Course Overview

Attendance
UK/EU Fees £7,500 *
International Fees £11,500 *
Alumni Discount See details
Duration 1 year

* Price per academic year

Course summary

The Architecture MA incorporates a number of different study options including an extensive range of individual module choices and specialist pathways in Cultural Identity and Globalisation, History and Theory, and Digital Media.

If you are looking for our MArch (RIBA Part 2) course, please view this course page.

Situated in the progressive intellectual milieu of London, the Architecture MA programme offers a flexible programme of study and a unique opportunity to pursue advanced postgraduate research combining high-level theoretical investigation with innovative design approaches.

The Department of Architecture at the University of Westminster provides first-class facilities such as state-of-the-art digital design/fabrication equipment and a team of lecturers and researchers deeply immersed in the very latest developments in architectural design, theory, historical research, and technology. The Architecture MA is part of a suite of Masters offered by the Department of Architecture aimed at graduates looking to further their education and enhance their employability by acquiring new knowledge and skills. Focused on architectural research, the Architecture MA also offers a firm grounding for those seeking to pursue further research and/or an academic career.

The Architecture MA provides a course that is wide-ranging and flexible, facilitating alternative modes of study and a range of options, including the choice of either a written or design-based thesis. The programme also allows for specialism through its three designated pathways: Architecture (Cultural Identity and Globalisation); Architecture (Digital Media) and Architecture (History and Theory), or alternatively, you can also create your own pathway, under the heading Architecture MA, by selecting and combining relevant modules that meet your individual requirements.

The range of optional and specialist modules offered allows you to develop your individual learning trajectories through the in-depth study of specific subject areas, involving theoretical components as well as practical applications. A series of theory rich modules will stimulate you to analyse current trends in architecture, design theory and practice on the basis of your research and critical judgement, and use these insights to produce high quality written work in a scholarly manner.

In parallel, a set of design-oriented activities encourages you to develop your artistic, aesthetic and intellectual vision through the use of different media, in order to produce individual proposals with a high level of spatial, material and formal resolution. The course is taught within a dynamic learning environment that comprises seminar-based sessions along with studio-based activities, suitably integrated by a wide range of lectures, tutorials, site visits, research training sessions, and independent study periods.

Download our Architecture MA – frequently asked questions (PDF).

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

Core modules

The Research and Positioning module provides a foundation in postgraduate research methods and skills in architecture. It also aims to establish a set of principles and approaches to architectural research, including both conventional research methods and experimental and design-based techniques. The module also explores other forms of research practice drawn from related disciplines.

The Thesis Development and Thesis modules provide the opportunity to focus on a piece of individual research and in-depth study leading to a written thesis or design-based research project. The thesis is undertaken in the context of thematically led research groups or 'labs' associated with each of the pathways. Typically thesis projects reflect contemporary issues or, where appropriate, draw upon historical, social or cultural aspects in architecture and spatial design.

The Thesis Development module prepares you for the subsequent Major Thesis Project by introducing research issues and themes within your chosen group. Throughout the first semester you will undertake a series of short projects and/ or studies designed to inspire and stimulate ideas for a thesis proposal.

The Major Thesis Project provides a framework for the exploration, development, synthesis and conclusion to your chosen area of study. The aim is to evolve the project initially formulated in the Thesis Development module, based on the application of relevant research methods. The course of study for the thesis project module will, as a consequence, also depend on the type/ format of research methods that you are pursuing for your thesis project.

Option modules

This module deals in depth with a series of major theoretical and historical issues that are facing architecture across the world. The intention is for you to develop an advanced understanding of current debates in architecture by reflecting on the diverse meanings associated with a series of key concepts that are central to contemporary architectural discourse (eg 'space'; 'place'; 'landscape'; 'memory'; 'agency' etc). A combination of lectures, seminars and related activities will allow you to place these issues within a broad cultural context. Architectural texts will be complemented by various sources drawn from other disciplines, such as geography and anthropology. Besides exercising your critical thinking, reading and writing skills, you will also start to identify subject themes that you will develop in subsequent modules and through the Major Thesis Project.

This module addresses the use of computer programming and computational techniques in architectural design. You will examine the application of scripting, physical computing and parametric modelling techniques to the exploration of form, interactivity, space and ideas. You will be introduced to some of the principles and techniques associated with the computer-controlled manufacture of models/building components, and gain an understanding of the essential elements of physical computing and automation. The module aims both to offer instruction in the use of scripting and programming (as applied to graphic expression/composition and geometric modelling) and also to explore the specific design potential latent in these techniques.

The aim of the module is to introduce you to the notion of the 'culturally sensitive and critical designer'. This will be done through a series of lectures/seminars to serve as a broad introduction to key concepts and texts (both classic and contemporary) within the disciplines of both architecture and cultural studies that relate to issues of cultural identity and globalisation. The module will also include the course field trip to an international destination (incorporating preparatory group-work) of significance to the theme of identity and architecture. The field trip will also serve as a compliment or contrast to London-based coursework projects (allowing distinctions and commonalities between cultural contexts to be considered). The ultimate objective of the module is to inspire and stimulate participants to explore broad themes within the subject area and, through an elective element, begin to identify their own themes of interest to explore beyond the module.

This module addresses the application of advanced 3D modelling and animation in architectural design. Grounded in the related practice of computational design, this module capitalises on the potential of contemporary animation software to simulate material qualities and behaviours, including the interaction of physical objects and complex mechanical or composite systems. The module introduces and investigates both the representational and the filmic qualities of animation, with a particular emphasis on the creative opportunities presented by such simulations to generate design content and productively inform the design process.

A studio design project that examines the nature and meaning of cultural identity, issues of globalisation etc in spatial and architectural terms; developing visual 'languages' and programmatic strategies that result in a design project of considerable conceptual, formal, spatial, material and technological resolution. You will work individually on your project, which will be based on a different topic of investigation each year, responding to current concerns about architecture within a specific urban and cultural context, as well as its broader global context. In each instance students will be required to investigate a particular cultural or urban issue relating to the notion of cultural identity and representation.

Building on the conceptual emphasis of Semester One's 'Theories of Identity' module, this module will begin with introductory lectures on the historical evolution, key theoretical frameworks, and methods of ethnography. You will then develop their own ethnographic methodology to access, engage, and understand a particular 'site'. There will be an emphasis on creative and experimental approaches to methods such as participant observation, architectural and spatial analysis, interviewing, documentary, social media, and archival research. In addition to normative fieldwork methods, imaginative use of film, mapping, photography, performative, and narrative strategies will be encouraged. A key objective will be to understand the relationship between subjects' site-specific cultural practice, spatial relations, architecture, and wider transcultural/diasporic and global networks and influences. You will also be encouraged to engage with broader issues of truth, objectivity, knowledge, bias, etc which arise within a 'creative research relationship'.

The Introduction to Design Computing module considers the application of digital media techniques to the exploration of form and space in interior design, and to the exploration of wider architectural themes and ideas. Concentrating primarily on the opportunities presented by the moving image and time-based media, the module provides instruction in the use of relevant computer software tools, such as digital video editing applications, and attempts to situate the use of these techniques in relation to the broader context of architectural/art-based representational practices and conventions. The module also aims to encourage critical awareness of the role played by media in architecture and interior design.

The aim of this module is to provide you with direct experience and appreciation of architecture in London and the tools for documenting, analysing and understanding London as a global city through its present and past. You will explore a varied range of textual and visual research methods to develop new ways of imagining the city environment.
London will be your research laboratory: the module will be conducted through urban walks with intensive documentation through sketching, photography, audio and video recordings. A series of group tutorials will allow you to develop and present your analysis through the findings of the site visits as well as other relevant sources eg publications, maps, paintings, films, online videos, exhibitions etc. The module looks at how architecture is situated within a wider environment and introduces you to different methodological approaches to the investigation of the buildings and open spaces of the city. This will involve the careful study of the history (and hidden histories) of places; a critical consideration of the role of imagery in mediating our perceptions of the city; and the development of an individual representation toolkit for ‘picturing cities’ that can then be used in your subsequent research and/or practice.

This module considers the application of two-dimensional animated graphics and the photographic image to architectural research and design. Beginning with an in-depth theoretical study employing photography as a critical tool, you will go on to explore the possibilities afforded by digital technology to extend and develop conventional forms of architectural expression, and to incorporate interactivity and time-based content. The intention is to provide further technical instruction in the use of scripted graphics and associated software applications, and to encourage a critical approach to the use of the photographic image/drawing and its relation to interactive/multimedia design.

Course Leaders

Dr Davide Deriu

Reader

Dr Davide Deriu is an established lecturer with a wide range of experience in research, writing, editing and curating. He specialises in architectural history and theory with a focus on cultures of representation. Before joining Westminster he taught at architecture schools in the UK (UCL, Brighton, Canterbury) and Turkey (METU), and currently has collaborations with IUAV University of Venice and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. He is also a founding editor of the Architectural Histories journal.

Richard Difford

Senior Lecturer

Richard Difford is an experienced academic with expertise in creative technologies and architectural history. The primary focus for his work is the productive interactions that take place between art and science, and in particular the history of architectural representation and the use of electronics, programming and computational design in architecture. He has published numerous academic papers and supervised a number of award-winning dissertations including two Royal Institute of British Architects dissertation medals. 

Samir Pandya

Senior Lecturer

Samir Pandya is an award-winning architect and academic. In addition to teaching at the University of Westminster, he is Visiting Professor to APIED School of Architecture & Urban Design, Vidhyanagar, India, an external examiner at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, and an external PhD supervisor at the Università Iuav di Venezia, Venice, Italy. He is also Architecture Editor for the multidisciplinary journal National Identities and an editorial board member for the architecture journal FOLIO. 

Entry Requirements

You will normally be required to hold a good Honours degree in Architecture or a related art, design or built environment discipline. You may be required to attend an interview, and to bring a portfolio of work demonstrating prior experience and interests. Overseas candidates may submit a portfolio or samples of their project work in digital format for inspection. You will need fluent written and spoken English to study at postgraduate level. If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS score of at least 6.5 (or equivalent) with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component. The University offers pre-sessional summer programmes if you need to improve your English before starting your course.

View more information about our entry requirements and the application process

You will normally be required to hold a good Honours degree in Architecture or a related art, design or built environment discipline. You may be required to attend an interview, and to bring a portfolio of work demonstrating prior experience and interests. Overseas candidates may submit a portfolio or samples of their project work in digital format for inspection. You will need fluent written and spoken English to study at postgraduate level. If your first language is not English, you will need an IELTS score of at least 6.5 (or equivalent) with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component. The University offers pre-sessional summer programmes if you need to improve your English before starting your course.

More information

Careers

The Department of Architecture is consciously international in its educational thinking and academic links, and its graduates are amongst the most sought-after anywhere in the world. The flexibility offered in the course is designed to extend each student’s creative abilities and enhance their employability and performance as design professionals.

Typical employment destinations for Architecture MA graduates include architectural practice but also other design disciplines, media and the arts. Depending on their pathways, graduates have found employment in a multitude of creative industries including computer visualisation, design research and consultancy. In addition, the course may form a platform for continuing study with a career in academia or research.

Our Career Development Centre has just been shortlisted for the Best University Careers Service in the National Undergraduate Employability Awards for 2017.

With a growing network of over 3,000 employers around the world and a team of experienced careers consultants, we are here to help you succeed.

In 2015–16, we helped over 1,500 students find work placements across a range of sectors, with 250 employers attending 14 on-campus skills and careers fairs.

As a Westminster student, you’ll have access to our services throughout your studies and after you graduate.

We can help you:

  • find work placements related to your course
  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • find international opportunities to enhance your employability
  • market yourself effectively to employers
  • write better CVs and application forms
  • develop your interview and enterprise skills
  • plan your career with our careers consultants
  • meet employers and explore your career options at our employer fairs, careers presentations and networking events throughout the year

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

What our students say

Architecture MA student Kazuma Sekino

Kazuma Sekino

This is the place to meet people who explore their original perspectives on architecture, based on their experiences. The tutors support our study of different aspects of architecture like history, geology, theory, computing etc.

Architecture MA student Anna Ekonomova

Anna Ekonomova

The best parts about Westminster are the quality of teaching and the new opportunities in terms of technical support (metal/wooden workshop spaces, laser cutting and 3D printers). All these help to make a new world of creative opportunities.

Architecture MA student Sebastian Mongillo

Sebastian Mongillo

The Architecture MA at Westminster helped me to open my mind and improve my skills as an architect. The course encourages you to take a different approach to research and design. It offers a well-designed study plan, great staff and facilities full of resources, all in a very friendly multicultural environment.

Student work

View work from our students at our end-of-year exhibition for postgraduate Architecture and Interiors courses. Our students have also won an extraordinary number of international awards, including RIBA Presidents Medals, confirming our reputation as one of the world's leading centres for architectural education. Read more about our architecture and interiors students' awards.

PG2016 catalogue

PG2015 catalogue

Find out more

Watch our online information session

Architecture MA Information Session video with Course Leader Richard Difford.

Watch a sample lecture from the course

A lecture room at Marylebone campus

View some of the example videos of our lectures.

About Architecture and Interiors

Watch our video to find out more about studying Architecture and Interiors courses with us.

Meet the academic

Lecturer and practising architect Nasser Golzari talks about the University, his work and research in social commitment in architecture.

Fees and Funding

UK and EU tuition fee: £7,500 (Price per academic year)

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

As well as tuition fee loans, there is a range of funding available to help you fund your studies.

Find out about postgraduate student funding options.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

International tuition fee: £11,500 (Price per academic year)

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

Find out about funding for international students.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

Course Location

Our Marylebone Campus has benefitted from a multi-million pound refurbishment resulting in new workshops, digital studios and development of the Marylebone Library. The campus is home to the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment and Westminster Business School. For more details, visit our Marylebone Campus page.

Contact us

Call our dedicated team on:

+44 (0)20 7915 5511

Opening hours (GMT): 9am-5pm Monday to Friday

[email protected]

More information

Your Westminster

Book an open day. Order a prospectus. Sign up for newsletters.