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Course overview

Our Sustainable Urban Design MArch programme focuses on the design of the public and urban areas. The programme is designed to enable graduates to enhance the quality of cities around the world by bringing innovative design into a new relationship with the latest research.

You will learn about the structure of urban form, the way that cities function, and how people use them in order to create urban places that respond to the major opportunities and challenges facing society.

This programme covers all of the areas required of an urban designer in contemporary practice, including:

  • public and urban design theory and practice
  • urban regeneration
  • sustainable urbanism theory and applications
  • urban policy

You will acquire the knowledge and develop the necessary skills to face the contemporary cultural, historical, social, economic, and environmental challenges in terms of achieving holistic sustainability in those realms.

Why choose this course?

Top 3

architecture school in the country

 

Collaborative links

strong collaborative links with professional organisations and international institutions 

Live projects

Work on real projects and with professional organisations

Professional Skills

Develop important professional knowledge and skills.

Top 5

Best Architecture schools in the UK

Course content

This programme covers place-making, public realm design, urban design theory and practice, urban conservation and regeneration issues, cities and the way that they work, and sustainable urbanism theory and application.

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, and 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

This is a studio-based design module within a specialist design units (for example: architecture design, museum design, tall buildings, environmental design, architectural tectonics, sustainable urban design, etc.). 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.

Urban Design Theory and Practice (autumn) 20 credits

This module aims to introduce and analyse contemporary urban design theories and practice including their evolution from historical practice to develop a critical understanding of the contemporary city and how people engage with it. This will include an analysis of the visual, social, functional, perceptual and environmental dimensions of the practice of urban design.

This module is intended as an introduction to the current issues in the theory and practice of urban design, urbanism and the public realm. The module will enable an advanced understanding of people, places and cities.

Issues and challenges will be introduced by tracing the evolution of urban design including how its historical evolution informs contemporary practice. New and emerging phenomena within the urban design discipline will also be analysed to set the contemporary agenda.

Delivery

Activity Number of Weeks Number of sessions Duration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 2 hours
Seminar 5 weeks 1 week 2 hours
Workshop 1 week 1 week 1 hour and 30 minutes

Assessment method

Assessment Type Weight Requirements
Coursework 1 65.00 4,000 word research report
Coursework 2 5.00 PowerPoint presentation (1 page)
Coursework 3 30.00  
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).

Research Skills 20 credits

This module enables students to acquire the core skills used in research and practice these through an 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.

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.

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 Thursday 25 February 2021.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops

Urban design depends heavily upon imagination, experimentation, and pushing beyond the limitations of current thinking and contemporary practice.

Through the Autumn and Spring semesters, live projects and contemporary urban concerns are analysed and explored through design and research.

This programme will develop students' professional design and academic skills through a series of urban design projects alongside the development of knowledge through lectures and seminars. These will encourage students to be analytical, and creative in their approaches to the design of cities and the public places within them. 

In the Summer semester students will work on an individually supervised research dissertation. Students will be encouraged to select a topic that relates to a contemporary urban issue in a context of their interest and to undertake a critical piece of research to examine this in detail.

How you will be assessed

  • Essay
  • Dissertation

The programme consists of 180 credits over 3 semesters.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

Undergraduate degreeA 2:1 or equivalent in an undergraduate course in architecture, urban planning, landscape design, landscape architecture, environmental design, interior design, or a similar subject. This must include design-based modules amounting to 25% to 50% of total credits.
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

Qualification MSc
Home / UK £8,500
International £22,000

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who 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 Brexit information for future students.

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 (hard copy or e-copy) 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.

All field trips are provided by the Department and are free for students.

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.

More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

Graduate destinations

Graduates of the MArch Sustainable Urban Design typically go on to work at the interface between urban design and architecture, urban planning, landscape design in architectural or multi-disciplinary practices and design institutes around the world. Many graduates also progress onto PhD study either at Nottingham or other leading universities.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" "Studying on the MArch Sustainable Urban Design is a great opportunity to develop high level urban design skills and knowledge whilst working under the guidance of leading academics. You will study in an exciting multi-disciplinary environment alongside graduates from different disciplines, countries and backgrounds" "
Professor Tim Heath, Professor of Architecture & Urban Design, Director of Postgraduate Studies, and Course Director of MArch Sustainable Urban Design

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning (2017/18). Our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national grading system, introduced by the government in England. It assesses the quality of teaching at universities and how well they ensure excellent outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

This content was last updated on Thursday 25 February 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.