MArch in Architecture
The MArch course is an experimentally minded design studio.The year's study is divided into three broad areas.
In the first you will collect a storehouse or catalogue of information, both conceptual and material, in a variety of media and techniques. This provides the ingredients to speculate on and question, in the second part of the year, the implications and possibilities of architectural responses to a programme or brief which you have developed on a particular given site. In the final part of the year you will develop, propose and present individually a design project of conceptual clarity realised in considerable depth and detail.
There is an emphasis not only on the materials and techniques of construction but also elements such as air, heat, water, sound, smell and lights as materials too. This will involve visits to factories and workshops where materials are manipulated in a variety of unusual ways.
Why choose this course?
- Oxford Brookes University is unusual in offering this design-based speculative research course in architecture that builds on its excellent reputation for architectural courses at postgraduate and undergraduate level.
- Brookes' School of Architecture is recognised as one of the country's leading schools and is consistently ranked by The Architects' Journal as one of the five best schools in the UK.
- Students from the school figure regularly in national and international prizes and awards, and go on to work for many of the best-known practices in the country.
- We have an international reputation in research, in areas ranging from sustainable design to modular buildings and from design for well-being to vernacular architecture.
- Staff in the school regularly secure research funding from the UK's research councils and the European Union as well as industry, with an annual research grant income averaging £1,000,000 in recent years. This research expertise feeds directly into the teaching programme at all levels, from undergraduate to PhD.
- The School of Architecture has dedicated studio space and postgraduate facilities.
The Advanced Architectural Design Modules (50+30 credits) represent the core of the learning experience. Project–based learning is used in a studio environment to individually and collectively explore architectural design problems. The design studio tutors will set the specific design problem and methodology employed. It is envisaged that several parallel studios may be established, numbers permitting, each led by separate studio tutors with different agendas, programmes and methodologies. However, the learning outcomes will be common. Initially, there will be only one studio which will be organised as follows:
The first semester is always a rigid organised fabric of reviews, workshops, tutorials and deadlines with students working both individually and in groups. Within this framework students engage in two strands of investigation: A. an in-depth research into the tectonic possibilities of a new material/s and B. the analysis of a real site with the aim of generating a series of questions that demand an architectural response. By the end of the semester each student is expected to present to a jury of invited critics a catalogue both conceptual and material, from which they will make a project, in a coherent manner using appropriate media. This jury provides formative feedback for students on their learning.
The first semester design studio is complimented by a series of challenging, group and individual based workshops, Urban Cultures, on drawing, model making and movie making, run by the tutors. Students are expected to engage in questioning and debate with the lecturers and are required to produce a series of responses in drawn and written forms, which contribute to their design portfolio, around a theme related to the lecture series.
Spread over the second semester there is a further series of lectures on Architecture and the City given by external academics and practitioners. Students are expected to engage in questioning and debate with the lecturers and are required to produce a series of responses in drawn and written forms to exercises set by the visiting lecturer. The results are to be bound into a book, which contributes to and supports their design portfolio, around a theme related to the lecture series.
The second semester design studio focuses on the architectural implications of bringing the two apparently dissimilar strands of the first semester’s investigation into surprising conjunctions. Students are asked to approach the possibilities created by these apparently disconnected procedures in an entirely logical way. At this stage the studio places emphasis on the importance of developing students’ ability to demonstrate conceptual clarity, to locate their ideas in the spectrum of current and past architecture and to maintain a strong link between concept and product.
Students are also encouraged to explore a wide range of media and technique and to develop a rationale for selecting appropriate techniques for the representation of particular kinds of architectural ideas. Students are required to present their design projects to an invited group of invited critics close to the end of the semester.
This proves formative feedback for students. The final Module mark is generated from a portfolio-based assessment held at the end of the second semester involving a panel internal staff. This system will ensure a parity of marking when the module consists of multiple design studios.
Students also undertake a Research Methods Module in the second semester that prepares them for their dissertation project. A set of generic postgraduate school-wide lectures on research paradigms, methodology and research tools is followed by Masters specific seminars in which students develop a synopsis for their dissertation’. The module is assessed by means of a review of a relevant past Masters dissertation and a synopsis proposal.
The MArch programme concludes with the Dissertation Project in which individual students work with a supervisor on projects that have developed from the work of the design studio. Students are expected to produce original, relevant and valid projects. The dissertation can take a written or design based form. In the latter case a written commentary is expected as part of the dissertation submission. Students submit their dissertation projects at the end of the summer vacation and are expected to hold an exhibition of their work in the Department or elsewhere as agreed.
Students who have qualified for the award of MA are encouraged to apply to continue to the PhD degree programme in the School if they so wish.
Please note: as our courses are reviewed regularly, course content and module choices may change from the details given here.
Teaching and Learning Studio research is complemented by a series of challenging talks by visiting academics and practitioners at every stage of the process as well as a consistent programme of individual discussions and workshops with your tutors.
You will work both in groups and individually, exploring a new kind of architecture. The methods of exploration include techniques primarily associated with the movie industry, such as the making of collages, optical composites, physical models and drawings both by hand and computer. The tutors act as guides to reveal areas of interest so that you develop an individual approach to the brief, the programme and the realisation of a project.
Teaching is heavily design-studio based, with project-based learning in a studio environment. Several parallel studies may operate, offering different methodologies but with common learning outcomes. The design studio will be complemented by a series of lectures, reviews, tutorials and site visits.
Approach to assessment The assessment on the taught modules is 100% coursework, comprising design presentations, seminar papers and essays.
The studio critiques by an invited jury provide formative feedback.
The dissertation element can comprise a project, artefact or portfolio in a variety of media, or written work.
Postgraduate Diploma A Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Architectural Design can be gained by students who complete 120 credits but do not complete the full master's programme.
The course is intended for students who have completed their professional role-orientated education and wish to undertake speculative design-based research. Thus it is expected that applicants from the field of architecture will already possess an accredited graduate diploma or postgraduate degree in architecture (UK), a professional master's in architecture (US), or the international equivalent.
Admission to the course will normally be open to applicants who fulfil one of the following requirements:
- hold a good approved undergraduate honours degree in architecture or in a discipline relevant to architecture
- have an appropriate professional background and experience of designing architecture or designing in a discipline that has a strong relationship or similarities to architecture
- are students in their final year of the MArchD in Architecture at Oxford Brookes University, who have demonstrated their proficiency in written and design work.
The course also welcomes applicants from other design fields such as product design, graphic design and interior design, and would expect such applicants to possess an excellent first degree.
Students will be offered places on the course only after a successful interview with the programme staff and/or the submission of a satisfactory design portfolio.
English language requirements
- At least 6.5 in IELTS, with a minimum of 6.0 across all four components of the test
English requirements for visas If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements.Find out more about English language requirements.
International applications Preparation courses for International and EU students We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.
- Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
- If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.
If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.
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Last updated August 28, 2016