The programme covers place-making, public realm design, urban conservation and regeneration issues, urban design theory and practice and sustainable urbanism theory and application.
Course alumni: hear from former students
Live projects and contemporary urban concerns are analysed and explored through reading, writing and design. The programme's focus on drawings and modelling as tools for analysis, exploration and communication allows a detailed understanding of how to move strategically between the scale of the city and detail of urban design proposals and place-making.
Urban design depends heavily upon imagination, experimentation, and pushing beyond the limitations of current thinking and contemporary practice. Students spend the summer semester producing a supervised research dissertation. This will be an opportunity to conduct a piece of independent research related to the practice of urban design and/or contemporary urban opportunities and challenges.
The programme offers a combination of design modules, lectures and seminars requiring students to work both in small groups and individually. The lectures and seminars discuss key issues of urban design history, theory and practice, particularly in relation to sustainable context in both theoretical and practical aspects. They provide an understanding of the process of urban change and the role of urban design.
The course attracts students from all over the world creating a dynamic environment in which to study and learn. There are also numerous field trips each year to cities across the UK as part of the taught modules, as well as social events, PhD group presentations and guest lectures.
Applicants to all MArch programmes in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Nottingham 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.
Students will develop the mechanisms and design tools which when effectively implemented can secure and deliver projects for the long-term benefit of a city and its people. The courses emphasises the importance of design creativity, analytical skills, critical thinking and focuses on drawing and physical and computer modeling as tools for analysis, exploration, communication and design in order to achieve social, cultural and environmental sustainability.
Students will be encouraged to develop problem-solving skills through creative urban design proposals. They will also develop an understanding of the complex relationship between spatial and design issues and social and economic urban processes. The course also addresses urban design as a mode of research and practice that shapes urban environments, physical or not and responds to current urban issues.
Through its content, this course aims to:
- bridge the gap between architecture and urban planning
- establish a broad theoretical basis of debate related to the practice of urban design
- encourage design experimentation and creativity
- apply theory and research methods to specific design projects
- be environmentally aware and supportive of holistic sustainable practices
The course emphasises the importance of design creativity, in keeping with the spirit of intellectual freedom and experimentation, which has given the Department of Architecture and Built Environment its international reputation.
The Department of Architecture and Built Environment is located on the beautiful landscaped University Park campus, which is a short journey from Nottingham city centre. The Department is fully equipped with a Centre for 3D Design, which houses 3D printers, laser cutters, model-making facilities, and a 5-axis router. The Department’s design studios, computing laboratories, printing facilities, and technical workshops provide the tools for the investigative analysis of current structural, construction, social and environmental issues informing the making of architecture and urban design.
Academic English preparation and support
If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may want to attend a course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE), which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK. Find out more by visiting the CELE website.