Architecture - MArch

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry.

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....

  • Level Postgraduate Taught
  • Study mode Full Time/Part Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School Birmingham School of Architecture and Design
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

This course is:

Open to International Students


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 well known practices such as Associated Architects, Hawkins\Brown, Hopkins Architects and Glenn Howells Architects.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this 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.

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.

Birmingham School of Architecture and Design 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.

Accredited By

This course is accredited by:

  • Architects Registration Board
  • RIBA

Since joining BCU, I’ve made great working relationships with both staff and students. The tutors have been extremely supportive on what can be a challenging course,and have also encouraged my wider pursuits such as my work with Decolonise Architecture.I appreciate the freedom given to explore our interests through the option of different modules, and the enthusiasm with which tutors embrace alternative design thinking.

Jasmine Lawrence

Why Choose Us?

  • You’ll benefit from our international network of architectural practices and creative organisations to gain opportunities in transdisciplinary projects and industry-focussed modules.
  • Birmingham School of Architecture and Design is highly respected and has a rich history of providing a challenging and stimulating education. It celebrated its centenary in 2009.
  • The School has a long history of delivering live projects where you can work with industry partners and real communities to develop experience in complex urban or spatial challenges through our Co\LAB initiative.
  • The course prioritises a response to the climate emergency with a focus on material literacy, embodied carbon, circular design and input from our Experimental Sustainability Studio that run workshops, curriculum updates and design skills.
  • Our students have received international recognition in prestigious awards, receiving commendations in the SPAB Phillip Web Award, and AJ Student Award for Sustainability, and winning the Deutsche Bank Award for Creative Entrepreneurship.
  • You'll participate in innovative modules where you can select your project to prioritise collaborative design approaches and research themes.
  • Visiting tutors come from highly regarded national or local practices 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 a part-time architecture course with over 30 years’ experience in this unique route of study.
  • Two-thirds of the impact of our research was judged to be very considerable (3*) or outstanding (4*) - REF2021


Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to learn about this course in detail, chat to students, explore our campus and tour accommodation. Booking isn't open yet for this event, register your interest and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Event: 24 November 2024

Register interest

Entry Requirements

Essential requirements

Essential Requirements

Applicants will normally be expected to have:

  • and upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in architecture
  • at least 9 months of post-undergraduate professional practice experience
  • Applicants will also need to submit a good portfolio
  • prepared a critical self-appraisal (see ‘How to Apply’ for detailed guidance)

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.

If you do not meet all of the essential entry requirements, you will be required to complete a successful interview in order to receive an offer for this course.

Extra information for EU/International students

IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands or its equivalent.

International Students

Entry requirements here

If you have a qualification that is not listed, please contact us.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MArch

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 2 years
  • £9,250 in 2024/25
  • £1542 per 20 credits
  • Year 1 - 80 credits
  • Year 2 - 80 credits
  • Year 3 - 80 credits

Fees for Part-time students

This course can be studied on a Part-time study basis. The cost per year of study is based on credit requirements for that year.

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MArch

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 2 years
  • £17,710 in 2024/25

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.


You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Project materials (mandatory)

This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected but is likely be in around £250.

Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of safety equipment in order to use the workshop facilities, including safety boots/shoes. You are also expected to have appropriate clothing and footwear for site visits and field trips.

Media consumable items (mandatory)

This course requires the use of consumables. We suggest budgeting around £400 for printing costs.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

Memberships (optional)

You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Portfolio guidance

If you receive an offer to study this course, you will be required to submit a portfolio. We ask that this is submitted within four weeks of receiving your offer.

Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.

Portfolio guidance

If you receive an offer to study this course, you will be required to submit a portfolio. We ask that this is submitted within four weeks of receiving your offer.

Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.

Personal statement/Critical Self Appraisal

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

You should prepare a written document of 2-4 pages that Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shines a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study. You will also find the personal statement useful as preparation for an interview should you be requested to attend. This document should not just focus on your strengths, but be a reflective piece that shows us you are able to critically appraise your own work and your performance.

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

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you and how would you critically reflect on your undergraduate study?  Outline and your architectural career so far and where you feel your strengths and weaknesses lie? You should also discuss the areas of architecture that you are interested in and a critical analysis of your portfolio.  You may also find it useful to reflect on your skills development through your undergraduate and subsequent practice experience.

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? The course structure, previous studios, student work, exhibitions or publications Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.  We are particularly interested in how you reflect on your organisation and time management, how you are able to priorities your time and tasks both as a student and during your work in practice.  We would also like to know about your experience in collaborating with others and working as part of a team. 

Relevant academic or work experience

Provide a summary of your education to date and your work experience.  This should focus on your post undergraduate practical experience outlining the roles, responsibilities and projects you have been involved with along with how you contributed to your working environment.  Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Should you be invited to attend an interview you will be expected to demonstrate a diverse design and technical portfolio with undergraduate, professional and other supporting work. You will also be expected to bring your personal statement/critical self appraisal and use these documents to answer a series of reflective questions about your motivation for study, your skills development, collaborative experience and your self organisational ability, all of which are essential requisites of an MArch Architecture student.

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Course in Depth

Stage 1

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Stage 2

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Download course specification

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Studies are interconnected across areas of design, research and theory, technology and collaborative practices.

You'll undertake a major research project with a dissertation or extended design practice which can follow on from the Co\LAB live project or another module. The topic can be related to related course content and your particular architectural interest. The dissertation and extended practice topic is negotiated with your tutor.

Design modules are completed through our vertical Studio Units, each with a focussed theoretical frameworks that build on the School's diverse research centres. Our current Units are:

  • Extinction Rebellion Architecture – using XR’s call to action to progress with radical sustainable environments and communities
  • ARENA – exploring architecture as a cultural practice, viewing the city as a performance to disrupt
  • Modern Gazetteer – taking a close reading of the city to create considered interventions through an economy of means.

We have a number of highly experienced visiting tutors and critics from a wide range of local, national and international architectural practices that work with our students and specialist tuition in technology to support each of our units.

Modules are assessed through a mix of reviews, reports, exams and essays. We encourage you to produce creative and dynamic formats with your work including the use of media and immersive digital technologies.

Trip and visits

Each studio has a UK and European study site. As a final year students, you will be given the opportunity to visit a city or an exceptional building for a detailed research process or use it as the context for your thesis project. Previous locations have included Reykjavik, Florence, Paris, Rotterdam, Milan, Istanbul, Vienna, Barcelona, Berlin, Gibraltar, Venice and Madrid.

The Birmingham School of Architecture and Design has been running a popular New York Trip for over 33 years. Sponsored by Ibstock Brick, the optional trip visits a number of significant sites across Manhattan for a unique architectural experience with past highlights including:

  • A guided tour of the 9/11 Memorial Museum
  • A tour of Cooper Union by Professor David Turnbull.
  • Guided tours of the Donald Judd House, Lincoln Centre, United Nations and the hidden basement levels of Grand Central Terminal.
  • Guided tour of Columbia Medical Education Centre by architects Diller, Scofidio + Renfro and Project Architects Gensler.
  • Practice visits to some of the world’s leading architectural practices
  • Other visits including Guggenheim, MOMA, the New Museum, Seagram Building, Whitney Museum, Highline and the Rockefeller Centre.

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.


Enhancing your employability skills

Upon completing the MArch, you'll be able to produce complex design proposals showing an 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 industry partners will give you a portfolio of projects that engage with collaborative practice, transdisciplinary explorations and highly developed technological resolution. Our students are gaining recognition for the innovative, original and compelling work that they produce.

Our graduates have recently gone on to work for notable practices including:

  • Foster + Partners
  • Hawkins/Brown
  • Glenn Howells Architects
  • Hopkins Architects
  • Intervention Architecture
  • Thomas Hetherwick Studio


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.

More about our placement opportunities

Opportunities on campus

Many of our students are employed in 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.


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:

Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia accreditation

  • This course is proudly accredited by The Board of Architects, Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM)

Facilities & Staff

Parkside gallery

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the exceptional quality of our campuses. With an investment of over £400 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

You will be based in our multi-million pound Parkside building – a state of the art facility located within our City Centre Campus. Here you will have full access to our recently upgraded, high spec CAD (Computer-Aided-Design) workstations situated within our dedicated computer labs and open access areas. We also provide access to leading edge digital design software, enabling you to explore technical drawing, graphics, 3D modelling, visualization, animation, computation, simulation, and virtual reality.

The Parkside Building is also home to our digital fabrication labs, where you will be able to explore 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC machining, ceramics, glass and traditional model-making, guided by our team of expert technicians with access to our on-site material store, and professional printing facilities.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • Design studios
  • Physical and digital library
  • Loanable laptops
  • Dedicated social spaces
  • Cafés

Take a look around on our virtual walkthroughs

Photo Gallery

From industry-standard software, to our workshops and studio spaces, everything you need will be at your fingertips from day one. Working with our dedicated teaching teams and expert technicians, you'll be supported from concept through to completion.

Our staff

Alessandro Columbano

Associate Professor

Alessandro is the course director for the MArch Architecture (RIBA pt.2) and L7 Architect Apprenticeship at the Birmingham School of Architecture. He also co-established and leads the Co\\aborative Lab:oratory (Co.LAB) an inter-disciplinary design-research initiative within the school that integrates teaching with contemporary creative practices...

More about Alessandro

Dr Jemma Browne

Head of Architecture

Jemma is the Deputy Head of School, Course Director BA (Hons) Design for Future Living and Associate Professor Teaching and Learning. She teaches history and theory of Architecture and Design and coordinates the overall delivery and development of this strand of all the courses in the School, as well as contributing to the development of the School...

More about Jemma

Hannah Vowles

Deputy Head of School and Associate Professor

Studied architecture at Kingston and the Architectural Association. Worked in architectural practice for 10 years, public and private sector. Founded art practice / project Art in Ruins with Glyn Banks – exhibitions, published critical writing, curating, teaching. Founding Chair of association of architectural educators. 

More about Hannah

Professor Rachel Sara

Oscar Naddermier Professor of Architecture | National Teaching Fellow

Rachel’s research explores the way in which health and wellbeing can be affected by architecture and design. She also explores ‘other' forms of architecture, specifically examining transdisciplinary architecture practices through collaborations between architecture and dance, co-design and hands-on, community based architectural...

More about Rachel

Dr Michael Dring

Academic Lead for Architecture & Senior Lecturer in Architecture

Michael Dring is an architect, educator, research scholar and artist, working across the fields of architecture, landscape and art. Educated at the Manchester School of Architecture, Michael has worked in Birmingham for over 20 years in award-winning architectural practice and as course leader and tutor at Birmingham School of Architecture &...

More about Michael