Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2) MArch

Why choose this course?

Architecture is a profession, and this course is an integral part of a sequence of steps – RIBA parts 1, 2 and 3 - that leads to entry into it. Criteria for entry on to the UK Register of Architects are prescribed by the Architects Registration Board (ARB). The ARB and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have agreed to hold the criteria in common and successful completion of the MArch degree gives Part 2 exemption.

In addition to this, the RIBA has introduced new Themes and Values for Architectural Education; which includes further focus on climate literacy, health and life safety, ethical practice, and research literacy. The modules in the programme work within this framework to provide a coherent balance of intellectual and practical skills, as well as facilitating various avenues to develop students' transferable skills.

The course sits in the Department of Landscape and Architecture, one of four Departments in the School of Arts, which is one of three Schools (with the Design School and the School of Creative and Cultural Industries) in the Faculty of Kingston School of Art (KSA). It is located in the compact Knights Park campus, where it is directly adjacent to the range of other creative disciplines within KSA. It has immediate access to excellent and wide-ranging resources for physical making, an opportunity which sits at the heart of the pedagogy in each of the programmes and forms a key component of the MArch Architecture programme. The Department's accommodation currently occupies the fourth and fifth floors of the New Extension Building at Knights Park, with the KSA workshops on the ground and first floors of the same building. This is a place in which to converse, to debate, to work and to learn from each other.

During this degree you'll think and make, and develop the technical and critical skills required to be both nimble and empowered to act in today's diverse architectural culture.

The course features a diverse range of design approaches rooted in a common ethos, and often involving 'live-build' projects, recently for the Barbican in London and Kunstmuseum, Bonn.

You'll study in our exceptional, Haworth Tompkins-designed workshops, which are open for creative exploration and offer opportunities to collaborate on projects and share ideas.

Please follow our Architecture & Landscape Instagram to see some of the great work we are doing and visit our research group site Register where we seek to interpret, understand and augment our built landscapes.

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 2 years September 2022
Location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • Innovative course structure which integrates design and supporting studies in a clear and accessible way.
  • We are at the cutting edge of practice-led European architectural discourse. We have areas of distinction in History & Theory, Representation and Tectonics led by dedicated Associate Professors.
  • REGISTER connects the students at Kingston School of Art with the professional and public spheres of architectural practice in London, Europe, and further afield.
  • Our students and staff have won prestigious industry awards.

The Art School Experience

As part of Kingston School of Art, students on this course benefit from joining a creative community where collaborative working and critical practice are encouraged.

Our workshops and studios are open to all disciplines – enabling students and staff to work together, share ideas and explore multi-disciplinary making.

The Art School Experience

Accreditation

Architects Registration Board (ARB)

Architects Registration Board (ARB)

Architects Registration Board (ARB)

This course is a prescribed qualification by the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

This course covers Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) criteria Part 2.

What you will study

During this two-year degree, you'll develop as an architectural designer and thinker and progress to engaging in architectural practice as an independent and reflective practitioner.

You'll be expected to build on the knowledge, understanding and skill acquired during your first degree and a recommended initial period of work-based learning.

The emphasis of this course is therefore to deepen and consolidate existing learning and skill from years 1 to 3, rather than to introduce a wide range of new subject material.

The design studio aspect of the course is taught through studio units. Students have the opportunity to enter a ballot for the unit of their choice at the beginning of each academic year. The subject focus of the units varies from year to year.

Year 4

Final year

The central focus of the course is design practice along with the theoretical, technical and contextual studies which underpin and inform design. You'll enjoy a practice-led teaching curriculum, commended by the RIBA visiting panel. Throughout the degree, you'll gain a comprehensive knowledge of the areas of study required to enter and contribute to architectural practice and architectural design.

You'll also be supported in identifying and developing your particular strengths and interests, alongside your studies in core subjects.

Core modules

Reading: Architecture Holds Knowledge

15 credits

If asked to put a value on architecture it might be useful to think about its opposite. About scenes of buildings, towns or cities riven and shattered following some disaster, war or accident. Even if no life has been lost we feel a loss. There is a value here, and it is more than the economic cost of the lost buildings, it is the loss of a particular form of knowledge, one which can link matters prosaic and esoteric, and which defies an easy classification. The rituals of life, of habit; the patina of care and repair, works great and small that together made a place. We might begin here, with the idea that it is somewhere in this feeling that the value of architecture might be, and where its value is to society

In day-to-day life this knowledge is implicit, a background and a framework for life. As architects we know what it is to observe this, to study it and gain inspiration from it, or to find aspects which are deserving of critique.

In this module you will seek out aspects of this knowledge. You will look closely at a particular building or place, one that you are drawn to. You will study it, reflect on it, and research it using primary and secondary sources. You will build from tangible aspects of its making – and build to shape the making of an extended essay, which will form the first chapter of your dissertation.

Professional Practice: Architecture is a Built Negotiation

15 credits

Architects need to prioritize the safety and security of all stakeholders. They clearly have a duty to fulfil the needs of clients, users, and the construction industry but also to consider the broader community and the environment more widely. In addition, the legal, moral, and regulatory frameworks that govern the work of architects - from planning to health and safety, from fire safety to sustainability, accessibility, and buildability – are increasingly impacting on the business of building buildings.

This module asks you to become agents of good design, and to integrate developing ideas relating to architecture as an ethical, intellectual, practical, and professional discipline. As designers, you will identify, evaluate, formulate and record a range of factors relating to construction, across a range of scales, which are developed from experience and inform your individual design proposal. We will investigate the regulatory, contractual, and economic environment of professional practice, which underpins architectural production.

You will usually have your own moral and ethical position regarding your responsibilities as potential architects, and you will be required to self-reflect on this. You will also be asked to clarify your views through research, assessment, and critique, and to develop strategies that allow you to clearly articulate your views and their development, and your understanding of processes.

Studio: Architecture Frames Life

60 credits

Architecture is enmeshed with life, with its vagaries, contingencies and delights. Inextricably linked to capital and power it yet can draw its inspiration from sources critical of this context – for example in introducing space for the civic or public in projects ostensibly privately commissioned and imagined. It is nothing without the life it frames, and yet parallel with this it has its own autonomy and its own ends. In each project there is a line to be walked, one which we continually adjust, between the limits of the discipline socially, ecologically or politically, and our duties to clients and users.

In learning how to engage with this we do not seek to be taught exemplars that we may apply in the future, we know this is follow as every social and physical contest is unique. What we seek in education is to stretch the limits of how we can conceive, develop and implement ideas. In this studio context you will engage with a unit of your choosing, and will push the limits of your skills to test and develop new ways of seeing architecture and your role in shaping it.

Working in the unit you will develop these with colleagues, critique them and iterate them. You will test, iterate and develop a critical reading of a place through your design work, and to ground this in a rigorous process of research as set by the unit.

Making & Representing: Architecture Dreams of the Future

30 credits

The creative process is one paradoxically informed by doubt and incertitude. The paradox at the heart of design – the aporia of design – is that one must design something that does not exist yet. But then, what are you designing if it does not yet exist in some form. There is a reciprocation in the creative process that opens a question – how do you project yourself forward when you know nothing about what is to come? This is sophistry of course, there is a point where language runs out of use and we must make and do, regardless. It is this act that you will explore in this module.

The Kingston ethos is ‘thinking through making' and you will think with your hands and bodies, exploring with freedom and openness, and engaging with the interdisciplinary landscape of the Kingston School of Art.

We will refine through iteration and debate, finding ways to make discoveries in process by doing, and then reflecting. Dreaming the future into being by acting in the moment and following your intuition. In this process the potential exists for you to find the critical tools that might unlock languages of architecture that can respond to and shape our world.

Core modules

Reading: Architecture can be Read

30 credits

The built landscapes of our world are a way of reading a society over time. Its relationship to climate and material, along with ideas of social structure, ritual and use. Architects frequently draw their ideas from this living archive, and architectural historians' thread their stories of how ideas may move through time and space. In our school, we refer to this process as ‘reading' instead of the more conventional ‘history and theory' as we prioritise the ability to see, comprehend and interpret that the word reading implies. Here, the reading of architecture is a way for you to find meaning – meaning which is relevant to and enabling of your own progression as an architect.

It is this act of finding meaning that lies at the heart of this module. You will develop a critical appraisal of the context of a work or architect, and to summate your own position on architecture with reference to your own design work. If you completed 4th year with us, this essay will build on that which you wrote last year. It can also be a standalone text.

Professional Practice: Architecture is a Profession

15 credits

An Architect's ability to understand, research and react to the codes that govern their work is a key professional competency. Far from being a diminution of the act of designing, a critical engagement with these can lead to richer works.

But architecture is more than design guidance and technical knowledge, it is also negotiation and social interaction, a reliance on judgement, risk assessment, and an avoidance of the possibility of harm. You will therefore begin to explore the practice of architecture in terms of legislation, regulations, case law, evaluative practices, and in the very the business of architecture in terms of planning, management, contracts, fees, and certification.

In this module you will engage critically in the process of social, legal, financial, ethical and technical decision-making. You will examine your own design project in studio: you will research the design in accordance with UK codes, laws and regulations, and demonstrate how your design complies. You will also consider your individual decisions by reflecting on their social impacts.

Studio: Architecture Is...

60 credits

Design projects in university differ from those in practice in many ways. Key amongst these differences is the slightly rarified and protected context of a university project - free from many of the vagaries and contingencies of the world. This is not to say that a project in university is easier - for it also lacks the serendipity, the teamwork and collaboration which inevitably can advance a project. Why then conduct design work in this context? Is the university design project merely an abstraction rather than a simulation?

The answer of course is yes - but understanding the value of a project in this context as lacking in meaning is to miss the point. In the abstraction of the university you can lay down thinking which you can draw on in decades. You can situate yourself, test and critique, in a context which is almost impossible to replicate elsewhere.

This is your last design project of this type. In many ways it does not differ from those that went before save for this - your critical and technical skills position you now as a peer to those teaching you. In this module you will show what you think the potentials of architecture is in your hands. You might generate new knowledge in doing this, or indeed lay down the ideas that allow you to shape the discipline in the years ahead.

Making: Architecture is the Art of the Possible

15 credits

Construction is not what follows design, rather it is intertwined with it. The act of designing is enabled by knowing how it might be made, by mentally constructing it as you shape its spaces.

In this module you will interrogate your emerging thesis design through the lens of how it might be made. You will research and develop a critical reading of this process and allow this to be informed by, and in turn inform the emergent design.

This work encourages a critical engagement with the underlying processes in the making of your proposed design, and include a consideration of its lifecycle in use, and in disassembly.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

An overview of the Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2) MArch course

An overview of the Architecture Masters course.

Teaching through studio units

The design studio aspect of the course is taught through studio units. Students have the opportunity to enter a ballot for the unit of their choice at the beginning of each academic year. The subject focus of the units varies from year to year.

The image gallery below contains examples of student work. 

Entry requirements

What you need to apply for this course

The course has been designed for applicants seeking a route to registration in the UK and who already have Part 1 exemption as well as at least a year's professional experience. However, there are opportunities for students without this work experience to join the course. If you are in any doubt as to your eligibility to join the course, you are encouraged to apply, stating your experience and qualifications. All suitable applicants are then interviewed prior to acceptance onto the course.

Typical offer

Applicants must have:

  • Preferably ARB/RIBA Part 1 or exemption from it, but we will consider applications without Part 1 who have undertaken non-UK or non-validated architecture degrees. Before qualifying as a UK architect, students must have obtained Part 1, as well as Part 2 and 3. Please contact the ARB regarding eligibility for their Prescribed Part 1 exam;
  • in most cases, not less than 40 weeks of appropriate professional experience prior to entry;
  • a high level of basic design skill as well as an ability to engage in a rigorous, graduate programme of study;
  • an understanding of architecture as both an academic subject and an ongoing practice; and
  • a commitment and motivation to the practice of architecture.

We will give preference to applicants who have:

  • 2:2 or above honours degree; and
  • evidence of a range of experience in either architectural practice or an allied design/construction environment.

Portfolio guidance

Digital portfolio

In your portfolio we would like to see a collection of academic work from your undergraduate degree, professional work undertaken in architectural practice, as well as independent work, such as architectural competition entries, travel sketches, photography projects or any other work in any other media that illustrates your range of skills and expresses your architectural ideas and sensibilities.

In order to help you preparing your portfolio we recommend that you consider the following aspects:

  • Please make sure that your portfolio is clearly labelled with your name, email address and contact telephone number.
  • Carefully edit your work, setting out a clear narrative and logical sequence of themes or techniques, in order to produce an exciting, creative and representative portfolio.

Personal statement

Please also upload an additional personal statement which addresses the following questions:

  1. What are your reasons for choosing to apply to the M.Arch course at Kingston School of Art?
  2. Is there a particular interest that you want to bring to your M.Arch studies and further develop?
  3. Can you tell us about your approach to architecture, your motivation and ambitions for your future career?
  4. Which of the projects or pieces of work in your portfolio do you think best expresses your ambition, achievement, or enjoyment of architecture?

International

We welcome applications from international students subject to the Typical Offer requirements above.

English language requirements

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

Interviews

We normally invite applicants for an interview prior to selection. We can make alternative arrangements for international students based overseas.

Prior learning - AP(E)L

We actively encourage applications from those who feel their prior academic and professional experience will enable them to enter directly into the final year. Please contact the Course Leader directly to discuss further or contact the faculty office for more information.

Teaching and assessment

Guided independent study (self-managed time)

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

Year 1: 20% of your time is spent in timetabled learning and teaching activity.

  • Scheduled learning and learning: 237 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 963 hours

Final year: 17% of your time is spent in timetabled learning and teaching activity.

  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 202 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 998 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Year 1

Final year

Year 1
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 237 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 963 hours
Final year
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 202 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 998 hours

How you will be assessed

Design projects, reports, seminars, presentations, essays, case studies, and dissertation.

Assessment typically comprises exams (eg test or exam), practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose.

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 100%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 50 students, lecture sizes are normally 50 and design studios under 20. However, this can vary by module and academic year.

Who teaches this course?

This course is staffed by a wide range of distinguished practitioners and academics, with every design studio taught by a practising architect.
Postgraduate students may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

Fees for this course

2022/23 fees for this course

Home 2022/23

  • MArch full time £9,250

International 2022/23

  • MArch full time £16,200

2021/22 fees for this course

Home 2021/22

  • MArch full time £9,250

International 2021/22

  • MArch full time £16,100

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

As an RIBA-validated School of Architecture, there are student funding opportunities offered by the RIBA to assist with your studies at Kingston University.

The RIBA Student Support Fund is open to students studying an RIBA-validated Part 1 or Part 2 architecture course, or with RIBA candidate status, in the UK. (Or in the case of applying for support with practical experience, students who have graduated from an RIBA-validated Part 1 or Part 2 architecture course, or with candidate course status). Eligible applicants can apply for a maximum of £3,000 to support themselves. The fund runs twice per academic year, in the Autumn term and the Spring term.

RIBA offers additional funding opportunities for architecture students.

Facilities

There is a wide range of facilities at Knights Park, where this course is based.

Workshops and studios

The workshops and studios are open for creative exploration and offer you plenty of opportunities to collaborate on projects and share ideas, whether you are studying or researching. Building on this open approach, there are many adaptable architecture studio and workshop spaces, designed by Stirling Prize-winning Haworth Tompkins, alongside active breakout spaces.

At the heart of the building are state-of-the-art workshop facilities, which include:

  • 3D workshops, with ceramics, concrete, resin-casting, plastics, metalwork, woodwork and a bronze-casting foundry, as well as a Big Build space for architecture, set design and large-scale model making
  • animation and post production studios
  • digital Media workshop
  • knitting and sewing workshops with digital and analogue facilities, plus a working dress archive which includes pieces from 1750 to the present day
  • HackSpace (for collaborative, creative, solutions-focused projects)
  • letterpress and printmaking workshop, with digital and analogue facilities, to experiment creatively
  • moving Image workshop, with studios, editing suite, and industry-standard equipment
  • photography workshop, including studios, colour, and black and white darkrooms, processing facilities

All our facilities are open access, meaning you can use them whenever you want, and irrespective of what degree you're studying.

The University's museum and galleries

The University has its own on-site galleries, including:

  • Dorich House – the former studio home of the sculptor Dora Gordine and her husband the Hon. Richard Hare, a scholar of Russian art and literature. Now Grade II listed, the building was completed in 1936, to Gordine's design, and is an exceptional example of a modern studio house created by and for a female artist.
  • Stanley Picker Gallery – one of the leading examples of a university gallery in the UK. Its public activities are dedicated to the research, commissioning and presentation of innovative new practice across the fields of art, design and architecture for general, academic and specialist audiences.
  • project spaces at Knights Park campus, which you can book for the exhibition of large-scale work.

Resources in London

Kingston is just a 30-minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access world-famous museums and galleries.

After you graduate

Graduates from this degree succeed in architectural careers in professional practice, architecture teaching and associated construction and creative industries; they are actively sought by prominent architectural practices in London, the UK and abroad.

Our department nurtures an active and supportive alumni network which is growing year on year.

Links with business

The Department of Architecture and Landscape is invested in acting in continuity with architectural culture, and in cultivating practitioners who make work in a thoughtful manner, attuned to the social and physical contexts where they work.

The REGISTER podcast series features some of the best emerging architectural talent in the UK and Europe. Some will be practitioners engaged in making work, others may be researchers, or planners or developers – people involved in enabling a space for architecture. We are interested in making a space to talk discursively about the culture of practice.

In addition, the majority of teaching staff are practicing professional architects and/or active researchers, including Stirling Prize shortlisted Simon Henley and AOC's Tom Coward; all design studios are taught by practising architects.