Course specification and structure
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PIMARRIB - MArch Architecture RIBA 2

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Master of Architecture Level Masters
Possible interim awards Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate
Total credits for course 240
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Subject Area Architecture
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 2 YEARS  
Part-time 3 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

The course provides an advanced architectural education for students already qualified at degree level with exemption from RIBA (Part 1). It forms the second part of their five year (full-time’ or part-time equivalent) programme of academic studies, before embarking upon what is (normally) the second part of a total two year period in practice, leading to a final professional qualification in Architecture, RIBA (Part 3).
The educational strategy of the course is rooted in three important principles: the commitment to a deep understanding of architecture; a high degree of personal motivation; and the experience of a shared culture of learning. Understanding and motivation are vital to the production of the good quality design work, demanded by the discipline. The shared culture of learning is important to our student body, with its broad range of cultural viewpoints.
Characteristic of design education is the process of learning based on activity and experience, particularly through project work. Knowledge and understanding are acquired in a multi-dimensional way with a high degree of personal involvement. The popularity of design education is partly based upon its teaching and learning techniques, and many of them are common to both undergraduate degree and postgraduate education. The main differences between the levels may be found in the greater sophistication of postgraduate study, its emphasis on independent learning and self-motivation, depth of knowledge, research and professional skills and the synthesis of complex issues.

Course aims

The aims are equivalent in scope and achievement to the ‘Criteria for Validation’ 2011 issued by the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architects Registration Board. They are summarised, as follows in sub-headed areas:

Students will qualify at RIBA Part 2 level to enable them to continue their professional architectural training (at Part 3) and registration as an architect with ARB.

10(a) Design Education
Provide a high quality design-based education which allows a student to:
1. understand the requirements of, and develop methods of engagement with, building users and procurers, in order to develop an appropriate and relevant brief which takes into account social, political, economic, ethical and cultural issues;
2. develop a sophisticated design process, which answers the requirements of the brief and generates a clear and precise conceptual rationale, against which design proposals can be tested;
3. develop a complex design scheme which is clear about how it can be realised technically, politically, economically and over time, and which integrates knowledge gained in the other key areas of the curriculum below.

10(b) Design, Technology and Environment
Understand and demonstrate within a design proposal, an ability to integrate knowledge of:
1. structural, constructional and material strategies within the design and the construction techniques and processes necessary to realise the design;
2. principles of visual, acoustic and thermal environments, and relationship to climate;
3. relationship between the design and the wider environment in terms of energy consumption, sustainability and ethical development issues;
4. provision and integration of building services.

10(c) Practice, Profession and Context
Understand the full range of responsibilities, within the remit of the professional architect, in terms of:
1. legal, statutory, economic, management ethical, social and political obligations;
2. understanding of methods of procurement and delivery of architectural projects;
3. development of methods of negotiation and team working with all individuals encountered within the practice of architecture; from members of the user group, to client, to specialist consultant, to contractor;
4. understanding of the histories and theories of architecture, and urbanism that guide and support the design;
5. development of an attitude toward these many and various obligations within project design work and integrate this knowledge into the design proposals.

10(d) Culture
Deliver a learning context that sustains and develops an intellectual culture of debate, linking wider issues to design decisions:
1. to provide a lively and energetic environment which encourages students to get involved with and contribute to their subject through events, exhibitions, visiting individuals and groups, action research and international links;
2. to emphasise socially committed design practices in design project work and to encourage students to engage with the ethical dimensions of architecture, through the School’s strong links with the local area and community.

Course learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will, through their academic portfolio, demonstrate that they have met the ARB & RIBA (jointly held) criteria for Part 2 and the student attributes at Part 2. Course learning outcomes are fully mapped against these within the Part 2 Module Mapping document (as validated by ARB and RIBA in 2017). In its design, the course learning outcomes are promulgated in direct response to the course aims (CAs) in relation to their articulation with the criteria/attributes; naturally this articulation is complex, but for easy reference they are here generally mapped.
11(a) Knowledge and Understanding
By the end of the course, the student is expected to:
1. acquire and develop comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the social, political, economic, environmental and professional contexts that guides architectural practice and the built environment, and be able to situate design decision-making within these contexts through engagement with, and response to a wide range of stakeholders within the built environment [CA10(a)1, CA10(b)3, CA10(c)5];
2. develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of appropriate, advanced and sophisticated theoretical and research methods / techniques for application within their own design process and formulate and communicate relevant, direct and well-founded conceptual frameworks that underpin and provide a rationale for a design proposal [CA10(a)1, CA10(a)2, CA10(d)2];
3. acquire a deeper and systematic understanding of historical and theoretical frameworks and complex cultural traditions that guide the discipline of architecture [CA10(a)2, CA10(c)4, CA10(d)2];
4. demonstrate a critical understanding of how knowledge is advanced through research to produce clear, logically argued and original written work relating to architectural culture, theory and design [CA10(c)4, CA10(d)1, CA10(d)2];
5. acquire a deeper and systematic knowledge and understanding of structural, constructional and environmental solutions, strategies and techniques and how these can be manipulated and applied to coherent architectural design [CA10(a)3, CA10(b)1, CA10(b)2, CA10(b)3, CA10(b)4].
11(b) Cognitive Skills/ Intellectual Skills
By the end of the course, the student is expected to develop higher order skills that are reflected in their ability to:
1. develop design ability through an iterative process which tests, communicates and negotiates ideas and propositions through critical and self-reflective processes [CA10(a)1, CA10(a)2];
2. construct effective design processes that can be used to test concepts and evaluate initial proposals: direct and manage a complex and specialised design process and present this to a high standard using visual, verbal and written methods, which are accessible to a wide audience of both professional and lay audiences [CA10(a)1, CA10(a)2, CA10(a)3, CA10(c)5];
3. demonstrate, within design work, technical expertise and the ability to devise appropriate structural and constructional strategies and innovative solutions to address particular problems of design [CA10(a)3, CA10(b)1, CA10(b)2, CA10(b)3, CA10(b)4];
4. develop the ability to manage and negotiate the implications of ethical dilemmas with respect to design proposals and formulate possible solutions: undertake specific and appropriate analysis of complex and contradictory situations within all stages of design project work design [CA10(a)2, CA10(a)2, CA10(c)1, CA10(c)4, CA10(d)2].
11(c) Practical Skills
By the end of the course, the student is expected to:
1. understand the use of management structures, other professionals, consultants and organisational infrastructures within the profession of architecture, and develop tactics and responses in situating individual design process and propositional work within this environment: develop effective means of group or team working, both with other students and outside parties, involving negotiation, decision- making and problem solving [CA10(a)1, CA10(b)1, CA10(c)1, CA10(c)2, CA10(c)3, CA10(c)5, CA10(d)1];
2. demonstrate an ability to evaluate and apply a comprehensive range of visual, oral and written media to test, analyse, critically appraise and explain design proposals [CA10(a)1, CA10(b)3, CA10(c)3, CA10(c)5, CA10(d)1];
3. demonstrate ability to evaluate materials, processes and techniques that apply to complex architectural designs and building construction, and to integrate these into practicable design proposals [CA10(a)3, CA10(b)1, CA10(c)1, CA10(c)2, CA10(c)3, CA10(c)5];
4. understand the context of the architect and the construction industry, including the architect’s role in the processes of procurement and building production, and under legislation [CA10(a)1, CA10(b)1, CA10(c)1, CA10(c)2, CA10(c)3, CA10(c)4, CA10(c)5, CA10(d)1, CA10(d)2];
5. demonstrate problem solving skills, professional judgment, and ability to take the initiative and make appropriate decisions in complex and unpredictable circumstances [CA10(a)2, CA10(a)3, CA10(c)1, CA10(c)3, CA10(c)5, CA10(d)2];
6. demonstrate an ability to identify individual learning needs and understand the personal responsibility required to prepare for qualification as an architect [CA10(a)2, CA10(c)1, CA10(c)5, CA10(d)1].
11(d) Key/Transferable Skills
By the end of the course, the student is expected to:
1. communicate effectively in writing and representational drawn techniques and in oral presentation of complex design concepts and propositions [CA10(a)2, CA10(a)3, CA10(c)5, CA10(d)1];
2. apply research and design skills appropriately and be able to transfer techniques from one field of architecture to another [CA10(a)2, CA10(a)3, CA10(c)4, CA10(c)5, CA10(d)2];
3. work as a member of a team [CA10(a)1, CA10(c)3, CA10(c)5, CA10(d)1, CA10(d)2];
4. manage time and resources [CA10(a)1, CA10(c)5, CA10(d)2];
5. learn independently, with open mindedness and in the spirit of critical enquiry [CA10(a)2, CA10(c)5, CA10(d)2].

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference

Module Title Module Code

Design Level 4: Process and Proposal AR7021
Applied Technology in Architecture AR7022
Advocacy: Practice beyond Aesthetics AR7023
Design Level 4: Subject and Context AR7030
Cinema and the City AR7004
Forgetting of Air AR7006
Poetry and Architecture AR7007
The Question of Technology AR7008
Concepts of Space AR7045
The Problem of Irony AR7049
Writing about Architecture AR7051
The Soundscape of Modernity AR7061
Economics of Place AR7071
Design Thesis Project: Specialisation and Proposition AR7P24
Design Thesis Project: Resolution AR7P25
Integrated Design Study AR7026
Histories AR7001
Theories AR7002
Interpretation AR7003
Digital Design Systems AR7047
Advanced Digital Design Techniques AR7043
Changing Places AR7037
Critical Transformations AR7044
Planning and Urban Theory AR7070

Learning Outcomes L1 - L6

Principle QAA benchmark statements

QAA Architecture Benchmark Statement (2010)

Assessment strategy

The course is structured as a two-year full time (three-year part time) 240-credit Master’s (M) level course of study geared towards professional qualification. Module assessments normally take place on completion of the module. The timetable of assessments is published at the beginning of each academic year, allowing students to plan their time and set their priorities. The subject studies modules and Design Studies modules have different forms of assessment.
The design studies modules (AR7030, AR7021, AR7P24 and AR7P25) are assessed through the portfolio of design work, completed within the studio unit teaching group. The portfolio is a graphically-based academic document, which contains a variety of different types of work arranged in projects. The portfolio is organised by the student, to demonstrate their learning processes and their achievements. Submissions are made up of drawings, models, photographic work, reproductions, CAD work, video, written text, reports and other media or techniques as appropriate.
All subject studies modules (technology, history and theory, and option modules) and components of modules are assessed in the first instance by the module tutors. Subject studies modules and their components are second marked by one of the subject team and the assessments are made available, to the external examiner, following University procedures.
All taught modules are marked on a percentage scale. Masters level modules (Level 7) have a pass/ fail threshold of 50%. Based on the final aggregate of average percentage results, the MArch Architecture (RIBA 2) awards are classified as: Pass (50 – 59.9%), Pass with Merit (60 –69.9%), or Pass with Distinction (70% plus).
The course also offers an interim award of Postgraduate Certificate in Architecture, for students who achieve 60 M level credits and Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture for students who achieve 120 M level credits during one year of study.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Work-based learning is embedded within the course through engagement in live projects and exhibitions, where students are required to take on organisational and entrepreneurial activities to support the marketing and presentation of their own practice or a collaborative venture.

Course specific regulations

The course is designed to address the regulatory structures of London Metropolitan University alongside the Revised Criteria for Validation issued jointly by the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architects Registration Board in 2012. Following a 3-year undergraduate degree, it makes a distinction between the first year of postgraduate study (year 4), and the second (year 5) of the 240-credit Master of Architecture course. Year 4 is skills-based with an emphasis on taught courses and a corresponding reduction in studio-based design work. Year 5 is a “thesis” year with an emphasis on studio-based design work and the development of skills integrated within coherent architectural designs. For part-time students, year 6 re-focuses on subject studies.

In order to progress from the first to the second year of the course (from year 4 to year 5 in either full-time or part-time mode) the student must pass previous year’s design modules: i.e. modules AR7021 and AR7030 are pre-requisite for progression to modules AR7P24 and AR7P25.

Level 7: In order to qualify for the award of MArch Architecture and exemption from RIBA Part 2, students must have completed and passed each Level 7 module at 50% or above.

Part-time study is defined as below 80 credits per year. In part-time mode, the duration of study for a 240-credit degree will be three years. The prescribed pattern of study in this instance shall be:
Year 1 – AR7030, AR7021 and AR7022
Year 2 – AR7P24 and AR7P25
Year 3 – AR 7026, AR70223, and two option modules

Modules required for interim awards

Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits):
Design Level 4: Process and Proposal (20) and Design Level 4: Subject and Concept (20) plus either Advocacy (20) or a spring semester Option Module (20).
Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits):
Design Level 4: Process and Proposal (20) and Design Level 4: Subject and Concept (20), at least one of either Advocacy (20), Applied Technology in Architecture (40) or a spring semester Option Module (20), plus any other modules adding up to 120 credits in total.
MArch Architecture (240 credits):
Design Level 4: Process and Proposal (20) and Design Level 4: Subject and Concept (20), Advocacy (20), Applied Technology in Architecture (40), a spring semester option module (20), Design Thesis Project: Specialisation and Proposition (40), Design Thesis Project: Resolution (40), Integrated Design Study (20) plus one module from semester option module (20).

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

Opportunities for professional and personal development are built into this course through the curriculum, the choice of projects/studios/designate modules and the assessments that allow the student to tailor the course around their specific interests/skills/requirements. This approach is supported by a system of individual tutorials, available on all modules, and culminates in the development and production of an Integrated Design Diary and Report in the final year of the course.

Professional Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) accreditations & exemptions

Our course is fully accredited by the RIBA and ARB. Upon graduation you will receive your RIBA part 2 qualification, the second stage of three in the professional qualification of an Architect in the UK.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

MArch Architecture (RIBA 2) offers the second part of a three-stage process of nationally validated and prescribed architectural education. It is validated by the RIBA and prescribed by the ARB. The course fulfils the requirements of this professionally validated route through the provision of a high quality teaching and learning environment that integrates design and taught modules and is focused around a unit structure at MArch level.
Our Unit Tutors are drawn from a pool of the UK’s leading design teachers and practitioners who are well-equipped to provide current industry and trade related guidance on professional and design practices, so that an understanding of the context of learning as career related, and of the role of CPD, is intrinsically embedded in the course. The course encourages students to be critically engaged in the subject, establishing a position within the context of the profession through the course of their studies.

Career opportunities

After securing a Professional Diploma in Architecture (RIBA 2), many students decide to study the Examination in Professional Practice (RIBA 3), following a period of practical experience. RIBA 2 also enables you to progress to a specialised Masters course.

Entry requirements

You will be required to have:

  • a good degree in architecture
  • passed RIBA Part 1
  • the ability to demonstrate your talent as a designer as well as your motivation to complete the course successfully

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Selected candidates are asked to attend an interview with their portfolio, which should include a wide range of work.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2018/19 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 20 Jun 2018 Last validation date 20 Jun 2018  
JACS codes K100 (Architecture): 100%
Route code MARRIB

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR7021 Design Level 4 Process and Proposal Core 20        
AR7022 Applied Technology in Architecture Core 40        
AR7023 Advocacy: Practice Beyond Aesthetics Core 20 CITY AUT WED AM
          CITY AUT MON AM
AR7030 Design Level 4 Subject and Context Core 20        
AR7004 Cinema and the City Option 20        
AR7006 Forgetting of Air Option 20        
AR7007 Poetry and Architecture Option 20        
AR7008 The Question of Technology  Option 20        
AR7045 Concepts of Space Option 20        
AR7049 The Problem of Irony Option 20        
AR7051 Writing About Architecture Option 20        
AR7061 The Soundscape of Modernity Option 20        
AR7071 Economics of Place Option 20        

Stage 1 Level 07 January start Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR7021 Design Level 4 Process and Proposal Core 20        
AR7022 Applied Technology in Architecture Core 40        
AR7023 Advocacy: Practice Beyond Aesthetics Core 20        
AR7030 Design Level 4 Subject and Context Core 20        
AR7004 Cinema and the City Option 20        
AR7006 Forgetting of Air Option 20        
AR7007 Poetry and Architecture Option 20        
AR7008 The Question of Technology  Option 20        
AR7045 Concepts of Space Option 20        
AR7049 The Problem of Irony Option 20        
AR7051 Writing About Architecture Option 20        
AR7061 The Soundscape of Modernity Option 20        
AR7071 Economics of Place Option 20        

Stage 2 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR7026 Integrated Design Study Core 20 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
AR7P24 Design Thesis Project: Specialisation and Propo... Core 40        
AR7P25 Design Thesis Project: Resolution Core 40 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM&PM
AR7001 Histories Option 20        
AR7002 Theories Option 20        
AR7003 Interpretation Option 20        
AR7037 Changing Places Option 20 CITY AUT WED AM
AR7043 Advanced Digital Design Techniques Option 20        
AR7044 Critical Transformations Option 20        
AR7047 Digital Design Techniques Option 20 CITY AUT WED EV
AR7070 Planning and Urban Theory Option 20