MArch Architecture with Collaborative Practice Research (ARB/RIBA Part 2)


Fact file - 2019 entry

MArch (ARB/RIBA Part 2) Architecture with Collaborative Practice Research
UCAS code
2 years full-time
A level offer
Required subjects

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.
IB score
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places


A unique Part 2 course offering a year in practice gaining specialist practice research skills, whilst still offering an ARB/RIBA Part 2 offers a unique route to professional qualification.

Read full overview

If you have any questions about this course, please email:

MArch Architecture with Collaborative Practice Research (ARB/RIBA Part 2) is a two year professional course in architecture that not only produces graduate architects with the wide range of skills that the Department is renowned for, but also unique practice based research and innovation skills not generally offered under the accredited qualification route.

  • Gain a valuable second year out in practice without lengthening your route to qualification.
  • Take advantage of an opportunity to gain real life research and innovation skills at a leading practice as part of your studies.
  • 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.
  • 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.



  • This programme received its validation by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) in June 2018, and was successfully accredited by the ARB (the Architects Registration Board) in July 2018.

ARB logo RIBA logo

The course offers a rich blend of taught specialisms in research, technology, professionalism and humanities, alongside a broad range of studio topics led by specialist staff within the Department.

The University believe in offering the highest levels of student support and guidance, and although practice based, includes an extensive programme of taught delivery, lectures and workshops in close proximity to your place of work. We are therefore offering the programme to students in host practices in Greater London, and those in the Midlands region, where such teaching can be offered. 

The course will run alongside, and share much of the taught framework with our existing MArch Architecture programme, with all students merging together for the year six thesis programme back on campus.


Global architectural practice Leonard Design Architects announces a new partnership with the University of Nottingham 

The partnership, the first of its kind implemented in practice by any university across the country, allows architecture students to work directly with local firms to produce cutting-edge industry-based research.

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Year one

Year one of the programme is to be practice based, where you will extend your year out experience into a second year, while undertaking a broad university-based programme of humanities, technical, practice, research, and design focused modules.

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

All of the taught modules in spring semester have been designed to integrate with the live design studio project, and will offer modules in professional studies and technical / tectonic matters that complement your studio design work. This holistic approach is not only geared towards meeting the ARB/RIBA prescription of qualification requirements for Part 2, but will offer an all-round perspective of the profession on a singular scheme. 

Year two

In year two, 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.

By the end of the course, you will have completed two parts of the three-part RIBA qualification programme for professional architects in the UK. You will have had the opportunity to gain unique practice based research skills, invaluable to a sector rich in research and innovation, as well as advancing your architectural skills through the production and declaration of a comprehensive and integrative thesis.

You will also have built upon specialist design skills and knowledge, architectural writing skills developed through the production of essays, brief writing and a design dissertation. Along the way you will have acquired various transferable skills including a range of communication skills, team- working, self-direction and time management.

MArch Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part II) graduates will typically enter employment within the architecture practice and register on an ARB/RIBA Part 3 programme to complete their architectural education and gain entry to the profession.


Student Yearbook 2017

You can view the catalogue of student projects from the Part 2 course 2016-17, prepared to showcase their work, using the link below.

View the yearbook

Student Yearbook 2017


Entry requirements

BArch, MEng in Architecture and Environmental Design or other equivalent ARB/RIBA accredited Part One degree; All graduates must have achieved a minimum 2:1 standard in their first degree. All applicants will need to have a practice placement agreed in principle with a partnering practice and the University for the year in practice.

You will be primarily responsible for securing this placement. The placement can equate to up to 20 hours of paid time per week and should be of a duration that at least matches the academic calendar for year one.

You can also suggest a placement with a non-partnering practices. Discussions on suitable practice should be raised with the programme Director, Graeme Barker prior to any application.   

The agreement in principle with the partner practice must then be formalised and signed between the University, Student and Partner Practice prior to the start of the course.

Incoming applicants may be invited to attend an interview with their complete portfolio.

Practice-based experience

Access to year one of the MArch is subject to completing a minimum of six months approved practice based experience. This may be demonstrated by registering on and successfully completing the programme's Year Out in Practice or providing sufficient completed RIBA Professional Education and Development Records (PEDRs).

Applicants who require a student visa to study in the UK may register on the programme's Year Out in Practice up to six months before the start of the following academic year.

All applicants must be advised that they are required to hold ARB recognised qualifications at Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 before being eligible for registration and gaining access to the Architectural Profession within the EU. 

English language requirements 

IELTS: 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

Cambridge certificate of proficiency grade B

For details of other English language tests and qualifications we accept, please see our entry requirements page.

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications

For details please see alternative qualifications page



The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules

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 to be no defined limits on 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. he 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.

Applied Architectural Technology

Following on from Environment and Technology 1, this lecture-based module aims to develop your practical knowledge and understanding of the environmental, construction, structural and technological dimensions of architectural design.The module is designed to support practical applications in the studio, reinforcing skills in the integrative nature of architectural design.

Formal teaching will be complemented by regular workshops sessions on specialist areas of expertise such as façade engineering, parametric design and fabric architecture to support developing studio design work.

The focus of the module submission is designed to seamlessly integrate with the associated Live Design Studio by requiring the development of a environment and technological study of the chosen studio project.


Typical year two modules

Diploma thesis Studio

This year-long studio design module aims to develop architectural skills to an advanced level. Within the module there is the opportunity to select from a range of different design research studios that are introduced at the beginning of the year. Each design research studio will have its own structure and theme and will develop particular knowledge and skills in addition to the general module aims and learning outcomes.The module also allows you to identify a topic of interest related to architecture and to formulate a thesis that will be developed into a design research thesis. You will be expected to plan a programme of independent study and to undertake relevant research into their chosen topic.



On completing the course, you will have had the opportunity to extend your practical experience and to have developed specialist design knowledge and skills. You will have developed and demonstrated your advanced architectural skills through the production and declaration of a design thesis or demonstrated advanced research and writing through the production of a written thesis. You will have acquired transferable skills including a range of communication skills, team working, self-direction and time management.

Professional recognition

This course is recognised by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects' Registration Board (ARB) for Part Two professional accreditation.

Average starting salary and career progression 

In 2016, 95% of undergraduates in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,460 with the highest being £28,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU first-degree graduates, 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

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. 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.  

Boost your earning potential

Which university courses boost graduate wages the most? Studying with us could help you to earn more.

  • We are second highest in the UK for female engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation
  • We are second highest in the Midlands for male engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation

(Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies data:



Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

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.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.

£3,000 tuition fee reduction

All students on this course will 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 graduate 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 2019 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 2019
  • 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.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.

Time in lectures, seminars and similar

Although this figure may appear low, you will undertake a module during your studies which involves over 90% of independent learning. This module is usually a dissertation, thesis or research project and will provide the opportunity to gain research and analytical skills as well as the ability to work independently. You will have a higher percentage of contact hours for other modules. 

How to use the data

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


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