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Master of Architecture (MArch)

Advanced preparation for outstanding participation in the profession

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The MArch is a two year masters degree with a syllabus based on the ARB/RIBA Criteria for Part 2. Dynamic and inspirational, it is profession-oriented and encourages imaginative, exploratory, pioneering design and research concerning contextual and material realities and live briefs, using the best of Ravensbourne’s renowned, international links, and its cutting edge synergies with industry.

The course culminates in year 2 in a year-long integrated design thesis (CDT) as a celebration of the Department’s essential academic position – which is about the essence of building in specific physical and cultural settings. The pedagogic model is less about teaching as it is about engagement with specialists from the building professions, through a self-motivated process that readies you rigorously for practice. With site anywhere in the world and brief initiated by you to suit your own interests after deep research in year 1, the CDT comprehensively demonstrates your abilities across the multi-stranded demands involved in the creation of a building project. The final year also includes Practice, Management and Law (PML) in preparation for participation in the profession and anticipating Part 3.
Year 1 introduces you to research-led design, a year of unpacking, rethinking, experimenting and discovering areas of specialised interest which may subsequently become distinctive characters of your thesis in year 2. The year is supported by more ambitious skills workshops - not based on any one area of specialism - but on a variety of developed approaches to learning and research that equips you to explore areas of design pertinent to your own aptitudes and interests. The year includes a field trip at the end of term 1, generally abroad to an unusual challenging destination.

It is intended that the overall portfolios should be published as books at the end of the course.

Course details



2 year full time contact attendance: 2 days/ week

See link under 'More information' below for full amount

Validating body

Entry requirements

From all candidates including Ravensbourne alumni:

  • A 2.2 with 50% (10% above pass) minimum in the final year major design project in a first architecture degree either prescribed by ARB or similar to an ARB/RIBA Part 1 course in the case of non-ARB prescribed UK, EU and Overseas courses. (Graduates with non-ARB prescribed first architecture degrees who wish to register in the UK as an architect eventually would have to submit their portfolios to ARB for examination at some stage, though this is not a requirement for entry to the MArch.)
  • While advisable, practical experience is not required for entry to the MArch, though applicants should note that a minimum of 24 months of logged professional experience are required to undertake Part 3 examinations and to register as an architect in the UK, of which 12 months may be completed before the completion of the MArch.
  • In order to be eligible for a course, you will need to be a competent speaker and writer of English. This also applies if you are from the European Union, or if you're from a country outside the EU. You will need a level of IELTS 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each section.

More information

What your course will look like

Year 1

Research and Communications (15c)

One of the first modules in this course, along with Contemporary Practice, its purpose is three-fold:
1. To learn appropriate advanced research, archive retrieval and communication skills necessary for studying at post-graduate level,

2. To plan a study strategy for the whole course, in which you examine your options, particularly with regard to the Dissertation in the second half of the first year and for the Comprehensive Design Thesis in the final year - in effect to plan your book,

3. To study the relationship between design and realisation, and to investigate contemporary issues through prototyping methods using a group design and making project.

Contemporary Practice (30c)

Brings you up to date with what is happening in architecture, masterplanning, urbanism, urban design and art now, today - and why. The intention is to start the preparation for your professional participation in the construction industry by familiarising you with current design thinking. Delivered in participation with leading active practitioners, the objective is that it should stimulate and inspire you to investigate further some of the items studied here in the Dissertation and the Comprehensive Design Thesis and consider what the future may hold.

Making Places (30c)

Introduces you to research-led architectural design. Based on the field trip, It is an opportunity to dismantle and rethink what you have learned so far as designers and, through deep exploration and experimentation, discover areas of specialised interest that will broaden and help to establish your approach to design.  You set the design and research objectives for a small project which you design in much greater detail than you have hitherto.

Design Technology (15c)

Run in combination with Making Places, this studies the application of advanced and innovative technologies to a design project.  The areas covered include sustainable environmental design, single and compound structural approaches, surface materiality, including new materials and new applications of materials, and new technical design and constructional techniques, including prototyping, parametrics and robotics.  What are the potential new design opportunities offered by these techniques?

Dissertation (30c)

Facilitates a critical understanding of how knowledge is advanced through research to produce clear, logically argued, illustrated and written work relating to architectural culture, theory, technology and design. Alternative methods of expression are encouraged including use of moving images and web based media. Using material learned in Contemporary Practice as well as Making Places and Design and Technology, you plan what you will do for the Comprehensive Design Thesis in Year 2, and choose a relevant aspect of it to research and write about using methodologies learned in the Research and Communications unit.

Year 2

Practice Management + Law (30c)

Covers knowledge of the management and legal framework required for professional architectural practice at RIBA Part 2. Using input from built environment consultants, and synchronized with the Comprehensive Design Thesis, it includes: roles of professional bodies, RIBA Plan of Work, RIBA + ARB Codes of Professional Conduct, International Ethics Standards, BIM, technical drawing layer conventions, professional contracts and frameworks, PII, the methodologies, economics and businesses of building development practices and entrepreneurship, project procurement, office organisation, consultants and constructors, planning and building control and related regulations, building contract types, and business management.

The module concludes with a report undertaking a substantial investigation to address current and near future issues concerning methodologies of project development and procurement within the systems of appointment in relation to demand and resource and skill availability.

Comprehensive Design Thesis (90c)

This is the final, year-long, design project in the course, and before registering as architects (after Part 3 in the UK). In it you demonstrate your ability to integrate the broad range of knowledge and skills required to imaginatively design a complex building project. It forms the principal content of your portfolio.

The CDT is an integrated design project in which you comprehensively research and design a building project. You propose a brief and site and show evidence of your research that led you to the project type and location by undertaking an in-depth study of site, client/user, planning context, social context, climate, new technologies, new live issues needing research etc, and of precedents related to programme and site.  The guidelines are highly flexible, allowing maximum choice from refurbishment to master planning, but ensuring that the RIBA/ARB Criteria are addressed, and employability interests met.

The design process reflects real-world practice by following the RIBA Plan of Work. Submissions include a full planning application and attendant information, partial detailed structural, environmental and constructional design, and final high-level presentation of the completed project. This is accompanied by a reflective report on the process in which evidence of research study around the subject area for each of the stages is shown, as well as a commentary on how the new and experimental proposals address live issues. Together, the design proposal and the reflective report, as well as the Dissertation, form a research thesis, which, possibly along with your other work on the course, will be arranged for publication as a book. It is intended that not only should this document provide compelling evidence of your employability, but also give you the basis and option for further research leading to PhD and beyond.

To complement your own research, client and user interviews etc, teaching includes representation from industry with masterclasses from leading architectural practitioners and lectures and tutorials by visiting practicing specialist consultants on strategic planning, means of escape, structures, environment and construction, so that you learn how to manipulate these standard relationships in the profession towards enriching your design. Leading architectural practitioners will also be involved in interim and final reviews.

Top reasons to apply for this course

  • Taught by architects and consultants, in active practice, alongside academic staff
  • For students who want to qualify and practice as architects designing real buildings in relation to their physical, cultural and social settings
  • Studies and integrates contemporary issues in: Architectural thinking, culture, practice and processes; Smart urbanism; sustainable environmental methodologies and emerging technologies
  • Includes entrepreneurial training for setting up as a practice and as a developer
  • Prioritises your own individual interests, ambitions and initiatives, rather than studio unit themes
  • Efficiently timetabled-taught delivery requiring attendance on just two days per week
  • Produces portfolios of direct relevance to the interests of the profession
  • Situated in London in easy reach of many of the world’s greatest architects and consultants as well as its political and financial institutions and wide ranging resources


As an MArch graduate you will be one of the +/- 40% of those who started doing architecture after school and went on to graduate at this level.  As such you will have specialised with a view to employment by architects. The current (2017) average starting salary in London is approximately £27,000.00 – 30,000.00.

Feedback from the profession suggests that what is sought in MArch graduates, other than first year out experience, informed initiative and ‘can do’ team-working attitude, are:

- fundamental communication skills including 2 and wide ranging 3d CAD drawing (both for presentation and for construction), competence in composition of illustrated reports, and confident, fluent verbal discourse with clients and consultants
- evidence of relevant comprehensive imaginative and pragmatic interaction with real world issues in architectural design and design technology
- awareness of contemporary architectural built culture and active designers
- awareness of everyday current practice, management and law conventions and rules

The acquisition or development of these skills and knowledge is embedded in the course in such a way as to be clearly evident in portfolio and interview.

If you do well, your thesis could provide the basis for further study and research leading to PhD and beyond following an academic route.

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