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MA Professional Design Practice

Course Description

Why take this course?

This rigorous MA offers a professional award to graduates in Interior Design, Interior Architecture, Architecture or related spatial-design disciplines.

The course will develop your professional knowledge and skills; your understanding of entrepreneurship and business; your practice management and project leadership skills, and will expand your knowledge of setting up and running your own design practice. It will also deepen your understanding of ethical professional design practice and procedures and will help you to develop a practice or sector specialism.

What will I experience?

Research projects that will allow you to improve your academic skills and develop a sector or practice specialism; for example: healthcare, sustainable retail design or project leadership;
A firm grounding in professional practice and project management for architectural design;
Opportunities to work on live projects with real clients, through our Project Office, an in-house architectural practice.

What opportunities might it lead to?

This MA will offer you important tools that will help you to set up, promote and run your own design practice and to further position yourself for employment by developing a practice or sector specialism and by enhancing your practice management skills and project leadership skills.

Graduate may find rewarding careers in the following:

Architecture Practice
Interior Practice
Commercial Design
Retail Design
Exhibition Design
Teaching Academia
Project Management

Module Details

The course is structured to encompass the breadth of professional design practice from the macro (the broad context of ethical design practice) to the micro (the minutiae of professional design management). The curriculum will include the following modules of study:

Project Management: including project leadership, professional design regulations and procedures, law and contract administration, fee bids, professional communications, and approaches to brief writing;
Practice Management: including approaches to setting up and running a design practice, business innovation and entrepreneurship, business positioning and branding, business planning and marketing;
Topical Research: investigate ethical approaches to design practice, for example sector approaches to ethical design, design management or sustainable design.
Optional modules within the course:

Option 1 Materials and Products & Professional Experience and Practice: you will research and develop your understanding of materials and products. The knowledge gained will lead to a more sustained practice-based research project;
Option 2 Research Methods & Thesis: you will be provided with opportunities to develop appropriate research skills which can then be applied to the thesis project, a sustained investigation of a topic related to professional design practice.

Programme Assessment

Lecturers with a broad range of professional experience (in architecture and interior design), research skills, entrepreneurial skill, and expertise in education, will teach you using a variety of methods. Seminars, tutorials and study groups will encourage a vibrant culture of discussion and debate. Teaching will also support you in planning and completing a significant amount of self-directed learning for which you will need to be self-motivated, well organised and possess excellent study skills.

You will be assessed on the course work you complete, this could include: essays, thesis projects, design projects, reflective journals and portfolios. One of the optional units (Professional Experience and Practice) also includes a written examination, which is designed to test your knowledge of professional practice and processes, your ability to apply knowledge in practice and the quality of your professional judgements.

Student Destinations

This professional award will prepare you towards setting up, promoting and running your own design practice. Particular transferable skills will include: ethical practice, practice management, project management and leadership, business enterprise, professional communications and research skills.

The MA will also provide a platform for further study such as a PhD.

Our Schools employment statistics are very high and our post-graduates have found challenging and diverse employment in a range of occupations, including:

Architecture Practice
Interior Practice
Commercial Design
Retail Design
Exhibition Design
Project Management

Visit the MA Professional Design Practice page on the University of Portsmouth website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Matt Swanton

212.jpg Matt Swanton, is studying for the MA Professional Practice Architecture while working for Format Milton Architects Ltd in Hampshire.
Ever since I was a child I've been obsessed with buildings. I used to build things in my back yard at home and since then there's never been any other career choice for me. I sometimes feel like architecture is more than just my passion - it's like I caught a disease that I can't shake off!
I studied all my architecture qualifications at Portsmouth and I've been very happy with my choice. Portsmouth's MA is more in-depth than some courses, which probably means you work a bit harder, but it pays dividends in the end because you're doing the groundwork. You're only cheating yourself if you take an easy route.
The MA is accredited by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and requires you to take on a real-life project from inception to completion, taking you through all the RIBA work stages.
My case study was to design a new school hall where all the children could come together as a large group for sports, assembly and mealtimes etc.
I wanted to create a modern design and impart a sense of fun into the structure but needed to ensure it was visually in keeping with the original school building. The site was situated in a conservation area within the grounds of a Grade 1 listed church which made it even more of a challenge. It was a delicate balancing act but I think I've achieved it.
It was the first time I'd worked on a whole project from start to finish and it's taught me a staggering amount. You take on everything from engaging with the client and working on drawings at the design stage, through the tendering process to getting involved with the contractors on the building site.
It makes you look at your work in a different light, you re-evaluate it at every stage. Writing up my case study I've been analysing what I've done, thinking about what I could have done differently, what I could have done better. And seeing my sketches come to life for the first time, well I'm told that stays with you forever.


Entry Requirements

A minimum of a second-class honours degree in Interior Design, Interior Architecture & Design, Architecture or a related subject, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. A portfolio of professional work may be required. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Last Updated

14 November 2016

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