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Course content

This course addresses the need for creative professionals who are equipped with the IT skills, digital fabrication skills, simulation software skills, or the ability to design custom-software development tools to solve unique design problems.


This course addresses the need for creative professionals who are equipped with the IT skills, digital fabrication skills, simulation software skills, or the ability to design custom-software development tools to solve unique design problems. Our multidisciplinary approach will provide students with the knowledge and skills to discover innovative computational methods for use in the creative and design industries. In particular, we will look at form-finding using parametric and generative methods, preparing digital information for further rigorous analysis, and integrating the logic of digital fabrication into the early stages of design.

You will be taught by experts across the subjects of architecture, computer science and engineering, which will give you a distinctly interdisciplinary approach to looking at design.

The ethos of the course is based on the concept of rigorous creativity where algorithmic thinking, systematic parametric design, analytic methods, creative intuition and tectonic sensibilities are integrated into a more innovative design outcome than traditional methods currently allow.

During the course, you will be able to develop and specialise in areas of interest to you through a range of optional modules and your choice of dissertation topic. Topics you may specialise in include algorithmic thinking in parametric design and form-finding, performance-based design and analysis, or design for digital fabrication.

Distinctive features

  • Study in one of the top Schools of Architecture in the UK
  • Learn innovative algorithmic design methods in architecture.
  • Build your own digital tools through visual programming and scripting.
  • Gain practical experience with our in-house advanced digital fabrication equipment, including a large industrial robotic arm.
  • Participate in multi-disciplinary teamwork that mirrors professional practice.
  • Benefit from multi-disciplinary expertise from research staff across the schools of architecture, computer science and engineering.
  • Tailor your learning to your own interests and needs and develop specific expertise through optional modules and a student-led research project.

Learning and assessment

We aim to provide an exceptional environment for computational methods in architecture education and reflect our current research strengths and interests. This programme has been carefully designed to enable you to realise your maximum potential. We aim to deliver expert teaching, and comprehensive pastoral care.

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, and one-on-one and group tutorials. Lectures will explain overall concepts, seminars and workshops will guide you through the technical aspects of the module, and one-on-one and group tutorials will answer questions and help you with your project. Teaching also includes the provision of online learning materials as appropriate to the module.

The dissertation element of the programme is conducted through the process of design, continuing on from your taught modules completed in the first part of the course. We advise that you continue to meet with your tutor on a weekly basis. This is usually followed by a period of reflection and writing where you will work independently under the guidance of your tutor and under the supervision of the programme leader or another member of the academic staff.

Career prospects

Whilst many of our graduates may choose to undertake a career within architecture or other built environment professions (e.g. engineering and construction, landscape, interior design), the programme provides a large number of transferable skills which will be of benefit across a wide range of professions.

The knowledge and skills gained in computational methods such as 3D modelling, rendering, animation, parametric design, digital fabrication, and building information modelling (BIM) are highly desired by employers from various industries who are seeking experts with IT skills. Examples include: furniture designers, jewellery design firms, graphic design firms, computer game development firms, and even movie and theatre set design firms. These companies regularly need IT skills, digital fabrication skills, simulation software skills, or custom-software development tools to solve unique design problems.

The focus on independent, project based learning as well as the ability to solve complex problems individually and in groups is often welcomed by employers in that it provides graduates with skills in creative thinking, conceptual organisation, critical reflection and taking initiative.

Visit the Computational Methods in Architecture - MSc page on the Cardiff University website for more details!




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