Explore this course:
School of Architecture,
Faculty of Social Sciences
This studio-based course will help you develop your own distinctive design practice. You’ll explore design processes and methodologies. There are opportunities to work on real-life projects with local, regional and international groups as part of our Live Projects initiative. You can take the course as a stand-alone MA or as preparation for a PhD via our PhD by Design programme.
You'll investigate architectural themes in depth, working closely with your studio tutor. The aim is to consider design within the context of rigorous and innovative research. You'll specialise in the theory and practice of design and develop the skills and knowledge to be a creative and original architect.
We’re one of the UK's top architecture schools. Our international research projects shape policy and address public and professional needs. As a Sheffield student you’ll engage with real issues affecting the built environment. You’ll be encouraged to provide social and environmental solutions to the challenges of our time.
- Live Project 1
For the first six weeks of the Autumn semester students participate in the School's pioneering pedagogical initiative of Live Projects. A range of projects are offered, some involve small built projects, others are of a more research based or consultative nature. Most projects have a relationship with the community and involve a real client. The output of the projects is not prescribed; a project could develop a website for a community group, a feasibility study or a small built construction; the object is engagement with the needs of the client rather than a predetermined product. See: http://www.liveprojects.org15 credits
- Design Project 1
This module is the first in a sequence of two studio based design modules. It allows students to develop a design project. The development of advanced design skills is based on a 'studio' system, with different tutors setting agendas and projects that encompass a diverse range of themes. Students choose to follow one studio from a range that are offered. Specific projects vary on an annual basis, but are chosen to develop students skills in design, along with an integrated understanding of technological, environmental and cultural issues. The different studios each have their own teaching patterns and assessment methods.15 credits
- Design Project 2
This unit is the second in a sequence of three studio based design modules. It allows students to develop a design project. The development of advanced design skills is based on a 'studio' system, with different tutors setting agendas and projects that encompass a diverse range of themes. Students choose to follow one studio from a range that are offered. Specific projects vary on an annual basis, but are chosen to develop students skills in design, along with an integrated understanding of technological, environmental and cultural issues. The different studios each have their own teaching patterns and assessment methods.30 credits
- Reflections on Architectural Design
The unit introduces the history, theory and application of design methodologies in architecture and related practices. Based on a critical analysis of precedents and approaches, students will be expected to develop their own methods for use in architectural design15 credits
- Environment and Technology in Design
An advanced course in environmental design technologies and techniques developed around a sustainable framework. The course is grouped around broad environmental and natural themes to encourage an integrated and holistic approach to technology within the design process. The module focuses on research and investigation as a tool for developing students’ understanding of complex technology concepts, including how technology integrates with the wider building and how it interacts with and is used by building occupants and users.15 credits
- Theory and Research in Design
The module includes two parts:Research methods - The course is an introduction to research methods. It is specifically designed to meet the needs of students in a school of architecture where a very wide range of research paradigms may be found. It also relates the ideas and methods of research to those of design and offers support to students in developing a thesis within their dissertation.Theory Forum - This introduces different thematic approaches and topics in the histories and theories of architecture and urban design, the history of ideas, and the related disciplines of art, cultural studies and landscape studies and initiates their application in critical debate.15 credits
- Architectural Design Thesis Project
This module allows students to develop their own in-depth project based on an individual research theme and the synthesised knowledge and skills gained from all previous units required for this programme.60 credits
- Reflections on Architectural Education
This module is for those students taking the MArch in Architecture or other Masters programmes offered by the Departments. It aims to explore the wider context of architectural education as well as studying current thinking on the techniques for tutoring and reviewing in the design studio. Students undertaking this module would gain first hand experience of these techniques through assisting in the teaching of undergraduate students within the department. Assessment will take the form of a self reflective essay about their experience of helping to teach undergraduate architectural students, with reference to appropriate literature.15 credits
- Conservation and Regeneration Principles and Approaches
This module introduces a range of theoretical and practical approaches to architectural design interventions in the historic built environment. It will explore conceptual and philosophical debates within architectural conservation and heritage studies, addressing the conflicting and complementary approaches that have historically been employed. You will be encouraged to develop a critical understanding of conservation and built heritage issues and to evaluate the role of architectural conservation in historical rural and urban regeneration.15 credits
- Participation in Architecture and Urban Design
The unit introduces the history, theory and application of participation in architecture and urban design. Based on a critical analysis of precedents, students will be expected to develop their own participatory methods for use in urban design15 credits
- Parametric Architectural Geometry
This module aims to support an emerging need to better understand concepts and skills for architectural geometry construction using parametric modelling processes. In particular, the course emphasizes computational schemes that can assist designers in managing geometry data and propagating designs. Students are introduced to both the theoretical framework and implementation of architectural geometry construction. This module is delivered through a series of lectures, hands-on workshops and individual assignments/projects. As a result students will learn contemporary parametric modelling techniques for customizing generative design systems, navigating design variations, analysing design artefacts and exploring design manifestations.15 credits
- Power, Space, Society
The unit focuses on socio-political, economical, ideological and cultural factors shaping and influencing buildings and cities. In a tradition of critical theory, this module analyses hidden aspects of built environment causing social exclusion / inclusion and oppression / emancipation. Through lectures and group seminars, the module will provide an introduction to critical analyses of built environment in a global context. Each session is organised around a particular issue analysed in diverse contexts.15 credits
- Behaviour in the Built Environment
The urban/built environment influences the behaviour of people; equally, people’s behaviour can shape the environment. Understanding the interaction between people and their environment promotes the design of spaces and buildings that meet the needs of the people who occupy them. This module will discuss principles of behavioural and environmental psychology in the context of the design and management of indoor and outdoor spaces, including the application and interpretation of behavioural research methods. A key objective is for students to be better equipped to deliver a sustainable environment that meets user requirements.15 credits
- Building Information Modelling, Management and Analysis
This module aims to introduce Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology in practice with a focus on the technical aspects of how building data, both geometric and non-geometric, are created and integrated to support processes of designing, constructing and operating buildings. Fundamental knowledge and contemporary skills of using BIM will be delivered through a series of lectures, seminars, and hands-on workshops. Through executing individual assignments and term projects, students will learn BIM techniques to construct data-enriched virtual models and formulate critical thinking in how BIM can support innovative collaboration during various design, construction and operation phases along the building life cycle.15 credits
- Critical Spatial Writing
Critical spatial writing understands space as an entanglement of exchanges, conflicts, and negotiations. The sites of architecture, whether a city, frontier, room or encounter, are viewed both as both subjects of research and spaces for intervention. With readings, lectures and group seminars, the module will provide an introduction to critical spatial writing through an exploration of contemporary arts, architectures and urban interventions with particular attention to issues such as difference and diversity, decolonisation, ecology and intersectional feminism. It will examine different forms of writing about architecture and how we might write about space critically, creatively and relationally. Each session is organised around a number of set texts for lecture delivery, and student-led writing / discussion.15 credits
- Building Environmental Simulation and Analysis
The course unit aims to provide a general understanding of, and practical experience in computer modelling software systems. This involves the following: Thorough understanding of basic concepts of computer simulation, develop the ability to apply these concepts in real life situations. Understanding the use of computer simulation and the need to use the appropriate software to answer a specific enquiry. Understanding the relationships between the required outcome of a simulation exercise and the input details necessary to produce a valid answer.15 credits
- Materials for Low Impact Buildings - Theory
This module engages through lectures and seminars with a range of materials for low impact buildings which may include load-bearing and frame construction using straw bales, rammed earth, adobe, cob, compressed earth blocks, hemp-lime blocks, earth renders and plasters, timber techniques. The aim is to give students in depth theoretical knowledge about the environmental performance, practical applications and historical use of materials for low impact buildings through lectures and seminars.15 credits
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. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.
An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses. You'll find out what makes us special.
1 year full-time
Learning is through 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.
You’ll be assessed on course assignments and a final design thesis or written dissertation.
Our course teaches us about the community we live in, how to approach our ideas and designs, and how to use new technology to create a better vision. Using these skills I can make a better future for our community, who are our real clients. After my MA I plan to apply for a PhD at Sheffield.
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 urban 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.
Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
Fees and funding
+44 114 222 0349
Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.
Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.