‘In these loan intensive times, the Welsh School’s four-year course as opposed to everywhere else’s five, must be a big draw. The final year work does not look like a year is missing. So, what are the other schools doing?’
Patrick Hannay, ‘Get Out of London this Summer’, Building Design
The MArch (Master of Architecture) is a unique degree scheme, taken after the BSc (or equivalent qualification from another university). It satisfies Part 2 of the UK professional qualification for architects, and is approved by the RIBA and ARB.
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 associated 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 contemporary issues in architecture, and also includes courses in building economics and professional practice.
The focus of MArch 2 is the Design Thesis. Students are asked to define and establish their own position in architectural design, whilst meeting the requirements of the RIBA/ARB Part 2 syllabus. The thesis begins with a ‘Primer Project’ through which students work-out the issues they wish to explore for the year. Students then develop these ideas into a Final Design Project, the design of a major building, for which they identify a site and a programme. The Design Thesis is normally preceded by a short design project associated with a study visit to a major European city. The year is structured around thematic studios - collaborative interest groups – led by a design tutor with expertise and interest in the topic. These themes are related to particular research activities and strengths within the School, and currently include: Cities; the Everyday; Landscape and Place; Materials; Memory; Nature; People; Senses; the Workshop. You can read more about these thematic studios here.
Visiting Professors, including such eminent practitioners as Pierre d’Avoine, Ed Jones (Dixon Jones), Andrew Taylor and Pankaj Patel (Patel Taylor), contribute to the leadership of design teaching in MArch through lectures, tutorials, crits and seminars. Peter Salter, who began links with the School as a Visiting Professor, has since joined on a permanent basis as Professor of Architectural Design. Peter brings to the School a notable reputation in design and was recognised for his excellence in teaching in 2004 when he won the RIBA’s Annie Spink Award for Teachers of Architecture. Core teachers in MArch 2 are permanent staff of the School, including Richard Weston, renowned for his books on Aalto, Utzon, Modernism and Materials, Wayne Forster, director of the school’s Design Research Unit, and Adam Sharr, practitioner and editor of the Thinkers for Architects books. Permanent staff are also supported by part-time tutors and critics who are talented architects working in practice
In the School, the studio is the focus of activity, the location for design teaching and learning, model-making, tutorials, workshops and debate. Contact time with staff is high, and students receive regular verbal and written feedback on their progress. Design projects and related exercises are assessed continuously through the year. At the end of each session, a portfolio of all design-related work is presented for formal examination. Generous resources support studio work including: an excellent dedicated architecture library in the school, media lab, a well-equipped workshop, environmental modelling facilities and digital fabrication equipment.
MArch Year 1: the Year of Education in Practice
Students are based full-time in an architect’s office, but contact with the School is maintained throughout the year. Students are normally visited by a member of staff, and also return to the wsa for short courses in aspects of architectural design and technology, research and cultural studies, professional practice and building economics. These are timed to allow those students wishing to work abroad to do so with the minimum of disruption and additional travel costs.
MArch Year 1: modules:
Design in Practice (30 credits); Design Technology in Practice (10 credits); Practice Experience (40 credits); Research Methods (10 credits); Management and Communication (10 credits); Project Initiation (20 credits).
MArch Year 2: Based full-time in the School
The second year of the MArch asks students to define and establish their own position in architectural design, whilst meeting the requirements of the RIBA/ARB Part 2 syllabus. The studio work is supported by a lecture series in which contemporary issues in architecture are introduced and discussed by members of staff, graduates, visiting practitioners and visiting professors. MArch Year 2 students also submit a 10,000 word Dissertation on a research topic for which they undertake preparatory work during the Year in Practice. Students are encouraged to relate this research, where possible, to their Design Thesis.
Architectural technology teaching is integrated with the design projects, and specialist advice is provided through consultancies with experts in structural design, environmental design, and fire safety. Studies in building economics and professional practice continue through a lecture module, and this is also closely integrated with the design work.
MArch Year 2: modules:
Design Thesis (80 credits); Dissertation (30 credits); Practice Management and Economics (10 credits).
Detailed module descriptions for individual modules can be viewed here:
Current students may find some useful links available from the Schools Support Pages
Applicants wishing to apply for the course should complete a paper based Postgraduate application form which can be found by following the link below:
Alternatively you can contact the MArch Admissions Secretary, Anwen Cook at the School, who will send you an application form, firstname.lastname@example.org
IMPORTANT: Please submit with the completed MArch application form an A4 size copy of your portfolio and an A4 size copy of any written work undertaken – for example a dissertation. We will not be able to return your work to you so please do not send originals.
Please note that we only consider applicants for the MArch who have an ARB and RIBA Part I recognised qualification. To check if your degree gives you RIBA and ARB exemption please visit the validated courses section of their websites: www.architecture.com www.arb.org.uk