MA Architectural Design

School of Architecture, Faculty of Social Sciences

We are one of the UK's top architecture schools. You'll enjoy the freedom to express yourself and develop the skills you need for your career.

The Architects' Journal (2014) says we're the best architecture school outside London.

Perhaps more than any other school in Europe, we push our students to understand that architecture is about people. We believe this makes them better designers and better citizens.

Real design projects with real clients are an integral part of all our taught courses.

Through our research, we work with communities all over the world, influencing policy and improving lives.

About the course

This studio-based course will help you develop your own distinctive design practice.

You'll explore design processes and methodologies and there are opportunities to work on real-life projects with local and regional groups.

It's a challenging mix of design projects, seminars, research and fieldwork. Design theory and practice are compulsory. Through our pioneering Live Project initiative, you'll work on a real project for a real client such as a community group, a charity or a regional authority.

We want you to explore the subject, question accepted wisdom and contribute new ideas.

You can take this course as a stand-alone MA or as preparation for a PhD
via our PhD by Design programme.

Core modules

  • Special Design 1 'Live Project'
  • Design Project 1 and 2
  • Reflections on Architectural Design
  • Thesis Design Project
  • Route A - Research by Design (Theory) Critical Spatial Theory
  • Route B - Research by Design (Practice) Theory and Research in Design, Environment and Technology in Design

Optional modules

  • Reflections on Architectural Education
  • Conservation and Regeneration Principles and Approaches
  • Conservation and Regeneration Traditional Materials and Techniques
  • Conservation and Regeneration Policy and Law
  • Participation in Urban Design and Architecture
  • History and Theory of Urban Design
  • Reflection on Urban Design Practice
  • Principles of Building Physics for Sustainable Design
  • Building Environmental Simulation and Analysis
  • Renewable Energy
  • Parametric Architectural Geometry
  • Critical Application of Building Information Modelling


  • Studio-based design work with individual and group tutorials
  • Block seminars and workshops
  • Traditional lecture modules
  • Live projects involving real clients and real community projects


  • Course assignments
  • Exams
  • Design thesis
  • Dissertation

Apply now

Postgraduate student from the School of Architecture

Our built environment contributes a high percentage of carbon emissions and is one of the causes for global warming. I'm hoping to apply what I learn to influence people in the building industry to consider their impact on the environment.

Chun Yuen, postgraduate student in School of Architecture 

Key facts

Course duration

1 year full-time

Entry requirements

You'll need a 2:1 honours degree or an equivalent qualification related to design in the built environment, such as architecture, landscape architecture or town planning. Your degree doesn't have to be design-based. If you have a lot of professional design experience we'll consider your application. We'd like to see your portfolio to get an idea of your design abilities. And we may ask you to come to an interview.

English language requirements

Overall IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

Entry requirements for international students

Fees and funding

Financial information for postgraduate taught courses


Graduates work in commercial architecture, urban design, landscape, non-profit organisations, government agencies and city councils. With this post-qualification degree, you could move on to a senior position. And the course is a perfect foundation for doctoral research. Many of our students go on to a PhD with us.

Learn from experts

You’ll be joining one of the largest and most diverse groups of full-time architecture academics in the country. Our staff come from the arts, physical and social sciences, and engineering. This connects our research to other disciplines and stimulates debate about the future of architecture.

Our international research projects shape policy and address public and professional needs. We integrate those projects with our teaching on courses that will develop your core skills. You'll be encouraged to provide social and environmental solutions to the challenges of our time.

Explore your ideas

You'll have access to a lot of specialist facilities. Our media unit has a range of audiovisual and environmental equipment including artificial sky for daylight simulation, a thermal imaging camera and a mixed reality imaging suite.

We have our own photography studio, reprographics unit and 3D printers. There are design studios, research rooms and computer labs.

Our teaching is more than lectures and seminars. Our student-led design projects help you learn by doing.

Working with real clients on real projects, you'll discover the benefits of socially engaged design and collaborative working. The outcomes make a difference to communities.

Apply now

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It is a quick and easy process.

Postgraduate Online Application Form

Any questions?

If you'd like to know more about any aspect of our courses, contact us:

T: +44 (0)114 222 0306/0309