Course specification and structure
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PMARCTEC - MA Architecture

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Master of Arts Level Masters
Possible interim awards Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate, Advanced Diploma in Professional Development
Total credits for course 180
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 1 YEARS  
Part-time 2 YEARS  
Course leader  

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

The overall theme and content of the course are intended to encourage independent thinking in the field of architecture. In this respect, the curriculum begins to focus in an advanced and systematic way on aspects of the profession and practice. Design occupies a large proportion of the course and the process of design is rehearsed through the vehicle of project work. However, there is an emphasis upon situating the student in a more real, therefore complex and ambiguous context for project work, with many more parameters that cover social, political and economic contexts as well as the physical context. The history and theory modules and the specialist modules expand and deepen knowledge of a chosen area of cultural context or professional expertise particular to the student. The programme is designed to set out the breadth of the field and help students secure a sufficient depth of understanding to ground their own work. The core modules comprise Design Research, Design Concept and Proposition and Design Thesis.
The main vehicle for the design modules is a project (or suite of projects) the remit of which change annually. The design modules are therefore written generically to allow flexibility in the yearly setting and development of projects. The design modules are all ‘double’ (40 credits) to accommodate the substantial design projects, appropriate to this level of study and extend through two semesters. The different modules emphasise particular skills and outcomes but broadly share similar requirements.
The design modules and projects are delivered within one of a number of design units that set a theme for the design work over the academic year. Each unit runs projects which, whilst broadly conforming to programmes of buildable scale, offer the student a choice of an extraordinary range of research interests, sites, building types, cultural and theoretical contexts. Each unit is led by an experienced architect/ tutor who sets a specific agenda. They all share a commitment to contemporary design and its global and local contexts, a passion for building, and desire to test the premises of architecture theoretically as well as practically.
Students completing the MA undertake a thesis based within one of the design units, emerging from one of the history and theory areas, or a combination of fields. The individual student will select an approved area of study, undertake appropriate research, develop thorough investigative processes, formulate their own argument or theoretical position, and produce an independent and coherent body of work. The thesis project may pursue ideological issues, themes of personal interest or test the remit of conventional practice or discourse: the project itself may be highly theoretical or concern itself with applied knowledge.
The course of study as a whole and the broad format of project requirements are intended to encourage a high degree of individual determination in the final project. The thesis project offers students the opportunity to sustain a serious study of a topic or field of interest that tests their own control of its direction and substance within a framework of critical reflection, supported by and measured against an established area of scholarship.

Course aims

The overall aims of the course are to:
• identify a field of personal interest through research and creative thinking;
• plan and execute an appropriate thesis programme;
• synthesise the outcomes in the production of a theoretically grounded thesis.
The course addresses the needs of graduates from architectural and related backgrounds, where traditional roles are increasingly blurred and design skills may be needed in a variety of guises. It emphasises generic and transferable skills in design of the built environment, and locates the subject in this broader context to encourage its graduates to seek and create opportunities for the practice of their discipline.

The more specific aims of the course are to:

10(a) Design Ability
provide a design education of excellence that advances a broad range of conceptual and practical design skills and acknowledges the value of research;

10(b) Theoretical Understanding
deliver a programme of study that encourages students to explore the theoretical frameworks of their work within its cultural and professional contexts;

10(c) Professional Skills
develop professional skills in developing and delivering work that meets with high standards of communication; is sensitive to the needs and expectations of its intended recipients and the larger social context; is responsible towards its ethical, environmental and legal frameworks;

10(d) Student Development
encourage students to know and expand their own capabilities and see themselves as life-long learners; to critically reflect on their experiences and take steps to consolidate their self-presentation; to encourage them to contribute to the cultural debate and articulate these debates within the community at large;

10(e) Specialisation
provide a programme of learning that will encourage students to develop specialist skills and interests;

10(f) European/ Internationalism
foster interest, understanding and knowledge of European design, architecture, culture and urbanism within a wider international context.

Course learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will, through their academic portfolio, demonstrate that they have met the following course learning outcomes:

11(a) Knowledge and Understanding
By the end of the course, the student is expected to:
1. have knowledge of, understand and utilise processes of investigative and speculative research and design methodologies drawn from multidisciplinary sources within the built environment [CA10(a), CA10(b), CA10(c), CA10(f)];
2. acquire a deeper knowledge and critical understanding of historical and theoretical frameworks and complex cultural traditions relevant to the discipline of architecture, and the various and diverse forms of architectural practice [CA10(a), CA10(d), CA10(f)];
3. acquire and develop a specific set of interests in the built environment that can be described as 'specialist': the vehicle for these specialisms is the focus of the design unit and includes some of the following for example; community regeneration; urbanism and the suburbs; landscape and housing infrastructures; third world development and sustainability; architectural materiality; and occupation and use of buildings [CA10(e)];

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 that tests, communicates and negotiates ideas and propositions through critical and self-reflective processes of evaluation [CA10(b), CA10(d)];
2. formulate and communicate clear and well-founded conceptual frameworks that underpin design proposals [CA10(a), CA10(c)];
3. construct effective design processes that can be used to test concepts against practical and theoretical criteria relevant to the built environment [CA10(a), CA10(b)];
4. critically reflect on implications of design propositions [CA10(c), CA10(d)];
5. advocate a design scheme that responds convincingly to complex cultural conditions; that navigates a route through ethical issues whether environmental, cultural or economic [CA10(b), CA10(f)];
6. clearly formulate a critical framework of ideas through appropriate models of representation or written argument [CA10(f), CA10(d)].

11(c) Practical Skills
By the end of the course, students are expected to:
1. collate, document and present sophisticated and complex research material to produce cogent schemes/documents [CA10(b), CA10(f)];
2. direct and manage a design process to achieve a convincing and well-worked proposition [CA10(a)];
3. communicate, in an ambitious and effective way, the ideas and intentions behind a design proposal through an appropriate range of representational techniques (which may include drawing, CAD, model making, collage, diagrams) [CA10(a), CA10(c)];
4. give verbal presentations of the above to an appropriate standard [CA10(d)];
5. produce a cogent document of professional interest [CA10(c)];
6. express themselves effectively in prose CA10(d);
7. develop effective means of group or team working [CA10(a), CA10(c), CA10(d)];

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), CA10(c), CA10(d)];
2. apply research and design skills appropriately and be able to transfer techniques from one field of architecture to another [CA10(a), CA10(c), CA10(d)];
3. work as a member of a team [CA10(a), CA10(c), CA10(d), CA10(e)];
4. manage time and resources [CA10(a), CA10(c), CA10(d)];
5. learn independently, with open mindedness and in the spirit of critical enquiry [CA10(a), CA10(c), CA10(d), CA10(e)].

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference

Module Title Module Code

Design Research AR7016
Design Concept and Proposition AR7017
Histories AR7001
Theories AR7002
Interpretation AR7003
Cinema and the City AR7004
Forgetting of Air AR7006
Poetry & 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
Digital Design Systems AR7047
Advanced Digital Design Techniques AR7043
Changing Places AR7037
Critical Transformations AR7044
Design Thesis AR7P18

Learning Outcome L1 - L6

Principle QAA benchmark statements

QAA Masters Degree characteristics (2017)

Assessment strategy

The course is structured as a one-year full time (two-year part time) 180-credit Master’s (M) level course. 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 are assessed through the portfolio of design work, completed within the 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 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.
The thesis submission may the form of an illustrated written document (up to 20,000 words) or an extended architectural project in which design has been methodologically deployed as a vehicle for the research, and/ or in which the reserch findings are embodied or demonstrated, in which case the work should be suitably documented in design drawings and other representations (with the written component additing up to maximum of 15,000 words), and with the format and layout appropriate to the topic. All taught modules are marked on a percentage scale. Masters level modules (level 7) have a pass/fail threshold of 50%.

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 will undertake a formal academic review of student performance at the end of each semester. Students performing below threshold standard will be recommended and/ or required to revise their programme of study.

Level 7: In order to qualify for the award of MA Architecture, students must have completed and passed each level 7 module at 50% or above.

Part-time study is defined as below 90 credits per year. In part-time mode, the duration of study for a 160-credit degree will be two years. The prescribed pattern of study in this instance shall be:
Year 1 – AR7016 and AR7017;
Year 2 – two option modules and AR7P18.

Modules required for interim awards

Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits):
Design Research (40) or Design Concept and Proposition (40) plus one module from Autumn or Spring options (20)

Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits):
Design Research (40), Design Concept and Proposition (40) plus one module from Autumn options (20) and one module from Spring options (20)

Masters (180 credits):
Design Thesis (60), Design Research (40), Design Concept and Proposition (40) plus one module from Autumn options (20) and one module from Spring options (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 research and development of the final thesis/project.

Other external links providing expertise and experience

QAA Masters Degree characteristics (2017)
QAA Honours Degree Benchmark Statements:
Architecture (2010)

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

The course provides a practical and theoretical understanding of architecture. Exposure to, and advice from leading practitioners is consistently available. Graduates generally work within architecture and in allied fields. Students wishing to develop their research are encouraged to apply to undertake a PhD within the School. Students on the MA Architecture who have exemption from RIBA Part 1 may apply to progress onto the 2nd year of the MArch Architecture (RIBA Part 2).

Career opportunities

Many graduates of our Architecture MA course go on to either continue or start work within architecture, interior design or fields that are connected to both.

If you want to develop your research further, then you’re encouraged to apply and undertake a PhD at London Met.

Entry requirements

You will be required to have:

  • a good honours degree in architecture, interior design or a closely related subject
  • design talent, ability and motivation demonstrated through presentation of a portfolio
  • a personal statement that articulates your academic and professional interests and ambition

Non-UK based students who are unable to attend an interview must submit a portfolio of their architecture and/or design work along with their application form.

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.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2013/14 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 01 Sep 2013 Last validation date 02 Sep 2013  
JACS codes K100 (Architecture): 100%
Route code ARCTEC

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR7016 Design Research Core 40        
AR7017 Design: Concept and Proposition Core 40        
AR7P18 Design Thesis Core 60 CITY SUM    
AR7001 Histories Option 20 CITY AUT TUE AM
AR7002 Theories Option 20 CITY AUT WED PM
AR7003 Interpretation  Option 20 CITY AUT WED AM
AR7004 Cinema and the City Option 20 CITY SPR    
AR7006 Forgetting of Air Option 20 CITY SPR TUE AM
AR7007 Poetry and Architecture Option 20 CITY SPR TUE AM
AR7008 The Question of Technology  Option 20        
AR7037 Changing Places Option 20 CITY AUT WED AM
AR7043 Advanced Digital Design Techniques Option 20 CITY AUT TUE EV
AR7044 Critical Transformations Option 20 CITY AUT TUE AM
AR7045 Concepts of Space Option 20        
AR7047 Digital Design Techniques Option 20 CITY AUT WED EV
AR7049 The Problem of Irony Option 20 CITY SPR WED AM
AR7051 Writing About Architecture Option 20 CITY SPR WED AM
AR7061 The Soundscape of Modernity Option 20        

Stage 1 Level 07 January start Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR7016 Design Research Core 40        
AR7017 Design: Concept and Proposition Core 40        
AR7P18 Design Thesis Core 60        
AR7001 Histories Option 20        
AR7002 Theories Option 20        
AR7003 Interpretation  Option 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        
AR7037 Changing Places Option 20        
AR7043 Advanced Digital Design Techniques Option 20        
AR7044 Critical Transformations Option 20        
AR7045 Concepts of Space Option 20        
AR7047 Digital Design Techniques Option 20        
AR7049 The Problem of Irony Option 20        
AR7051 Writing About Architecture Option 20        
AR7061 The Soundscape of Modernity Option 20