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MArch Architecture

Start date September
Duration 2 years
Accreditation RIBA Part 2/ARB

Course overview

Our innovative and influential MArch Architecture course will enable you to make sophisticated architectural propositions that respond creatively to social, economic, political, cultural and technical contexts. At the heart of the course is a range of specialist design studios and our ‘Live Projects’ programme, offering excellent opportunities for you to develop graduate-level research by design.

The freedom to pursue and nurture my own skills and areas of interest is something that was important to me when making my decision to study MArch at Sheffield. The course offers a well-rounded and grounded learning experience, by encouraging originality and creativity that is relevant towards current social issues. Live Projects have been one of the most enjoyable parts of the course. The connection between education and the real world has been invaluable in preparing me for my future career in architecture.

Ashley Mayes
BA and MArch Architecture

The design studios explore current challenges and opportunities in architecture. Initial themes are developed out of the studio leader’s research interests and you are encouraged to develop a critical approach to the production of architecture in contemporary society, learning from the past and visioning the future. The studios offer you the freedom to experiment with ambitious and innovative spatial proposals and develop your own lines of enquiry, while being supported by tutors who offer excellent specialist research and practice experience.

Live Projects are a core part of the MArch course, and are seen as a pioneering initiative in architectural education. For a six-week period in both years, you will work on projects with a range of clients, from local community groups and charities, to regional authorities. The projects reveal the benefits of socially-engaged design and collaborative working, producing outcomes that make a real difference to communities.

On this course you are encouraged to be canny, flexible, responsive and socially enterprising, which we believe will enable you to negotiate and respond to the challenges of our time and also lead on defining what ‘Future Practice’ might be.


The course is recognised by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) as giving exemption from RIBA Part 2.

It is also prescribed by the Architects Registration Board (ARB), subject to periodic review by ARB, for the purposes of entry onto the United Kingdom Register of Architects.

Structure and modules

Our design teaching is studio based with several research-led options. Programmes run by specialist staff link together lectures, studio work and research. Each module is assessed individually by coursework.

For the first six weeks, students in the first and second years of the course participate in Live Projects. All projects have a relationship with a client external to the University and the vast majority of these clients are drawn from the public or volunteer sector.

For the remaining weeks of Semester 1 and all of Semester 2, students in both years join design studios dedicated to particular specialist themes. You are encouraged to experience a variety of ways of working, therefore you will take part in different studios each year.

Year 1 Modules

ARC550 Design 1 (15 credits)

ARC551 Design 2 (30 credits)

ARC552 Live Project 1 (15 credits)

ARC553 Architectural Research Methodologies (10 credits)

ARC554 Environment and Technology 1 (10 credits)

ARC555 Management and Practice 1 (10 credits)

ARC556 Dissertation 1 (15 credits)

You will also choose one optional module (15 credits) aimed to enhance understanding and skills in a specific area of interest. This module can be selected from a rich range of options offered by the School of Architecture's masters courses.

Year 2 Modules

ARC560 Design 3 (15 credits)

ARC561 Design 4 (30 credits)

ARC562 Live Project 2 (15 credits)

ARC583 Design Manifesto (15 credits)

ARC584 Environment and Technology 2 (15 credits)

ARC585 Management and Practice 2 (15 credits)

ARC566 Dissertation 2 (15 credits)

For module descriptions please view the MArch Student Handbook.

Studio Staff

Studios are delivered by leading architects and academics. In 2018-2019 the studios were led by:

Carolyn Butterworth

Simon Baker

John Sampson

Kasia Nawratek

Howard Evans

Satwinder Samra

Leo Care

Daniel Jary

Bryan Davies

Mark Emms

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers.In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Student experiences

Each year we attract excellent students to this course who all contribute to a socially vibrant and academically challenging environment. Here they share their experiences of studying on the MArch courses in Sheffield.

Farhana JiwaFarhana Jiwa

Why did you decide to study at Sheffield?

My decision to study at Sheffield was strongly shaped by the fact that it’s a vibrant, diverse and walkable city. The city has a rich architectural fabric and industrial heritage which undoubtedly shapes and inspires my learning. Moreover, the University’s focus on architectural research and social design is very unique – encouraging students to push the boundaries in response to our changing global needs.

What have you enjoyed about the course?

I strongly value and share the social ethos at the University of Sheffield. The Live Projects in particular, serve to cultivate our investigative and creative potential. The inherent public engagement and co-design work we carry out can be really empowering for the communities we work with. In many cases, this has had a lasting impact. The ‘Live’ nature of the work we do makes our projects practical and realistic within the professional context. Since design is universal and architecture is ubiquitous, it’s great that our studios and projects are not limited to Sheffield. This provides a new approach to similar issues in different contexts.

What skills have you gained while studying in Sheffield?

My studies at Sheffield have allowed me to cover a wide range of disciplines in architecture and other fields, but more importantly, have inspired me to explore innovative techniques and technologies for the contemporary city. Communication, collaboration and research are embedded in the work we do, from an initial project meeting through to final delivery. My experiences therefore, have been very enriching. For example, my studio in Brussels last year (Re-Activist Architecture) allowed me to apply my design thinking in a completely different social, political and geographical context.

How has studying at Sheffield informed the way you think about the subject?

Studying at Sheffield has truly reinforced my appreciation and aspiration towards socially conscious design within the profession. In an era of rapid urbanization, environmental pressure and resources scarcity, the need for conservation and sustainable practice remains critical.

What advice would you give to a new Sheffield student?

Get involved, challenge yourself or simply try something new! The University has a lot to offer; societies, festivals, international celebrations and so much more.

How should students make the most of University?

Be active and enjoy the University experience – Love what you learn, keep inquiring and push the boundaries through research, experimentation and innovation.

Embrace every opportunity and enjoy every moment!

What is your favourite thing about Sheffield?

The people and the University’s wider ambition towards technology and innovation is really inspiring – allowing students to explore new spheres of creativity.

Studios Live Projects Careers