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The Master of Architectural Design programme prepares students for an international career in architecture, creating bridges between Eastern and Western culture. Understanding mobility, creative leadership, as well as advanced technical skills as key professional abilities in a rapidly globalising world, the programme attracts international students preparing for a career related to China, as well as domestic students preparing for both national and international careers. The programme includes architectural design studios as well as humanistic and technical modules. A student-centred learning environment offers rich opportunities, design-driven research and individual experimental enquiry to foster students' conceptual design skills as well as research and writing skills in preparation for both professional practice and PhD-level studies. Graduates of the programme are well-rounded, creatively confident and technically skilled professionals ready to create a global future.

Students graduating from the programme qualify for RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Part 2 validation, which is the second out of three stages in the formal educational process required to register as a professional architect in the United Kingdom.

The programme offers an international perspective, while at the same time enabling students to address the demands and opportunities of a rapidly urbanising China. Graduates from this programme receive an international Master of Architectural Design degree from the University of Liverpool that is recognised by the Chinese Ministry of Education.

Why should I study Architectural Design at XJTLU?

This is the first and only postgraduate architecture course in mainland China validated by Tthe Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). It is an English-taught, 2-year, full-time professional programme, that delivers the learning outcomes for RIBA Part 2.

As China experiences unprecedented transformations as well as increasing professional, industrial and academic collaboration with international partners, this programme educates the next generation of forward-looking global architects who have the necessary cross-cultural awareness, social and environmental responsibility, creative and critical capability, technical competence and professional attitude to enable and to define ongoing and future transformations in the building environment, domestically and internationally. Emphasising and engaging with the local Chinese context while maintaining an international perspective, the programme is oriented towards the highest international standards and it attracts both domestic and international students and academic staff.

Design studios are the core of the programme, taking advantage of ongoing research in the department and the specific needs of the profession within China and across the world. Design studios are often taught with involvement of design practitioners from local and international firms and typically address themes such as:

  • Innovative approaches to urban development and regeneration
  • New high-rise building typologies for sustainable living
  • Advanced digital design and fabrication
  • Architectural theory and criticism
  • Individually defined themes addressing contemporary social and cultural issues

Knowledge and skills

The Master of Architectural Design programme enables students to develop architectural design projects at an advanced level, including the creative, technical, and research skills needed, and educate you in the areas of theory, history, and criticism of architecture. Key knowledge and skills include:

  • the ability to generate complex design proposals showing understanding of current architectural issues, originality in the application of subject knowledge and, where appropriate, to test new hypotheses and pursue creative experiments
  • competence in a comprehensive range of visual, oral and written media to test, analyse, critically appraise and explain design proposals
  • the ability to creatively evaluate materials, processes and techniques that apply to complex architectural designs and building construction, and to integrate these into practicable design proposals
  • critical understanding of how knowledge is advanced through research to produce clear, logically argued and original written work relating to architectural culture, theory and design
  • understanding of the context of the architecture and the construction industry, including the architect’s role in the processes of procurement and building production, and legislation
  • problem solving skills, professional judgement, and the ability to take the initiative and make appropriate decisions in complex and unpredictable circumstances.


Year One

  • Design studio I
  • Applied technology in architecture
  • Architectural theory and criticism
  • Design studio II
  • Advanced professional practice
  • Topics in architectural history

Year Two

  • Design studio III (individual briefs)
  • Architectural design and research methods
  • Practice based enquiry and architectural representation
  • Design studio IV (thesis project, individual briefs)
  • Thesis (dissertation)

Additional learning activities

  • The programme includes 200 hours of Additional Learning Activities per semester, most of which are chosen individually by students. They should normally be spread equally over teaching semesters and the summer and winter breaks. An individual student-learning plan will be established at the outset of each semester with the academic advisor.


This programme provides you with an appropriate foundation for employment in the architectural profession at an advanced level. It also provides the basis for enrolment in a PhD research degree. Our graduates are appreciated for their unique skill set and find excellent opportunities in the building and creative industries, in local and international architecture firms, as well as in architecture administration, research and higher education institutions. Our highly international academic staff offer you individual career advice for entry into many job markets in Asia, Europe, Australia and the Americas.

Visit the Master of Architectural Design page on the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University website for more details!






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