module specification

AR7P18 - Design Thesis (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Design Thesis
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 60
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 600
576 hours Guided independent study
24 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Dissertation 100% 50 Dissertation
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Summer studies City Monday Morning

Module summary

This module is the culmination of the Master’s programme. It allows the student to articulate an extended field of self-directed design research into an ambitious and rigourous proposition.

Summer semester.  Assessment:100% Thesis

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

This academically based module offers masters students the opportunity to develop their own design ‘thesis’ – a theoretical proposition developed through their design project work. This might for example clarify aspects of the wider context of the field of investigation or further investigate a particular area of interest. The thesis could take the form of an illustrated written document or an extended design project, suitably documented. The aim is to enable students to position themselves intellectually and creatively within the contemporary discourse on the design of architecture and interiors.

The module is based within the subject of architecture and interior design and is not defined by the limits of professional practice. The design thesis may, for example, fruitfully explore the boundaries of the subject and its cross-fertilisation with other disciplines, it may focus on more traditional but still pertinent ground, or it may investigate the implications of new cultural or technological issues. Whilst it is expected that the thesis will explore the context of the chosen field of research and will investigate relevant precedents, it is required that the thesis will in itself be propositional.

The module is largely self directed but will be developed from the work previously undertaken within design units, the knowledge gained through attendance of seminars and the previous production and discussion of a Thesis Abstract. At the commencement of the Summer Study Period the student is required to present an extended abstract which establishes a more detailed outline of the final document.


it is the responsibility of the student to determine the detailed syllabus under the guidance of a design tutor. The theory underpinning the proposition may be derived from the wide variety of sources that impinge on the design of architecture or interiors. The development and final format of the design thesis should be appropriate to the theoretical proposition and be understood as part of the design issue.

Learning and teaching

The Thesis project itself is largely self directed. Teaching and Learning methods include:

• self critique and reflection on the aims and outcomes of the unit based design projects and the    wider field of design research with which they are concerned;
• development of and feedback from an Extended Abstract which establishes the principal concerns and parameters of the Design Thesis;
• individual tutorial, through the mechanism of the Extended Abstract;
• individual development of a thesis document within the context of the wider portfolio of work that appropriately represents the final design thesis.

Learning outcomes

On completing the module the student should be able to:

1. devise an appropriate vehicle for a design thesis and manage a self-directed programme of design and theoreticalinvestigation;
2. formulate a clear and critical framework of ideas through appropriate modes of representation;
3. articulate their work in relation to relevant current and historical contexts;
4. construct a thesis that is well resolved within its own terms;
5. show a high level of skill in the appropriate communication of design, theoretical and historical ideas, processes and propositions.

Assessment strategy

Module assessment will be based on the presentation of an appropriate document, presented within the context of a portfolio of work, which will demonstrate through appropriate modes of documentation:
a) a well founded and/or innovative design proposition;
b) a clearly formulated critical framework of ideas;
c) a specific or generic model for the design of architecture or interiors;
d) a well constructed design scheme that is fully resolved within its own terms;
e) a high level of skill in deploying different modes of representation to communicate and present a design scheme and its theoretical framework including oral presentation;

Work will be evaluated in the above categories against the following criteria:
· scope and ambition
· innovation
· quality theoretical thinking
· quality design proposition
· quality communication

Modes of documentation may include: drawings; photographic material; multi-media material; quantitative data; qualitative data; 3D models or prototypes; web-based material. All 3D and multi-media work should be recorded in graphic form and explained to a standard suitable for assessment purposes.


This will be specific to individual student. General references include published design schemes demonstrating a strong theoretical position.