Master of Architecture


Program Description

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 120)

The MArch programme equips students to deal with complex design problems in a challenging context. Through studio projects, academic writing and practical experiments, it develops professional capacities while placing equal emphasis on research and critical enquiry. Its faculty includes many leading figures in architectural practice as well as internationally-recognised researchers. The programme equips graduates to work in the field of Architecture anywhere across the world in architectural practice and in other forms of creative practice as well as in the areas of policy, consultancy and academia.

MArch (Hons) is the only programme that is accredited by the professional institute in Ireland (RIAI), and by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and which also has Substantial Equivalency status with the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) in the USA.

  • Strong emphasis on research and on critical, reflective practice.
  • Intensive small-group teaching from leading practitioners and academics.
  • Curricular information is subject to change

Who should apply?

Full-Time option suitable for:
  • Domestic (EEA) applicants: Yes
  • International (Non-EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes
Advanced Entry To Year Two

Applicants who hold a UCD Bachelor of Architecture Degree or an approved equivalent Degree awarded from another institution can apply to enter Year Two of the MArch Degree Programme and successful candidates may apply for further module exemptions. All applicants who gain entry to Year Two must complete a minimum of 30 credits.

Vision and Values Statement

This programme is aimed at students who wish to develop a career in architecture. It is a national and international professionally accredited academic programme that will equip graduates to work worldwide in architectural design and in creative and research practice. We encourage and support students to be active, motivated and autonomous learners, who have a critical and reflective approach to architectural design, practice and research.

This studio and lecture-based programme, led by academics and practitioners at the forefront of the discipline, aims to provide an engaging, exciting and innovative learning environment that encourages students to develop their individual professional capacities while placing equal emphasis on research and critical enquiry. We do this through design projects, academic writing, technological and constructional investigations and practical experiments, valuing innovation, investigation and original creative work underpinned by a due regard for rigour, depth and precision. Students are provided with a firm foundation in advanced methodologies and skills and develop a close familiarity with the broader disciplinary, regulatory and societal frameworks within which professionals must operate.

The programme uses teaching, learning and assessment approach such as individual and group design projects, live-projects, case students, scenario-based learning and written research and dissertations. Each has a focus on individual development and reflective learning while developing effective group-work, written, verbal and visual communication and presentation skills

Programme Outcomes

  • Act competently and independently and have the ability to integrate knowledge and handle complexity, formulate judgments with incomplete or limited information, and to reflect on wider professional issues.
  • Apply their knowledge and problem-solving abilities to the design of an architectural project in response to functional brief and site conditions, including an understanding of social and physical contexts and show this in visual and written documents.
  • Articulate their knowledge of local and global architectural history and precedent and have explicit in their work the ability to use such knowledge to inform future design and research work.
  • Communicate and present their design and research questions and the knowledge and rationale underpinning their conclusions at public fora to professional and non-professional audiences, clearly and unambiguously
  • Embed in their own work their knowledge of the regulatory and building control policy framework that underpins and influences practice and, be aware of the impact of such frameworks on current and future practice.
  • Evidence an informed and independent view of the role of the architect and the value of architecture to society, communicate and articulate the potential of architecture with regard to the quality of life, environmental performance and climate change, health and well-being, economy etc
  • Integrate their knowledge of specialized research methods in architecture into their work and be capable of using such methods with rigour, depth and precision to understand, evaluate, and analyse scenarios in architectural theory, design and assembly.
  • On successful completion of the programme students should be able to: Embed in their visual and written work evidence of their ability to use conceptual and critical thinking and know the appropriate use of both.
  • Understand structural, environmental, envelope, services and life-saving systems to the extent that the student can clearly evidence their ability to synthesise these within a comprehensive building design programme.
  • Use analogue and digital methods of visual communication, drawing, presentation, model making, and show judgment in utilising such methods appropriately in order to achieve their design intentions and ambitions
  • Utilise a range of investigative and design skills, showing in their work their ability to use the appropriate skill at the appropriate stage and an ability to synthesise knowledge to achieve original and excellent design outcomes.

Career & Graduate Study Opportunity

The MArch qualification is RIAI (and European Union), and RIBA accredited and has Substantial Equivalency with the NAAB. It will equip graduates to work in architecture anywhere across the world, whether in major global centres or in particular regional contexts. This triple accreditation makes this Masters course unique and offers unrivalled opportunities to graduates. Graduates are involved in architectural practice and in other forms of professional creative practice, as well as in areas of policy and consultancy. Many graduates also go on to further postgraduate study, in UCD and elsewhere. Past students in the course’s connected programmes have gone on to become international or national experts in their selected fields.

What modules can I take?

Stage 1 - Core
  • Design Technologies I, ARCT40010
  • Research & Innovation in the Designed Environment, ARCT40020
  • Architectural Design VIII, ARCT40050
  • Research and Innovation in the Designed Environment II, ARCT40080
  • Architectural Design VII - Comprehensive Design Studio, ARCT41120
Stage 1 - Option
  • Realising Built Projects, ARCT40030
  • Conservation History, Theory and Policy, ARCT40170
  • Urban Design Theory (UDT), ARCT40180
  • Introduction to Urban Design, ARCT40660
  • Agency: Design / Build, ARCT40870
  • Computational Design, ARCT40930
  • Concrete Research, ARCT40950
  • Architecture & Climate Change, ARCT41210
  • Psychology of Landscape, LARC40480
  • Planning, Society and Diversity, PLAN40030
  • Urban and Regional Development, PLAN40060
Stage 2 - Core
  • Professional Studies II, ARCT40190
  • MArch Dissertation, ARCT40610
  • Reflective Portfolio Module, ARCT41130
  • Design Thesis 2, ARCT41180
  • Design Thesis 1, ARCT41190

Fees, Funding and Scholarships

MArch Architecture (T273) Full-Time
  • EU: Year 1 - € 8085
  • EU: Year 2 - € 8085*
  • non-EU: Year 1 - € 25600
  • non-EU: Year 2 - € 25600*

*Second Year Fee applies to Students in 2nd Year in 2020 and who were a 1st Year Student on the programme in 2019/20.

***Fees are subject to change.

Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme.

Professional Accreditation

MArch (Hons) is the only programme that is accredited by the professional institute in Ireland (RIAI), and by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and which also has Substantial Equivalency status with the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) in the USA.

Entry Requirements

  • Portfolio Submission is essential.
  • A bachelor’s degree in architecture or another approved equivalent degree (NFQ Level 8) with minimum upper second class honours or international equivalence (2.1 or UCD GPA 3.08 or equivalent) is required.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.
  • These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes.


Graduate Profile - Chloe Loh

"After completing my three-year undergraduate in the UK I spent three years working for different architectural practices in London before deciding to do my masters. An important element distinguishing UCD from other universities is its research-based approach to most modules. These modules allow students to investigate their own interests and develop them into written arguments or effective design proposals; students at UCD are thus encouraged to be self-directed. This is something that has allowed me to project my personal interests into every project and to develop my own style and design method – an important characteristic distinguishing UCD from many other schools. It is a great time to be part of the Irish architectural scene. I will be graduating into the professional world at a time where Ireland is very much at the forefront of the international stage. It is a small course quietly producing talented and careful architects, where staff are open to nurturing the ideas of students, both in and outside of the studio environment."

Facilities and Resources

The School of Architecture, Planning & Environmental Policy offers dedicated studio space for its students, a dedicated architecture library and map room, access to fully equipped computer facilities, a building laboratory space with a wide range of equipment including laser cutters and a CNC router, and access to monitoring and simulation equipment in the Earth Institute.

Guidelines for Applicants to UCD Master of Architecture

Thank you for your interest in the Master of Architecture Degree programme at UCD. We hope you will make an application. In doing so, please bear the following pointers in mind:


Due to the file size limitations of the UCD online applications system, you should share your portfolio using a file-sharing application such as Google Drive, Dropbox etc. Please upload a link to your portfolio in your online application.

Your portfolio is a vital part of your application. The portfolio should offer a comprehensive overview of your work in architecture to date.

While it is useful to record office-based experience and projects worked on, the primary focus should be on projects undertaken in your undergraduate architecture programme. We want to know what you have been taught and what you learned during this first phase of your architectural education.

In presenting these projects, please bear in mind that we are looking for candidates with a strong design method, with an ability to think conceptually, with a good degree of technical knowledge and good skills in visual representation and model-making. Your portfolio should, therefore, reflect all of these facets of your work.

Of particular in interest is your work method – how you developed a project from early stages to fully resolved design. We want to see work from different phases of the project. We are looking for evidence that you can design mid-sized buildings to a good level of detailed resolution. You should also show work in a variety of media and modes – ie models and sketches as well as digital drawings.

While we value competence and skill, we are also looking for evidence of your individual talent and flair, and of your ideas. We understand that the work you produce is largely determined by the programme you studied, but we want to get a sense of your individual motivation and interests. (This should also be set out in your personal statement.)

Many portfolios contain examples of photography and sketching. These are of limited value unless they relate specifically to the overall content of the portfolio.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement offers an opportunity to be specific about your goals for graduate study and why you think the UCD course represents a good option for you. Be specific. Refer to your interests and ambitions in architecture, and to the work of others you admire. Explain how your experience to date has shaped your interests for the next phase of your education.

In reviewing applications, the portfolio and personal statement are the key elements which determine whether we want to interview a candidate, so it is worth ensuring that they both reflect your specific strengths as fully and clearly as possible.

Application Review

Applications that meet our minimum entry requirements are reviewed by the School and suitable candidates are called for interview (via Skype or similar). Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and we aim to return decisions to applicants as quickly as possible – usually within 2-3 weeks of submission of a completed application.

Last updated Dec 2019

About the School

Welcome to the College of Engineering and Architecture. The College, with over 320 staff and almost 2,200 students (including 626 international students), is the largest and most comprehensive in Irel ... Read More

Welcome to the College of Engineering and Architecture. The College, with over 320 staff and almost 2,200 students (including 626 international students), is the largest and most comprehensive in Ireland. There are six Schools in the College, covering the Engineering disciplines of Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Electronic, Biosystems, Food, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, together with Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy. Through the Schools, we offer a wide range of undergraduate and taught masters programmes and are committed to the on-going development of both discipline-specific and interdisciplinary teaching and research. Read less