a major piece of work in response to their own brief and personal interests. The broad range of design investigations provides a stimulating and highly rewarding learning experience, and the freedom allowed in the programme enables the student to develop a personal perspective towards design, which frequently informs their professional career. We’ve a very generous offering of prizes for students performing strongly in areas of our MArch degree. Our graduates have an excellent record of employment in both internationally renowned offices and small-scale specialist practices.

Students may take Semester 1 of Year 2 abroad at one of our approved exchange Schools of Architecture in China, Australia or Europe.


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. You'll be examined and assessed by studio presentations and coursework submissions.

ARCH401 Design A

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.

ARCH402 Design B

The project will focus on the development of a critical response to the urban analysis and manifesto developed in module ARCH401. It will investigate how theories, practices and technologies of the contemporary city can influence urban design. Special emphasis will be given to process: students will be encouraged to experiment with mixed techniques and new technologies in order to test, reform and develop the representation of their ideas. Studio work will be accompanied by lectures by staff and invited speakers.

ARCH403 Design C

The project will concentrate on the design of a building or a complex of buildings, always in dialogue with its urban context as studied and manifested in modules ARCH401 and ARCH402. After critically reflecting on their previous studies, students will write their own brief in which they define their aims and objectives and they will decide on an appropriate level of resolution to which they will take the project forward. Studio work will be accompanied by lectures by staff and invited speakers.

ARCH404 Design D

This module develops aspects of the buildings/ building complexes designed in the course of ARCH403 to a detailed tectonic resolution. Design staff will collaborate with specialists to provide technical support. A technical report might be required outlining the strategy for structure, materials, energy implications, environmental comfort and safety (including fire prevention, escape and disabled access) and, depending on the nature of the brief, detailed investigations will be demanded into acoustics, lighting or heating.

ARCH405 Practice Management and Contract Law

Students are encouraged to participate and discuss their experience of the relevant issues in relation to architectural practice, from which feedback is also sought as a contribution to original data utilised for scholarship purposes (which is then incorporated into next years syllabus). The message of the module is that running an efficient office provides more design time.

ARCH410 Sustainability in Practice

For this module students will evaluate the implications of construction and management in sustainable design. More specifically they will be taught how construction and management now form an essential element of sustainable design for real world scenarios. In this module students will be required to attend a weekly 2-hour lecture . Each lecture will be held in lecture theatres and will be a mixture of formal presentations and group based exercises.

ARCH480 Research Methods

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.

ARCH406 Urban Design: Theory and Practice

This module aims to help students develop in-depth knowledge on urban design and enhance their design skills to address the complex urban challenges of our age. It intends to prepare students to become creative and problem-solving professionals. To do so, this module will introduce students to a wide range of urban design theories, design principles and processes which underpin the discipline of urban design. Students will have the opportunity to study and debate key issues in urban design, the disciplinary foundations of urban design, various topics about public spaces, the application of urban analytical techniques and methods for practice, as well as urban design governance in relation to the planning system. The module will draw examples or case studies from both the local and international contexts and encourage students to think critically about possible design interventions in different urban environments towards sustainable development and place-making.

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.

Compulsory modules

ARCH521 Dissertation

The dissertation module follows on from ARCH480 Research Methods, requiring students to select (with guidance) a suitable architecture related research topic and prepare a significant illustrated written document based on their investigations and analysis.

ARCH522 Thesis Design

Building on the proposal defined by ARCH520, this module focuses on developing a design thesis. Together with expert supervisor(s) students develop an experimental and rigorous architectural thesis. The design projects respond to current demands or anticipate future urgencies. Students are encouraged to reflect on and challenge disciplinary boundaries.

ARCH524 Project Report

In this module students develop a written thesis report as an appendix to the thesis design. In this process, the students will articulate the technical background and opportunities of their thesis project, while also providing evidence of its potential environmental, social, economical, political sustainability and viability in the era of climate emergency.

Plus one of the following:

ARCH520 Design Methods

This module tests research by design methods through a topic of the student’s own choosing. Students’ work will be embedded in our research groups aided by a series of experimental design workshops offering a range of tools and techniques. The goal of the module is twofold: equip students with tools to develop their design thesis and to formulate their architectural design discourse in the form of an original design thesis proposal.

ARCH523 Exchange Studies (Overseas)

Students participating in exchange programmes must register for the Exchange Studies module. They must agree a combination of corresponding module(s) to be taken at the host institution.

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

Entry requirements

To be offered a place on the programme, you will normally need to have a BA or BSc degree (with Honours) in Architecture at 2.1 level or above + 2.1 in final year Design Studio (65 or above, or explicit indication of further development in design skills in practice), and must have RIBA Part 1 or LAM Part 1. We also welcome applications from non-RIBA/LAM validated Architecture or Interior Design, Landscape Design or Architectural Engineering courses, but applicants must have a 1st Class degree classification as a pre-requisite and submit a portfolio consisting of 10 pages of images from their final year project.

Candidates who do not meet these requirements will be considered on their individual merits and should discuss their particular circumstances with the Programme Director and the Admissions Officer.

Please see the ‘International English Language Tests – SELTs and non-SELTS’ table for details of the English Language requirements.

How to apply

Applications for the MArch (Master of Architecture) should be made online via our online application system. Please ensure that you visit the guidance page before you submit your application.

Fees and finance

Tuition fees for the academic year 2022/23 are:

  • UK students: £9,250 per year
  • International students: £25,650 per year

The University reviews tuition fees each year. The current expectation is that the University will increase fees for each year of study normally in line with inflation as specified by Parliament. This is likely to be the Retail Price Index (RPIX)* measure of inflation. This means your fees will rise in line with inflation for each year of study.

Student fee loans are also expected to rise in line with the fee cap, to ensure that higher education remains affordable to all.

Use our Finance Calculator to get an indication of your tuition fees and any financial support that may be available.

*RPIX is a measure of inflation in the UK, equivalent to the all items in the Retail Price Index (RPI) excluding mortgage interest payments.

Additional costs

Aside from the tuition fees that you pay to the University, you may incur some additional costs in relation to your studies. Please visit the ‘study costs’ page for further information.

Scholarships and bursaries

Find out more about scholarships and bursaries for:

UK students

International students.