Course overview

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

You will gain valuable experience by working in practice for up to three days each week while taking a full range of academic modules in the remaining time.

Complete a comprehensive teaching programme delivered close to your host practice, so you don’t have to travel back to Nottingham each week if you work elsewhere.

You will learn specialist skills by undertaking a significant practice research study as part of the extended work placement.

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

fully validated

by the ARB and the RIBA and leads to exemption from Part Two of the three-part qualification programme for professional architects in the UK

2nd year in practice

Gain a valuable second year out in practice without lengthening your route to qualification

Reduce the cost

of your Part 2 education by up to £15,000. A £3,000 fee reduction is offered in Year 5, with the opportunity for students to further reduce fees by being sponsored by their practice


The core of the year is practice-based research and associated design exploration, with a practice-based design research project leading onto a design exploration of your research findings. Specialist research modules during this year in practice will give you valuable practice-led research skills for your future career.

Building Case Study

This module provides the opportunity for you to develop your understanding of the nature and context of architectural practice, particularly focusing on how environmental principles, strategies, and technologies inform the design and development of buildings.

During your extended period in practice,you will become more aware of the range of skills and knowledge that inform the design and construction of buildings, and of the different professions such as acousticians, lighting specialists and environmental designers that contribute to this process.

This module requires you to apply this knowledge in the critical appraisal of a building case study of their choice that draws upon the experience gained from practical experience, and the knowledge obtained from distance-based learning via the Moodle platform.

The analysis of a building either currently being developed by practice, or via post occupancy evaluation of a practice scheme is encouraged by the University.

The study will develop from an integrative and holistic perspective and explore professional knowledge centred on how environmental design and technologies have informed the design outcomes of the selected building.

Culture and Context in Practice

This seminar module aims to support the development of architectural thinking to an advanced level through a critical examination of architectural culture.

It offers the opportunity to support the Architectural Research Study by contextualising the chosen area of research being undertaken in the co-requisite module, Architectural Research Study in the broader theoretical and culture context of architecture.

The alternative to this is to develop a separate piece of theoretical work in line with the on campus version of this module, Design, Culture and Context.

The work will be developed in liaison with the practice mentor and the module convenor, and allows you to develop a literature review and/or propose a relevant research method for further research exploration and will be supported by a series of humanities / theory lectures delivered on MOODLE -the university's online learning platform.

Architectural Research Study

The research study is at the heart of the new course and offers a unique opportunity for Part 2 students to take an active role in developing practice research, with the space for practice to explore research topics that may be inaccessible in a commercial operating environment.

The topic of the study is to be defined by student and practice. Importantly, there are no defined limits on the choice of topic, with the only criteria being that the university is comfortable that the research study is deliverable within the given timeframe.

You will be offered teaching in a range of architectural research methods, before being guided through the preparation of their research study by the university teaching and research team. Although the research study will be led by practice, all academic guidance and tutoring will be given by the university, augmented where relevant and agreed by university research staff.

The aspiration of the module is that wider peer review dialogue will be formed with other likeminded and interested practice partners, and that the outputs from the reports will be publishable to a wider audience.

Live Design Studio

This design studio aims to develop your core design, critical thinking and application skills as prescribed by the ARB/RIBA for Part II students via a live design project founded on practice / client interests.

It is structured to link with co-requisite modules, Professsional Studies in Practice and Applied Architectural Technology covering professional studies and environment and technology modules, to deliver a holistic design development experience encompassing multiple facets of the profession.The output of these modules collectively is a Comprehensive Design Project supported by professional and technical reports.

You will have the opportunity to identify a site, brief and typology emerging from your research study, by which they can further explore their research conclusions through an architectural solution. The aim is to continue live practice investigative work, drawing learning from continued practice and client engagement as the design develops.

To meet the required level of rigour and complexity, the proposal must meet core brief objectives in terms of project scale, complexity of programme and urbanity of place. If criteria are unable to be met the brief will revert to the MArch Comprehensive Design Project (K14ADS) brief in order ensure that Learning Outcomes are met. The studio will be structured around a design process that leads progressively from analytical investigations into site, programme and context, through synthesis of a summary concept, which is ultimately applied towards resolving a complex building programme.

With an emphasis on an integrative design approach, you are encouraged to test emerging proposals during each work stage, and to draw on specialist technical and environmental design and professional studies workshops and tutorials input from co-requisite modules, Professsional Studies in Practice and Applied Architectural Technology.Teaching support is provided to augment the relevant knowledge and skills that will enable you to develop and represent their architectural proposals.

Reflective Practice Portfolio

This module is focussed on your continuation Part 1 work experience in architectural practice.This formative period of collaboration between education and practice is an important period for acquiring professional attitudes, working in a live studio setting, and developing the ability to make decisions based on knowledge and applied skills.

This module focuses on reflective evaluation of these years in practice, including both the professional and design skills development of the student, and a reflection of the impact of the research study on the host practice.The reflective evaluation of practice is based around the recording of practical training, presentation of a developmental portfolio of studio work undertaken in practice and reflection upon the learning experience.

During your time in practice, you will be expected to record your practical experience, and evaluate and monitor your performance. At the end of the period in practice, you will submit PEDR records for assessment, along with a reflective statement about the overall practice experience and a portfolio of design work demonstrating your progression during this period.

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.

Professional Studies in Practice

The course 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) with an emphasis on more complex client relationships, project partnering, joint venture working.

Lectures and workshops will cover construction law, building regulations and planning law. All delivered content will be streamed to co-ordinate with the practical application of the co-requisite live design studio project. It will also cover professionalism, business management, project financing, risk management and the building team. 

The scope also includes the financial implications of construction costs as related to decisions about procurement routes, contract and design decisions, CDM Legislation and the implications of the Equalities Act.

The activities of this module will generally be programmed to complement the development of the associated live design studio project, Live Design Studio and Reflective Practice portfolio, to allow you to apply the theoretical concepts to their design project work and analysis of the professional practice environment.

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 Thursday 09 February 2023.

You can select from a range of specialist design research studios.

This final year of study emphasises independent research and student-centred learning that support the completion of a major design thesis.

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 Thursday 09 February 2023.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

How you will be assessed

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.

An ARB/RIBA-accredited Part 1 degree at 2:1 standard. Admission will be subject to the submission of a full portfolio, letters of reference and a personal statement. Access to year one of the MArch is subject to completing a minimum of six months approved practice-based experience.


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

How to apply


Qualification MArch
Home / UK £9,250
International £27,200

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).

£3,000 tuition fee reduction

Students on this course may receive a £3,000 tuition fee reduction for the year in practice (year 5).

High Fliers Scholarship

In recognition of academic excellence, all students from the faculty who have graduated with a first class undergraduate degree will be eligible for a £500 fee reduction if accepted on to MArch Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2) for 2020 entry.

Full eligibility:

  • Applies to students who achieve a first class undergraduate degree from The University of Nottingham
  • Available to students who begin their studies from 2020
  • Available to graduates from the UK, China and Malaysia campuses
  • Only available for students coming to study in the UK

For enquiries please contact: +44 (0)115 951 5559 or

Faculty-specific funding

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


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


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.

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

100% of postgraduates from the Department of Architecture and Build Environment secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £26,000 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £100,000.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time, postgraduate, home graduates within the UK.


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


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

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates

Related courses

This content was last updated on Thursday 09 February 2023. 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.