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Course content

At the Welsh School of Architecture, we provide a fully accredited route to becoming a professional architect in the UK. This MArch programme is the second stage (Part 2) of this route and is intended for those who wish to continue their education towards becoming a qualified architect. The course is approved by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB). If you do not already have a Part 1 qualification, please take a look at our BSc Architectural Studies.

Our MArch is a two year programme which is studied on a full-time basis. It is unique in that in the first year of study, you will predominantly be based in an architectural practice, undertaking a combination of practice-based and academic work. In your second year, you will be based in the School of Architecture’s new studio for graduate students at Friary House, in Cardiff city centre. This is within 5-10 minutes’ walk of our other site, Bute Building.

Throughout the course, we explore the full range of skills required to be an architect and enable you to develop your personal and professional experience. To prepare you for the demands of the architectural profession, we build on and extend your existing knowledge to include the design of more complex buildings and the demands of urban design. We also study the professional and legal aspects of an architect’s work. We also encourage you to pursue knowledge in a specialist area through a written dissertation project.

Distinctive features

• Study in one of the top schools of architecture in the UK.
• Accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB) at Part 2 level.
• Available as a two year full-time course with the first year mainly spent in an architectural practice.
• Learn from our academic staff and experienced tutors from leading UK architectural practices who have specialisms in a wide range of areas.

Structure

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 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 issues in contemporary architecture. It involves a ‘Design Thesis’, a written dissertation and a module in practice management and economics.

Project work is a major component in the second year and includes a comprehensive design for a building or group of buildings selected by yourself and supervised by an appropriate member of staff. You will also complete a dissertation which allows you to pursue and specialise in an area of interest to you. Current areas you can choose from include architectural science and technology, history and theory of architecture, social issues in architecture, and professional and management studies.

Core modules:

Design in Practice
Research Preparation
Reflective Practice
Design Thesis
Dissertation
Practice, Management and Economics

Teaching

The methods of teaching we employ will vary from module to module, as appropriate depending on the subject matter and the method of assessment. We teach using a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops, study visits, project work, and group tutorials.

In lectures and workshops we aim to make appropriate use of audio-visual support to aid learning and development of subject-specific skills. You will be given access to relevant teaching materials through the University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central.

Assessment

Taught and project-based modules are assessed in a variety of different ways depending on the module content and learning outcomes (found in the module descriptions). We use class tests, course work (both written assignments and oral presentations or critical assessments/crits), and project work, or a combination of these to assess your progress on the module.

You will also be assessed on a dissertation project, which you will complete in year two. The dissertation is a written report on a piece of research which you have carried out in an agreed subject area under supervision.

Career Prospects

The majority of our graduates proceed to a career in architectural practice, and are found in many of the top practices in the UK and across the world.

However, career paths for our graduates also include urban design, teaching and research as well as architectural practice. Other employers of our graduates include architects’ practices, building energy consultants, town planning departments, construction companies and some universities. Some graduates proceed to higher research degrees such as MPhils or PhDs.

After completing our MArch in Architecture and gaining further experience in practice, you may wish to undertake a Part 3 qualification [link to PGDip/MA in Professional Studies if possible], successful completion of which will enable you to register with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and therefore use the title ‘architect’ in the UK.

Placements

The first year of this course is spent in practice. Students are expected to find a suitable placement in an architectural practice themselves. Our students have an excellent record in obtaining placements and many of our past graduates have taken the opportunity of the year of education in practice to spend time in practice abroad. Students should keep in contact with the School during this time and we will send a representative from the School to visit you. Your placement should last for at least 9 months.

Fieldwork

Project work in the second year of the course is based around units, which are frequently combined with study trips in the UK and/or in Europe. In the past, students have travelled to Barcelona, Venice, Rome and the Ruhr Valley, amongst other places.

Visit the Architectural Studies MArch page on the Cardiff University website for more details!

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