School of Art, Design and Architecture

MArch Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2)

In a world ever-increasingly in flux – economically, environmentally, socio-culturally – there’s an ever greater need for architects able to think creatively, critically and strategically. You’ll be supported in a design and research-led critical inquiry, testing your work in the public domain through live projects in the UK and overseas. You will develop your own sense of praxis, while exploring the potential of architecture to generate more sustainable, inclusive and resilient places.

Image credit: Nicolas Hoo Min Yew

Alumni discount

Applicants who have previously studied on a course with the University of Plymouth receive a 20% discount when applying for MArch Architecture.

A top 5 UK young university for subjects of art, design and architecture

Student success at Creative Conscience Awards 2022

The MArch programme has had success for the fifth year running in the International Creative Conscience Awards. Sarah Paxton and Roberta Vasnic won Gold, Isabel Hopper won Silver, and Sarah Dawes, Shana Linwood-McLaughlin and Irenitemi Onodeko won Bronze in the Architecture category. Sarah Dawes and Shana Linwood-McLaughlin won Gold in the Equality and Justice category.

Careers with this subject

Our architecture graduates benefit from a discursive education that enables them with a wide range of creative thinking and problem-solving knowledge and skills. Building on this students have gone on to work with leading architectural offices and start their own successful practices. Others have enjoyed success in parallel careers including: teaching, both at Plymouth and other schools of architecture: urban design; landscape architecture; community development; and construction and project management. Upon completion of the programme you may be able to continue on to a RIBA Part 3 qualification and become a Chartered Architect in the UK and EU.

Key features

  • Our school was described as ‘charged’ by .
  • Get creative with our amazing facilities and resources. You’ll be based in our eye-catching Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business building in the heart of the campus, surrounded by students and staff from other art courses. And, you’ll have two square metres of desk to call your own.
  • Study a programme fully validated by the (RIBA) and prescribed by the (ARB) – with National Student Survey results for the M Arch (not including BA Architecture) for the past two years at 100 per cent for overall student satisfaction.
  • Interact with the public domain with architecture that’s responsive to people, places and tectonics. Work with local communities and institutions, including city councils, business organisations and non-governmental organisations.
  • Work on live studio-based projects, both in the UK and abroad. Previous projects have been based in China, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the UK.
  • Over 95 per cent of our recent graduates have found work in the UK, the Middle East and Asia.
  • Benefit from our future-facing programme that features a strong socio-cultural, urban and sustainability dimension.
  • Learn from tutors with industry experience and interdisciplinary research interests.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • In your first year, you’ll undertake design studio projects set around live UK or overseas urban regeneration projects explored formally, programmatically and tectonically. You’ll study your core subjects this year – exploring key theories and tools through: philosophies of sustainability; methodologies of urban analysis; and technical development of your design studio proposal.

    Core modules

    • Professional Studies (ARCH761)

      This module develops the student's knowledge and understanding of current architectural practice and professional responsibilities with respect to the building industry, the legal framework of building contracts and the legislative context of the profession and associated professions, and constructs of ethics which frame professional practice.

    • Emerging Research (ARCH762)

      Students will undertake a programme of Masters-level research. It has no pre-ordained syllabus content, and will be informed by students' own investigations and staff knowledge drawn from their own research interests. Students will receive tutorial support for their approved research topic within the scope of the module content, seminar discussion and wider reading. This work will be advanced in the context of students gaining key research skills.

    • Sustainable Technologies (ARCH763)

      This module examines environmental and tectonic (building fabric and structural) considerations that informs the design of buildings and their inhabitation, including emergent discourse on issues of sustainability (e.g., climate change and materials specification) and regulatory requirements (e.g., health and safety). This knowledge and understanding will be applied to and tested in the generation of a building design.

    • Context for Praxis (Knowledge Exchange) (ARCH764)

      This module examines the cultural, ecological, economic, political and social issues which frame the context of praxis, considered through a cross-disciplinary perspective. This examination includes exploration of professional and theoretical discourses that enhance critical understanding of issues. This understanding will be tested through application in generating through trans-disciplinary teams a proposition (including an architectural component for architecture students) for a live civic project, reinforced through critical analysis and reference to relevant discourse.

  • Final year

  • In your final year, you’ll have a more flexible timetable. You'll combine the skills and knowledge you've developed in the design studio with the individual, research-orientated study of an area of your choice. Your design studio projects this year are set around live urban regeneration projects overseas or in the UK. For your individual research study, you’ll be supported by research-active staff aligned with your chosen area of study. You will also deepen your understanding of professional practice through professional studies.

    Core modules

    • Strategic Design (ARCH765)

      This module will enable students to establish their own architectural discussion within a contextual and theoretical framework. This inquiry will be pursued through investigation of a complex urban context including the study of precedents, identification of project sites and briefs, and the generation of (re)development strategies for a chosen site and brief. Students will be expected to resolve their work to a high professional standard.

    • Design Praxis (ARCH766)

      This module builds on the conceptual / strategic design identified in ARCH765 to develop an integrated detailed architectural design, including its spatial-form, technical strategies, and a building programme responsive to cultural, ecological, economic, political and social issues. This work will be pursued within an inquiry enabling students to develop a design praxis and architectural discussion grounded in a theoretical context.

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:

Master of Architecture ARB RIBA Part 2 programme specification 7538

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.

Academic and professional progression

Our ARB- and RIBA-accredited programmes are designed to help you reach the status of professional Chartered Architect. At Plymouth, you will benefit from a strong connection between our undergraduate, masters, and research programmes that will support you to achieve your career aims.
BA (Hons) Architecture (3 years)
RIBA-recognised Part 1 programme
Industry experience (1 year)
MArch Architecture (2 years)
RIBA-recognised Part 2 programme
Industry experience (1 year)
Final examination
RIBA Part 3

Research opportunities

Research in architecture currently revolves around these thematic clusters​:

  • Architecture and Media (Film)
  • Architecture and Pedagogy
  • Displacement and Migration
  • Digital Fabrication and Design
  • Place-Making
  • Smart Cities
  • Spatial Politics, Power and Violence
  • Spatial Practice and Architecture
  • Sustainable Architecture / Environmental Building
  • Sustainable Communities
  • Urban Dialogues
  • Urban Ecologies

Entry requirements

The following conditions are required of all applicants:
Expected 2:1 degree classification but we will consider students with lower degree and a good portfolio..
If you are an overseas/EU students you must obtain an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent.
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.
The following conditions are highly desired:
12 months experience working in an architect’s office or similar professionally relevant activity.
Application process
To be considered for entry onto the programme, you'll need to submit the following:
  • A completed application form.
  • An official copy of your transcript for your completed degree studies.
  • A statement of interest outlining why you want to study at Plymouth University and what you believe you will contribute to our programme.
  • A portfolio of work with up to 20 images (this can be digital - jpeg images preferred) of previous student work and any work carried out while working in an office and/or any other personal work.
  • Two suitable references (at least one from your former university).
  • Note that we begin generally receiving applications in January for starting the program in September of the same year. The majority of successful students have applied and been offered a place by May, though we accept applications to the beginning of July. Upon receiving a complete application, a review is carried out by administrative and academic staff generally within two weeks. Relevant candidates are then given a conditional offer (and in the case of exceptional candidates an unconditional offer) with an interview (typically via Skype) to follow. Successful applicants through the interview are then typically made an unconditional offer within a few days.
If you would like an informal chat about the Master of Architecture course please contact the programme leader at ada@plymouth.ac.uk.
For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £16,300 £17,100
Part time (Home) N/A N/A
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of 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.

Alumni discount

UK applicants (with 'home fees' status) who have previously studied on a course with the University of Plymouth receive a 20% discount when applying for MArch Architecture.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

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

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Businessand more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business additional costs.

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 Inclusion Services
If you have an impairment, health condition or disability, learn about the additional support the University provides.
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.

Master of Architecture success

Let our students' work and achievements inspire you.


Our students have had success for the fifth year running in the International Creative Conscience Awards.


The Architects' Journal visited our show and found our research, collaboration, social engagement and interaction all feeding into design development.

Madhusha Wijesiri at Graduation 2015

Graduate Madhusha is Principal Designer at M2H Design Studio and Co-Founder of Code Atelier
Madhusha talks to us about University of Plymouth's studios, taking a leap of faith with a start-up, and liaising with customers across the world.

Architecture studio space in Roland Levinsky Building - preparation for the graduate show

Our 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 are all in close proximity, putting industry standard facilities at your fingertips.

Digital Fabrication Laboratory

You will have access to our Digital Fabrication Lab, where you’ll be able to use robotics, CNC milling, laser scanning, laser cutting and additive manufacturing. Andy Humphreys describes how our students make use of this superb facility.

Team

  • Associate Professor in Architecture
    Specialisms include healthcare, culture, public realm and housing
  • Associate Professor (Spatial Practice)
    Research includes negotiations of spatial practices and social justice
  • Professor of Architecture
    Research focuses on issues of socio-cultural identity and urbanism
  • Lecturer in Architecture
    Focus on displacement, spatial practices, and creative agency
  • Lecturer in Architecture and the Built Environment
    Investigating the role of built environment in personal and social fulfilment
  • Associate Lecturer
    Interests lie in forming a collaborative process through relationship building
  • Lecturer in Architecture
    Specialisms include community public space, healthcare & learning environment
  • Lecturer in Architecture
    Research is primarily studio practice based
  • Professor of Urban Design
    Interests include the digitally augmented city & recombinant architecture
  • Professor of Smart Cities and Communities
    Expertise includes smart cities, digital technologies & the role of space/place
  • Lecturer in Architecture (History & Theory)
    Research addresses the intersections of power, politics and space
  • Associate Head of School - Knowledge Exchange
    Research is concerned with digital design and creative innovation
  • Lecturer in Architecture
    Research interests include craft and materials

Please contact Dr Mathew Emmett, Lead for MArch Architecture with any questions you may have about the programme: mathew.emmett@plymouth.ac.uk

International applicants

Postgraduate scholarships for international students
We offer several scholarships for international students wishing to study on this programme, including the International Academic Excellence Scholarship worth 50% off your tuition fees and the Postgraduate Taught International Student Scholarship worth £2000 off tuition fees.
Study with us
At the University of Plymouth, we have a thriving international community made up of 2,000 students from over 100 different countries.
International students at a welecome event at the University of Plymouth