Architecture MArch

About the course


The Architecture MArch at DMU is Part 2 of the three-part architectural education sequence, as defined by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Fully accredited by RIBA and Architect’s Registration Board (ARB), this advanced course comprises the final training in design and theory needed to practice as an Architect in the EU and elsewhere.

The course is profession-oriented, focused on creative holistic architectural design, taught by leading practitioners alongside academic staff, and includes regular guest lectures from eminent international professionals. You will build on your skillset in design and develop your own architectural language; preparatory to completing a single 12 month project in the final year.

Upon graduation you will have compiled a portfolio of fully completed architectural designs of advanced complexity. Graduates may also progress to the Architectural Practice PG Dip, Part 3 and final qualification, within the Leicester School of Architecture at DMU.

Architecture MArch winners gallery: 

Architecture MArch winners gallery|

Image: Jordan Young - Geological and Microbiological research facility - Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk. One of seven shortlisted for the 3d reid prize for Part 2 graduate architecture students 2013

Recent MArch graduates have received the following awards and accolades:

  • One of seven shortlisted for the 3d reid prize for Part 2 graduate architecture students 2013

  • DMU Critical Thinking Award 2013

  • DMU Critical Thinking Award 2012

  • One of six selected for publication in Building Design journal’s Class of 2012 feature

  • Selected for RA Summer Show 2012

  • Commended RIBA President’s Medals Students Awards 2011 Silver Medal Category for Part 2

  • Winner RIBA Sergeant Award for Excellence in Drawing 2011

  • Winner and runner up RIBA East Midlands Student Low Carbon Design Award 2011

  • One of five selected for publication in Building Design journal’s Class of 2011 feature 

  • Final four in 3d reid prize for Part 2 graduate architecture students 2011

  • Selected for RA Summer show 2010

  • TECU international student prize 2010

“... the MArch Programme's overall structure and standards of teaching remain exemplary, as does the positive and supportive atmosphere which exists between staff and students. In particular, the breadth of ambition for the students, requiring them to perform over a wide range of skills, provides an excellent overall grounding in architecture, while the integrated nature of the programme, combined with its openness, encourages students to identify their own interests, engage in research, and synthesise their efforts in a very positive way. This synthetic approach, which culminates with the CDP, is a model that other schools would do well to emulate.”

Carolyn Steel – MArch External Examiner Report 2011-12

Key facts

Duration: Two years full-time, three years part-time usually while in practice. 

Location: Fletcher Building 

Start date: September 2014

Entry and admission criteria

Applications are considered from candidates with a 2:1 or above (or equivalent) pass in a first architecture degree either validated by the RIBA or similar to an RIBA Part 1 degree| in the case of non-RIBA validated EU and Overseas courses. Offers are based on first architecture degree results, experience and a portfolio interview or review.

24 months of placement experience are required to register as an architect in the UK; full-time candidates are encouraged to complete 9–12 months, post-Part 1, of this experience before joining, and part-time students to do so while studying the course, though applications without this experience will be considered. 

Graduates with non-RIBA/ARB validated first architecture degrees who wish to register in the UK as an architect eventually would have to submit their portfolios to ARB for examination at some stage though this is not a requirement for entry to the MArch.

DMU provides a PEDR programme through which students' professional experience can be certificated according to RIBA requirements.For further information please see Architecture (PEDR) SPS|.


UK applicants with relevant qualifications should submit a portfolio of work (please see our Architecture MArch portfolio advice| for full details).

Overseas applicants will be invited to send samples of their work. For further details check our international students portfolio page|.

International Students

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 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.

Teaching and assessment

Your design skills are extended through the resolution of increasingly complex projects. These culminate in the Comprehensive Design Project (CDP), which teaches you real-world design methodology for complex buildings. Design and technical knowledge are developed simultaneously to achieve a balance of pragmatic creativity. 

A studio culture is encouraged and exclusive facilities are available, including access to a comprehensive set of architectural software and printing. Intensive tutoring is provided, particularly in the CDP, from consultants in appropriate professions.

Media for assessment are chosen as appropriate to the task and can include hand and CAD drawings, traditional and CAD-generated physical models, multimedia presentation and reports.

Other modules are explored through lectures, seminars, essays, group work and case studies. Learning is synchronised with design work. Assessment is based on project and seminar presentations, essays, and group work. The classified MArch award is calculated on an aggregate of all assessments.

Course modules

Course modules - Full-time

First year modules include:

  • Design 1
    You work in groups of two on a complex device design and build learning how to use the extensive workshop facilities to produce well designed objects that work with a mix of pragmatism, art and wit, and how to present them.
  • Design 2
    Preceded by a field trip to an historic urban environment (recently, Edinburgh old town, Prague, Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Porto and Lisbon), you will select sites and propose briefs for them. This module is about the research behind these, including conceptual feasibility studies; it is also used for workshops in Rhino and advanced Photoshop.
  • Design 3
    You will make final proposals for the sites and briefs drawn up in Design 2, presented to a high standard.
  • History Theory and Criticism
    You will learn how to analyse precedents, use advanced writing methodologies preparatory to the Dissertation; the study of contemporary architectural thinking.

Second year modules include:

  • Management Practice and Law
    Advanced professional practice preparatory to second placement year and Part 3; synchronised with RIBA Plan of Work and the Comprehensive  Design Project so you can see the part it plays in the design process.
  • Comprehensive Design Project
    A double module, the final major design project; students choose brief and site to guidelines and have 12 months to complete it.
  • Dissertation
    A 10–15,000 word paper; you will choose the subject area with approval and are encouraged to relate it to your Comprehensive Design Project.

View our current student work gallery|

Course modules -Part-time

This normally involves one day’s study per week during term-time plus 10 additional days throughout the year.

Modules normally include (module details listed above):

First year:

  • Design 1
  • Design 2
  • Design 3

Second year:

  • History Theory and Criticism
  • Dissertation
  • Management Practice and Law

Third year:

  • Comprehensive Design Project

Academic expertise

The MArch provides a balanced programme that encourages both a creative approach to design and a bridge to the profession. To achieve this, the course is staffed with design tutors active in the profession and more recent architecture graduates, including:

  • Programme Leader Tom Fitzsimmons, former director of Edward Cullinan Architects, now runs his own London based practice
  • Tom Muirhead, who worked with James Stirling, Sam Causer, and Geraldine Dening also running their own practices
  • Bartlett graduate Ben Cowd, who worked with Norman Foster, whose work has been exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and is the 2012 winner of the £10,000 Lend Lease/AJ Grand Award for Architecture there

Contributors to the teaching have included Robert Sakula, Dean Hawkes and Julian Marsh, as well as staff from AHMM, Richard Murphy Architects, Glenn Howells and Buro Happold.

Industry links and professional accreditation

De Montfort University is highly rated by employers and offers excellent links with industry, the creative and cultural world, and the professions. As well as the extensive use of design staff active in the industry and visiting professionals, close links exist with local practices who participate in a mentoring scheme for final year students which pro-actively helps in the Comprehensive Design Project.

Graduate careers

The MArch programme enjoys a good reputation in the profession for producing graduates with a rigorous education, which is useful to them from the start.  So its graduates find employment relatively quickly, many with prestigious firms that include:

  • Foster + Partners (Gherkin London)
  • MAKE (The Cube Birmingham)
  • AHMM (Monsoon HQ London)
  • Grimshaw Architects (Eden Project Cornwall)
  • Heatherwick Studio (Olympic Cauldron London)
  • HTA (Housing for Olympic sailing athletes Weymouth)
  • Aukett Fitzroy Robinson (AJ100 International Practice of the Year 2012)
  • Glenn Howells Architects (The Savill Building Windsor)

Fees and funding

Fees and funding options for 2014/15 entry are still under review and are subject to change.

Postgraduate courses fees (per year) £3,610
Postgraduate courses fees (per year) £11,700
Part 1 full-time students who wish to change to part-time Part 2 - Year 1 £2,920
Part 1 full-time students who wish to change to part-time Part 2 - Year 2 £2,920
Part 1 full-time students who wish to change to part-time Part 2 - Year 3 £1,950
Part 1 part-time students who started Part 1 post-09/10 - Year 1 £1,250
Part 1 part-time students who started Part 1 post-09/10 - Year 2 £1,250
Part 1 part-time students who started Part 1 post-09/10 - Year 3 £840
Part 1 part-time students who started Part 1 pre-09/10 - Year 1 £1,080
Part 1 part-time students who started Part 1 pre-09/10 - Year 2 £1,080
Part 1 part-time students who started Part 1 pre-09/10 - Year 3 £720
Continuation UK/EU Fee* £150
Continuation International Fee* £5000

For more information please take a look at our Funding|| section.

* A fee that is charged on a periodic basis where Postgraduate or Research students need to extend their registration to complete the course.


The Course is well resourced with dedicated graduate studios with seating for all students and equipped with a wide range of regularly updated advanced CAD software and extensive computer, printing and scanning facilities. The Faculty provides extensive and up-to-date workshop facilities, including wood, metal, plastic, glass and ceramics, as well as laser cutters, CNC and rapid prototyping. Courses in advanced 3d-CAD and Photoshop are offered as part of the Programme, and training in basic CAD is available.  As well as the well stocked and constantly updated library, the School has a dedicated architectural resources centre.

How to apply

Students can apply directly to study this postgraduate taught course at DMU by using our online applications portal|.

You should give full details of your qualifications, relevant work experience and evidence of design work in a digital/portfolio format.

Contact details

For more information please contact:

Online enquiry form|
UK Study enquiries: 0116 250 6070
International study enquiries: +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70

For course-specific details please contact:

Tom Fitzsimmons
T: +44 (0)116 257 7540

Related courses

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

 Architects Registration Board

The Leicester School of Architecture is fully validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)| and the Architects Registration Board|.

Portfolio advice

Architecture MArch portfolio advice|

Portfolio advice for UK/EU applicants|

International applicants should refer to our Leicester School of Architecture portfolio advice|

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