Programme Specification for MArch Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2)


Final award


Intermediate awards available

PG Cert HE, PG Dip HE

Mode of delivery

UEL on campus

Details of professional body accreditation

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) & the Architects Registration Board (ARB) (Part 2 exemption)

Relevant QAA Benchmark statements

Subject statement for Architecture

UEL Academic School

Architecture, Computing and Engineering

Date specification last up-dated

July 2014



 The summary - Programme advertising leaflet

Programme content

Architecture is the process of understanding people and places and planning and designing buildings informed by this understanding.  Through an exploration of materials, forms and structures, the process leads to designs for buildings to be constructed in a particular context.

Architecture at UEL The MArch Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2) programme at UEL provides the educational framework that enables students who successfully complete the programme to have exemption from Part 2 of the ARB/RIBA Examination.  This is one of the 3 Parts required to achieve qualification to register as an Architect in the UK.  Students are taught in small groups, or units, under the direction of design tutors. Units work independently within the framework of the programme, led by the design tutors and supported by Technical, Computing and History & Theory staff. The programme emphasises learning through the process of making and the critical reflection of what has been made. In this way creativity and critical judgement are developed. Students receive personal tuition each week from tutors who are usually also practising architects. Most of the learning is done through design project work in the School's excellent studios and workshops. Since the aim is to develop to the full each student's creativity and judgement, the programme is highly demanding and requires full-time attendance.

• A professionally-accredited programme, furthering progress towards qualification as an Architect

• A programme that uniquely integrates technical knowledge and understanding with creative exploration

• A highly demanding and highly rewarding programme

• A programme that is studied in a unique atmosphere within the studio environment, using both traditional and cutting-edge fabrication and design technologies in our workshops

• A programme that develops critical thinking, the ability to work independently and to make propositions.

Entry requirements


An ARB/RIBA Part 1 qualification, with a minimum Degree classification of 2.2

Or, the following statement from the ARB applies: ‘Students who do not hold an architecture degree with ARB/RIBA Part 1 exemption  may enter the MArch Architecture programme which carries ARB/RIBA Part 2  exemption at UEL.  As the MArch Architecture carries ARB/RIBA Part 2 exemption all students who successfully gain the award will have a Part 2 level qualification which is recognised by both ARB and the RIBA.

However students are made  formally made aware by this notice that this qualification will not allow them to register in the UK on its own.  To register in the UK a student must have passed ARB-recognised qualifications at  Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 levels.  Provided they have an appropriate first degree which is principally in architecture, students without an ARB-recognised Part 1 qualification, who wish to ultimately register in the UK will therefore have to apply to ARB to undertake the Prescribed Examination to gain equivalence of their qualification at Part 1 level.  The eligibility requirements for the examination, as well as the Examinations Procedures, can be found at the following link to ARB’s website:

Students are strongly encouraged to regularly check the eligibility requirements for the Examinations and/or to contact ARB if they have any queries about the Examination, as from time to time ARB’s requirements do change.  Students who wish to register in the UK but are entering the MArch Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2) at UEL without a Part 1 exemption do so at their own risk.’

At UEL we are committed to working together to build a learning community founded on equality of opportunity - a learning community which celebrates the rich diversity of our student and staff populations. Discriminatory behaviour has no place in our community and will not be tolerated. Within a spirit of respecting difference, our equality and diversity policies promise fair treatment and equality of opportunity for all. In pursuing this aim, we want people applying for a place at UEL to feel valued and know that the process and experience will be transparent and fair and no one will be refused access on the grounds of any protected characteristic stated in the Equality Act 2010


On meeting the above criteria, a portfolio interview will be held with the applicant, which may be in person or via electronic portfolio submission.  The interview will determine whether the applicant has the necessary skills to enter the programme and a final decision will be made on this basis. 

Direct entry into second year of the programme:

Students may apply via Accreditation of Certificated Learning (ACL) to enter the second year (Level 7b) of the programme, only if they have completed the first year of another ARB/RIBA Part 2 accredited programme and where evidence (transcripts and module specifications) is provided demonstrating that module specifications completed map directly onto the UEL module specifications. 

In the case of applicants whose first language is not English, an IELTS grade of 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any component is required.  The University’s English Language requirements as detailed on the website at time of application must be met – see 

Programme structure

The programme is only available to entrants as Full-Time study and is normally taken over two years.  Each year comprises two Modules that are studied in parallel across the academic year:

Year 1 (Level 7a)

AR7181 Architectural Design

AR7182 Technical, professional and cultural studies

Year 2 (Level 7b)

AR7281 Architectural Design

AR7282 Technical, professional and cultural studies

Modules AR7182 and AR7282 contain components: Technical Studies, Professional Studies and History and Theory and each and every component in each module must be passed at 50% to pass the module.  The module specifications contain Learning Outcomes and each and every learning outcome must be met to pass the module. 

All modules at Level 7a must be passed at 50% to proceed to the second year (Level 7b) of the programme.

All components of the programme are compulsory, however students can make choices for which design unit and theory route to follow and all efforts are made to match students with their choices. 

Learning environment

Some of the learning is through lectures and seminars, and involves reading and writing. The heart of the programme is the design studio where students learn the strategies and techniques of architectural design through design project work. The design studio comprises of a number of 'units', or groups of students from both years of the programme (Levels 7a and 7b) and is taught by unit tutors.  Students remain in their unit for the year, following a particular agenda set out by the unit tutors.  This generates a uniquely diverse and stimulating environment, within the common framework of a professionally accredited programme. 

The Architecture, Design and the Built Environment Subject Area within the School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering is based in the A.V.A building, on the UEL Docklands Campus. As well as excellent studios there are extensive wood and metal and digital fabrication workshops, photographic darkrooms and computer suites. Students also visit study sites and buildings, cities and landscapes in the UK and abroad. At the end of the Academic Year the students exhibit their work at the end of year exhibition. 


Students receive feedback on their progress throughout the year during tutorials and crits. Final Assessment takes place at the end of the academic year via the Academic portfolio, which comprises the design portfolio and Technical, professional and cultural component submissions. Although the Programme includes some choice in the routes of study, there are no optional components and each and every component in the year must be passed before progressing to the next year and before graduating from the final year. At the end of the final year of the programme (Level 7b) students present in person to a table of tutors acting as internal examiners and again in person to external examiners.  Both sets of examiners are asked to confirm that the student has demonstrated that they have met each and every Learning Outcome.  These Learning Outcomes map onto the professional criteria and so must all be evidenced in order to gain the professional exemption from Part 2.  There are no closed book examinations.

Students with disabilities and/or particular learning needs should discuss assessments with the Programme Leader to ensure they are able to fully engage with all assessment within the programme.

Relevance to work/profession

Applicants are encouraged to complete 1 year of Professional Experience post-Part 1 in practice prior to entering the programme (see for relevance and registration of experience) and a Professional Studies Advisor programme is offered separately by UEL for year-out students.  However students that have not undertaken professional practice experience may still be admitted provided they can demonstrate they have the necessary skills through the portfolio interview. 

The programme prepares students to enter practice and continue their Professional Experience towards the Part 3 examination and qualification as an Architect.

The programme has strong links with practice, including many teaching staff and invited guests who are working in practice, and an open lecture series running throughout the year where practitioners speak about their work.  Support is provided to assist students seeking employment after graduation through CV workshops and links with practice. 

Dissertation/project work

The core of the design portfolio is the research, analysis and design of the student's own, individual architectural proposal, in response to the unit's agenda.

Your future career

The programme enables the progression towards a career as an Architect.

How we support you

On enrolment, you will be provided with introductory materials on the use of the UEL Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and UEL Direct.

Architecture students come from many different educational backgrounds so the first weeks of the programme is organised as a hands-on Construction Workshop. This develops organisational, professional, technical and practical skills of facilitating a ‘Live Architecture Project’. This also acts as an induction to the facilities of the department and to the ethos of the school

Each student has a personal tutor whom they meet at least once a week. The tutor is responsible for guiding your academic development and will give personal support if necessary. As most of the teaching and learning is in small groups working along common themes within the unit, you are also encouraged to learn from fellow students

Bonus factors

Each year, a number of design units site their projects overseas in a variety of different contexts.  This provides the opportunity for students to visit and study a different place and make architectural proposals in response.  There are also opportunities to enter international architectural competitions, sometimes as part of the coursework contributing to the portfolio.

Programme aims and learning outcomes

What is this programme designed to achieve?

This programme is designed to give you the opportunity to:

  • Develop your creativity and critical judgement
  • Progress towards a career as an architect

What will you learn?


  • History and theory of architecture and design
  • Technology of building
  • Building industry
  • Environment and sustainability
  • Regulatory framework in which architecture is produced

Thinking skills

  • Use creativity, conceptual skills and judgement to identify human needs and requirements and to meet or express them spatially

Subject Based Practical skills

  • Ability to use a range of media (drawing, models, computers, photography, film-making) in analysis and representation to create architectural proposals
  • Experience in physical making and the use of work shop facilities.

Skills for life and work (general skills)

  • Creativity
  • Team working
  • Clarity of analysis in spoken and written words, as well as in drawing and other visual media
  • Use of computers
  • Ability to analyse problems and propose solutions.
  • Understanding how things are made

The programme structure


All programmes are credit-rated to help you to understand the amount and level of study that is needed.

One credit is equal to 10 hours of directed study time (this includes everything you do e.g. lecture, seminar and private study).

Credits are assigned to one of 5 levels:

3          equivalent in standard to GCE 'A' level and is intended to prepare students for year one of an undergraduate degree programme

4          equivalent in standard to the first year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme

5          equivalent in standard to the second year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme

6          equivalent in standard to the third year of a full-time undergraduate degree programme

7          equivalent in standard to a Masters degree

Credit rating

The overall credit-rating of this programme is 240

Typical duration

The duration of this programme is two calendar years full-time with enrolment in September.

How the teaching year is divided

The teaching year begins in September and ends in June.  Each student will study 120 credits over the year.

What you will study when

Each year of the programme comprises two equally-weighted modules running in parallel and spanning from September to June. All Learning Outcomes within each module must be met, all components within each module passed at 50% and all modules passed in order to progress to the second year of the programme




Module Title

Distance Learning (Y/N)




AR7 181

Architectural Design M1





AR7 182

Technical, professional and cultural studies M1





AR7 281

Architectural Design M2






AR7 282

Technical, professional and cultural studies M2




*Please Note - A core module for a programme is a module which a student must have passed (i.e. been awarded credit) in order to achieve the relevant named award. An optional module for a programme is a module selected from a range of modules available on the programme.

Requirements for gaining an award

In order to gain a Postgraduate Certificate, you will need to obtain 60 credits at Level 7.

In order to gain a Postgraduate Diploma, you will need to obtain 120 credits at Level 7.

Masters Award Classification

Where a student is eligible for an MArch award then the award classification is determined  by calculating the credit-weighted arithmetic mean of all marks on the current enrolment and applying the mark obtained as a percentage, with all decimals points rounded up to the nearest whole number, to the following classification;

70% - 100%


60%- 69%


50% - 59%


0% - 49%

Not passed


Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching and learning

Teaching and learning is organised through:

  • project work
  • programme work
  • essay writing
  • seminars & tutorials
  • lectures
  • Knowledge, thinking skills, practical skills and general skills are developed through lectures, seminars and tutorials associated with design projects, coursework, and essay and report writing.


  • Knowledge is assessed through its manifestation in course work, design projects and essays.
  • Thinking skills are assessed through their manifestation in course work, design projects and essays.
  • Practical skills are assessed through course work and design projects.
  • Skills for life and work are assessed individually through the ability to produce design projects, coursework and essays, and the ability to explain one's work verbally at reviews and in the final year to an external examiner.

How we assure the quality of this programme

Before this programme started

Before this programme started, the following was checked:

  • there would be enough qualified staff to teach the programme;
  • adequate resources would be in place;
  • the overall aims and objectives were appropriate;
  • the content of the programme met national benchmark requirements;
  • the programme met any professional/statutory body requirements;
  • the proposal met other internal quality criteria covering a range of issues such as admissions policy, teaching, learning  and assessment strategy and student support mechanisms.

This is done through a process of programme approval which involves consulting academic experts including some subject specialists from other institutions.

How we monitor the quality of this programme

The quality of this programme is monitored each year through evaluating:

  • external examiner reports (considering quality and standards);
  • statistical information (considering issues such as the pass rate);
  • student feedback.

Drawing on this and other information, programme teams undertake the annual Review and Enhancement Process which is co-ordinated at School level and includes student participation.  The process is monitored by the Quality and Standards Committee.

Once every six years an in-depth review of the whole field is undertaken by a panel that includes at least two external subject specialists.  The panel considers documents, looks at student work, speaks to current and former students and speaks to staff before drawing its conclusions.  The result is a report highlighting good practice and identifying areas where action is needed.

The role of the programme committee

This programme has a programme committee comprising all relevant teaching staff, student representatives and others who make a contribution towards the effective operation of the programme (e.g. library/technician staff).  The committee has responsibilities for the quality of the programme. It provides input into the operation of the Review and Enhancement Process and proposes changes to improve quality.  The programme committee plays a critical role in the  quality assurance procedures.

The role of external examiners

The standard of this programme is monitored by at least one external examiner.  External examiners have two primary responsibilities:

  • To ensure the standard of the programme;
  • To ensure that justice is done to individual students.

External examiners fulfil these responsibilities in a variety of ways including:

  • Approving exam papers/assignments;
  • Attending assessment boards;
  • Reviewing samples of student work and moderating marks;
  • Ensuring that regulations are followed;
  • Providing feedback through an annual report that enables us to make improvements for the future.

The external examiner reports for this programme are located on the UEL virtual learning environment (Moodle) on the school notice board under the section entitled ‘External Examiner Reports & Responses’. You can also view a list of the external examiners for the UEL School by clicking on the link below.

Listening to the views of students

The following methods for gaining student feedback are used on this programme:

  • Module evaluations
  • Student representation on programme committees (meeting twice a year)
  • Informal feedback through online discussion forum and availability of staff for student feedback

Students are notified of the action taken through:

List the methods that you use e.g.

  • circulating the minutes of the programme committee
  • providing details on the programme noticeboard
  • Individual responses to students as required
  • Postings on our online discussion forums

Listening to the views of others

The following methods are used for gaining the views of other interested parties:

  • Questionnaires to former students
  • Annual student satisfaction questionnaire
  • Practicing architects invited as guest critics and at the annual Open Jury
  • Reviews from the RIBA and ARB as accrediting bodies
  • Professional Studies Advisor

Further information

Where you can find further information

Further information about this programme is available from:

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