Architecture RIBA 2 - MArch

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Why study this course?

Our Master of Architecture RIBA 2 course is design-driven and will enable you to focus your skills and develop excellence in your work. The main areas of study are in design, technology, practice, history and theory. Each area is taught by a wide range of tutors, with a strong emphasis on self-directed study and ambitious agendas.

In the most recent Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 99% of all 2017 graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

More about this course

Our MArch Architecture RIBA 2 course as a whole encourages fresh thinking, experimentation and risk. You will be encouraged to understand and engage with the society you are part of and to engage with social, political and economic infrastructures that predetermine built form.

We're committed to expanding creative possibilities through ambitious engagement with the world around us. You're encouraged to explore particular lines of interest and develop ideas in depth.

Our students have had considerable success in the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), winning the RIBA Silver Medal 2002, the RIBA Silver Medal 2003 and the RIBA Silver Medal 2012, as well as the RIBA Bronze medal 2004.

Our architecture courses are housed in a building just off Whitechapel High Street, with access to all our art and design facilities including textiles, ceramics, furniture-making, printing, high end digital reproduction, film-making/photography equipment, workshops and technicians. You'll benefit from the course's central London location and its proximity to internationally renowned creative and industry hubs. The Cass’s extensive networks encourage you to expand your knowledge and skills through lectures, events and careers advice, leaving you with excellent career prospects.

Assessment

Your design projects will be assessed via your portfolio and a presentation at the end of the course. The history, theory and practice coursework is assessed through seminar papers and an essay. The technology studies are examined in portfolio and through a technology dissertation, coursework and professional reports.

Professional accreditation

Our course is fully accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Architects Registration Board (ARB). Upon graduation you will receive your RIBA part 2 qualification, the second stage of three in the professional qualification of an Architect in the UK.

Fees and key information

Course type Postgraduate
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Entry requirements

You will be required to have:

  • a good degree in architecture
  • passed RIBA Part 1
  • the ability to demonstrate your talent as a designer and motivation to complete the course successfully

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Selected candidates are asked to attend an interview with their portfolio, which should include a wide range of work.

Modular structure

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2018/19 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday morning

    This module looks at the practice of architecture as a complex form of advocacy, the different manifestations of which promote different values. Students are encouraged to examine an existing form of practice (either traditional or non traditional) and the way real buildings and their ideas are procured and explore alternative forms of managing the process. The module deals with implicit and explicit codes and different forms of argument and evidence. The final essay will advocate a particular role for architects within society, arising from the study of a current work of architecture and an understanding of legal (planning/contractual) economic and political constraints. There will be a short test of the students' knowledge of professional codes and legal issues with feedback prior to the final submission.

    The module exercises the students’ capacity for professional judgement, in preparation for RIBA Parts 2 and 3, whilst retaining the critical freedom of the academic framework. It provides a threshold for the development of social, political and commercial skills appropriate to the identification and procurement of state or privately funded work related to the activities of the construction and property industries, the legal and financial professions and regulatory bodies.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    The module asks students to develop and demonstrate key technical skills.
    The aims of the module are to promote and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of the technical skills appropriate to year 4. The module will enhance knowledge, understanding and abilities learnt at degree level in the use of materials, detail, structures, sustainability, environment and services, cost control mechanisms and user requirements in the creation of architecture, based on current best practice. Progression through the module will lead to the integration of knowledge and understanding gained into the final design project.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    This module invites the student to engage, from within an individual design unit, with the substance of making a design proposition; it develops a student's ability to effectively realise a proposal. The 20-credit module runs throughout the year 4 design unit programme (across semesters 1 and 2) in parallel with AR7030: Design: Subject and Context which addresses the architectural skills, activities and processes required to establish a project brief.

    In this module the student will engage with the means by which a designed proposition can be realised effectively. Spatial, material, formal and organisational adjustments and transformations of a particular context or situation will be employed and tested as methods of embodying and conveying design ideas. The aim is to become confident in designing through a development of the student's skills, understanding and ability in the design process. Students will exercise their abilities to propose design schemes that embody clear and appropriate conceptual frameworks against which proposals can be tested. The conceptual frameworks should be derived from the detailed and precise understanding of a particular context as emphasised in parallel module AR7030: Design Level 4: Subject and Context.

    This advanced level design module rehearses a student's ability to deliver a well-developed, ambitious and resolved design proposal which has taken into account the complex and unpredictable conditions of a particular context and embodies within its rationale, scale, scope and remit, a coherent ambition for architecture. The aim of the module is to prepare the student for the final year (for full-time students) comprehensive design project by promoting a self-aware and clearly articulated understanding of how ideas and agendas developed within this module may be consolidated the following year.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    This module invites the student to engage, from within an individual design unit, with the wider context and to establish a rationale for a design proposition on the basis of topic developed according to the disciplinary subject matter of architecture. The 20-credit module runs throughout the year 4 design unit programme (across semesters 1 and 2) in parallel with AR7021: Design: Process and Proposal which examines how a designed proposition can be realised effectively through spatial, material, formal and organisational adjustments and transformations.

    The student will define, test and justify how a design proposal is appropriate and relevant in a particular physical, social, economic and environmental context.
    The aim is to become adept at seeking out an appropriate way to act as an architect within a given context or situation – one which is likely to be complex, multi-layered and unpredictable. Emphasis will be placed on achieving a detailed, precise and sophisticated understanding of the constituent parts of the context: its economic, social, ethical, political, environmental and emotional characteristics and infrastructures. The means of achieving this understanding will entail direct engagement with the context involving the development of diverse, ambitious methods of engaging with the situation as found. Visual, physical, organisational, covert, emotional and material forms of engagement will help to generate the raw material for analysis and action: the design brief.

    The directness and precision of this understanding will allow the student to generate a range of issues (or ‘places to act’) within that situation, such that there is a genuine value and relevance to the designed scenarios that develop. Students are expected to justify and be self-critical about their various methods of working in order to test the design process that they have developed.

    This advanced level design module rehearses the student's ability to construct an ambitious, sophisticated and appropriate brief, programme and conceptual rationale for a design proposition. In this sense the scope, scale and remit of the proposition will be a direct result of the student’s methods of engagement and research, and will therefore be particular to each individual's approach. The aim of the module is to prepare the student for the final year (for full-time students) comprehensive design project by promoting a self-aware and clearly articulated understanding of how ideas and agendas developed within this module may be consolidated the following year.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Tuesday afternoon

    Film can often reveal a hidden, poetic truth that even though inherent in reality, is at times not apparent, except through the lens of a camera. Thus, the module aims to introduce film as an alternative form of study of the city and architecture. Still an infant art, film has developed together with modernity and, arguably, its influence on modern perception has been more profound than that of any other art. Therefore, it remains an invaluable tool for studying and understanding modern life.
    More often than not film relies heavily on story and characters. Through this perspective of the inhabitant, the module uses a wide variety of films and attempts to read between the ‘lines’ of architecture and urban planning and explore areas often neglected by those disciplines.
    This module uses film as an alternate means to study the city and architecture in order to gain insight into the nature of modern life. It discovers neglected lines of enquiry between film and urban planning through their interpretation in films that, in themselves, comprise a modern discipline that addresses modernity.

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  • The module examines different concepts of space and their development. It explores the history of space as an object of reflection by contrasting theory with our everyday personal experience. It illuminates how our interpretation of space can change according to time, culture, ethical, and aesthetic principles, and how this change is expressed in architecture and the way we think about it.

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  • This module provides an overview of development economics, and an analysis of historic and contemporary policies and practices, involved in the economics of delivering sustainable urban change.

    This module aims to:

    • provide students with an understanding of development economics within planning practice in the UK, with specialist knowledge of urban contexts and comparisons with international case studies;
    • critically assess a range of elements, involved in creating economically sustainable plans and places;
    • inform students on the choice of appropriate specialisms.

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  • The module offers a critique of the theories of modern perception rooted in ocular-centric concepts of space. The ‘forgetting of air’ refers to alternate ways of approaching the materiality of space through interrogating the overlooked medium of the air and how it is understood through the body and by the mind in different contexts.
    The module examines the institution of social hierarchies amongst our cognitive and physical senses and how they influence the design and perception of architecture, its histories and theories, and how architecture is written.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Wednesday morning

    Poetry and Architecture examines how architecture can be connected to a broad range of other discourses through the critical application of poetic ideas. In this context, poetry represents not a literary genre, but a methodology – a tactic that shifts between interpretation (poetics), performance (poetry), and making (poesis). The module offers students a radical alternative to most current discourses about architecture; an opportunity to conceive of architecture as an actor in an expanded field of practice, knowledge, objects and ideas; and to understand the creative processes that animate, and connect, the practice and interpretation of architecture.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Tuesday afternoon

    The module examines historical and philosophical ideas that deal with architecture as a means of cultural dialogue and discourse since the Enlightenment.
    The module examines historical and philosophical ideas that deal with architecture as a means of cultural dialogue and discourse since the Enlightenment. The aim of this module is to introduce as the key critical concept, the self-awareness of irony, to the evaluation of the role of architectural proposition and thought in modern culture.

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  • The module explores the relation of the broader intellectual context of technology to architecture.
    This module examines the concept of technology historically and philosophically in order to get a clearer idea of its relation to architecture. It questions current assumptions that the progress of technology is inevitable.

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  • The module offers an interdisciplinary study of music and architecture in a historical context, with a focus on the theory of the soundscape of modernity in relation to architecture and urban design, and the practical application of sonic studies in the built environment. It aims to introduce a culture of listening in architecture and urban design. It explores the rich opportunities that lie in an interdisciplinary study of music and architecture and aims to introduce a new body of research and writing to architectural history and theory.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Wednesday morning

    This module reviews the main ways of writing about architecture, using a wide range of texts by outstanding practitioners to exemplify each type. Students will practice the various modes themselves.

    The module will provide a comprehensive view of the opportunities facing a writer about architecture, defining the main ways of writing about the subject and exemplifying them in carefully chosen texts by a variety of outstanding writers. The module will encourage students to experience the writing first hand, involving them in a structured series of practical experiments in the various modes of writing.

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Year 2 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon

    This module develops from the context established within the specialisation and proposition, running in parallel to develop and bring resolution and "closure" to the thesis design project. The 40-credit module represents the final stage and a test of a student’s academic performance in design, completing five years of full-time architectural education (or its equivalent part-time). It is, therefore, a summative stage of academic development – but at the same time a formative one in professional qualification.

    The module rehearses the ability of students to deliver a coherent architectural design that integrates theory and practice with the aim of launching them on the last stage of professional training; to become architects capable of designing the structure of their practice as well as the structure of their buildings. The module demands that they should be clear about their proposed role as an architect in framing and realising their major design project.

    The module is also practical in its demand for performance. The student should be able to demonstrate a command of the knowledge as well as the conceptual, professional and technical skills that they have learnt and honed in a highly resolved architectural design that should offer an integrated solution to a clearly defined set of issues.

    The emphasis of the module is on the detailed resolution and critical assessment of a complex architectural design. This process is supported by the M-level Integrated Design Study module, (completed in parallel for full-time students; the following year for part-time students) which requires specific and highly detailed evidence demonstrating the integration of cultural, professional, technical and environmental considerations into the design thesis project.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon

    This module establishes a specialisation and through it develops a design proposal.
    The 40-credit module synthesises the advanced design process and applied technical skills honed in the previous year (the year 4 design unit programme) and orients the student towards the professional practice of architecture. This is measured through their independence in managing the design process and their ability to relate this process to external and professional worlds.

    The premise of the module is that design skills at this level are inherently transferable and that they are best developed through highly focused work that demands a detailed understanding of complex problems. This premise reflects the contemporary practice of architecture. All the design modules are located in design units which work in a similar way to practices in that each has a specific set of interests in the built environment which may be described as ‘specialised’. The aim of this module is to focus this sense of specificity, encouraging the student to take responsibility for the direction of the work in relation to the agenda of a unit and the broader context of the academic and professional field. In doing so, the module rehearses a student’s ability to act as an independent learner, providing a test laboratory for operating within the complex environment of contemporary architectural practice.
    The module represents the first part of the integrated final thesis design project undertaken in year 5 (final year for full-time students; penultimate year for part-time students). It requires a student to have developed an appropriate design process and generated an outline proposition for a coherent architectural design which can be fully resolved in Semester 2.

    The module runs in Semester 1 and 2 of year 5 and is assessed at the end of the academic year. Its emphasis is on developing self-directed, personal focus whilst acknowledging external and professional reference points. In Semester 1, M-level shared option modules (offered in dialogue with the School’s MA Courses) allow students to engage with specialist and critical interests in a range of related areas.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    The module asks students to develop and demonstrate key technical skills. The module asks students to develop and demonstrate their ability to integrate key fields of architectural knowledge in the context of their level 5 design project.
    Aims of the module are to promote and demonstrate the integration of key fields of professional architectural knowledge in the level 5 comprehensive design project.
    The module provides a practical framework through which students can address the professional practice and academic discipline of architecture as outlined by the ARB/RIBA Joint Criteria (GC1-GC11).
    The student will be required to demonstrate that within their comprehensive design project they have a knowledge, understanding of and ability within the following four areas:
    A. cultural context and communication;
    B. professional context;
    C. environment and sustainability;
    D. construction, materials and structures.

    The module will require students to manage, coordinate and learn from a range of sources and from consultants within the department and externally. The use of external consultants, the gathering of information and cross-disciplinary collaboration simulate the dynamic, interdisciplinary and fast changing nature of contemporary architectural practice giving students an understanding of practice and an ability to work in teams.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday

    Techniques (analogue and digital) in architectural design, representation and production continually and rapidly evolve. The module does set a specific set of software tools. This module will present a variety of digital techniques relevant to a wide range of design agendas. It will also discuss the potential relationship of these techniques within their applicability to architectural design. The student will be asked not only to master their techniques but to demonstrate a critical understanding of the context of their research and its value as a resource within their own work in related design modules.
    The module will introduce students to a range of digital techniques. The module aims to challenge students to develop a competent technical ability within their specialised technique research. This specialisation should be developed either from one of the introductory workshops, their initial research, or a technique introduced/needed within their design modules.
    Specific module aims are:
    • to prepare students with a technical and theoretical knowledge of the advanced digital design environment defined through generative, iterative, formative and communicative techniques;
    • to prepare students with the knowledge of specialised skills which aim to challenge and enhance their current design vocabularies/techniques; supplying students with the knowledge of techniques and the critical assessments needed to appropriately invent, adapt and develop design techniques for use within their design modules;
    • to demonstrate and teach advanced techniques in digital design, modelling, imaging, drawing and production;
    • to research and demonstrate advanced digital design techniques including: scripting, parametric modelling, generative animations, systemic organisations, advanced geometric modelling, computational simulations and computer aided manufactured prototyping;
    • to equip students with an understanding and ability to use contemporary/ emergent design principles and digital design techniques and how these effect/evolve contemporary architecture, spatiality, materiality and organisational theories; the module discusses and considers these techniques/ theories within a wider theoretical and architectural context.

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  • By undertaking Changing Places students will acquire the knowledge and skills to enable them to facilitate both individuals and communities in the transformation of the places and spaces in situations of scares resources and rapid culture and technology change.

    Autumn semester. Assessment: Illustrated Written Paper (5000- 4000 words) - 100%

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday morning

    This module emphasises the social and political perspective of space making at architectural and urban scales. It is an introduction to key concepts in urban history and theory from the 19th century until the present. It addresses historical and contemporary processes relevant to social life, politics, architecture and the urban environment. Episodes of architectural and urban theory are placed in the context of political and cultural transformations, and in through a reading of the intersections between concepts of childhood and the designing, planning and ordering of space. The module also investigates how different urban practitioners (architects, artists, users and dwellers, children and adults) intervened in the transformation of the city. The focus is on developing a cultural and political critique to open an interdisciplinary debate.

    Aims of the module:

    to provide a theoretical and historical framework for the understanding of
    contemporary questions of city planning and urban transformation;
    to analyse important episodes in the history of urban planning and large-scale
    city transformation from the 19th century until today;
    to explore general theories of architecture and urbanism;
    to consider relationships between architecture and ideology, space and power;
    to consider architecture and urbanism as a tool of politics;
    to encourage critical judgements on processes of regeneration and large-scale
    urban planning strategies.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday

    The module investigates contemporary uses and tools of digital media in relation to architecture.

    The module is structured around lectures, presentations, demonstrations and computer workshops:
    1. to investigate the contemporary use and tools of digital media within design systems, modelling, and representation;
    2. to consider the historical, theoretical and practical relationship between architecture/interior design and representation;
    3. to consider a philosophical, ethical, and spatial understanding of digital tools within contemporary design;
    4. to discuss the technology used in the practice of architecture and interior design, particularly in reference to representation but also including aspects of communication, collaborations and documentation;
    5. to gain an ability to discriminate and to utilise the investigated tools of digital design, modelling, and representation in a sophisticated manner.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday morning

    This module examines the relationship between buildings and history. It questions the simple chronology of time or period and looks at how architects use history to both quarry and validate ideas. The module examines architectural history through direct encounters with its objects, and the history of architectural history through texts, both contemporaneous and contemporary.
    The aim of the module is to investigate the idea and history of history and its relation to architectural history. It sets out to construct an alternative history of western architecture, critical of conventional chronological histories but spanning from the ancient world to the present day, on the basis of direct encounters with buildings and related cultural products in London. Students are encouraged to observe buildings closely and interpret them creatively, thereby arriving at a deeper appreciation of various historical periods and cultural paradigms, and, alongside the buildings, to examine contemporary written accounts, testing their value as interpretative tools and reservoirs of cultural meaning.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday afternoon

    This module's main task is to assist students in developing a creative skill in interpreting the built and lived world. It engages with the interpretation and representation of complex objects like London through the art of writing.
    This module engages with the creative act of writing about a complex architectural subject such as London as an exemplary lived and built city. By presenting a familiar but impossibly large and complex subject, the module aims to encourage students to think creatively. It is about building new connections between things rather than learning to reiterate existing partitions. The discipline of the endeavour is rooted in three processes: the composition of evidence, critical reflection, developing a story from a range of literary and non-literary sources. The aim in this is to help students determine a balance between the weight of detailed facts and given arguments, and their own conceptual leaps and critical judgments. The enterprise should involve students in creating a productive and sociable working pattern.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday

    This module provides an overview of the history of planning and urban theory, and an understanding of the current planning system and planning policies in the UK.

    This module aims to:

    • provide students with an overview of the historic and contemporary role of planning and urban theory;
    • understand and critically assess a range of elements within historic and contemporary UK planning system and policies;
    • act as an introduction to the course and inform students on the choice of appropriate specialisms.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday

    This module provides an overview of the history of planning and urban theory, and an understanding of the current planning system and planning policies in the UK.

    This module aims to:

    • provide students with an overview of the historic and contemporary role of planning and urban theory;
    • understand and critically assess a range of elements within historic and contemporary UK planning system and policies;
    • act as an introduction to the course and inform students on the choice of appropriate specialisms.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday afternoon

    The module examines the work of thinkers within and beyond architecture, relating these ideas to the experience of architecture and to the making architecture.

    Aims of the module:
    The module aims to show how established theoretical orthodoxies might be challenged or re-interpreted in light of students' experience of buildings and other physical forms of culture, using theory. In the module we examine influential philosophical and intellectual themes in the theory of architecture, comparing them and assessing their worth, and tracing current theoretical concerns in architecture to their origins in philosophy.

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Modules for this course are to be confirmed. Please check back at a later date or call our course enquiries team on +44 (0)20 7133 4200 for details.

After the course

After securing a MArch Architecture (RIBA 2) degree, many students decide to study the Examination in Professional Practice (RIBA 3), following a period of practical experience. RIBA 2 also enables you to progress to a specialised master's course.

Additional fees information

UK/EU students:

  • £9,500 per year for new students and continuing students changing from part-time to full-time
  • £3,465 per year for continuing students who began their course prior to September 2012 (not if changing from part-time to full-time)

Additional costs

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

How to apply

Use the apply button to begin your application.

When to apply

You are advised to apply as early as possible as applications will only be considered if there are places available on the course.

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