M.A. Architecture: Sustainability and Design

University of East London

Application deadline: as soon as possible
Tuition fee:
  • £ 7,550 / Year (EEA)
  • £ 11,700 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2015
Duration full-time: 12 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Part-time, Full-time

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The programme addresses the "what's", "why's" and "how's" of environmental design, at both the architectural and urban scales. It explores the relationship between environmental and formal design, and the effect of that developing relationship on the future of architectural theory and practice. It does this through two taught modules and a third, thesis, module. Each taught module is divided into two components, one of theory, and one of design practice.

'Architecture and the environment', examines environmentalism, architecture and environmental design, through lectures and seminars in the first half of the year, and a design studio at building scale during the second half of the year.

'Sustainable Cities', critically assesses the concept of 'the sustainable city', the current debates surrounding the dominant models of urban sustainability, their relationship to competing approaches to urban analysis and design, again through lectures and seminar in the first half of the year, and an urban design studio in the second half.

The third module, the thesis module, allows students to develop a subject of particular interest to them. This can be a written thesis, or one that is half-writing, half-design.

This programme forms part of a new and enriched Masters in Architecture programme within the School of Architecture and the Visual Arts, including MSc Computing & Design, MSc Material Matters, MA Interpretation & Theories and MA Alternative Urbanisms. The programme is organised in two generic taught modules followed by the Thesis module. The taught Modules comprise a series of distinctive component options designed for each specific award. Students are able to take two options across the practice based components, based on the individual students interest and ability.

Ma Architecture: Sustainability and Design at UEL
The MA Architecture: Sustainability & Design is a critical examination of environmental sustainability and environmental design. This is both an old and new practice driven by both traditional and experimental ideas. Each year, the programme explores the theory and practice developing within the field, and students are welcomed as fellow innovators. Half the academic year is spent acquiring the technical and conceptual knowledge to be able to think and design in a new way. The other half is devoted to integrating the theory with the design process. This integration is achieved through design projects at the architectural and the urban scale, as the environmental loops continuously between both.

The programme is delivered by an environmental theorist and architects/urban designers, and supplemented by visiting experts. Within the European Union, architectural and urban practice is moving increasingly quickly towards energy efficiency and low environmental impact, and a good number of Sustainability & Design graduates go on to jobs with prominent UK firms specialising in new environmental practices.

The programme is located in the new School of Architecture and the Visual Arts in Docklands, the biggest redevelopment area in Europe. It takes advantage of the Universitys London location with visits to architectural sites as well as lectures and visits linking with the culture of the city. Its teachers are abreast of current developments in the field and currently working on publications, conferences and other projects.


This programme is designed to give you the opportunity to:
* develop a position on 'environmental sustainability', and its relation to architectural and urban design practice
* integrate architectural and urban design with the techniques of environmental design
* explore the new environmental role of the architect in the 21st century

What will you learn?
Knowledge and understanding

* of the range of techniques and technologies available to architects pursuing environmental design
* of the political, ethical and aesthetic significance of the choices made by architects within this range
* of new models of nature, the cultural theory emerging from them, and the way in which architecture might draw upon both to further develop the practice of environmental design
* of the content, sources and feasibility of models of urban development involved in the debates about environmentally sustainable cities.

Intellectual skills

The student will be able

* to develop a reflective position on environmental sustainability for their own practice
* to acquire the knowledge, language and skills necessary to explain and defend their position
* to assess and discuss pertinent theoretical issues with confidence and effectiveness
* to demonstrate enhanced specialist knowledge
* to engage in critical analysis and synthesis of arguments
* to achieve a high level of reflection on the interrelationship between theory and practice
* to evaluate their own analytical, investigative and planning skills
* to reflect critically on his or her own learning

Practical skills

Students will be able

* to gather, sort and effectively use research material
* to develop environmental design strategies to a degree sufficient to discuss options with environmental engineers
* to plan, develop and deliver bibliographically-based written research
* to move easily in discussion and analysis between the micro and macro scales of environmentalism

Skills for life and work

Students will be able

* to structure and communicate ideas with clarity in spoken and written form
* to manage time and work to deadlines
* to find information and use information technology
* to assess large amounts of interdisciplinary research cogently
* to know when and how to get help
* to learn through reflection on own research, practice and experience


The programme welcomes applications from suitable candidates with an honours degree in architecture and/or RIBA Part 1 exemption, with a particular interest in pursuing theoretical studies in architectural and urban sustainability at an advanced level.

It welcomes applications from candidates with a first degree (honours) in interior or urban design, with a particular interest in pursuing theoretical studies in architectural and urban sustainability at an advanced level

Applications are welcomed from the EU and overseas, in particular, lecturers from Higher Education Institutions wishing to increase their qualifications.

This programme has also been designed to attract professionals from practice who are seeking to upgrade their qualifications, or who are looking for the opportunity to validate aspects of their professional remit, or to research and develop internationally relevant issues that they have encountered in professional practice.

Students whose first language is not English will have achieved a score of 6.0 in IELTS or equivalent. Eligibility for students without degree equivalent qualifications will be assessed on the basis of a short essay, statement and a portfolio. Places will be offered after a successful interview with a member of the programme team.

No student will be admitted without an interview, either in person or by telephone..

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 6

IMPORTANT NOTE: Per 6 April 2015 only the English language tests from IELTS and Trinity College London are accepted for Tier 4 Visa applications to the United Kingdom. Other tests (including TOEFL, TOEIC, Pearson, City & Guilds) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. Since the Trinity College London language tests must be taken in one of their exam centres in the UK, IELTS is now the only language test accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK that can be taken worldwide.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.


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