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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Master of Architecture is no longer accepting new applications.

The Master of Architecture is a course that is dedicated to a design-based analysis of the relationship between environmental and socio-political considerations, and the wider historical, cultural and economic aspects of architecture and the city. Although based on a rigorous studio programme and wide-ranging series of lectures and seminars, the essence of the course is a research agenda that is developed by individual students and tested through architectural propositions. It expects each student to ground these propositions in current areas of discourse and to detail in full the ‘real-life’ factors influencing their realisation. The MArch delivers intensive teaching in the qualitative and quantitative aspects of architecture and urbanism, in parallel with supervised design development, case study analysis, and discussion of the cultural and technical aspects of the subject. The multi-disciplinary nature of the course and the exchange of expertise that is encouraged between academics, professionals, and students of a variety of backgrounds, makes the MArch a unique forum in which to explore some of the most pressing architectural problems of our time.

The programme positively encourages students to develop complex architectural proposals that meet RIBA/ARB criteria for Part II exemption and to acquire knowledge and develop and apply research skills in the following areas:

• Role of environmental and socio-political issues in architecture and urban design;
• The wider environmental, historical, socio-cultural and economic context related to architecture and cities;
• The building science and socio-political theories associated with architecture and urban design;
• Modelling and assessment of building and urban design;
• Monitoring and surveying of buildings and urban environments;
• Human behaviour, perception and comfort, and their role in building and urban characteristics;
• Research methods and their application through academic and design methods.

Learning Outcomes

The course aims to develop the following:

Knowledge and Understanding

Students gain a knowledge and understanding of:

1. The topographical, social, political, economic and professional context that guides architectural design;
2. The histories and theories of architecture, environmental design and technology and the related disciplines of art and cultural studies;
3. Sustainability and the role of environmental design, construction and technology;
4. The regulatory requirements, including the needs of the disabled, health and safety legislation, building regulations and aspects of local and regional development control. Occupant perception, health and comfort;
5. Advanced constructional methods and structural theories;
6. Advanced principles and theories associated with environment conditions (visual, thermal, etc); energy demand and supply; climatic design; and modelling, monitoring and assessment of building performance;
7. The design of cities and aspects of landscape design. The inter-relationship between people, buildings and the environment and an understanding of the need to relate buildings and the spaces between them to human, social and cultural needs and scale;
8. Procurement and delivery of architectural projects, and how these are defined and affected through a variety of contractual, organisational, political and economic structures;
9. Aspects of business management and administration related to running a design practice;

10. The professional duties and responsibilities of architects, as defined and described in the codes and standards relating to their professional practice, and beyond.

Intellectual Skills

Students are able to:

1. Reason critically and analytically. Critically appraise complex briefs;
2. Apply techniques and knowledge appropriately. Generate and systematically test, analyse and appraise design options, and draw rigorous conclusions;
3. Adopt an appropriate philosophical approach, which reveals an understanding of theory in a specific cultural context;
4. Identify and solve problems. Devise structural and constructional strategies for a complex building or group of buildings, employing integrative knowledge of environmental, structural and constructional techniques and processes;
5. Demonstrate independence of mind. Critically appraise and form considered judgements about the special, aesthetic, technical and social qualities of a design within the scope and scale of a wider environment;
6.  Identify and manage individual learning needs so as to prepare for and maintain professional standards commensurate with the academic and professional qualifications.

Research Skills

Students are able to:

1. Identify key knowledge gaps and research questions;
2. Retrieve, assess and identify information from a wide range of sources;
3. Plan, develop and apply research methods;
4. Apply key techniques and analytical skills to a new context;
5. Report clearly, accurately and eloquently on findings.

Practical Skills

Students are able to:

1. Develop coherent, integrated and sustainable architectural designs for complex buildings and groups of buildings;
2. Integrate appropriate building technologies and environmental design with complex building forms;
3. Understand the contribution of other professionals in the design process in the context of current methods of working in the construction industry;
4. Use visual, verbal and written communication methods and appropriate media to represent the testing, analysis and critical appraisal of complex design proposals;
5. Apply codes of practice, health and safety and other legislative regulations that guide architectural design and more particularly innovations in environmental design;
6. Work collaboratively as part of a team but also develop work independently;
7. Produce documentation and reports which are clear, analytical and logical, covering a range of architectural issues of culture, theory and design. Prepare and compose brief technical reports and presentations;
8. Understand how cost control mechanisms operate within the development of an architectural project, and how life-cycle cost projections may influence capital investment decisions.

Transferable Skills

Students are able to:

1. Analyse and resolve complex problems;
2. Communicate concepts effectively in writing, orally, and through documents, drawings and models;
3. Use of contemporary computer software;
4. Communicate with and respond to advice from expert consultants;
5. Work effectively with others;
6. Work autonomously in a self-directed manner;
7. Appraise and manage time and resources.


Students who gain 70% or more in the written dissertation can continue to a PhD providing they can identify a suitable topic and supervisor.  Readmission is not automatic and each application is considered on its own merits.

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the end of October. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

See further the Postgraduate Admissions Events pages for other events relating to Postgraduate study, including study fairs, visits and international events.

Key Information

21 months full-time

Study Mode : Taught

Master of Architecture

Department of Architecture

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
Jan. 4, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Jan. 4, 2024
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.