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Architectural Design MA

Architectural Design MA

Imagine buildings of the future by developing a personal and critical approach to design execution. Synthesising your knowledge of theoretical debates, with this programme you can establish a comprehensive understanding architecture rooted in the theories of its making. 

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Our Architectural Design MA is a pre-professional programme to help you develop a specialist approach to architectural thinking and design execution. This is an internationally popular course that attracts students from across the world and currently offers entry to the rigorous design teaching and enquiry-based learning that we offer at the Leicester School of Architecture (LSA). You will join a community of academics, practitioners and students that is co-designing new ways of thinking and you will be supported to tackle current real-world challenges while proposing new futures.  

We provide state-of-the-art facilities for you to realise your ambitions, with workshops offer cutting-edge digital fabrication facilities, alongside a wide range of craft workshops, where you can innovate with materials and processes.  

You will benefit from the LSA’s extensive national and international lecture series, attracting leading academics and professionals from around the world. Working both collaboratively and individually, you will undertake design projects in various contexts, while gaining skills in visualisation and fabrication. As a graduate you will be empowered to take a personal and critical position in the globalised architectural world, with the expertise to pursue careers in allied industries including planning, architectural conservation, urban design, facilities, estate and project management. 

Key features

  • Join a community that is co-designing new ways of thinking and meaningfully challenging conventions to redefine the future of architectural practice.
  • Learn both collaboratively in groups and through personalised teaching experiences with our advanced enquiry-based approach.
  • Our enquiry-led approach will encourage you to boldly explore your ideas and learn from your mistakes in a way that will shape your future design choices.
  • This programme helps you master both professional and research skills that will enable you to address the future challenges of sustainable architecture and development.
  • The integrative nature of the programme will provide you with an understanding of the situational structure of architecture and can serve as a foundation for a more fully developed human ecology.
  • Your dedicated tutors come from industry, practice and research, which ensures your work is responding to contemporary, real-world issues that are grounded in both theory and practice.
  • Forge important and international connections for potential partnerships by working closely and collaboratively with students in your cohort.
  • Our award-winning Vijay Patel building has been designed to provide the space and facilities where all of our art and design students can develop their ideas and flourish.


At DMU, we are committed to helping our graduates enhance their careers and personal development through further study.

Postgraduate Alumni Scholarship
Up to 20 per cent of tuition fees offered to DMU alumni who wish to continue their studies at DMU by enrolling on a postgraduate taught course. For more information visit our Postgraduate Alumni Scholarship page.

Sports Scholarship
Apply for the DMU Sports Scholarship, worth up to £6,000.

More courses like this:

Architecture MArch
Architecture and Sustainability MSc

  • UK
  • EU/International

Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time.

Start date: September 2022

Programme code: K19071

Fees and funding: 

2022/23 Full-time tuition fees for UK students: £8,560 per year

Part-time fees will be £715 per 15 credits across all of our courses.

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Duration: One year full-time

Start date: September 2022


Programme code: K19071

Fees and funding: 

2022/23 tuition fees for EU and international students £15,100 per year

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements 

You should have the equivalent or above of a 2:2 UK bachelor’s honours degree in architecture, or an overseas equivalent.

If you have no formal academic qualifications but have extensive industry experience, we will consider your application on an individual basis.

Interview and Portfolio

Applicants with relevant qualifications should submit a portfolio of work (please see our Architectural Design MA application portfolio advice for full details).

Non-standard applicants will be invited to attend an interview with a portfolio.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each band (or equivalent) when you start the course is essential.

English Language tuition, delivered by our British Council-accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessments

 Architecture Hub



Term one

Research Methods 
This component introduces systematic techniques required for research, analysis and synthesis in design and architecture. Establishes an understanding of the theoretical architectural debate

Principles and Methods
Based on a number of directed theoretical options offered to students as ‘streams’ this component offers a directed theoretical approach taught in labs, seminars, or lectures. The form of assessment includes essays or projects. ‘Streams’ may include Phenomenology, Design Computation, Contextual Design, Critical Theory and Urban Approaches. 

Design Research Lab 1 
Based on a number of directed theoretical options offered to students as ‘streams’ as above, this component tests actualising a selected theoretical approach in a design context. The form of assessment is in a design project.

Term two

Architectural Discourse 
Based on a number of directed theoretical options offered to students as ‘streams’ as above, this component offers a theoretical seminar series. The form of assessment is projects or essays. 

Design Research Lab 2 
This component develops the strategic application of theoretical and design ideas, synthesising knowledge from the earlier stages of the course, assessed in design projects. This project may include overseas travel. 

Term three

Major Project
This component involves a thesis project/dissertation.

Note: All modules are indicative and based on the current academic session. Course information is correct at the time of publication and is subject to review. Exact modules may, therefore, vary for your intake in order to keep content current. If there are changes to your course we will, where reasonable, take steps to inform you as appropriate.


In term one, the modules provide a foundation of knowledge and techniques, and requires an active involvement in the process of learning as you make selective decisions to prepare the strategic, positional research statement within one of the Design Lab learning environments. Research Methods introduces systematic techniques required for research, analysis and synthesis in design and architecture. This is complemented by the first part of the Architectural Discourse module, which is seminar based and conveys an understanding of the theoretical architectural debate. You are required to use this background knowledge in the design context introduced in Design Lab 1. 

Term two requires you to further apply knowledge and methods introduced in the second part of the Architectural Discourse module. The Design Lab 2 module is a vehicle through which you develop the strategic application of new ideas, synthesizing knowledge from the earlier stages of the course. 

This provides the foundation for the thesis project module in term three. At this stage you will have established an individual academic agenda, translated into a design or propositional piece of work through the Design Lab modules.

Assessment is completed at the end of each design module in the form of a portfolio submission. Interim assessment and feedback is provided throughout the year in the form of tutorials, seminars, formal presentations or project reviews.

Contact hours
In your first two terms you will normally attend around 10 hours of timetabled taught sessions including lectures, tutorials and workshop and studio sessions each week, and be expected to undertake at least 25 hours of independent study each week. Your third term will be pre-dominantly self-directed (including meetings with your supervisor), during which you can expect to undertake 35 hours of independent study each week 

Part-time study is normally undertaken on a half-time basis.



Architecture Hub

You will have access to studio spaces with CAD facilities, workshops offering a broad range of fabrication from casting, metal working and woodworking to digital printing and water-jet cutting, printing and photography equipment. You will also benefit from resources and support in the Architecture Hub, our online learning space.


Facilities and features

Art and design facilities

Our award-winning Vijay Patel building has been designed to provide the space and facilities where all of our art and design students can develop their ideas and flourish. 

The creative industries require imaginative graduates who can develop new ideas and products. Students use our sophisticated and contemporary workshops, labs and studios to experiment and test in the same way they will in industry, while the open and transparent spaces in the building encourage collaboration between disciplines. In doing so, the building prepares students for industry and helps develop them as future leaders in their respective fields. 

Take a look at our stunning showcase of the building at

You will also benefit from resources and support in the Architecture and Design Resource Centre, our online learning space. 

More flexible ways to learn

We offer an equitable and inclusive approach to learning and teaching for all our students. Known as the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), our teaching approach has been recognised as sector leading. UDL means we offer a wide variety of support, facilities and technology to all students, including those with disabilities and specific learning differences.

Just one of the ways we do this is by using ‘DMU Replay’ – a technology providing all students with anytime access to audio and/or visual material of lectures. This means students can revise taught material in a way that suits them best, whether it's replaying a recording of a class or adapting written material shared in class using specialist software.

Campus Centre

The home of  De Montfort Students' Union, (DSU) our Campus Centre offers a welcoming and lively hub for student life. Conveniently located at the heart of campus, it includes a convenience store, a Subway and a Starbucks. Here you can find the DSU-owned charitable accommodation service Sulets and DSU’s shop, SUpplies, selling art supplies, stationery and clothing, and printing and binding services. The building is also home to the DSU officer team. 


Opportunities and careers

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DMU Global

Our innovative international experience programme DMU Global aims to enrich studies, broaden cultural horizons and develop key skills valued by employers. 

Through DMU Global, we offer an exciting mix of overseas, on-campus and online international experiences, including the opportunity to study or work abroad for up to a year.

While overseas DMU Global opportunities are not currently possible, DMU will continue to review government advice and if travel is permitted, we hope to offer overseas opportunities in the future.

Architecture students have previously travelled to European cities including Copenhagen, where they explored first-hand historical and contemporary Danish design, and Berlin, which provided the opportunity to examine the city’s art, artists and museums to gain a broader design perspective. DMU Global trips have also taken students further afield to India and New York.  


 Graduate careers

This programme is designed to equip you with both professional and research skills that will enable you to address the future challenges of sustainable architecture and development. Many of our graduates pursue careers in allied industries, such as planning, architectural conservation, urban design, facilities, estate and project management, where these skills are in high demand. Graduates also work in fields such as heritage and history studies, event design, digital animation and strategic management. The focus on theoretical architectural debate and developing sophisticated research skills will be excellent preparation to progress onto a PhD


DMU Works

Starting a business 

DMU students are encouraged to pursue their entrepreneurial spirit and the Enterprise Team can help you explore your business idea, business growth, the option of freelancing or being self-employed. There are lots of events, workshops, one-to-one consultation opportunities and enterprise competitions that you can get involved in to progress in your chosen career path. 

Entrepreneurial skills 

Even if you don’t intend to start your own business, many of the Enterprise Team activities will be relevant to you if you simply want to develop your business acumen. Skills such as risk-taking, project management and budgeting can be invaluable in employment. 

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