Architectural Studies (MArch)

This is a two-year programme that takes graduates to an advanced level of architectural design. It satisfies Part 2 of the UK professional qualification for architects, and is approved by the RIBA and the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

At the Welsh School of Architecture, we provide a fully accredited route to becoming a professional architect in the UK. This MArch programme is the second stage (Part 2) of this route and is intended for those who wish to continue their education towards becoming a qualified architect. The course is approved by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB). If you do not already have a Part 1 qualification, please take a look at our BSc Architectural Studies.

Our MArch is a two year programme which is studied on a full-time basis. It is unique in that in the first year of study, you will predominantly be based in an architectural practice, undertaking a combination of practice-based and academic work. In your second year, you will be based in the School of Architecture’s new studio for graduate students at Friary House, in Cardiff city centre. This is within 5-10 minutes’ walk of our other site, Bute Building.

Throughout the course, we explore the full range of skills required to be an architect and enable you to develop your personal and professional experience. To prepare you for the demands of the architectural profession, we build on and extend your existing knowledge to include the design of more complex buildings and the demands of urban design. We also study the professional and legal aspects of an architect’s work. We also encourage you to pursue knowledge in a specialist area through a written dissertation project.

Distinctive features

  • Study in one of the top schools of architecture in the UK.
  • Accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB) at Part 2 level.
  • Available as a two year full-time course with the first year mainly spent in an architectural practice.
  • Learn from our academic staff and experienced tutors from leading UK architectural practices who have specialisms in a wide range of areas.

Key facts

Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration2 years
QualificationMArch
ModeFull time with sandwich year
AccreditationsRoyal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
Architects Registration Board (ARB)
Admission Tutor contact(s)

Admissions criteria

Welsh School of Architecture graduates must normally have our degree of BSc in Architectural Studies with at least a 2.2 Honours classification and a mark of 55% or higher in design modules.

If you are entering from another School, you would normally need at least a 2.1 class degree or equivalent qualification which carries exemption from the Part 1 of the RIBA. In all cases, a strong design portfolio is a requisite.

We will consider candidates from other schools with overall classifications of 2.2 who have exceptionally strong grades in design modules at degree level (high 2.1 and above). Students who believe themselves to be in this category are welcome to apply.

Selection for the MArch is often also based on an interview.

Applicants should complete a postgraduate application form, available on the University website, and send an A4 size paper copy of your portfolio and a sample of any written work undertaken directly to the School via:

Undergraduate Admissions

Cardiff University

Welsh School of Architecture

Bute Building

King Edward VII Avenue

Cardiff CF10 3NB

Wales U.K.

Applications from prospective students will not be considered until we have received both an application form and your portfolio.

The first year of the MArch – the year of education in practice – is spent predominantly in architectural practice. It includes three short courses held in the School and has a modular structure of coursework.

The second year of the MArch is spent full-time in the School and takes students to an advanced level of architectural design. It offers an intense and lively forum for the exploration and discussion of issues in contemporary architecture. It involves a ‘Design Thesis’, a written dissertation and a module in practice management and economics.

Project work is a major component in the second year and includes a comprehensive design for a building or group of buildings selected by yourself and supervised by an appropriate member of staff. You will also complete a dissertation which allows you to pursue and specialise in an area of interest to you. Current areas you can choose from include architectural science and technology, history and theory of architecture, social issues in architecture, and professional and management studies.

Year one

You will spend the first year in an architectural practice, which has been approved by the School, and undertake study and design modules remotely. You will make a number of return visits to the School for short courses.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Design in PracticeAR440160 credits
Research PreparationAR440220 credits
Reflective PracticeAR440340 credits

Year two

In the second year, you will return to the School, where you will undertake project work and complete your dissertation.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Design ThesisAR500180 credits
DissertationAR500230 credits
Practice, Management and EconomicsAR500310 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

The methods of teaching we employ will vary from module to module, as appropriate depending on the subject matter and the method of assessment. We teach using a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops, study visits, project work, and group tutorials.

In lectures and workshops we aim to make appropriate use of audio-visual support to aid learning and development of subject-specific skills. You will be given access to relevant teaching materials through the University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central.

How will I be supported?

During your year in practice, we will keep in regular contact with you. You will also be visited by a representative from the School.

You will have access to our bespoke Architecture Library, as well as to materials in the other Cardiff University Libraries while you study with us.

We also support students through the University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central, where you can ask questions in a forum or find course-related documents.

Cardiff University also offers a wide range of support services which are open to our students, such as the Graduate Centre, counselling and wellbeing, financial and careers advisors, the international office and the Student Union.

Feedback

We offer written and oral feedback, depending on the coursework or assessment you have undertaken. You will usually receive your feedback from the module leader. If you have questions regarding your feedback, module leaders are usually happy to give advice and guidance on your progress.

 

How will I be assessed?

Taught and project-based modules are assessed in a variety of different ways depending on the module content and learning outcomes (found in the module descriptions). We use class tests, course work (both written assignments and oral presentations or critical assessments/crits), and project work, or a combination of these to assess your progress on the module.

You will also be assessed on a dissertation project, which you will complete in year two. The dissertation is a written report on a piece of research which you have carried out in an agreed subject area under supervision.

 

What skills will I practise and develop?

This programme is developed with a clear sense of the RIBA graduate attributes (‘level indicators’) for Part 2. In accordance with this, the Part 2 is awarded to students who have:

  • Ability to generate complex design proposals showing understanding of current architectural issues, originality in the application of subject knowledge and, where appropriate, to test new hypotheses and speculations.
  • Ability to evaluate and apply a comprehensive range of visual, oral and written media to test, analyse, critically appraise and explain design proposals.
  • Ability to evaluate materials, processes and techniques that apply to complex architectural designs and building construction, and to integrate these into practicable design proposals.
  • 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.
  • Understanding of 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.
  • Problem solving skills, professional judgement, and ability to take the initiative and make appropriate decisions in complex and unpredictable circumstances.
  • Ability to identify individual learning needs and understand the personal responsibility required to prepare for qualification as an architect.

Detail of the specific requirements and learning outcomes for each of the modules undertaken over the course of the master’s is provided in briefs, handbooks and module descriptors.

 

The majority of our graduates proceed to a career in architectural practice, and are found in many of the top practices in the UK and across the world.

However, career paths for our graduates also include urban design, teaching and research as well as architectural practice. Other employers of our graduates include architects’ practices, building energy consultants, town planning departments, construction companies and some universities. Some graduates proceed to higher research degrees such as MPhils or PhDs.

After completing our MArch in Architecture and gaining further experience in practice, you may wish to undertake a Part 3 qualification [link to PGDip/MA in Professional Studies if possible], successful completion of which will enable you to register with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and therefore use the title ‘architect’ in the UK.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Costs for sandwich years

During a sandwich year (e.g. year in industry, placement year or year abroad) a lower fee will apply. Full details can be found on our fees pages.

Additional costs

The School covers the cost of everything that is an essential part of the programme, this will be clearly detailed in all programme information and in any verbal instructions given by tutors. A financial contribution towards the travel and subsistence costs of the field trip is provided.

Costs associated with your placement, such as travel and accommodation, are not covered by the School.

The University considers that the following costs do not need to be covered by schools as they are either not essential or are basic costs that a student should be expected to cover themselves:

  • Laptop computers
  • Calculators
  • General stationery
  • Text books (assumed to be available in the library)
  • Basic copying / printing

If there are optional costs/fees to be covered by the student, these are not a requirement to pass the degree.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

We will provide any equipment that is essential to the course. However, we recommend that you bring a laptop computer with appropriate software (e.g. word processing), USB or a hard drive, general stationary and some basic drawing equipment.

We provide you with student licenses for most of the specialist simulation software we use on the course, however we can currently only guarantee that these work on computers with a Windows operating system.

During the course, you will have access to the specialist Architecture Library, and other University libraries, and study spaces across campus. Within the School, you may work in our design studios, use our computing suites, and use our facilities which include large-format plotters, a digital laser cutter and a well-equipped workshop.

 

The first year of this course is spent in practice. Students are expected to find a suitable placement in an architectural practice themselves. Our students have an excellent record in obtaining placements and many of our past graduates have taken the opportunity of the year of education in practice to spend time in practice abroad. Students should keep in contact with the School during this time and we will send a representative from the School to visit you. Your placement should last for at least 9 months.

Project work in the second year of the course is based around units, which are frequently combined with study trips in the UK and/or in Europe. In the past, students have travelled to Barcelona, Venice, Rome and the Ruhr Valley, amongst other places.