Triangle Triangle

Course overview

Our MArch Architecture and Sustainable Design master’s programme is designed to equip postgraduate students, practitioners in architecture and building industry professionals with the necessary skills to integrate environmental design principles from an early stage in the design process, enabling the delivery of truly sustainable buildings.

The course builds on a unique project-based approach to support the application of the social, environmental and technological aspects of sustainable architecture, taught in complementary modules, in equal measures in creative studio design projects. Topics covered by expert staff include human comfort, energy efficiency, carbon management and urban regeneration, taught alongside accompanying tools that enable the assessment of proposed design strategies.

Why choose this course?

Top 3

architecture school in the country

 

Published research

Our research has been published in conferences, trade magazines and academic journals

Strong Links

Strong links with architectural practices and environmental design consultants

Collaborative links

strong collaborative links with professional organisations and international institutions 

Top 10

Best Architecture schools in the UK

Course content

In the autumn and spring semesters, you will complete 120 credits worth of modules including two design modules. These are studio-based exercises where practical skills and creativity are challenged and examined through an architectural project. Additional lectures and seminar modules provide a parallel knowledge base and intellectual support for the design project and for the final dissertation.

You will spend the summer semester producing a 60-credit supervised dissertation. This will be an in-depth study of an individually determined topic and is an opportunity to conduct a major piece of independent research that reflects individual interests and aspirations.

Modules

Masters Design Project 1 20 credits

The purpose of this module is to develop architectural, urban design skills and awareness through the design of architectural and urban interventions at an appropriate scale and resolution, in response to a brief. Students are encouraged to engage with a specific design specialism, to adopt novel approaches to the generation of design concepts, and to develop these in detail in response to the circumstances of both the physical, cultural and intellectual context of the project.

This is a studio-based design module within a specialist design units (for example: architecture design, museum design, tall buildings, sustainable architecture design, architectural tectonics, sustainable urban design). The projects will involve the design of an architectural or urban intervention at an appropriate scale and resolution in response to an advanced design brief. The module provides higher-level skills and understanding necessary for postgraduate study within specialist streams and explores the integration and development of advanced specialist concepts, ideas, technologies and thinking within the architectural and urban design environment. Throughout the semester, students are expected to undertake in-depth conceptual development, design research, design testing and evaluation, and final presentation.

Masters Design Project 2 30 credits

The purpose of this module is to develop advanced architectural and/or urban design skills and awareness through the design of architectural and urban interventions at an appropriate scale and resolution. Students are encouraged to engage with a specific design specialism, to adopt novel approaches to the generation of design concepts, and to develop these in detail in response to the circumstances of both the physical, cultural and intellectual context of the project.

This is a studio-based design module within a specialist design unit (for example: architecture design, museum design, design and build, tall buildings, environmental design, architectural tectonics, urban design, etc.). The project will involve the design of an architectural or urban intervention at an appropriate scale and resolution in response to an advanced design brief. The module provides higher-level skills and understanding necessary for postgraduate study within specialist streams and explores the integration and development of advanced specialist concepts, ideas, technologies and thinking within the architectural and urban design environment. Throughout the semester, students are expected to undertake in-depth conceptual development, design research, design testing and evaluation, presentation and communication.

Advanced Sustainable Design (autumn) 20 credits

This module introduces basic sustainable and environmental design principles and predictive methods for exploring the environmental performance of buildings.

Emphasis is placed on selective use of performance prediction tools (i.e. computer simulation and physical model testing) to enhance the design decision-making process. These tools are used to study the daylighting, thermal and ventilation aspects of architectural design, which form the basis for the integration of energy efficiency and sustainability in building design.

Case Study Project (spring) 20 credits

The Case Study Project is a module focused on learning from existing buildings and/or urban spaces through post-occupancy and performance monitoring and evaluation. The module offers opportunities for students to explore environmental design issues in depth, to further develop their preferred speciality and to develop academic writing skills.

Much of the work produced in this module has been published in international conferences or journals.

Research and Professional Skills, Tools and Methods (autumn and spring) 20 credits

This module enables students to acquire the core skills used in research, and to practice these through exploration of a specialist subject relevant to architecture and the built environment.

This module covers the skills and resources needed to conduct independent academic research, including how to present findings effectively. It will cover choosing a research topic, how to shape research literature search techniques, including the use of the web.

As a result, students will be able to conduct their own primary research, including quantitative and qualitative methodologies; data collection and simple statistical analysis. Opportunities to practice these skills will be presented through participation in a mixture of lectures, seminars and workshops designed to introduce specialist subject areas relevant to the field of architecture and related disciplines.

Delivery

Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Lecture 14 weeks 1 per week 1 hour
Workshop 12 weeks  1 per week 1 hour

Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Assignment 15.00 3,000 word essay
Presentation 1 30.00 Presentation of the research topic
Presentation and report 30.00  
Research portfolio 25.00  
Architecture & Built Environment Dissertation 60 credits

This module aims to enable students to plan, implement and write up a substantial piece of original research that will make a contribution to the intellectual life of the discipline.

This module seeks to enable students to:

  • demonstrate and develop research skills in their chosen area of study
  • select a topic of inquiry in consultation with relevant members of academic staff
  • search and critically review the appropriate literature
  • develop appropriate research questions for their chosen area of study
  • consider the ethical aspects of their investigation;⦁ select an appropriate methodology for their investigation
  • collect data
  • rigorously explore and critically analyse it
  • interpret findings against what is already known in the field of study
  • critically evaluate/reflect on the study itself
  • make appropriate suggestions for further research
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Friday 09 July 2021.
Urban Design Theory 10 credits

Introducing you to the history and theory of urban design, during a two hour lecture each week you’ll be given an understanding of the design of the city and its elements, and develop skills in the diagnosis and analysis of urban patterns.

Principles of Renewable and Energy Efficient Technologies 20 credits

This module will give you an understanding and working knowledge of the role of energy within the built environment, issues around environmental impact and security of supply, the role played by renewable and energy efficient systems as alternatives to conventional energy generation as well as the regulatory and economic factors that influence their deployment.

By undertaking this module you will acquire the ability to relate building design and context to energy needs and from this develop and assess environmentally responsible approached to meeting these needs. You will also learn to design and evaluate key renewable and energy efficient energy technologies with a focus on building application.

Sustainable Cities 10 credits

This module introduces the key theories of how a city works and its impact on the environment.It makes the students aware that sustainable cities are a product of both spatial patterns and social realities. The module examines a range of issues and challenges with a particular focus on environmental impact (local -global integration).

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Friday 09 July 2021.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Tutorials

Our MArch Architecture and Sustainable Design programme deals with the application of the theoretical and technological aspects of environmental design and sustainable architecture in equal measures in creative studio design projects. This course emphasises problem solving, where technical and theoretical knowledge are integrated into design projects, and a unique learning method in environmental design education, where you learn the theory alongside applying it in practice.

You will learn principles of sustainable design and tools to develop and assess sustainability and carbon management through lectures, seminars and workshops. These principles and tools will then be used to inform studio design projects supported by tutorials. Studio project briefs are based as much as possible on real-life projects, and participation in national or international competitions will be supported. Students will also be encouraged to present their work in national or international conferences and events.

Expert staff will offer dissertation topic choices, but you are also able to choose a topic of your interest in the context that is most relevant to you, to develop your knowledge in integrated environmental design and sustainable architecture.

We will use the best of digital technologies to support both your in-person and online teaching. We will provide live, interactive online sessions, alongside pre-recorded teaching materials so that you can work through them at your own pace. While the mix of in-person and digital teaching will vary by course, we aim to increase the proportion of in-person teaching in the spring term.

We are preparing your lectures, tutorials, laboratory classes, workshops and seminars so that you can study and discuss your subjects with your tutors and fellow students in stimulating and enjoyable ways. While we will keep some elements of online course delivery, particularly while Covid-19 restrictions remain in place or where this enhances course delivery, teaching is being planned to take place in-person wherever possible. This will be subject to government guidance remaining unchanged.

How you will be assessed

  • Presentation
  • Essay
  • Dissertation

Each module has a set of marking criteria aligned with its learning outcomes. This is used to assess your work via studio reviews, portfolio submissions, essays and research papers. The same goes for the dissertation, which is marked by at least two staff who are experts in the chosen subject. None of the core modules require you to seat an exam. You must pass each module with at least 50% to progress. Your final degree classification will be calculated based on the weighting of each module, which reflects their credits. 

Contact time and study hours

Teaching for this course comprises of circa 6 contact hours per week for the lecture-based modules and circa 6 contact hours per week for the studio-based modules during term-time. This is subject to timetabling and depends on which optional modules you choose. As a guide, one credit is equal to approximately 10 hours of work, and therefore you will be expected to do a significant amount of self-study time. For your dissertation, you will receive a minimum of 30 hours of support between meetings and feedback on your progress.

Class sizes vary with the modules. Studios are generally undertaken in small groups, usually between 10 and 20. Other core modules such as Advanced Sustainable Design and Case Study Project have medium size classes (usually 15-25 students), which allow us to run workshops effectively. In Research and Professional Skills, Tools and Methods you will join the whole masters cohort in a large group, which will allow you to meet others outside your course.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 in relevant subject
Portfolio

Applicants to all MArch programmes are required to submit a portfolio of their design work with their application. The portfolio enables us to see that you have some of the core skills required to be successful on an MArch course and to see the range of skills and types of projects that you have completed in your undergraduate degree.

Applying

Applicants to all MArch programmes are required to submit a portfolio of their design work with their application. The portfolio enables us to see that you have some of the core skills required to be successful on an MArch course and to see the range of skills and types of projects that you have completed in your undergraduate degree.

The portfolio should be submitted with your admissions application and be in PDF format and less than 10Mb (please submit this directly onto the MyNottingham admissions system).

The portfolio should have:

  • a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 15 images
  • a letter confirming that this is your own work. The letter should come from a tutor or course teacher who has been responsible for you and should be on institution headed paper
  • a front cover of the portfolio which shows your full name

The portfolio should contain:

  • examples of a few design projects that you have completed as part of your taught university education. Try to show different presentation techniques that represent your design skills (such as plans, sections, perspectives, physical and computer models, etc). The images can be any from architectural, urban, planning or landscape projects that you have completed in your studies
  • you may also include a few sketches, paintings, photographs, still life or life drawings to show your skills (maximum 2 pages)
  • as well as the above, it is also acceptable to include an example of a project that you have completed as part of work experience or a professional placement (maximum 2 pages)

Portfolios will be judged on whether you have the visual skills required together with a keen sense of judgement and spatial awareness in your work.

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2022 entry to be confirmed in August 2021.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you may factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles which could cost up to £100 per year.

In addition to this you may spend up to £50 per on printing and up to £50 on model making and drawing equipment. Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change.

Funding

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers, according to The Graduate Market, 2013-2017, High Fliers Research, and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

Most of the MArch Architecture and Sustainable Design course graduates are employed in architectural practices, environmental consultancies or universities across the world.

As a graduate of the University of Nottingham you can get access to 2-year post-study work visa for international students, designed to expand the opportunities for talented individuals to build successful careers in the UK. The visa allows eligible students to work, or look for work, in any career or position of their choice, for two years after completing their studies.

Most years we organise short placements within the UK immediately after the submission of your dissertation and before graduation. This offers you a change to practice your new skills resolving a real challenge. Often they are related to one of the real-life projects you engaged with. You will have a chance to apply for these when available. 

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" "The University of Nottingham offered me the perfect learning environment, an incredibly diverse community and all the support I needed. It changed my life, but mostly importantly, it changed me. All these years later I am still here, aiming to offer you the same life changing experience I had. I am confident that the MArch Architecture and Sustainable Design will offer what you are looking for, and give you the practical environmental design knowledge and skills that are highly sought-after by employers." "
Lucelia Rodrigues, Professor in Sustainable and Resilient Cities

Related courses

This content was last updated on Friday 09 July 2021. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.