Gain specialist design skills for the development of the urban environment
Why take this course?
This course will give you the opportunity to debate the potential role of design professionals in the generation of sustainable cities.
You will be part of a multi-disciplinary course environment which will help you creatively engage in the design of our cities, relate architecture to its urban context and deal with all the complexities inherent in creating well-designed settlements.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Get involved with some of our regional regeneration projects to test and develop your ideas
- Undertake studio-based design projects and engage with our other collaborative projects with academic institutions in a range of countries including Turkey, Spain and Australia
- Have the opportunity to ‘earn and learn’ by working on real-life contracts through our Projects Office
- Visit our course blog to find out more
What opportunities might it lead to?
Many of our towns and cities in the UK are experiencing rapid change, creating an unprecedented demand for skills that transcend the traditional disciplines of architecture and planning in shaping the urban landscape.
This course provides a firm grounding for employment in a range of design offices, as well as other property-related jobs.
Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:
- urban planning
- working for housing associations
- environmental organisations
- working for local and public authorities
I've really enjoyed the excellent sessions by visiting lecturers from different areas of the industry which have brought the real world into the classroom.
Robert Leslie, architecture and property student
- 1 year full time, 2 years part time
- A minimum of a second-class honours degree in Interior Design, Architecture or a related subject, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. An online portfolio submission may be required as part of the selection process. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17: full time: £5,200, part time: £1,730 in year 1 and £3,470* in year 2.
2016/17: full time: £12,000, part time: £4,000 in year 1 and £8,000* in year 2.
* Fees are subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 2421
- Portsmouth School of Architecture
- Programme specification
Structure & Teaching
This course uses the experience and skills of teaching staff with a proven track record in urban design studies, practice and research. You will also benefit from a multi-disciplinary learning environment where more than 100 postgraduate students in architecture, interior design, urban design, sustainable design and historic building conservation can meet and work.
Here are the units you will study:
- Practice: This unit allows you to engage with the design of the urban landscape and with key aspects of professional practice. You will be involved in discussions on the social, political, economic and professional contexts that drive the construction of the urban space. You will be expected to analyse and critically evaluate the urban context, develop briefs, strategies and a proposal for a given area.
- Theory: This unit covers the history and theory of urban planning and design from the origins of these disciplines to date, providing you with the opportunity to critically analyse the development of key ideas, theories and practices involved in the construction of cities. It covers the emergence and growth of modern urban planning since the nineteenth century, its main trends in the twentieth century and the progression of urban design from the crisis of the Modern Movement to contemporary debates. You will reflect on the historical, social, cultural and physical processes involved in the production of the urban fabric, allowing you to establish links between past and current experiences, as well as engage with contemporary theoretical discussions and critically reflect upon your own practice. You will also develop your research and writing skills.
- Research Methods and Research Proposal: In this unit you will develop research skills, which will aid you throughout your course and particularly in producing your thesis. You will be asked to establish a critical position within an Outline Research Proposal. You will develop techniques, which will allowyou to engage proactively within your area of study. You will be encouraged to explore methods of investigation that are responsive to, as well as inquisitive of, the conditions presented and which therefore speculate around possible critical scenarios. Implicit within these explorations is the need to investigate diverse means of representation and depiction through a variety of possible media and discourse.
- Integration: This unit allows you to work in a multi-disciplinary context through groups within your own subject area and across the areas of interior design, urban design, sustainable architecture and historic building conservation, as well as explore the interrelationships of all disciplines. You will need to work collectively on given projects or problems related to staff run studios, which explore a range of given themes. This unit will introduce you to these themes at the start of the course and connect you to research areas within the School. There will be a group-based activity that is either subject specific or spans different areas of the disciplines as agreed by tutors.
- Work-Based Learning: This unit gives you the opportunity to replace a 30-credit core unit with a work-based version of that unit. Not all units can be replaced and you will need to discuss the appropriateness of a unit with tutors. Work-based learning requires you to engage in critical and reflective learning in the workplace. This will be developed through a learning contract, negotiated by you, your employer and School. The work undertaken in practice will be appraised through critical reflective writing that engages with the practice of the particular subject discipline and this will form the assessment artefacts. Where professional body criteria and attributes need to be evidenced, these will form the minimum requirements of the learning outcomes.
- Thesis: Your thesis is a substantial research-based project that enables you to carry out an in-depth investigation into a subject area of personal interest, which is related to or developed from a theme studied during the course. The proposed research theme should have a clearly defined focus to allow for in depth theoretical, contextual and visual research.
Teaching and Assessment
This course is lecture and studio-based, culminating in a written or design-led thesis project. It will involve case study investigations, group work, discussion and planning of urban environments, as well as independent study to develop design or research-based responses to urban problems.
How are you assessed?
Design assessment is through studio review and taught courses are assessed by various forms of evidence-based urban design decisions and proposals. You will also carry out an in-depth research project into an area of your choice.
Dr Fabiano Lemes de Oliveira
Urban design has never been so important and yet there are few professionals properly prepared to deal with the changing nature of our urban environment and stand up for sustainable design. We offer an exciting interdisciplinary environment where theory and practice are brought together to support your development as an urban designer.
Facilities & Features
During your studies, you will be making full use of a number of our workshops. From facilities for working with resin, plastics and metals to screen printing, moulding and casting, you will have the tools to excel in the production of complex and multi-faceted models. Enhancing your practical skills is a high priority on this course.
You’ll have access to superb facilities to help prepare you for professional practice. Our dynamic studios house advanced architectural computer facilities, with Macs and PCs offering the latest design software. Other facilities include:
- CNC milling machine for building three-dimensional models
- laser cutting machines which automate the production of complex models
- life drawing studios and a virtual reality suite
- professional printers as well as extensive computing, film and video facilities
Offering a range of consultancy services to clients, the Project Office gives you access to real clients and live projects. This is a great means to gain real hands-on experience in order to support your design development and professional capacity. In the past we have overseen or managed major building or design works in the city including the Hilsea Lido, the Isle of Wight Zoo, the University’s own 3rd Space and the Bursledon Brickworks.
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
Budgeting for your studies
There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.
Other costs to consider
There are costs relating to the purchase of drawing equipment, model making, stationery, reprographic requirements and the production of a portfolio. This may be in the region of £100 - £300 each year. We support digital review of some project assessment work to reduce costs.
If you choose to complete a project not supported by existing University resources, you may wish to purchase extra materials or software. These costs will depend on the nature of the project.
For optional study trips you will be expected to pay full costs. Optional study trips to Europe will cost in the region of £300 - £500.
Careers & Opportunities
On completing this course, you will be adept in spatial practice and able to work within your specialist discipline in design practices, architectural firms and cross-disciplinary environments. The creative skills, professional competencies and expansive learning environment that we provide has also led graduates into a range of careers in marketing, advertising, journalism, virtual design and modelling through to people-centred careers such as project management.
Alternatively, you can choose to continue your studies to PhD level.
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degrees students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service – Purple Door – can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.
We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.
Benefits of Postgraduate Study
Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.
- Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
- Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
- Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
- Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
- If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University's Admissions Team before being transferred to individual departments for consideration and processing.
Postgraduate Information Days 2016
Wednesday 27 April 2016, 1pm – 5pm
Our Postgraduate Information Days are for anyone considering postgraduate study at the University of Portsmouth. It’s your opportunity to learn about the University and the postgraduate opportunities on offer.
Meet with our postgraduate subject specialists and faculty admissions teams who will provide information and guidance on the range of Master's courses and research programmes available at the University. In addition, some of our current postgraduate students will be available to speak to you about postgraduate student life at Portsmouth, alongside staff from our Careers and Recruitment service, Student Finance Team, International Office and Graduate School.
Alternatively, If you would like to visit the campus you can download our free walking tour for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday - Friday between 8.30am and 4.00pm. We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look into our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.
Find out more information about our self-guided walking tours.
Staff from our international Office regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.
Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.