Collaborative Practice Students

MArch Architecture: Collaborative Practice

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

Course overview

Our Collaborative Practice programme places us at the forefront of architectural education by blending practice based experience with academic research and learning. Sheffield is a unique and diverse School that already has an established reputation for its ethos, approach and excellence in architectural education.

“I chose this course as it was rooted in reality, allowing me to reflect on practical experience. It merged an academic learning environment within a practical setting, allowing me to earn while I learned. I think the course has empowered me by encouraging me to self-reflect and also giving me the opportunity to look ‘behind the curtain’ at top UK practices.”

Yanni Pitsillides
MArch in Architecture: Collaborative Practice

The course is a two year, full time masters with two semesters of practice-based education in the initial year and two semesters of University-based education in the final year. This means that students will overlap a year of studies with their professional experience which aims to shorten the time taken to professional qualification.

The programme offers students unique opportunities to develop their experience working with some of the country's top architecture practices. It is built around strong partnerships with leading and reputable practices, many of which are alumni of the School.

Reflective design is central to the MArch in Architecture: Collaborative Practice programme, acting as a laboratory for the testing of creative and critical ideas, whilst at the same time developing fundamental architectural skills. Teaching draws on the exceptional research base of the School, which means that people at the forefront of their discipline deliver lectures and design teaching.

The programme encourages each student to develop their own response to the social, physical and environmental contexts presented by projects and coursework. The aim of the School is to develop individuals who are self-critical, confident and reflective enough to make appropriate decisions, and are aware of the wider responsibilities of the architect.


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.

Partner practices

5 plus architects


Allies and Morrison

Assael Architecture

Baca Architects


Bennetts Associates

Bond Bryan

Broadway Malyan

Carmody Groarke

Coffey Architects

Cullinan Studio

Duggan Morris Architects

EPR Architects

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Grimshaw Architects


Haworth Tompkins

HLM Architects

HTA Design

Hutchinson and Partners


Levitt Bernstein


MAKE Architects

Mikhail Riches

Mole Architects

MSMR Architects

Panter Hudspith

Penoyre & Prasad

Proctor and Matthews

Rogers Stirk Harbour

RMA Architects

Stiff + Trevillion Architects

The Manser Practice


Waugh Thistleton

Weston Williamson + Partners

Structure and modules

The programme runs alongside our innovative and influential MArch in Architecture, with students studying together in Year 2. It has five new modules as well as sharing existing modules with the MArch in Architecture programme.

Reflective design work in Year 1 is fully supported by taught modules that range from the humanities to the sciences. A combination of practice-based seminars, tutorials, peer-to-peer learning and lectures develops the intellectual requirements of a University education within a professional context.

For module descriptions please view the MArch Student Handbook.

Key teaching staff

Satwinder Samra
Carolyn Butterworth
Aidan Hoggard
Simon Baker
Leo Care

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.

Entry requirements

For all applicants who currently work in a partner practice please check that you meet the standard entry requirements and submit your application using the link on the applying page. If you are not currently working in a partner practice and you wish to apply for this course you have 2 options:

  1. Secure a placement in one of the partner practices
  2. Secure a job in a practice that may wish to become a partner (this can be your existing practice)

We advise that you submit an application to us, detailing in your personal statement what your intentions are for securing a placement (from the 2 options above). Once we have reviewed your application we will invite you for an interview if we think you are suitable for the course. At the interview we will discuss how to secure a placement in more detail.

You can begin to contact the partner practices to see if they have any vacancies, however, please let them know that you are interested in studying this course so they are aware of your contractual and professional requirements.

Further information on entry requirements

Application procedure

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 in Sheffield.

My experience of working and studying in practice

By Naomi Bailey, MArch Architecture: Collaborative Practice

Naomi meeting with her practice mentor and director of Levitt BernsteinI am Naomi, a Collaborative Practice student who last year worked at the London-based architectural practice Levitt Bernstein whilst studying for my Part II masters at Sheffield. I was one of 13 Collaborative Practice students who were embarking on Sheffield's newly established MArch course.

I admit, I was slightly worried at first how to balance academic and professional work. I soon realised that studying in a professional environment meant you had immediate access to valuable knowledge, advice and support from experts, which made this unique MArch experience extremely rewarding and beneficial for my academic work.

Design charrette with fellow CP peers at Carmody Groarke's officesThe course follows a 4-day work week structure. This left Friday as my focused study day which was also used for tutorials with the course leader, Satwinder Samra, and intense design-day sessions with my fellow Collaborative Practice students. These were held at various architectural practices around London and Sheffield who are affiliated with the course and often ended with a tour around the practice and presentation by directors or senior staff members about their approach to design. A particular highlight was spending a tutorial day in the Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' office situated in the Leadenhall building aka. the 'cheese grater'. We were fortunate to meet and listen to Ivan Harbour who presented initial drawing concept and development sketches for upcoming projects.

Naomi presenting her collaborative practice experience and work to the Levitt Bernstein's office.My design studio module was based on a housing project I was working on with an associate, architect and landscape architect at Levitt Bernstein. For this module we needed to propose an alternative design to our practice's scheme through analysis, critique and further design iterations. The housing project at Levitt Bernstein was developing simultaneously with my academic work which revealed exciting opportunities to implement design ideas and drawings produced for my design university module into the actual design proposals for planning.

Overall, I felt studying and working in practice added purpose to my research. I was more confident in meeting, interviewing and talking to various members of the practice from junior to senior staff and directors of Levitt Bernstein. I was fortunate to be working in a practice who were very supportive and accommodating of my academic studies but I can say my Collaborative Practice peers had similar experiences too.