School of Art, Design and Architecture

MA Architectural Design

Programme code 7651
Duration

1 year

Course type

Full-time

Location Plymouth

Our MA Architectural Design programme will help you kickstart a career in digital areas of the architecture industry; you will be able to choose from electives focused on emerging and contemporary trends in the creative and design sectors such as immersion and digital fabrication. With the support of our academic team, you will deliver creative responses to societal challenges achieving both experimental and technically proficient proposals.

The programme is led by academics with internationally recognised expertise in urban design, architectural media, and digital architectural production.

Architectural Design

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Postgraduate tuition fee discount for University of Plymouth graduates

If you studied your undergraduate degree at Plymouth, you may be eligible for a fee discount if you complete your postgraduate studies here as well.

Careers with this subject

Graduates have career opportunities in architectural design, public realm design, urban/landscape design, interdisciplinary design practice, spatial innovation and architectural humanities associated to the architectural profession.

Key features

  • Personalise your masters. Study contemporary and emerging areas of architectural design by choosing among a portfolio of elective modules, and develop skills in areas such as digital fabrication and immersive media.
  • Learn from experts. The programme is led by academics with nationally and internationally recognised expertise in urban regeneration, architectural media, and digital architectural design.
  • Cutting-edge technology. You will have access to state-of-the-art facilities and technical support in emerging areas such as Digital Fabrication (e.g. architectural production, tectonics, innovative building systems) and Immersive Media (e.g. building simulation, architectural AR/VR, creative spatial media).
  • Collaborate. You will work in collaboration with students from courses such as Master of Architecture, MDes iMaster of Design and MSc Low Carbon Architectural Engineering. Project based learning alongside colleagues in the studio is a central feature of the programme.
  • Learn by doing. Working on project briefs will develop your understanding of the application of technical knowledge to creative situations, and explore how theory and action inform each other.
  • Connect with industry. Our programme benefits from our active involvement with professional bodies, research networks, and professional practices from across the region.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • You will undertake architectural design work in our studio spaces, while joining elective modules in the specific areas of digital production, low carbon design, and immersive media. Supporting your work in the design studio, you will engage with emerging research in architecture, connecting sustainable practices and integrated technology. You will complete the course with a piece of research by design or dissertation which emphasises your chosen specialism and future career and employability plans. The studio culture fosters a unique design-led research practice, converging theory, design and technology.
    Each year, students can choose from a portfolio of research-led elective courses available in the School of Art, Design and Architecture. These electives cover a range of areas including digital skills such as digital fabrication or immersive media, and their availability might change year-on-year. Students will choose electives at the beginning of the academic year. Some electives available for this programme are listed below.

    Core modules

    • Situated Practice and Knowledge Exchange (ADA7200)

      This module supports students’ employability and career prospects by engaging with local communities, industrial partners and their broader professional field. Students will be able to situate their ideas within real world contexts, develop entrepreneurial skills, and deliver an external engagement proposition outlining the broader social, environmental, or economic extensions and impacts of their work.

    • Research Project / Dissertation (ADA7300)

      This module supports students’ delivery of their final research project / dissertation through combinations of group and individual work. It includes broader disciplinary research skills, methods and ethical practices, as well as subject-specific supervisory arrangements for each students’ research interests. This can include practice-based, text-based or entrepreneurial research outputs.

    • Cities and Infrastructures (MAAD7101)

      This module provides students with a critical understanding of discourses underpinning urban and architectural development. Beyond physical urban infrastructure, the module addresses broader socio-environmental debates that underpin architectural innovation. Students will be able to collaboratively ideate, prototype and (co)imagine architectural visions setting a research-informed foundation for their projects.

    • Design Project (MAAD7201)

      This module allows students to develop actionable, impactful project propositions in the fields of architecture and built environment. By introducing a diversity of methodological strategies, the module will enable students to experiment with technologies on the prototyping, resolution and demonstration of a project ranging from building design, to advanced data-driven, place-based interventions.

    Optional modules

    • Digital Fabrication (ADA7101E)

      This Module provides students with the advanced technical knowledge to develop their skills based on experimentation with novel materials, and cutting edge digital fabrication processes. Through a combination of technical inductions, lectures, and self-directed work in our Digital Fabrication Laboratory, students will be able to experiment with technologies such as advanced 3D printing and industrial CNC milling.

    • Immersive Media and XR (ADA7102E)

      This module will provide students with the creative and technical skills to develop their projects based on experimentation with immersive media and extended reality (XR) technologies. Through a combination of technical inductions, workshops, lectures, and self-directed work in our Immersive Media Lab, students will be able to experiment with 360 Video, sonic environments, AR/VR, sensors, and game engines.

    • Low Carbon Material Systems (ADA7104E)

      This Module will provide students with technical knowledge and understanding of the emerging low carbon agenda including concepts such as embodied carbon, sustainable supply chains, and circular economies, and will support students’ learning across a range of design, architecture, and built environment subjects.

    • Interaction Design (ADA7106E)

      This module will provide students with the creative and technical skills to apply interaction design strategies to develop and support their practice across a range of disciplines. Drawing from the technologies, techniques and tools typical of the Smart City, ubiquitous, mobile and wearable computing and Internet of Things (IoT), students will design and develop prototype systems that allow them to explore key issues relating to our lived environment.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MA Architectural Design programme specification_7651

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Design your degree

MA Architectural Design allows you to create a personalised program of study that focuses on topics that are relevant and important to you.

Entry requirements

You are required to have a 2:2 degree in Architecture (or similar design-related discipline such as Architectural Engineering, Architectural Technology, Design, Spatial and VR Media Design, Digital Media Design, Construction, Building Surveying, Town and Urban Planning, among others).
We also require references from previous university, employer and / or similar. 
Work experience for approximately 12 months in an architect’s office or other professionally relevant activity is highly desirable, though not required.
Applications to this programme must include a portfolio of work. It is recommended, but not essential, that applicants can demonstrate work experience in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) or urban planning sector.
For an informal discussion about MA Architectural Design please contact the programme leader at ada@plymouth.ac.uk
If you have overseas qualifications you can check their comparability with the UK equivalent through UK ECCTIS, who provide an advisory service. 
If your first language is not English then evidence of English proficiency is required. For further advice on the appropriateness of overseas qualifications and proficiency in the use of English, please contact our international office. 
The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is 6.5 with a minimum 5.5 in all four components.

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,500 £9,500
International £16,500 £17,600
Part time (Home) £530 £530
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students wishing to study on this programme, including the Postgraduate Taught International Student Scholarship, worth £2000 off your tuition fees.

Alumnus loyalty reward for postgraduate study

The University applies a discretionary alumnus reward where alumni meet certain criteria on particular postgraduate taught courses.
  • A 10 per cent discount on home tuition fees.
  • Or a £2,000 discount on international tuition fees.
For further details, programme exclusions and contact information, please see our fees policy

How to apply

When to apply
Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full.
Before you apply
Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance. 
Disability services
If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services.
International students
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office. Take a look at our how to apply information or email admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.
Submitting an application
Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page). 
What happens after I apply?
You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeksof us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.
We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail. 
If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:
Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 
Admissions policy
More information and advice for applicants can be referenced in our admissions policy which can be found on the student regulations, policies and procedures page. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.
Immersive media. 

Facilities and resources

Our designated architecture studio spaces provide a unique learning environment. A range of well-resourced specialist laboratory, CAD, and materials workshop facilities put industry standard facilities at your fingertips.
Our new Digital Fabrication and Immersive Media Labs offer access to cutting-edge technology such as motion-capture, augmented and extended reality and a wide array of digital fabrication tools.
International students at a welecome event at the University of Plymouth

Research in architecture

Investigating the ways in which we inhabit space, and how this is shaped by social, technological and cultural spatial factors.

Digital Neighbourhoods post it notes

Digital Neighbourhoods
Investigating the role of superfast broadband access on rural neighbourhoods.

Digital Together – Community Digital Hubs

Digital Together
Working closely with community hubs to embed digital skills and access to support the collective aims of improving health and wellbeing.

Bridport building project

Building with Bridport
Collaborating with Wessex Community Assets (Bridport) on the participatory co-creation of sustainable community housing and material futures.

Learn from experts in their field

  • Associate Head of School - Knowledge Exchange
    Specialises in the role and impacts of digital tools in architectural design
  • Professor of Smart Cities and Communities
    Pioneering researcher who specialises in smart cities and digital innovation
  • Associate Professor in Visual Arts
    An artist, writer and academic