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The Master of Architecture (MArch) is a professionally-recognised qualification enabling students to gain the RIBA Part 2 award – an important step on the way to becoming a registered architect. This two-year course builds on the academic knowledge gained during an undergraduate degree in Architecture, as well as your professional portfolio.
If you’re interested in studying a MArch Architecture programme, this page will give you an overview of the RIBA Part 2 qualification’s entry requirements, structure and funding situation. We’ve also covered the other types of Masters in Architecture available.
Or, you can begin your search for a Masters degree in Architecture by browsing the courses listed on our site.
The Master of Architecture (MArch) is a UK qualification that is accredited by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Completing a recognised MArch programme involves gaining RIBA Part 2 – the second stage in the path to qualifying as a practising architect.
It’s worth bearing in mind that some institutions have slightly different names for this qualification and you may come across MPhils, Diplomas and PGDips that also provide RIBA Part 2.
If you want to become a registered architect, the important thing to make sure is that your course is accredited and recognised by RIBA and ARB.
The MArch (RIBA Part 2) takes two years to complete and comprises academic study, studio-based research projects and a dissertation.
|Qualification Level||7 (NQF)|
|Credits Value||240 CATS / 120 ECTS|
You’ll usually need an undergraduate degree in Architecture, with a classification of at least 2.1 (some institutions may allow a 2.2). Your Bachelors should have been studied at a RIBA-approved university and given you RIBA Part 1 (or equivalent).
In addition, you’ll need around a year of professional experience gained after graduation and will supply a design portfolio during the application process.
Applications for MArch (RIBA Part 2) courses usually open in November or December for programmes beginning in September of the following academic year. Deadlines vary according to institution but can be as early as February.
You should apply directly to the university you’re interested in studying at, completing an online application form. You’ll usually need to supply the following documents as part of this process:
If successful, you may be asked to attend an interview with an admissions officer, either in person or via video conference.
The MArch is a two-year programme designed to help you prepare for life as a registered architect, so it’s unsurprising that it’s an intensive and academically rigorous qualification.
You’ll generally be expected to study for the equivalent of a full-time working week (37.5 hours) through a combination of independent learning, lectures, workshops and seminars.
Over the duration of the MArch, you’ll study several core and optional modules worth 240 CATS points (120 ECTS). In the second year, you’ll complete a major design and research project that’ll form the basis of your dissertation.
As part of the MArch programme, you may also have the opportunity to go on a field visit or spend time working in practice.
Assessment for these programmes is primarily coursework-based. You can expect to be tested via several methods, including essays, your portfolio and design reports.
The dissertation completed in the final module of the MArch (RIBA Part 2) usually accounts for 40 CATS credits – a third of the second year.
For the purposes of tuition fees and student finance, MArch RIBA Part 2 programmes are usually treated as undergraduate courses.
This means that tuition fees are capped at undergraduate level for domestic and EU students. This is currently:
If you’re an international student, you’ll have to pay tuition fees at a higher rate for the MArch. This will typically be up to £25,000 per year.
Tuition fees and living costs aren’t the only expenses associated with a Masters in Architecture. You should also budget for:
If you’re beginning the MArch within three years of graduating from a Bachelors in Architecture, you will usually be considered a continuing student and should (re)apply for undergraduate student finance (not the UK’s Masters loans).
Each country in the UK has its own undergraduate student finance system:
You won’t normally be eligible for undergraduate student finance in the following circumstances:
In these cases, UK residents should apply for a postgraduate Masters loan.
If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may be eligible for UK student finance.
Other international students should look into alternative sources of funding, such as scholarships, charities and trusts. We’ve written a guide to Masters funding for international students, which has plenty of tips for places to look.
There are lots of types of Architecture Masters degrees other than the MArch Architecture.
One of the most common is the MA in Architecture, which is offered by many UK universities and differs in several ways to MArch Architecture courses:
There are also MSc Architecture programmes, which are broadly comparable to MA equivalents but may have a more technical focus.
In general, MA and MSc Architecture courses are more likely to be taken by practising architects wanting to specialise in a particular area, or by those whose employment plans don’t require the RIBA 2 award.
We list all kinds of Architecture Masters on our website – why not take a look and begin your search for the perfect postgraduate programme?
Last updated - 29/05/20