A RIBA-accredited course preparing you for professional placement

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

The Master of Architecture provides a vibrant, challenging and expansive programme aimed at equipping you with the professional and creative skills for a successful career as an architect and leads to Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Part 2 exemption. Through the design studios you will be exposed to a range of related architectural interests, including urbanism, landscape, practice, sustainability and culture, providing a cross-disciplinary learning environment that is appropriate in today’s professionally complex architectural world.

What will I experience?

On this course you will undertake studio-based design projects, with opportunities to:

  • engage with current collaborative projects with academic institutions in other countries – in the past these have included Turkey, Spain, Denmark and Australia
  • work on projects with 'live' clients through our RIBA registered Project Office practice
  • opt to study at a choice of European universities through the ERASMUS exchange scheme
  • Visit our course blog to find out more

What opportunities might it lead to?

This course is professionally accredited by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). It is structured to ensure the integration and synthesis of contextual, technical and professional complexities inherent within the design process, helping you to engage with the prescribed ARB/RIBA criteria, and attain RIBA Part 2 exemption.

Portsmouth successfully balances the theoretical side of architecture with the practical, and it enabled me to develop an individual approach to design, that has placed me in a good position to run an Architectural practice. I would recommend this to anyone with a passion for design.

Derek Williams, Master of Architecture graduate

Key Facts

2 years full time, 4 years part time
A minimum of a second-class honours degree or above with Royal Institute of British Architects part 1 exemption. Students with appropriate qualifications and design skills may be accepted directly. 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 entry: full time: £9,000 p/a*, part time: £3,000 p/a*

International students
2016/17 entry: full time: £12,000 p/a*, part time: £6,000 per annum*

*Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 2421
Portsmouth School of Architecture
Programme specification
Accreditations & Endorsements

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

The design curriculum is delivered through studios, each having a distinct research topic relating to the research and practice of the studio tutors. The studio topics and pedagogy provide a framework and guidance for student projects in Year One and support in Year Two as you develop your particular thesis questions into design propositions. Studios topics change annually in response to current issues in practice and society, challenging the architectural profession, and offering variety in scale,content and context in the UK and abroad.

Please see our proposed 2016/17 MArch studios below. You can find more information on our Course blog.

MArch Studios 2016-17*

Drawing on the City- Exploring the Reading, Mapping and Making of Place. Cartographic, psycho-geographic, and literary analyses would serve as the generators of new narratives, typologies and architectural forms.

In its consideration of ‘Place’ this studio will explore archaeology, memory, narrative and material of place. Through making we will bring together an understanding of place using artefacts, films, maps and narratives. The studio will go on to make propositions that strengthen and evidence, rather than ignore or undermine, an understanding of spatial identity.

Places are given meaning by their purpose, perception and interaction; some of these meanings are manifest and some secret. It is only in understanding this richness and layering of ideas, experience and interpretations, that artists and designers begin to work in context. These investigations and architectural interventions will evolve and be recorded over the duration of the academic year and illustrate how understanding of place combined with creative practice will offer relevant and creative contemporary design.
MArch 2 Studio, Tutors (Studio 1):  Tina Wallbridge, Paul Grover

Littoral Landscapes: Change Labs for Coastal Experimentation. This studio will experiment with the ‘seeds’ of transformation, focussing on littoral landscapes – coastal villages, towns and cities in the UK and abroad. The studio is the Lab, the seeds are about speculation, growth, invention and entrepreneurialism - small changes which can lead to revolutions. Adaptable, incremental, contextual, controversial – the studio will experiment and explore how programs, briefs, buildings and public space can adapt to the changing contexts, social/environmental/technological interactions, embodied in the landscape of land and sea. This is underpinned by our pursuit of architecture which has integral relationship with the landscape, exposing genius loci. MArch 1: Studio research to define UK studio site(s). MArch 2: HYPOthesis, thesis dissertation and studio research to define individual or group site(s).
MArch 1 & 2 Studios, Tutors (Studio 2): Nick Timms, Paula Craft-Pegg, Darren Bray

Urban Futures. Cities constantly change in response to changes in society. Today, major environmental and economic challenges we are facing require new models for the built environment that are capable to be resource efficient, adaptable to environmental modifications and designed to facilitate placemaking. This studio asks you to investigate such models, thus prefiguring future cities and how architecture and urban patterns can contribute to a higher quality of life in an age of rapid change. It is an experimental studio with a strong research component and a requirement to think out of the box. You will be asked to focus on a specific urban challenge (e.g. ecology, health and flooding) and design buildings and urban development accordingly. MArch 1 & 2 Studios, Tutors (Studio 3): Fabiano Lemes, Silvio Caputo

The Emergent Studio: Architecture of, on and around the Edge. The Emergent Studio explores the idea of making architecture within cultural contexts that are not ‘our own’; always in a location that in some way exemplifies an edge condition. Our theoretical platform for exploring these conditions has been, and continues to be, rooted within phenomenology, drawing from the writings of the humane Nordic modernist tradition, in informing our methodologies of interrogation and design. The adoption of the principal of ‘Ethical Praxis’ informs our ethos of providing transformational learning opportunities driven from a phenomenological perspective, supported by our research activity.
MArch 1 & 2 Studios, Tutors (Studio 4): Roger Tyrrell, Greg Bailey, Darren Bray

Portsmouth: The Anatomy of "The Island City.” This studio continues our reflections on Portsmouth's response to climate change induced rise in sea levels adding an analysis of infrastructures and their impact on developing Urban & Architectural visions for the city. Studio MUD focuses on direct engagement with design as a way of understanding both the design process and design issues set. Currently the issues we are addressing relate to Urban & Architectural responses to Climate Change Induced Rise in Sea Levels and other required urban infrastructure.
MArch 1 & 2 Studios, Tutors (Studio 5): Francis GravesWalter Menteth

Tactical Urbanism. Tactical Urbanism will investigate, in a radical and provocative way, how a university environment will change in the future and create alternative and hypothetical social scenarios as starting point for your design project. The aim is not to create a futuristic environment but to challenge the current paradigms and try to address the real problems and issues that our society will face in a near 2050 future.
MArch 1 Studio, Tutors (Studio 6): Guido Robazza, David Ogunmuyiwa

Coastal Latent Dynamics: Material Voids. This new studio will frame the architectural process, starting with a close up of the Micro (the detail, the material qualities of place, prototyping), continuing to a wide shot of the Macro (the notion of municipality in a coastal context) and then zooming into the Meso (dealing with the opportunities of voids, empty buildings and their environs). We will all be taking part in a constant and continuous intellectual journey reciprocating among extreme scales; Micro, Macro and Meso. Through two field trips to Liverpool and Le Havre, the Studio will explore abandoned structures, their transformations and ultimate use to enhance society and connect these Cities to their waterfronts. We are a new Studio that works vertically, setting at its core the sharing of knowledge, experience and strategies among tutors and students across both years, making ‘stuff’ and expanding our horizons, while mastering intricate elements of the profession. 
MArch 1 & 2 Studios, Tutors (Studio 7): Martin Andrews, Phevos Kallitsis

*Please note: studio offers may change due to staff and student numbers.

Teaching and Assessment

You will be taught through a combination of individual and group tutorials in your selected studio, while year-wide units are lecture-based, complemented by seminars and workshops. Our studio-teaching method will mean that you will be working with tutors with professional and academic experience in their field and all unit programmes are complemented by contributions from external professionals.

Studio programmes will often entail shared sessions with European and, sometimes, other overseas institutions, in countries such as Denmark, Turkey, Morocco, Italy and Spain. Representatives of local public and private bodies and agencies frequently contribute to studio tutorials and crits. All this helps to ensure that your learning and studio research outputs can have regional impact and global reach.

How are you assessed?

Design assessment is through studio review (crit) as work progresses and portfolio assessment at the end of the academic year. ‘Taught’ units, in support of the design curriculum, are assessed through various forms of illustrated written coursework – both individual and group, such as reports and the Dissertation. Various forms of formative feedback are provided at a number of key points for all units.

Paula Craft-Pegg

Tutor's view

Paula Craft-Pegg
Course Leader

The key strengths of our MArch course are reflective practice, collaboration, and experimentation. Reflective practice drives transformative learning and challenges preconceptions. The pedagogical approaches the staff bring to teaching are developed from both from professional practice and active engagement with research, advancing practice through research and research through practice.

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Monitor Facilities & Features

Design Studios

In our brand-new home, embedded within the university’s cultural and creative Eldon Campus, you’ll have access to superb resources and facilities to help you develop your work and prepare for professional practice. Dedicated space for each studio is provided in our dynamic Masters floor, which also houses advanced architectural computer facilities, offering the latest design software, shared Masters break-out and projection space and roof terrace. Other facilities in the School and CCi Eldon Campus include:

  • New 3D model printing machine
  • New 3D model CNC milling machine
  • Several laser cutting machines which automate the production of complex models
  • Virtual reality suite
  • Professional printers as well as extensive computing, film and video facilities
  • Life drawing studios
  • Other shared studios, for scheduled tutorials and presentations, with state-of-the-art projection facilities for digital reviews

Project Office

The School’s own RIBA registered professional practice offers a range of consultancy services to clients. The PO gives you access to real clients and live projects, providing hands-on experience to support your design development and professional know-how. 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, the Bursledon Brickworks and strategies for re-landscaping the public domain in Gosport and Winchester.

ERASMUS Exchange Scheme

We have active exchange opportunities with a variety of European universities, which are funded through the ERASMUS programme and allow you to experience learning within another context for the second semester of Year One. Current partners include:

  • AUSTRIA (Technische Universitat Wien)
  • DENMARK (Aalborg Universitet, Architecture & Design)
  • GERMANY (RWTH Aachen University and Otto Friedrich Universität, Bamberg)
  • NORWAY (Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskaplige Universitet, Trondhiem)
  • SLOVENIA (Univerza v Ljublijani, Fakulteta za aritekturo, Lubjana)


University Library

The library offers a modern, comfortable and well-resourced learning environment, providing a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online e-journals 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.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Careers in architecture are demanding ever-increasing specialism and professional competence.

The unique learning experience we offer on this course will enable you to develop as an expansive, creative and professional individual capable of success in a range of creative and professional environments. The breadth of engagement with the discipline and range of studios ensures that you will become confident in responding to the demands of the profession. The regional, national and international destinations of the School’s alumni are testament to this, as are our graduate employment take-up statistics.

Career planning

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.

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Apply now

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.

Book now

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.

International Students

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.