Manchester Metropolitan University

MArch

Master of Architecture

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • Manchester School of Architecture is a unique collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester.
  • Consistently ranked as one of the best schools of Architecture in the UK.
  • Engaged and responsive design teaching, working with expert, research active academic staff and leading design professionals.
  • Students actively take part in the research culture of the school.
  • Opportunities for study exchange in Europe through the Erasmus programme.
  • Our RIBA award winning Manchester School of Art building gives high quality environments:
    • Open Studio: Managed and organized by MSA students for model making, digital and analogue drawing, supporting collaborative peer groups.
    • Review Studio: Used for formal discussion and review of work. 
    • Workshops: High quality making supported by large well-equipped specialist workshops and trained technical staff at Manchester Metropolitan and the University of Manchester.
    • Lecture:  Digitally equipped lecture theatres across both university estates support delivery of formal and open lectures and events.
    • Library: Excellent 24/7 library resources, supported by specialist architectural librarians, enable access to a vast amount of recently published and archival material. IT systems support working away from the main Studios when appropriate.

About the course

This course is for students who have completed a RIBA Part One course in Architecture. The course comprises of studio, research methods, dissertation and professional studies units, delivered through a diverse range of research driven ateliers and workshops. Each group approaches architecture from a different specialised position, offering expertise, skills and knowledge that respond to contemporary events and issues. Course units are delivered through studio days, workshops, seminars and lectures, made available digitally for distance learning. Students vote at the beginning of each academic year from a selection of ateliers and workshops. Student projects connect with research-based design, contemporary investigative methods and live workshops, aligned with strong areas of research activity and professional practice undertaken by the academic team within the wider cultural context.

Studio units centre on face to face discourse, focused on the creative and exploratory design thesis. Units are aligned (e.g. Methods and Dissertation) to capitalise on research themes and methodologies located in both theory and studio practice and delivered through lectures, seminars and talks. Professional Studies combines the benefits of employment contexts and academic environments to deliver technologically and professionally responsive design projects and case studies. Blending digital communication and live discourse, Professional Studies also facilitates distance learning as a part of the Hybrid route.

Study tours and international collaborations with other leading Schools and organisations take place each year and there is the possibility for exchange under the Erasmus programme.

All students will be required to make a number of different submissions, including detailed examinations of building proposals, 12000-word dissertation, annotated reports, methods exploration and a design thesis.

Study Routes

Units of study commence at the same time each year and can be combined following the Full-time, Hybrid and Part-time routes. The Hybrid and Part-time routes facilitates periods of part-time study that can be completed alongside for example work in practice and Part 3 experience.

The information below relates to the full-time route. You can also download diagrams of all the study routes options (PDF).

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Core Units
Professional Studies 1

Professional Studies engages students in building design in a contemporary societal setting and the associated expectations for the operational competence of `the architect` in a professional context. Structured design activities connect with a broad range of parameters related to the construction, use and operation of buildings and the function of `the architect` as a professional within this setting.

Professional Studies 1 and 2 are designed to complement each other in respect of the design challenge set for students. This could typically contrast `new build` design in one unit with `adaptive re use` of existing buildings in another and/or focussing on different typologies (e.g. housing and public buildings).

Professional Studies 2

Professional Studies engages students in building design in a contemporary societal setting and the associated expectations for the operational competence of `the architect` in a professional context. Structured design activities connect with a broad range of parameters related to the construction, use and operation of buildings and the function of `the architect` as a professional within this setting.

Professional Studies 1 and 2 are designed to complement each other in respect of the design challenge set for students. This could typically contrast `new build` design in one unit with `adaptive re use` of existing buildings in another and/or focussing on different typologies (e.g. housing and public buildings).

Research 1: Methods

Methods is an opportunity for students to explore techniques and processes that inform design as a spatial practice. The research methods unit introduces techniques that directly inform design as a spatial practice.

Research 1 & 2 encourage students to develop the subject of their enquiry in dissertations in parallel with their interests, career aspirations and the content of studio units. The subject chosen will reflect the symbiosis between design practice and theory, and allow for scholarship within individual specialisms to be placed within a deeper understanding of architecture as a whole

Research 2: Dissertation

This unit provides an opportunity for students to explore a research topic that may relate to their personal interests in design through the media of an extended piece of disciplined academic writing (8000 – 12000 words).

Research 1 & 2 encourage students to develop the subject of their enquiry in dissertations in parallel with their interests, career aspirations and the content of studio units. The subject chosen will reflect the symbiosis between design practice and theory, and allow for scholarship within individual specialisms to be placed within a deeper understanding of architecture as a whole

Year 2

Core Units
Professional Studies 3

This unit prepares students for employment in respect of the knowledge and understanding of the profession and related procedures, industries and organisations in the contemporary setting of architectural design.

The unit consists of an extensive series of lectures delivered by experts and authoritative figures who are engaged in contemporary design, development and construction practice. The course is coordinated by the school in conjunction with the northwest regional office of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA NW) who additionally deliver the final part (part 3) of the recognised qualification leading to the use of title 'architect'.

Studio 1

Studios engage with problem-based learning in their approach. This unit is the first in a series that form a design thesis project. It typically establishes the programme or content of the final design thesis and may include an investigation of the setting or context of the project. Research led teaching is undertaken in MArch ateliers where students critically engage with the development of programme in real world settings that reflect contemporary discourse in academic and professional practice.

Studio 2

Studios engage with problem-based learning in their approach. This unit is the second in a series that form a design thesis project. It typically establishes formal and operational aspects of the proposition and includes an investigation of significant technological strategies that are critical to the thesis.

Studio 3

Studios engage with problem-based learning in their approach. This unit is the third and final in a series that form a design thesis project. It typically communicates final resolution to professional presentation standards and includes a critical study in a significant aspect of the realisation for the project.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Assessment details

Cross-Atelier reviews and presentations, assessment of digital design portfolios, annotated reports, written dissertation, group work, tasks and assignments.

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at: http://www.msa.ac.uk/staff/

Typical entry requirements

You will normally have at least an upper second class undergraduate UK honours degree (or international equivalent) in architecture and/or ARB/RIBA Part 1. Admission will normally be dependent on a successful application and possibly an interview.

A portfolio of work should be submitted with your application, this can be sent to us using online file transfer apps such as dropbox or we-transfer. It should include a table of contents with information regarding the duration of each project and in which academic year/level it was completed and a selection of projects worked on during your year in practice. We also require a concise letter of intent and two references, one of which must be from a former year 3 tutor, the other a reference from your current employer.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

Please read the How to Apply section on the Manchester School of Architecture web site before submitting your application.

Career options after the course

Most graduates work as architects in private practice, though others work for local authorities, government organisations, commercial companies or contracting organisations, or for research agencies. Some graduates undertake research for higher degrees. Opportunities may also exist to work in Europe or overseas.

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.