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Course content

The MDA is a new programme that aims to equip students with the expertise necessary for the successful administration and management the design process in the procurement of buildings. It is intended to fulfil the growing need for experts in design management, working within consultancies, or in contracting or specialist contractor firms, or in client bodies.

The programme is open to all graduate construction professionals, and those concerned with the procurement and management of buildings (for example clients, architects, engineers, surveyors, and design-build and specialist contractors). It is expected that they have several years experience in industry, as well as a primary qualification in a related field.

The MDA is a blended learning programme which combines online study with Cardiff based short courses.

Distinctive features

• Combines management and legal aspects of procurement, with a unique focus on design aspects

• Addresses current topics of key interest to construction professionals, including cutting edge procurement arrangements

• Based on acclaimed research expertise within the Welsh School of Architecture and run by a leading author and expert in the field

• Delivered by a team of invited expert academics and professionals

• Study while you work in practice; this course is taught by distance learning and Cardiff-based short courses

• Benefit from a small cohort size, interactive workshops and master classes, group working and peer review

• Assessment methods via a wide variety of written assignments, no examinations

• Supported by an active alumni network.

• Available as a one year full-time or three year part-time qualification


This course is available on a one year full-time or three year part-time basis and is undertaken while students are in an approved employment setting.

This course is made up of six 20 credit modules plus one dissertation of 20,000 words (60 credits).

Core modules:

Industry Context
Construction Contracts
Professional Services
Design Delivery
Project Delivery
International Procurement


On this course you will be taught through blended learning: a combination of distance learning methods and on-site courses.

The distance learning methods will mainly be delivered through detailed course notes and guided reading. We will also send you regular written feedback on your work. There will be one half-day on-line seminar event for each module. Recordings of lectures and seminars will also be available on-line through the University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central.

The distance learning element is supplemented by on-site courses, normally two days per module, where the aim is to build on the base knowledge established through course notes and through advanced seminars given by leading experts. These will normally be interactive and involve group workshops, which are designed to encourage you to share experience and knowledge gained in practice. These short courses play an important role in our teaching, as they offer you an opportunity to interact with fellow students.

Due to the nature of this course, you are responsible for reading any emails sent by module tutors or announcements made through Learning Central on a frequent basis.


You will be assessed through a range of course work, including structured assignments, case studies, reports and essays (see module descriptions for more details). There are no examinations or class tests.

Career Prospects

Students who undertake this course are required to already be in employment. However, this course is designed to enhance their professional development, and aid in career progression.

Visit the Master of Design Administration MDA page on the Cardiff University website for more details!




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