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UDARTURE - BA (Hons) Architecture (Top-Up)

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards
Total credits for course 120
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 2 YEARS
Part-time 2 YEARS 4 YEARS
Course leader  

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

The BA (Hons) Architecture course offers an outward looking, multifaceted design-based education whose successful completion provides the first stage of a professional qualification in Architecture.

Architecture is a mobile and extensive field of study that stretches from technical to conceptual issues, from commercial to social; it leads the student through aspects of building design similar to and in preparation for practice. In doing so the course at level 6 establishes an explicit understanding as to how the design of an architectural project is defined through wide reference to historical and current practice and practice in related disciplines including art, interior design, planning, urban design and engineering.

The course at level 6 necessarily encompasses the study of different aspects of the discipline - technologies, history, professional practice - and their methods, knowledge and insights that they offer to architecture. Level 6 approaches these fields in their Its own right as subject studies and draws them together under the synthetic activity of design projects.

Consideration has been given to the following: the Subject Benchmark Statement (Architecture, 2010), the HE Qualification Framework, the University’s Strategic Plan and Student Charter, the University’s Undergraduate Regulations, the views and feedback of students, external examiners and employers/ clients, developments within the subject area, and the changing needs of the cultural/ commercial sectors and professions. Due consideration has also been given to inclusivity in course and assessment design.

Embedded in the Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, the course draws on the strengths of teaching staff from across the School and the wide circle of academic and cultural contacts and collaborators attached to the School and University.

The course seeks to provide and foster:

• learning through direct experience, connecting academic and creative studies;
• student choice in subject and style of learning;
• a culture of independent and critical thought, encouraging the challenging of received ideas and practice;
• employability attributes, through live projects engaging with external partners, institutions and companies that create a realistic environment of professional expectations for students, preparing students for graduate-level employment;
• engagement across the School and University, providing opportunities for collaborative project work during study;
• individualised learning and study support opportunities, that cater for different learning styles
• awareness of the duty of all to understand the impact of their decisions and actions as architects and to strive to act responsibly.

The idea of ‘making’ is central to the course’s activities, influencing a socially oriented agenda and an interest in creative practice. A number of strong themes inform the students’ project work and thread through the supporting studies. These are gathered under the heading ‘duty of care’ and include: people, communities and citizens; craftsmanship and making; the environment and use of resources; cities and cultures. It involves students in visiting, working in and with, many different places and cultural contexts including live projects, real clients, current issues, and areas of social change. Students are encouraged to engage with the social, political and economic factors that influence built form.

The course promotes the student’s ability to self-manage and encourages them to adopt a reflective approach with a view to their future professional development and learning. The course fosters personal development planning (PDP) and the production of career-oriented portfolios.

The teaching and learning strategy is to offer a supportive, creative and critical environment for guided individual and group work. Throughout the course students are expected to complement formal teaching with self-directed study and take the opportunity to use appropriate resources and technology available both within and outside the institution. Students have access to a wide variety of design facilities including making workshops (wood, metal, plastics, laser cutters, etc.), and computer suites in addition to dedicated studio space at our Goulston Street site. All the modules make provision for integrated learning development, specifically through weblearn. Course and module specific sites include course, module, syllabus and project related information, links, activity based learning tests, events, as well as self-evaluations.

The teaching and learning of the course is organised through a fourfold modular structure at each level and aims to achieve an integrated and holistic approach to design. At each level there are two project based Design modules, and two subject-based modules, one focusing on Technology and the other on Cultural and Contextual Studies. All the modules are year-long and equally weighted.

1. Design:

The Design modules are project based. The projects are structured to deliver the designated complementary module outcomes but otherwise change from year to year in response to the changing landscape of architectural thinking and production. From the beginning the projects at level 6 address challenging problems, situations and issues that increase in scale and/or complexity as the course progresses. Students learn to identify what it is they have to address and develop a wide range of techniques for doing so. These involve both practical (drawing, making and digital techniques), and intellectual (conceptual, analytical, imaginative, creative) skills. Students develop their project work through a variety of different learning situations that involve real and hypothetical objects of study. These are evaluated critically in relation to social political, cultural and technical analysis, developing the student’s design judgement and communication, and contextualised within the architectural profession.

The process of design is progressive throughout level 6 with each year and the course as a whole. Projects are generally rooted in contextual studies as a basis for their generation, development and appraisal. The teaching and learning strategy for the design project work involves:

• field work (drawing, photography, surveys, mapping, interviews, precedent studies);
• visits (practices, sites, buildings, exhibitions);
• briefing talks from consultants and clients;
• project development (design drawings, models, prototypes, full scale constructions, computer renderings, films);
• project testing (pin-ups, interim presentations, reviews);
• final realisation (portfolio, exhibition, oral presentations).

The whole process is supported through a mixture of seminars, workshops, tutorials, peer reviews, formal and informal presentations. Design at level 4 is taught as a year group but at levels 5 and 6 within a choice of Studio, each of which offers a specific project framework. The Studios are ‘vertical’ and combine levels 5 and 6 students. They run for the whole year and act as research and development hubs processing diverse fields of knowledge and modes of understanding. They promote strategic collaborative studies as well as foster independent work. The Studio programme directs what kind of design process the student will undertake and the basis of their project work.

The different Studios offer a range of architectural approaches to design, allowing students to develop a particular set of issues and concerns in depth. The studios encourage collaboration and group work as well as enriching the individual design process. Students are encouraged - through practice and iteration - to improve their fluency in moving between ideas and their materialisation, across a wide range of complex parameters, and different scales of investigation. Because the work of the design modules is embodied in the individual projects developed by the students, feedback is constantly offered through the day-to-day teaching as well as in the more structured situation of reviews and presentations.

2. Technology:

One of the subject modules at level 6 is dedicated to technology. It addresses the professionally specific disciplines of structural, constructional and service engineering, the critical roles they play in the realisation of the design and execution of buildings, as well as the infrastructure of the built environment as a whole. Students engage with the fields of knowledge owned by these disciplines and learn to model the relationship between architecture and its construction in their own projects. In the process they consider the complex professional, legal and social responsibilities of this larger team in relation to the built and natural environment, particularly under the rubric of sustainability.


Course aims

The aim of Level 6 is to the course is to provide the first part of a professional education in architecture. It enables students from a wide variety of backgrounds to develop their potential as designers, makers and thinkers within the architectural field. It situates their work within an ethical framework of social commitment and responsibility towards people and the environment.

The course Level 6 further develops graduate skills within a professional architectural framework and addresses the following categories of learning and achievement:

• subject specific skills;
• knowledge and understanding;
• cognitive intellectual abilities;
• transferable skills.

Students acquire a systematic understanding of the field of architecture and become intimate with its various forms of traditional and contemporary knowledge. Students are able to deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry within architecture and form a conceptual understanding of its structure, processes and broader context. The course is fundamentally innovative and problem solving in outlook and students become skilled in presenting ideas and arguments. The teaching and learning is informed by architectural research, current practice and advanced scholarship and students constantly confront the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge in the field, with level 6. As the course progresses students taking increasing control of their own learning and its management, including research into scholarly and professional texts and primary sources through fieldwork.

Within the design and technology modules level 6 aims to enable the student to produce complex and responsive architectural designs that are conceptually and technically sustainable and creatively appropriate to their context, and are communicated through a range of media using exploratory techniques as well as accepted forms used by the profession to various audiences. Within the design and critical and contextual studies modules the course at level 6 aims to develop judgement and understanding of the complex historical, theoretical, ethical, social and economic situations that influence the design of the built environment and individual buildings.

Through methods of teaching, learning and self-directed work the course at level 6 enables students to become increasing self-directed and motivated through their studies; gain the organisational and self-management skills to work effectively both on their own and with others, reflect on their progress and make choices about future directions for themselves and within the context of the profession.

Ultimately the completion of the course aims to empower students who want to do something positive with their skills – find opportunities to design, build, teach and write; to win competitions or clients; make a team or a policy; devise clever innovations or harness the will of a community.

Course learning outcomes

The Course learning outcomes for the BA (Hons) Architecture are designed to ensure the effective and successful achievement of the University’s academic standards and the meeting of the joint criteria for validation as described by the Royal Institute of British Architects Criteria for Validation and in the Architects’ Registration Boards’ (ARB) General Criteria for Part 1.

On successful completion of the course students will be able to demonstrate subject specific skills in the ability to:

1. create well-crafted architectural designs that satisfy both aesthetic and technical requirements;
2. integrate in their architectural designs constructional and structural thinking, environmental strategies as an awareness of the regulatory requirements that apply;
3. sustain a conceptual and critical approach to their architectural design that balances its aesthetic, technical and social demands.

Students will have the knowledge and a systematic understanding of the key technical, cultural and political issues influencing a design proposal, in particular:

1. professional, legislative and statuary regulatory processes;
2. building technology, environmental design, construction methods, processes of assembly, in relationship to human well-being and sustainability;
3. architectural, artistic and design culture and history, their influence, the methodologies and ideologies involved in their theories, criticism and interpretation;
4. a range of contexts, particularly urban design, but more generally contexts of knowledge including ideas and techniques at the forefront of architecture.

Students will acquire cognitive and intellectual skills in the ability to:

1. evaluate and analyse the ethical and professional issues involved in the design, construction and occupancy of the building;
2. communicate through verbal, written and visual representations, architectural ideas and propositions at a range of scales and to different audiences;
3. apply appropriate theoretical concepts to studio design projects;
4. devise and sustain arguments whilst appreciating the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge.

Students will also have transferable skills in the ability to:

1. work individually or collaboratively to seek, handle and interpret visual, written and verbal information for the purpose of proposing realisable and coherent solutions;
2. be flexible and adaptable in approaches to, and the development of, an issue, problem or opportunity;
3. manage learning, make use of original, scholarly and professional knowledge, and relate it to wider personal and career goals.

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference

See Course Handbook for the matrix

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Subject Benchmark Statements:
Architecture (2010)

Assessment strategy

The BA (Hons) Architecture course is prescribed by the ARB (Architects' Registration Board) and
validated by the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects). These professional bodies set out
‘General Criteria’ within the ‘Prescription of Qualifications’, and on successful completion of the course exemption from Part 1 will be awarded.

The course Level 6 is designed to deliver the final year of Part 1 a professional qualification as part of the degree award. This requires careful monitoring of standards of achievement. The professional qualification is output oriented and emphasizes the quality of achievement and demonstration of competence in the portfolio of project work.

The assessment strategy for the course reflects this expectation and has been designed holistically, to ensure manageable timing, workloads and clarity of expectations for students, and to avoid duplication of assessment of learning outcomes.

The assessment regimes for the modules and tasks are designed together with the briefs, prior to the start of the year, taking into account student, external examiner, professional collaborator and colleague feedback from previous instances. The requirements of briefs and their components, the assessment criteria, grading scheme and descriptors are published and explained to students at the start of the year and are designed to be used as consistently as possible, to avoid unnecessary complication. Assessment is related to the achievement of learning outcomes; qualification frameworks and subject benchmark statements are consulted to ensure clear language that is appropriate to level of study. Students are informed of the procedures for first, second and parity marking, and external examiner scrutiny of the assessment process and marks, to ensure that they understand and have confidence in the probity of the process and security of the final marks.

The assessment and feedback strategy fosters a culture of continuous production and feedback at all levels and in all the modules. The student is encouraged to see their work as a whole. Although each module is assessed separately against specific outcomes and criteria, the assessed items can be seen in relation to each other in the form of an overarching ‘portfolio’. This includes work in a wide variety of media and modes and is what the students take with them when they apply for work or further study.

In every case, there is required formative assessment and feedback prior to summative assessment at set points. This is recorded so that it can be used by both students and staff to track further progress and engage support where it is required. Feedback follows good pedagogic practice in that it is constructed as ‘feed-forward’, with a focus on specific actions and strategies as to how to improve, not only on what requires improvement. Challenge to students is managed, so that students performing well in-year are encouraged to strive for excellence, while those performing less well experience clear, targeted and structured guidance, including notice of where they are doing well or are showing potential.

The course adheres to the University’s requirements for assessment and feedback turnaround times and to academic regulations for marking and second making sampling. Additionally, the course engages in Subject and School parity exercises to ensure that assessment standards are consistent. This is especially important in relation to studio delivery through which students on the same modules will be undertaking differing projects.

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

As a requirement of the Part 1 RIBA, the Course offers mandatory components in professionalism at L5 and 6 as part of 'Critical and Contextual Studies'. Work- related learning is embedded in the course both formally and throughout the course through live projects, practice and factory visits, visiting speakers and events such as ‘Making a Living’ and ‘Celebration’ weeks.

Work-related learning is an integrated and mandatory part of the course, in line with the University’s policy of securing a work related learning opportunity for each undergraduate student during their studies. Students will experience a competitive recruitment process or pitching for opportunities, and they will be required to reflect on their experience of the project or placement and undertake forward career action planning.

The majority of tutors and lecturers on the course are practitioners and share their knowledge and experience with students throughout their course of study. The studio delivery of the course means that opportunities for work related learning through collaboration with external companies, agencies, institutions, competitions and professionals can be taken up as they arise, if appropriate to the programme of study.

Studios function as simulations of professional workplaces, with expectations of professional standards, conduct and delivery building as the students progress from level to level. During their final year (Level 6), students are expected to work independently towards completion of professional portfolio of projects, culminating in exhibition of these in the annual summer show and associated events.

Course specific regulations

In order to qualify for the award of BA (Hons) Architecture and exemption from Part 1, students must have completed and passed each Level 6 module at 40% or above.

Part-time study is defined as 60 credits per year. Consequently, in part-time mode, the duration of study for a 120-credit course will be 2 years. The prescribed pattern of study in this instance shall be as follows:

Year 1– AR6001 & AR6002
Year 2– CP6012 & AR6003

NB. An award of BA (ordinary/non-honours) in Architecture is not available (PSRB prescription). The highest intermediate exit award available is Dip HE Architecture.

Modules required for interim awards

To achieve the award of BA (hons) Architecture, the following modules must be completed and passed:

CP6012 Critical and Contextual Studies: Dissertation (Architecture)
AR6001 Design Development 3.1
AR6002 Design Resolution 3.2
AR6003 Technology 3: Integrated Design Audit

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

The School’s studio system of curriculum delivery embeds reflective learning and personal development planning throughout the course.

Most summative assessment is at the end of year-long modules, with several formative assessment points formally instituted in the course of the year. At these interim formative assessment and feedback points, students reflect on their progress to date with their peers and course staff (with the benefit of feedback from professional partners), seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development. The feedback and student reflection is recorded and forms an action plan for the next period of study.

This system is highly individualised, but also benefits from peer engagement in studio critiques. The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress from year to year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Throughout the modules and the course therefore, in this way, students build bodies of work, including reflections on progress and achievement, and planning for their future achievement of targets.

The professional and design based rationale of the course places a strong emphasis on reflective learning and personal development. Students need to position themselves not only in relation to their own preferred development, but also their multiple roles in a socially complex industry. The course thus includes opportunities for self-development and provides a carefully articulated critical environment for testing work and ideas: taking responsibility and understanding its consequences lies at the heart of the teaching and learning.

The design project modules, for example, require students to listen, initiate ideas, analyse and develop responses to complex situations, advocate interpretations and strategies, inspire and motivate, respond to criticism and feedback. This cycle is both iterative, from project to project, from year to year, and developmental, as the projects become more demanding. By the end of the course the student has developed a highly individual portfolio of work that demonstrates the range of skills they have acquired.

The technology modules, in addition to developing core knowledge and skills, help the students develop their design strategies through technological ideas and principles – through ways of constructing, using materials, and so forth – and at the same time developing skills of appraisal around the social and environmental consequences of technological decisions. The final technology module, the Integrated Design Audit, maps and critically reflects on this process in detail

The Critical and Contextual Studies modules integrate history and theory of architecture, art and design and professional practice. The emphasis across these modules is on critical thinking, whether in relation to the history of architecture and urban design or current planning legislation, contemporary art practices or environmental impact. The first two years of the course prepare the students for their final year dissertation.

Professional support and guidance is ensured through close tutorial support and Personal Academic Advisors (PAAs). They offer guidance to students on planning their programme of study as well as supporting students at risk.

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

Successful completion of the course Level 6 represents the first stage in the professional qualification of an architect. It immediately provides enhanced career opportunities in architecture and the allied design industries. Students leave with a high quality portfolio of work and a range of practical, professional and academic skills, providing an excellent base for both work and further study. Graduating from the BA (Hons) Architecture is the start of lifelong learning and an exciting and varied career in design. It provides graduates with core knowledge and skills to enable individuals to work in a wide variety of fields such as interior design, urban design and planning and other related professions.

After successful completion of the course Level 6 students usually take one to three years out to work in an architectural practice before continuing their studies on a RIBA 2 accredited course, the second stage in the professional qualification of an architect.

Career opportunities

Following successful completion of the course, most graduates go on to complete their Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Part 2 and 3 and gain a professional qualification in architecture. Previous alumni have worked for companies such as Caruso St John, David Chipperfield Architects, Macreanor Lavington, Tony Fretton Architects and SANAA in Tokyo.

Graduating with this degree provides you with the core knowledge and skills needed to work in fields such as interior design, urban design and planning. You'll leave with a high-quality portfolio of work, an understanding of relevant cultural and social issues and the research, design, making and presentation skills valued in many design-related professions.

Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have one of the following:

  • 240 credits from a Higher National Diploma (HND), Foundation Degree (FdA/ FdSc) or equivalent international qualification in a relevant subject
  • 240 credits from years 1 and 2 of an undergraduate degree (BA/BSc) in a relevant subject at a different institution
  • a portfolio interview

Suitable applicants living in the UK will be invited to a portfolio interview. Applicants living outside the UK will be required to submit a portfolio of work via email. To find out what to include in your portfolio, view our portfolio guidance.

Portfolios and interviews

Your portfolio should be selective but have enough work to show the range of your interests and talents. We're interested in seeing how you develop a project from beginning to end, not only finished work.

Physical portfolio

If you are coming in person to your interview we strongly suggest bringing a physical portfolio of work.

Things to bring:

  • Sketchbooks – we love to see your sketchbooks with ideas and notes, even if they are messy
  • Examples of the development of a project from start to finish and the final outcome
  • Some work that you are really proud of and want to talk about
  • Some work that shows you experimenting with different processes

Digital Portfolio

If you are submitting an online application, please follow these guidelines.

Things to include:

  • Scans or photographs demonstrating items from the list above
  • Storyboarding for motion-based work
  • Scans of sketchbook pages showing development
  • Be sure to check the resolution and overall quality of your image to ensure submissions are not pixelated

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2019/20 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 30 May 2019 Last validation date 30 May 2019  
JACS codes 100122 (architecture): 100%
Route code ARTURE

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 06 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR6001 Design Project Development 3.1 Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM
AR6002 Design Project Resolution 3.2: Comprehensive De... Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR FRI AM
AR6003 Integrated Design Audit Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
CP6012 Critical & Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (... Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR WED AM