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MA Architecture and Urbanism

Course overview

Start date

Subject area

Architecture, Computing and Engineering





On campus

Course summary

The MA in Architecture and Urbanism builds upon UEL legacy of world-leading form generation through computational design explored through the work of the university’s late senior lecturer, Paul Coates. This involves using parametric and object-oriented design methodologies seamlessly with rapid manufacturing and visualization techniques available within the school.

Whether you want to expand your field of expertise, or deepen it, this unique one-year course will enrich your knowledge and enhance your career in the fields of Advanced Architectural, Urban Design and Digital Fabrication. The course is aimed at architecture graduates wishing to specialize in advanced digital design processes, and at those within the ‘built environment’ – such as planners, psychologists, quantity surveyors or designers

Along the course Advanced Architectural Design, Parametric Urban Design, Digital Manufacturing will be developed across the year following a common digital platform which simulates the state of the art of design processes in  contemporary architectural practices. The goal is experimenting new possibilities for architectural spaces and cities connecting the design to advanced fabrication techniques and sustainable strategies in order to generate a research leading to a secure impact in the industry.

Download our yearbook to view examples of our students' work.

Contact us

If you have any questions, talk to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0) 20 8223 3333 or email

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Extensive skills 

This is a new, unique course involving theory and practice, design and fabrication. You will gain a higher level of skills and competence exploring a variety of software and techniques.

Industry links

You will have superb opportunities to benefit from a number of professional links with renowned practitioners working or collaborating with UEL.  
Gold Medal winning C+S Italian architectural practice, Article 25, Buro Happold, Cundall, Zaha Hadid Architects, Grimshaw

Great facilities

Our course offers the chance to materialize your ideas and integrate fabrication within the design process using our cutting edge manufacturing facilities including an ABB robotic arm, CNC milling, Laser cut and 3d printing. .

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Simon Hansen

This course will open your eyes to a whole new and complex side of the ill-used term ‘sustainability’. It has helped me to understand and question the relationship between environmental, economic and social aspects in our current society and how to achieve the world we strive for through critical thinking.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2.2 Honours in an Built Environment Discipline

We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths. 


(Including European Union)

We accept a range of qualifications from across the world. Please see our country pages for information on specific entry requirements for your country.


The submission of a portfolio of work gives the applicant an advantage in showing the academic team their ability and engagement with the specialist area of their choice. We will look for the following in a submitted portfolio:


•    Evidence of exploratory spatial design techniques including sketching, especially model-making and perspective-based imagery
•    Sound technical knowledge of building or spatial design and conventional drawing abilities (plans, sections, elevations)
•    Environmental and structural design knowledge
•    Awareness of architectural history and theory
•    Ability to synthesise the above into architectural proposals
•    Depth of work, engagement and commitment to the subject
•    Presentational skills


Overall IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all components (or recognised equivalent).

As an inclusive university we recognise that applicants who have been out of education for some time may not have the formal qualifications usually required for entry to a course. We welcome applications from those who can demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to study and have relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application (particularly your personal statement) and may ask you to attend an interview or submit a piece of work to help us decide on your eligibility for the course. Our pre-entry Information Advice and Guidance Team are able to provide further advice on entry requirements and suitability for study.

You can speak to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0)20 8223 3333, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Alternatively, you can visit our Information, Advice and Guidance centre. Please click here for details.

What you'll study

Subject to validation


Architecture and Practice

Theory 1

Digital Architecture and Urban Design : Principles

Theory 2

Digital Architecture and Urban Design: Advanced Techniques and Computation


Digital Manufacturing  

How you'll be assessed

 The two taught modules are assessed through an essay/report and design portfolio and by your contributions to seminar discussions and design exercises. The work culminates in your master's thesis which will focus on the digital fabrication of parts of the projects developed across the year

Course specification

How you'll learn

The student will explore digital design as a collaborative journey, learning how to control inter-disciplinary dynamics which are occurring in contemporary architectural practices and are the key to a successful design. Advanced 3d software and BIM processes will be taught and implemented as the backbone of the research. The course will be led by Dr. Fulvio Wirz,  MA Programme leader at UEL and Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects with Efstratios Georgiou (MArch at the Barlett School of Architecture) who will provide specialized support on digital fabrication processes.
UEL staff includes also celebrated practicing architects such as Patrik Schumacher, director at Zaha Hadid Architects, Maria Segantini, partner of C+S Architects, Tony Fretton, principal of Tony Fretton Architects, and Katherine Clarke, partner of Muf.

The Digital Fab Lab

The course is developed in synergy with UEL Digital Fabrication Lab, a cutting edge facility including an ABB robotic arm, CNC,laser cut and 3d printing. All digital tools will be available across the year to support students’ research. During the final term students will be asked to develop and manufacture a large scale (up to 1:1) component/ assembly of their project.   
The course will enhance your career as well as providing an ideal base from which you could choose to go on to doctoral study.

What you'll learn

The Master is structured in three terms which will explore a holistic approach to digital architecture and urban design following the “systemic design” paradigm which uses advanced methods of concept generation, context analysis, programmatic control and performance assessment to achieve a high level of multidisciplinary design coordination. You will study two taught theory modules, each worth 30 credits, and a practical module worth 60 before proceeding to your concluding thesis. The thesis submission will focus on the manufacturing process of a large scale component or a physical model of the building/masterplan.  It will include a written dissertation to complement your studies with a critical reflection on processes and choices made along the course.

Your future career

This course is ideal if you are a practitioner or recent graduate wishing to diversify your knowledge of built environment disciplines.

- The course will help you shift your architectural practice into a new field or direction.
- The course will give you a better understanding of contemporary practice within European and global contexts and help you develop your critical design or writing and thinking skills.
- The course will offer you a specialized expertise that could help to take your career in an upward, and perhaps different, direction.
- The will give you the opportunity to expand your network of contacts, getting in touch with globally renowned practitioners, manufacturers and researchers.
- And if you are considering further study, the course will provide an ideal route towards PhD-level work.

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Our international team travel overseas regularly to meet prospective students and attend recruitment fairs. Our academics also give regular lectures overseas and are happy to speak to prospective students. In addition, we have a large worldwide network of advisors who can provide guidance and support with applying to study at the University of East London.

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