Triangle

Course overview

The MArch Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2) course is a two-year professional course in architecture leading to an ARB and RIBA accredited degree.

You will build your core architecture skills, obtain diverse and specialist knowledge required in architectural practice today, and find your voice as a young designer.

You will work with leading tutors, including academic experts and practicing architects. The Course Director, Tim Collett, previously worked for 6a architects and Caruso St John Architects and was responsible for the Newport Street Gallery which won the RIBA Stirling Prize 2016. Design studio tutors are from faculty and practice, with experience at leading design practices, such as Haworth Tompkins, winners of the RIBA Stirling Prize 2014, and Witherford Watson Mann Architects, winners of the RIBA Stirling Prize 2013.

Julian Lewis from East architecture and Stephen Taylor from Stephen Taylor Architects are Honorary Professors on the course.

In year one you will take a variety of modules covering design, humanities, environment and technology, and professional studies. In year two the emphasis is on independent research and student-centred learning that supports the completion of a major design thesis focused on an area of interest to you.

When you complete the course, you will be a highly skilled, reflective graduate who will be able to apply your knowledge to the needs of the industry.

Why choose this course?

Top 3

architecture school in the country

 

Architects Journal (2020)

Top 10

Best Architecture schools in the UK

97%

overall satisfaction in our Part 2 Architecture Programmes

National Student Survey (2022)

Field trips

are an intrinsic part of this programme, with travel and accommodation available to European cities

Russell Group Member

Celebrated for academic excellence, leading research and world-class facilities 

Employability

Learn the skills you need to gain employment at top UK practices 

Course content

In year one you will complete 120 credits of modules. The autumn design studio is a vertical studio with year two students, supported by modules in architectural theory and environment/technology. In the spring the design studio project, a complex cohousing proposal, runs alongside professional studies and environment/technology modules; all three being integrated through the design project and structured along the RIBA Plan of Work stages.

In year two you will complete a further 120 credits in the form of a design thesis, consisting of autumn design research and a spring design project. The emphasis is on independent research and student-centred learning on an area of interest to you.

The course is guided by a set of core themes and shared interests - sustainability, continuity, reuse, construction, tectonics, inhabitation, and social inclusivity. The course seeks to impart a sense of optimism and engages in learning through collaboration and making.

By the end of the course, you will have completed two parts of your three-part ARB/RIBA qualification programme for professional architects in the UK. Graduates will typically enter employment within architecture practice and register on an ARB/RIBA Part 3 course to complete their architectural education and gain entry to the profession.

Modules

Architectural Research Studio 30 credits

This module is a design studio that aims to develop architectural design and critical thinking skills to an advanced level. The studio is project-based, and its activities follow a design process in which analytical investigations and research explorations into a particular theme, site, and research problem are applied to inform the development of architectural proposals.

Students have a choice of studio units, each of which embodies a distinct approach derived from their specific research focus and studio methodology, for example continuity, building systems, material language and urban transformation.

This module is tutorial and workshop based.

Design, Culture and Context 20 credits

This module aims to develop a theoretical and critical understanding of architecture as an interdisciplinary field of research and practice. It will help to situate research in architectural history, theory, culture and criticism within the context of design studio work in relation to the broader culture in which architectural research and practice take place. The overall aim is the development of research skills that will be valuable both academically and in design practice – including the ability to identify a research problem and the methods required to address it, quickly, clearly and rigorously. This module is lecture, seminar and tutorial based.  

Environment and Technology 1 10 credits

This module aims to develop practical knowledge, critical understanding and competent ability of sustainable environmental and technological aspects of architectural design. The module is designed to support practical applications in the studio, reinforcing skills in the integrative nature of architectural design. This module is lecture and workshop based. 

Professional Studies 1 20 credits

The module will give an overview of architectural practice, with particular emphasis on legal frameworks, forms of contract, and structure of architect’s services (RIBA Work Stages). This will cover construction law, building regulations and planning law, with an emphasis on practical application through the design studio project. The scope also includes information management and modelling, estimating construction project cost, procurement routes, forms of contract, design development, and circular economy and whole life costing.

The programme has been carefully devised to integrate with the accompanying Architectural Design Studio, so that you can take the benefit of testing many of the professional topics that will be studied as your scheme develops. Areas of statutory compliance, project costs, procurement, fee bidding and client team are all to be based on work you are doing in the design studio. This will not only offer you efficiencies in learning but will also ensure you develop a holistic understanding of the development of a project.

This module is lecture and workshop based.

Architectural Design Studio 30 credits

This design studio aims to develop the student’s core design, critical thinking and application skills through the production of a complex design proposal.

Each student will explore shared housing through a comprehensive design that is integrated across all three spring modules and resolved at a range of scales from wider context to detail. This studio aims to develop skills in housing design, and thereby address one of the pertinent issues today, the housing crisis.

The studio’s main project is structured by a rigorous design process that leads progressively from analytical investigations into site, programme and context, through to synthesis of a concept, which is applied to a complex design.

Students have a choice of studio units, each with a particular focus and methodology. This module is tutorial and workshop based. The coursework is project-based with each student producing a design portfolio.

Environment and Technology 2 10 credits

Following on from Environment and Technology 1, this module aims to develop your practical knowledge and understanding of the environmental, construction, structural and technological dimensions of sustainable architectural design.

The module is designed to support practical applications in the studio, reinforcing skills in the integrative nature of architectural design and sustainability.

This module is lecture and workshop based.

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 Wednesday 27 July 2022.
Design Thesis Research (60 credits) 60 credits

This autumn studio module aims to develop architectural skills to an advanced level through the thesis project’s initial development stages.

Students have a choice of studio units, each of which embodies a distinct approach derived from their specific research focus and studio methodology, for example continuity, building systems, material language, and urban transformation.

Each student will work with their studio tutors to develop their own individual thesis research focus. They will identify a topic related to architecture and then initiate a line of inquiry, out of which the findings are synthesised into a definitive thesis concept by mid-year.

The research topic is explored through a comprehensive written paper and drawn and modelled research portfolio.

This work leads to the development of a design brief, including selection of site and programme. This work is then applied through an integrated design process that seeks fully developed design proposals under the co-requisite spring module, Design Thesis Studio Portfolio (see below).

This module also includes a separate essay assignment that is intended to enable students to explore professionalism in the context of issues affecting the profession and the role of the architect. This piece is directed so that students reflect on their own futures at the point where they are about to enter the world of professional practice full time.

Each student is expected to follow a self-directed plan of independent study throughout the year's process, from research through briefing and design development. This module is tutorial and workshop based.

Design Thesis Studio Portfolio (60 credits) 60 credits

The portfolio component that constitutes this spring module is a continuation of the research and brief development activities from the co-requisite autumn module Design Thesis Research (see above). It builds upon the latter’s aims and learning outcomes.

Each student will continue to work under the guidance of their tutors from the autumn semester.

In this module, the focus shifts towards the production of a design portfolio as a comprehensive representation of each student’s full design thesis project.

The emphasis is on the development of architectural proposals that test the thesis proposition and build on the research findings and initial discoveries about site, programme and context that emerged out of the autumn coursework.

The spring semester is spent testing and developing design proposals, culminating in a comprehensive and well-resolved design.

Each student is expected to follow a self-directed plan of independent study throughout the year's process, from research through briefing and design development. This module is tutorial and workshop based.

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 Wednesday 27 July 2022.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Seminars
  • Workshops

The MArch Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2) course consists of a holistic and integrated set of modules that inform each other, culminating in the design thesis, which is your opportunity to explore a topic you are passionate about and to develop your own voice as a young designer.

The course emphasises practical problem-solving through research and the application of knowledge. Learning is project based with a focus on making. Technical, professional, and theoretical knowledge is integrated into design projects, so you learn the theory while applying it in practice.

You will be guided by expert staff, academics and practitioners, who will support you in developing your interests and knowledge in architecture, as well as core architectural skills required in architectural practice today.

Design studios are project-based and taught through tutorials, with supporting workshops, lectures and activities including a field trip. The other modules are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical workshops. Submissions for design studio are in the form of a portfolio, and for all other modules a combination of essays and research documents. In year two the autumn and spring portfolios are presented to the tutors at the end of term. Submissions are electronic.

The Centre for 3D Design (C3D) is a workshop manned by a dedicated team of skilled technicians with practical construction and fabrication experience, that are available to support you in making physical models and built work. The workshop equipment includes a Five Axis Router, laser cutting, 3D Printing, vacuum forming, foam modelling, small scale spraying, and a wide variety of joinery and woodwork machining tools.

How you will be assessed

  • Presentation
  • Essay
  • Research project
  • Portfolio (written/digital)

Each module has a set of marking criteria aligned with its learning outcomes which reflect the ARB Criteria for the Prescription of Qualifications at Part 2. The marking criteria are used to assess your work via studio reviews, portfolio submissions, essays, and research papers.  All marking is moderated across tutors / studios and then independently moderated. You must pass each module with at least 40% to progress. Your final degree classification will be calculated based on the credit weighting of each module, with an overall heavier weighting given to year two.

Contact time and study hours

Teaching for this course comprises circa 5 hours of contact time per week for lecture-based modules and circa 9 hours of contact time per week for studio-based modules. This is subject to timetabling and as workshops and activities are not conducted every week contact time may vary; for example, studio-based modules are generally between 6 to 14 hours per week. 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.

Class sizes vary with the modules. Studios are generally in small groups, usually between 10 and 20. Other modules are around 30 or 40 students but often break down into smaller seminar or tutorial groups of around 10.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

Additional information

External applicants: Applicants who have completed an undergraduate degree at an institution other than the University of Nottingham require an ARB/RIBA accredited Part 1 degree at 2:1 standard. Admission will be subject to the submission of a portfolio, letters of reference, and a personal statement.

University of Nottingham Part 1 graduates: Applicants who completed their undergraduate Part 1 degree at the University of Nottingham with a 2:1 standard gain automatic entry. Those with a 2:2 standard are required to submit a portfolio and personal statement. Those who are not enrolled on the year out (year zero) or who have been out for more than 2 years, are required to fulfil the same entry requirements as an external applicant above.

All: Access to year one of the MArch Part 2 course is subject to completing a minimum of 6 months approved practice-based experience by enrolling on the programme’s year out (year zero) or providing sufficiently completed RIBA professional experience development records (PEDR).

Applying

Applicants that are required to submit a portfolio or personal statement (see above) should note the following.

The portfolio enables us to see that you have the core skills required to be successful on the MArch Part 2 course, and to see the range of skills and design projects you have completed as well as your work experience.

The portfolio should be submitted with your admissions application in PDF format and be less than 10MB. It should be 15–20 pages and have a front cover which shows your full name. The portfolio should contain examples of your university design projects, year out work experience, and may also include personal artistic work such as sketches, paintings, furniture, built objects, photography, etc.

The personal statement should describe your interests in architecture and why you want to study at the University of Nottingham MArch Part 2 course. It should be one page. You can also include a brief biography or elaborate on any experience that might be relevant to your application.

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 2023 entry to be confirmed in August 2022.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

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

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books and journals 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.

Popular modelling materials as well as travel and accommodation related to compulsory field trips are paid for by the Department of Architecture and Built Environment.

In addition to this you may spend up to £50 per year on printing and £50 per year on additional model making and drawing equipment. Submissions are now electronic so printing costs are substantially lower than they used to be, however you may do some printing for tutorials, model-making, and reviews.

You are not required to purchase your own computing device however we have found that many students do. Depending upon your preference, allow from £600 for the purchase and also budget for software where this is not available through free student licence agreements.

Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change.

For full details see our fees page.

Funding

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Faculty-specific funding

In addition to the above, students applying to the Faculty of Engineering may be eligible for faculty-specific or industry scholarships.

A High Fliers Scholarships is offered to all those returning students from the faculty who graduated with a first class undergraduate degree. For more details please see 'High Fliers Scholarship: MArch Architecture - ARB-RIBA Part 2' on our scholarships page.

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

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

The MArch Part course will provide specific guidance and assistance on career direction and looking for work, from within the faculty and with advice from our partner practices, honorary professors, and by inviting practices that are looking to employ Part 2 graduates to our end of year show.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

Career progression

In recent years, Nottingham students have gone on to work for a range of practices including:

RIBA Award-winning practices including Haworth Tompkins, Caruso St John, Walters and Cohen, Mae, Carmody Groarke, Bennetts Associates and Harrison Stringfellow.

Architects’ Journal top 100 companies including Foster + Partners, Allies and Morrison, Weston Williamson, Hawkins Brown, Sheppard Robson and Wilkinson Eyre.

Nottingham practices including Lathams, Franklin Ellis, Benoy, Rayner Davies, CPMG and Leonard Design Architects

Other regular UK and international recruiters including Gensler, Paul Davies and Partners, China Architecture and Design Research Group, Studio Map and Tasou Associates

RIBA

This course is accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects. 

ARB

This course is accredited by the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the master’s course. I’m so glad that I decided to study my MArch at Nottingham, the course has definitely had a massive impact on how I think about architecture as well as the designer I strive to become. "
Georgia Hillier, Bennetts Associates (graduate 2021)

Related courses

This content was last updated on Wednesday 27 July 2022. 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.