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Master of Design Administration (MDA)

Students in a classroom

The Master of Design Administration, or MDA, aims to equip you with the expertise necessary for the successful administration and management of the design process in the procurement of buildings.

The MDA is designed to be undertaken while in employment, and may be taken on a blended learning or 100% distance learning basis, using a wide range of innovative and interactive teaching methods, designed to ensure all students maintain close links with the school and each other.

The programme has been developed to meet the growing need for experts in design management, both within client bodies, consultancies, and within contractors and specialist sub-contractor firms. A key challenge facing the construction industry is the successful integration and management of the design process, which can run from project inception through to handover and post occupancy feedback.

Essential to meet this challenge is the use of innovative processes for the identification, communication and realisation of design intent. These processes must be supported by clear contractual frameworks that accurately reflect the participants’ independent and shared responsibilities for achieving the design requirements in practice.

The MDA is delivered through a series of single and two day teaching events, plus regular lunch-time webinars, online workshops given by leading experts, and a weekly blog updating you on course events and current industry developments relevant to the course.  Several of the day events are planned to be on campus (in our newly refurbished premises), but and will be live streamed for the distance learning students. These events will be supplemented by discussion boards relating to specific topics, regular written feedback on your work, and individual and group on-line tutorials. Supporting course material will be available in the form of detailed course notes and pre-recorded video presentations.

The interaction between different backgrounds of experts, students and Professors has resulted in very interesting analysis during the course. I also appreciated the understanding of the teaching staff in the School in regards to the working students and their needs. I became aware of what is considered good management and developing a project, acquiring confidence over matters such as procurement form of contracts and construction law. I am convinced that increasing my knowledge is essential to understanding and facing different scenarios, thus improving opportunities.

Elisa Migliorini

How to apply

For more information on course content, structure, fees and how to apply, please visit our Master of Design Administration course information page.

Key events

News items on the course and the prizes awarded for the 21/22 session are available online. News for the staff involved including the new book by Lupton Stellakis, "Understanding Professional Services Contracts" and a piece written for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), entitled “Selecting the most appropriate building contract for a small domestic project” can be found on LinkedIn. See also news articles about the success of our graduates: Elisa Migliorini and Haya Magdy Muhamed.

Here are the provisional dates for the key full day events for 22/23. Note that all on-campus events will be live streamed for those taking the distance learning route.

Full time (FT) students attend all events, Part Time (PT) attend as shown.

27 SeptemberOn campusFT, PTY1 and PTY2
6 OctoberOnlineFT and PTY1
13 OctoberOnlineFT and PTY1
19/20 OctoberOnlineFT and PTY1
18/19 JanuaryOnlineFT and PTY2
25/26 JanuaryOn campusFT and PTY2
22/23 FebruaryOn campusFT and PTY1
21/22 MarchOnlineFT, PTY1 and PTY2
15 MarchOn campusFT, PTY1 and PTY2

Course team

The course is directed by Professor Sarah Lupton. Key to the course are the two expert consultants (Manos Stellakis and Robert Firth), who are external to the School but have ongoing input, advising on strategic matters, delivering seminars and workshops, and providing feedback to students. We also engage a team of tutors, all alumni of the course, to help with workshops and provide feedback. We invite many industry experts to give guest talks and seminars.

Course Director

Professor Sarah Lupton

Professor Sarah Lupton

Personal Chair

+44 (0)29 2087 5966


Robert Firth BSc (Hons) BArch (Dist) MSc (Project Management), FRSA, FFB, RIBA (Partner, RDMF Consultancy, Expert Consultant, WSA)

Manos Stellakis BSc, DipArch, MSc (Econ) RIBA, (Partner, Lupton Stellakis architects; Expert Consultant, WSA)

Admissions support

Architecture Admissions