Architecture (RIBA Part 2 Exemption) - MArch

Full Time, Part Time
September 2015
£3,580 per year for UK/EU Full Time (view all fees)

The MArch (RIBA Part 2) is the second stage of your professional training to become an architect. You'll be inspired by innovative architecture teaching from academic and industry professionals and develop your critical ability, skills and creativity.

Benefiting from our links with more than 100 architecture practices, our graduates design and create the buildings of the future. They have secured successful architecture jobs with Associated Architects, Hawkins\Brown and Glenn Howells Architects.

What's covered in the course?

Recognised by the Architects Registration Board and RIBA for exemption from Part II examination, the course is stage two of your professional development programme to become an architect.

The programme goes beyond the professional body criteria, giving you a stimulating and dynamic educational experience of architecture at postgraduate level. You’ll study in a design studio-led research environment and you will be able to create architectural designs that meet necessary technical requirements while still having aesthetic appeal.

A unique collaborative 'Teaching Practice' programme means each cross-level studio unit is aligned with a leading professional practice in the region where you can visit on selected days for supporting tutorials. Participating practices include: Bryant Priest Newman, Broadway Malyan, Associated Architects and Glenn Howells Architects.

There are fantastic international opportunities – our students have undertaken fieldwork in Reykjavik, Istanbul, Amsterdam and Barcelona. There’s also an annual New York study visit sponsored by Ibstock Brick.
You’ll have opportunities to take part in research projects and our connections will help your work get noticed. MArch graduate Thomas Cotton had his final thesis project published on New York’s Museum of Modern Art website for the exhibition Uneven Growth.

The School of Architecture has strong alumni and connections to the city’s creative and professional networks both through visiting tutors and critics.

Our Co.LAB is a collaborative architecture and design initiative based within the School that gives you the chance to work on live projects with our partner organisations including schools and charities. Our students recently worked on a project with 1930s listed structures at Dudley Zoological Gardens in collaboration with other students from the School of Art.

You'll be based in our multi-million pound City Centre Campus Parkside Building with access to traditional workshops in wood, metal, ceramics and plastics, along with advanced digital studios for rapid prototyping and digital production, CAD and digital visual communication skills.

Why Choose Us?

  • You’ll be able to spend time with architectural practices for supporting tutorials and gain opportunities from the School’s links with more than 100 firms.
  • The MArch meets and exceeds the requirements set out in the latest ARB/RIBA Part 2 criteria and EU Directive on Architectural education.
  • Birmingham School of Architecture is highly respected and has a rich history of providing education and opportunities. It celebrated its centenary in 2009.
  • Many students have degrees from other UK schools of architecture, resulting in a dynamic body of high-calibre students.
  • Visiting tutors come from national and local practice and we have visiting critics and lectures from high profile practitioners, such as eminent architects, visiting professors and world-renowned consultants.
  • We are one of the primary providers of part-time architecture courses.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Event

Our next Postgraduate Open Event is Wednesday 25 November 2015.

Book your place - Architecture courses
Book your place - 3D Design courses

This course is open to International students

Birmingham School of Architecture and Design

Discover Birmingham School of Architecture and Design

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Barnes Design
  • Benevides
  • Associates Architects

And in jobs such as:

  • Designer
  • Graduate Architect

This course is accredited by:

Architects Registration Board

Entry Requirements

UK students

Applicants will normally be expected to hold at least a second class honours degree or equivalent in architecture.

Architecture with RIBA Part 1 exemption.
In exceptional circumstances, applications from students without RIBA Part 1 will be considered subject to prior equivalent academic and practical experience, but the honours degree must be in architecture due to the prescribed and validated nature of the programme.

Evidence of satisfactory completion of at least nine months of practical training is normally required for acceptance on the full-time course.

Should applicants have difficulty in accessing conventional practical experience, the admissions team will consider evidence of initiative in finding alternative experience, through voluntary work, competitions, work in associated fields of the construction and design industries and self-generated work.

In the part-time mode, your practical training experience may be counted during the first year of attendance if you have studied your BA part-time. If you are part-time you should be employed by an architectural practice.

A diverse portfolio demonstrating academic and professional experience along with a critical self appraisal.

EU/International students
All students whose first language is not English will require IELTS 6.5 overall (or equivalent).

Where applicants do not hold RIBA Part 1 and complete and pass the ARB prescribed Part 2 qualification, they will still need to hold an ARB prescribed qualification at Part 1 level (plus an ARB prescribed qualification at Part 3 level together with the required period of practical training) before they can be admitted to the ARB Register.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MArch Sep 2015 FT 2 years £3,580 per year
PT 3 years £450 per module

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MArch Sep 2015 FT 2 years £11,500

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Portfolio Guidance

Your portfolio will form the basis of the interview discussion and should include the following:

  • Final project from your BA course.
  • Other projects from final year or second year.
  • A copy of your written dissertation or final year essay.
  • Selected excerpts from sketchbooks and workbooks.
  • A range of work from your practical training year or architectural employment (this includes technical work as well as design and presentation work).
  • Evidence of your RIBA Part 1 exemption (e.g BA certificate).

You will also be asked to prepare a critical self appraisal which should be 2-4 sides of A4 and should include the following: 

  • A summary of your education since leaving school.
  • An analysis of your portfolio and working methods whilst on your BA course.
  • Your relevant work experience to date.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses both as a student and in the workplace?
  • Any architectural issues you are particularly interested in.
  • Your reasons for applying to this particular course.

We are looking for motivated and ambitious students with a broad range of experience -  this needs to come across in your application and portfolio.

We generally expect applicants to have undertaken at least nine months of practical experience, though we welcome enquiries from those with alternative experience.

This course is available part-time

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our pdf application form instead and email your completed form to

The details of two referees must be submitted in the Referees section of your application form. At least one referee should be from the institution where you obtained your academic qualifications and know you in an academic or professional capacity.

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Postgraduate Certificate

Critical Urbanism
Co.Lab II
Research and Theory

Postgraduate Diploma

Architectural Synergies
Management Practice and Law: Theory

Masters project

Architectural Speculations part 1
Architectural Speculations part 2
Architectural Speculations: Tectonics
Management Practice and Law: Applied
Dissertation or special study

You'll be assessed through a mix of reviews, reports, exams and essays. You'll undertake a major dissertation or special study (to follow on from the Co.Lab live project or another opportunity) on a theme related to the course. The dissertation and special study hemes are negotiated with tutors.

Studies are interconnected across areas of design, technical and professional and research and theory.

Cross level studio units allow you to select from multiple theoretical options that build on the School's diverse research hubs. 'Teaching Practice' studio tutorials locate students in a real professional practice environment with an architectural firm. There's also specialist tuition in technology support studios.

Student stories Debbie Flevotomou

Since graduating, Debbie Flevotomou has set up her own architecture practice and has recently won a competition to design a new spiritual centre in Battersea.

"I found the course to be well structured, with good teaching and enthusiastic staff. There also was an excellent atmosphere on the campus."

This course is accredited by the following organisations:

Our accreditations allow you to achieve RIBA Part 2 exemption. This offers you distinct support when applying for placement in practice. 

Our accreditation shows employers that students graduating from our course have the levels of knowledge and ability they need.

Architects Registration Board
Architects Registration Board

Architects Registration board was established by Parliament in 1997 to regulate the architects’ profession in the UK.

They are an independent, public interest body and their work in regulating architects ensures that good standards within the profession are consistently maintained for the benefit of the public and architects alike.

Royal Institute of British Architects

RIBA is a global member organisation, with 44,000 members. It champions better buildings, communities and the environment and provides the standards, training, support and recognition to put members at the peak of their profession.

Our accreditation shows employers that students graduating from our course have the levels of knowledge and skills they need.

Further study

You may wish to further your research by applying for a PhD with the School of Architecture or expand your knowledge with our other postgraduate degrees available, such as Conservation of the Historic Environment or Zero Carbon Architecture and Retrofit Design.

Trip and visits

Each studio has a UK and European study site. Final year students visit the European site to either explore it as a condition and to bring back ideas from the visit, or they take it as the context for their thesis projects. Sites have included Reykjavik, Florence, Paris, Rotterdam, Milan, Istanbul and Vienna.

The popular Birmingham School of Architecture New York trip has been running for over 30 years. Sponsored by Ibstock Brick, the trip visits a number of significant sites across Manhattan, with highlights including:

  • A guided tour of the 9/11 Memorial Museum by Mark Wagner of Brody Davis Bond, architect of the below ground museum and curator of the found artefacts
  • A tour of the Cooper Union by Professor David Turnbull
  • Guided tours of the Donald Judd House, Lincoln Centre, and United Nations
  • Plus numerous other visits including the Guggenheim, MOMA, the New Museum, the Seagram building and the Highline.

Enhancing your employability skills

You'll be able to produce complex design proposals showing understanding of current architectural issues. You'll also have sound knowledge of procurement, building production and legislation.

The course gives you a thorough understanding of the links between design and technology and how architects work with other construction professionals.

You'll develop your specialist architectural skills and in-depth knowledge and be well on your way to becoming a qualified architect. This course is the final stage in design and research education.

Working on live projects and with architectural firms will have enabled you to increase your understanding, add to a portfolio of relevant work and make useful connections. Our students are gaining recognition for the innovative, original and compelling work that they produce.

You'll develop a range of transferable skills, such as how to communicate ideas and solve problems, as well as developing negotiation and planning skills. You’ll learn how to work effectively and efficiently either on your own or as part of a team.

Your skills will be in demand - architecture, building and planning courses are one of the top 12 degree subjects for getting a job according to a recent article in the Telegraph. Your work will give you experience in a multi-disciplinary creative environment, making you attractive to a wide range of employers.


Although we don't offer a formal placement year as part of this course, our students are offered a range of opportunities thanks to the industry links we help develop on their behalf.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Our OpportUNIty students

Many of our students are employed in Birmingham City University’s OpportUNIty programme mentoring undergraduate students, assisting in our digital workshop, collaborating with staff in research projects and creating architectural events and publications. This contributes to a confident, highly motivated student community.

Graduate jobs

Our graduates have secured roles as graduate architects and designers with prestigious companies such as Bryant Priest Newman, Broadway Malyan and Associated Architects. Some have even gone on to set up their own practices after gaining experience.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. It’s no surprise that the Complete University Guide placed us in the UK top 10 for spending on facilities in both 2012 and 2013.

Birmingham School of Architecture is based at the state-of-the-art £62 million Parkside Building, a new development on our City Centre Campus within Eastside.

The new building has added an extra dimension to the School. Our campus has extensive studio and workshop provision and cutting-edge equipment reflecting the broad range of study opportunities on offer. The building has been designed to actively promote shared space opportunities, for students to engage with others across the University as part of the learning experience.


In many cases, our main studio and workspace is the city of Birmingham.
We give our students the opportunity to work on many collaborative projects involving the transformation of the city. These include:

  • Working on-site at the £600 million re-development of New Street Station
  • Work on our neighbouring Curzon Building, which forms Phase 2 of the City Centre Campus development
  • Nearby Off-campus Nest Gallery based within Glenn Howells Architects

Third year (MArch) student

As a third year or MArch student, you will have dedicated and more informal breakout working space. MArch students also have the option of using designated architects’ practices for themselves.


We have our very own digi.lab, which is used for prototyping and as a learning resource. Here, you can experiment with 3D printing and laser cutting, preparing you to work on our range of larger machines. You will work in a home studio base five days a week, and also enjoy the opportunity to share others’ facilities and space when necessary.

Digital Presentation

At the School, we have placed a large emphasis on digital presentation. We currently have nine plasma screens for such uses, and try to keep our facilities as paper-free as possible.

Michael Dring

Senior Lecturer

Mike Dring is an architect, senior lecturer, MArch programme director and researcher at the Birmingham School of Architecture. He brings seven years of professional practice to his role with a track record of delivering award winning projects. He is involved in a number of emergent and established research projects and groups spanning architecture, urbanism, art and design, and ecology.

His MArch design studio unit, ‘Plastic’, is concerned with revisiting new towns with particular reference to regional examples, aligning educational and research agendas through the NRG (New Town Research Group). He was instrumental in instigating 'CO.LAB' as a cross level and school 'live' project vehicle, building on the Schools historic and current reputation for engaging in real scenarios and embedding research in the curriculum.

Themes of study include the modernist utopia of the city/region in collaboration with artists photographer Stuart Whipps of Birmingham School of Art, guerrilla ecology in the post-capitalist lacuna in collaboration with colleagues at the Birmingham School of the Built Environment, and the future development and integration of digital media in creative processes and practices. The latter led to a conference paper at the RDPM Conference in June 2010, co-authored with colleague Alessandro Columbano.

Mike is also collaborating with Ed Wall, landscape architect and PhD student at LSE, on projects and competitions related to collaboration and experimentation across design and environmental fields.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

+44 (0)125 350 2917

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389


Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295