Postgrad.Dip. Architecture Graduate Diploma

  • On Campus
  • 24 months
  • EUR12280 Year (Non-EEA)
  • English
Kingston University
If you have a passion for architecture and are interested in taking a critical and wide-ranging exploration of what constitutes architecture, this course is ideal.

Description of Architecture Graduate Diploma


The Graduate Diploma in Architecture is the second of three qualifications required to practice as an architect in the UK or the rest of Europe. The Diploma is validated by the Architects' Registration Board of the UK and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

The course is open to students who have already completed an initial degree in architecture in the UK or abroad, and we offer pathways for qualification in the UK which can be completed whilst studying for the Graduate Diploma.

What will you study?

The course operates within the guidelines stipulated by professional accreditation, yet has also developed its own individual qualities related to being based within the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture.

Students will be introduced to a broader understanding of the design process, which is cultural and experimental as well as technical and managerial. Our history and theory course revisits periods from the Ancient Near East to Modernism in an attempt to create a better understanding of the relevance of history and our technology.

Professional practice modules seek to contextualise much of the information, which is used within the various unit programmes. In recognition of this, the programme seeks to encourage students to develop a high level of critical awareness of their academic discipline, as well as of their own practice. It also aims to assist students to identify and develop their particular strengths and interests, whilst expecting all students to meet a minimum level of competence across all core subjects.

The course is currently run as a series of vertical units, allowing students to change after one year or remain with the same design tutors for the whole of their time at Kingston. The unit tutors are taken from practices throughout London and offer a variety of approaches to architectural design. Students are supported by our technical staff throughout the programme, to ensure that sufficient guidance is available at key stages to develop the technical aspects of the projects.

In the end students who come to Kingston to study on the Graduate Diploma Course will develop their understanding of the poetic and tectonic aspects of architecture whilst involving themselves in Kingston's main initiative of 'thinking through making'.

Follow on masters degree

The next couple of years will see considerable changes in architectural education in the UK. One of the key developments is the possible revalidation of the diploma (Part 2) as a masters degree, to bring it in line with its European counterparts.

Kingston University is offering a unique opportunity to recent and forthcoming graduates of the diploma (while this is still in place) to upgrade their status to a masters through a 'follow-on' study of one intensive semester full time or two semesters part time. Following the successful completion of all diploma work, students enrol for a further four modules, which consist of a written dissertation on an appropriate subject to be decided with each student in consultation with the course director and their allocated supervisor(s).

Detailed Course Facts

Tuition fee
  • EUR 12280 Year (Non-EEA)
  • EUR 3770 Year (EEA)

Home (UK and EU students) £3,375 ; Overseas £11,000

Start date September  2015
Duration full-time 24 months
  • English
Take an IELTS test
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Part-time, Full-time

Course Content

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

.module-description { display: none; }.module-title-link { display: block; }

Core modules

  • History and Theory
  • History and Theory

    Architecture is a creative act dependent upon deep, culturally embedded continuities. It is part of a cultural discourse that evolves through history and from which it draws meaning. History however is not simply a collection of facts but an ongoing process of interpretation and understanding. This process forms the necessary basis for a practice that hopes to fulfil its potential and make a meaningful contribution to culture.

    The main aim of this module is to:

    • introduce the history of ideas and its relevance to architecture; and
    • provide a critical mapping of the development of architecture from antiquity to modernity, through the investigation of major turning points.
  • Graduate Design: Subject and Context
  • Graduate Design: Subject and Context

    A work of architecture is conditioned both by:

    • the primary relationships which it establishes to its immediate and wider physical, environmental and social contexts; and
    • its response to issues of material culture and architectural thought.

    This module supports the development of sophisticated, analytical, research skills in relation to these wide-ranging factors. It asks how the issues and conditions that emerge might individually and collectively inform the conception, ongoing development and physical manifestation of a project in parallel with consideration of its cultural and sustainable values.

  • Graduate Design: Process and Proposal
  • Graduate Design: Process and Proposal

    Good design is the result of a reflective and iterative process. In order to ensure their continuing validity and their eventual synthesis, all aspects of a developing project should be continually re-evaluated both in relation to one another and in response to wider concerns.

    This module tests your ability to identify, evaluate, formulate and record a complex range of factors across a range of scales, which inform the ongoing design proposal. It encourages the integration of developing ideas relating to architecture as an intellectual, professional and practical discipline, within the processes of design.

  • Graduate Design: Resolution
  • Graduate Design: Resolution

    The effective resolution of a relatively complex building proposal, or its equivalent, is dependent upon an ability to synthesise strategic thinking and detailed problem solving at scales which range between the human to the city.

    This module asks you to produce a coherent, resolved and sustainable architectural proposition, which is responsive to its physical, social, cultural and regulatory contexts at all scales. It aims to develop:

    • your ability to critique broad technical knowledge in relation to a specific set of circumstances, encouraging the integration of material research and prototypical investigation; and
    • holistic thinking, encouraging you to begin to situate and represent your work within a broad cultural and intellectual frame, encompassing issues established within the Subject and Context module and developed through the Process and Proposal module.
  • Tectonic Study
  • Tectonic Study

    Materials are the basis of all tectonics. This module develops your ability to research a material, understanding it:

    • holistically from its origins in relation to its physical properties and qualities; and
    • through consideration of its use and potential as part of a tectonic vocabulary.

    The module goes on to consider how the particular tectonic expression of a building emerges through the development of an attitude to its construction. These investigations are deliberately left open and could include:

    • the testing of construction techniques and processes of manufacture;
    • issues of assembly and fabrication;
    • the search for craftsmanship; or
    • the appropriation of the systems and components of mass production.

    You undertake them directly, through the actions of making they manifest themselves through physical prototypes, embodying processes of thinking and actual material attributes beyond representation. The development of these prototypes is understood as a design generator, and you therefore undertake it in parallel with the development of the building project.

  • Applying Technology
  • Applying Technology

    The role of the contemporary architect is increasingly that of the specifier, needing to:

    • solve specific problems relating to particular conditions through the application of systems and standardised components; and
    • use the products of universalised, mass production in response to the increasingly stringent parameters of regulation and economics.

    Technically resolving a building therefore involves a series of iterative and developing levels of detail, where complex and often overlapping systems and components are integrated across a range of scales.

    This module develops your ability to think strategically about the relationship between building elements and systems encompassing:

    • structure;
    • mechanical and electrical services;
    • environmental controls;
    • materials and components;
    • the building envelope; and
    • interior finish.

    You develop a given building and, in doing so, the selection of systems, moments of junction, issues of tolerance and dimensional coordination become the subject of design.

    The module goes on to develop your ability to measure the effectiveness of the result, through the application of techniques for testing building performance and with regard to issues of human comfort and sustainability.

  • Professional Practice: Context
  • Professional Practice: Context

    Every building is the result of collaboration between various different professionals who work together towards the same goal, albeit with different priorities and often using different terminology.

    This module investigates the legal, economic and commercial environment of architectural practice, including regulatory bodies and procurement strategies. Emphasis is placed on gaining an understanding of how architecture is created whilst maintaining professional codes and competences.

    The module is delivered primarily through lectures and seminars. Assessment is through group and individual assignments, including a written case study.

  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation

    This module provides an opportunity for you to engage in an area of architectural enquiry and develop this into a coherent, written presentation.

    Through key note lectures and group presentations of work in progress, but mainly one-to-one tutorials and independent guided study, you learn how to:

    • conduct in-depth, original research;
    • structure and present a valid and complex argument/ interpretation/ analytical work; and
    • evaluate and interpret critically a wide ranging body of works, information and ideas relating to architecture.

    Assessment is through a 15,000 word dissertation, appropriately illustrated and presented.

  • Graduate Thesis: Design Research
  • Graduate Thesis: Design Research

    An architectural 'thesis' is declared through the precise, physical embodiment of a holistic, intellectually rigorous proposition. Underpinning such an ambition is an ability to reflect upon, critically evaluate and integrate issues that emerge from immediate contextual conditions, as well as in relation to the wider concerns of the discipline of architecture and those of society and culture as a whole.

    You will need to apply sophisticated, clearly-articulated strategies and techniques of research and analysis to the development of a project. You will demonstrate a critical understanding of the ways in which a work of architecture is integrated into the natural and man-made landscape that is, into its physical, social, cultural and temporal contexts at many scales.

  • Graduate Thesis: Design Project
  • Graduate Thesis: Design Project

    The final thesis design project is an opportunity to develop a holistic architectural proposition, embodying and synthesising the skills and knowledge you have attained throughout the course. You will critically engage a body of design research to achieve a coherent and sophisticated level of resolution.

    This module requires you to provide evidence of a comprehensive understanding of the complex (and often contradictory) issues at stake in formulating an architectural proposition. You should encompass these issues within an articulate, highly resolved, design proposal. The documentation of the project should:

    • effectively reveal an iterative and integrative process of project development;
    • represent the qualities of the resulting proposition; and
    • communicate a clear and concise declaration of the design 'thesis' .

    The project allows you to begin to articulate your position as architects and emerging professionals.

  • Graduate Thesis: Technical Synthesis
  • Graduate Thesis: Technical Synthesis

    Ideas concerning technology are central to any architectural project and have an impact upon its development from inception to its occupancy and beyond. At thesis level, the technological aspects of design should be an integral part of the overall intellectual proposition.

    As with the Design Resolution modules, this module:

    • advances and enhances the development of appropriate strategies for the integration of form and tectonics in architectural design; plus
    • provides a vehicle for the critical evaluation of the technical regulatory factors of an architectural proposition; and
    • requires the coherent resolution of structure, construction, environmental modification and material issues in the thesis design project.
  • Graduate Thesis: Professional Context
  • Graduate Thesis: Professional Context

    A successful architectural project is underpinned by:

    • a concise brief;
    • clear financial strategies;
    • resolved regulatory issues; and
    • strong management strategies appropriate for its realisation.

    Consequently, this module aims to develop the thesis brief alongside a critical understanding of how this needs to respond to the regulatory, financial, organisational and procedural factors relating to architectural design and its delivery.

    This includes a framework for the integration of these issues from the inception of the thesis Project proposal, throughout its development to its resolution (including the assessment of lifetime performance and costs).

  • Professional Practice: Management
  • Professional Practice: Management

    The success of any architectural project is dependent upon the architect's management skills and their ability to determine their role within overall project team and the broader community.

    This module covers the financial context of the design, delivery and maintenance of architectural projects. It provides you with a critical understanding of the possible duties and responsibilities of architects.

    The module is taught through lectures and seminars and is assessed through a management report.

Option modules (choose two)

  • Computing for Design
  • Computing for Design

    This is a self-led research and project-based module. It allows you to develop your skills in, and further your understanding of, digital technologies. Part of this process is to raise awareness about:

    • the impact of the use digital media in architecture; and
    • how it is changing and informing the design and production process.
  • Material Resolution
  • Material Resolution

    This module aims to introduce the relevance of making things to the process of architectural investigation, development and resolution.

    The module structure allows for a number of different types of making to be investigated each year. Some creative outcomes relate directly to the projects that are being undertaken in studio (such as model-making) and others engage with completely different types of making (such as concrete casting, stone carving or bronze casting).

    The primary function of the module is to allow you to reflect upon the nature of making and its relation to creativity.

  • Philosophy and Critique
  • Philosophy and Critique

    This module introduces the relevance of philosophical and theoretical discourses for architecture. It provides a basic understanding of the key processes and phenomena which have contributed to the idea of modernity.

    Assessment consists of a verbal presentation of approximately 20 minutes, with visual aids if appropriate.

  • Conservation and Heritage
  • Conservation and Heritage

    The module investigates the culture, legislation and technologies associated with working with the historic environment. Delivery includes visits to a range of listed buildings and sites in the local area, and lectures and seminars by expert practitioners.

    Assessment is through a case study and a project proposal for the future use of an existing building of historic significance.

  • Landscape and Urbanism Theory
  • Landscape and Urbanism Theory

    The module seeks to develop a theoretical grounding and literacy in landscape design and urbanism. The subject area overlaps with others such as architecture, urban design and planning, landscape architecture texts are drawn from each of these disciplines.

    Much of the synthesis of the material will rely on seminar discussion and independent study. The module focus is the bringing together of different disciplines with the 'landscape' (rather than the 'built form') as forum for discussion.

    You participate in seminar presentations and reviews of critical texts, and prepare an individual manifesto or essay for presentation.

    We also aim to develop this module as a short course/public lecture programme.

  • Context of Sustainability
  • Context of Sustainability

    This module offers the opportunity to understand the wider historic and cultural context for the contemporary debate on sustainability. Drawing from a wide range of sources, you are required to demonstrate a critical understanding of the contemporary debate.

    Delivery is through lectures, seminars and group and individual action learning. Assessment is by seminar papers, presentations, and the collation and critique of a portfolio of current reviews.

  • Sustainable Cities
  • Sustainable Cities

    This module is a critical appreciation of urban society and its future as it becomes the norm for the majority of the world's population, it is an essential requirement for the built environment professional.

    The module provides an opportunity to debate the theoretical concepts of sustainable cities, allowing critical analysis of the drivers, legislation and processes governing sustainable urban environments. The ability to consider issues from a variety of perspectives and evaluate strategies for spatial planning is engendered.

    The module intends to encourage a commitment to social, economic and environmental issues, which influence the creation, delivery and maintenance of sustainable cities.

  • Live Project

English Language Requirements

CAE score
193(Grade B)

Requirements for Architecture Graduate Diploma

Applicants must have:

- ARB/RIBA Part 1 or exemption from it;
- 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:

- a good first degree; and
- evidence of a range of experience in either architectural practice or an allied design/construction environment.

International students

International students can only be admitted following exemption from ARB Part 1. This is usually by interview with the Joint Assessment Panel or equivalent at the Architects Registration Board.

  • minimum TOEFL score of 570/TOEFLCBT 230 plus a minimum grade 5 in the separate TOEFL Test of Written English/IBTOEFL 90 with 23/30 in Reading and Writing
  • Minimum IELTS score of 6.5


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

Applicants with prior qualifications and learning may be exempt from appropriate parts of a course in accordance with the University's policy for the assessment of prior learning and prior experiential learning.

Work Experience for Architecture Graduate Diploma

No work experience is required.

More Information

We Are Helping Thousands of Students to Find a University Abroad!

Fortunately enough I was able to find StudyPortals. Right from the start of the application to getting the confirmation of admission I was using StudyPortals.
Shivprasad - India

Sign up for your personal newsletter and we will help you too.

We will send you all the information you need to find your dream study programme!

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS we offer you the chance to receive up to £10,000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.