MArch/PgDip Advanced Architectural Design

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Accreditation: RIBA, ARB (Part 2)
  • Study mode and duration: MArch: 24 months full-time
    PgDip: 21 months full-time
    Students entering Year 2 of the programme – MArch: 12 months full time PgDip: 9 months full time
  • Travel: Study trip opportunities in both the UK and overseas

  • Study: opportunity to study abroad (subject to Visa conditions)

Study with us

  • Diploma is final stage to Part 2 professional qualification
  • Option to convert Diploma into MArch
  • ARB/ RIBA Part 2 exemption
  • Develop critical, formal and technical architectural skills
  • Be part of a collaborative and creative studio community

The PGDip in Advanced Architectural Design is for UK/EU architecture graduates seeking Part 2 professional qualification.

The Master’s route to ARB/ RIBA Part 2 for UK, European and international students is the MArch in Advanced Architectural Design.   If you hold overseas qualifications obtained outside the EU or hold a non-recognised UK qualification you will need to pass ARB’s Examination for Equivalence to Prescribed Qualifications (also known as the ‘Prescribed Examination’) to obtain ARB Part 1 and progress towards registering as an architect in the UK.  Please note, this is not guaranteed and there is a financial cost to this process.  Learn more from the ARB website.


Validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) (Part 2).

Accredited by the Architect’s Registration Board (ARB) for the purpose of eligibility for registration with that body.

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Why this course?

This two-year course gives you the opportunity to explore architecture in a broad-based manner through theoretical and practical work. It demands a high level of design ability and self-motivation while giving you the chance to explore and develop projects related to your own interests.

You’ll appraise current theoretical approaches to architecture and urban design then assess and show their relevance in existing and proposed contexts. You’ll also develop and demonstrate formal and technical architectural ability.

If you obtain all diploma credits at first sitting you'll have the opportunity to proceed to Masters, thus converting your Diploma into a MArch. This requires an extra three months of study.

Female student with architecture model

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you'll study

As well as the areas of study you'll:

  • develop a critical and technical architectural ability
  • complete comprehensive architectural or urban design projects
  • write a dissertation
  • demonstrate awareness of management procedures relevant to design practice
  • carry out a detailed examination of an issue or issues of particular architectural significance

Study abroad

You’ll have the opportunity to study abroad (subject to academic performance). The department has the most expansive international exchange programme in the UK. We have agreements with 22 institutions across Europe, Canada, the Far East and South America.

Year 1

This year is centred on consolidating your architectural design skills. You’ll also be introduced to the idea of architecture as a responsive solution to fundamental social issues. You’ll choose an area of personal interest that you’ll research for your dissertation.

Year 2

You’ll undertake an architectural project. This requires you to take a viewpoint on contemporary architectural issues and choose a theme that reflects your own interests and creative ambitions. As well as studio-based activities you’ll follow your chosen theme through project work and optional classes. You’ll also attend a taught course in professional studies and a series of guest lectures.

Study trips provide opportunities for intensive examinations of the culture and built fabric in a variety of urban and rural locations both in the UK and overseas. Recent trips include Barcelona, Rome, Paris and Venice and the less familiar Gdansk, Toledo and Monte Caruso.

Student competitions

We’ve an extensive programme of student awards provided by professional bodies, including:

  • The RIAS Silver Medal: the premier Scottish award for student achievement
  • The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) President's Medals
  • The City of Glasgow- Eimear Kelt- Silver Medal: awarded annually by a panel of professional judges on behalf of Glasgow City Council.

Our students have been successful in many prestigious competitions including:

  • Building Design ‘Top 6’ UK
  • APS
  • RSA Awards
  • A+DS and RIAS
  • SEDA

Visit our excellence and awards page to find out more.

Guest lectures

We run an exciting programme of guest lectures and recent speakers include:

  • Joan Callis, Benedetta Tagliabue EMBT, Architects to the Scottish Parliament
  • Prof Neil Spiller, Professor of Architecture and Digital Theory,
  • Gordon Benson, Benson and Forsyth, Museum of Scotland, National Museum of Ireland

Chat to a student ambassador

Want to know more about what it’s like to be a student at the University of Strathclyde? A selection of our current students are here to help!

Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you might have about courses and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into their experiences of life in Glasgow and Scotland.

Chat now!
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Course content

Compulsory classes

Design Studies 4A – To Care (Part 1)

The studio projects task your ability to source, research, analyse, and demonstrate an understanding of a specific urban building typology.

The first part of the project concerns both the identification of, and brief formation for, a selected building typology which you as an architect consider essential for a representation of the people of Govan. This will be formulated in conjunction with the strategic design(s) of the main voluminous space (primary space) within the building and one’s approach(es) to and from it.

Design Studies 4B – To Care (Part 2)

This new typology should be derived from one of 4 strategic research areas: City, Society, Technology or Environment.

The project concludes with the design of a significant urban building typology; developed from your brief, which incorporates the primary space and considered approach strategies devised in Semester 1.

Cultural Studies 4

This class provides students with the opportunity to define, explore and articulate an area of investigation of their own interest in the production of an appropriately illustrated dissertation. You'll develop an argument and demonstrate a position using evidence from your research.

Elective classes

Special Study Project 4

You'll choose from series of classes taught by staff, and related to areas of expertise, in:

  • ecology
  • sustainability and built environment
  • architectural publications
  • Pocket City
  • urban design
  • health and the city
  • virtual reality applications for AEC (architecture/engineering/construction industries)

Compulsory classes

Design Studies

This class is organised within a meta-theme shared by the year, and developed within design units. Design Studies comprise two projects, Design Studies 5 A and 5B; the first consisting in the in-depth investigation, analysis and development of a design proposition, the latter in its detailed resolution.

Cultural Studies 5

This class aims to consolidate and develop your knowledge in key thematic areas - contemporary architectural history and theory, urban design and culture, technology and environment and new forms of media and communication. It's organised around lectures and workshops to map out ideas, thinkers and projects from a variety of disciplines that have a direct bearing on the production and use of buildings and cities.

You're introduced to a field of knowledge that is drawn from the social sciences, architectural and construction history, political science, cultural studies, economic and critical theory.

Professional Studies 5

This class aims to prepare you by developing your knowledge, skill and maturity to carry out, on qualification, their professional and architectural duties responsibly and effectively. It introduces you to issues of cost control mechanisms within the context of the architectural design and construction process, to business issues pertaining to running an architectural practice, to procurement methods and the administrative and contractual procedures involved in administering an architectural project.

Elective classes

Special Study Project 5

Choose from this list based on your interests and to support your design thesis and Masters dissertation

Mentoring and Architectural Pedagogy

This class explores the role of the mentor in architectural practice allowing students to investigate professional skills and techniques common to education and industry.

The History & Theory of Architectural Conservation

You'll learn about the contextual conditions which generated specific architectural artefacts as a means to understand their functioning and approaches to conservation.

The Theory of Architectural Conservation

You'll learn the social, cultural, political, aesthetic, economic and environmental values that underpin current conservation policy and practice and the approaches to conservation these generate locally and internationally, to ascertain their appropriateness in specific contexts.

Urban Design History

You'll learn how elements such as streets, squares, urban blocks have changed through time and what factors shaped them.

Urban Theory

You'll learn how urban ideas, theories and approaches have responded to contextual conditions in time and how they have shaped human lives and the environment for generations to come; as well as the current urban challenges and the fit of current urban design tools and approaches.

Urban Landscape Design

You'll learn the impact of the urban landscape on human wellbeing and perception, and the role of ecological networks as an integral part of urban form.


You'll learn the impact that urban growth has on social, economic and environmental sustainability.

International Workshop

You'll pursue an area of specific interest out-with the confines of the set curriculum, developing awareness of cultural diversity and integration within an international context.

Cultural and Behavioural Factors in Architecture and Urbanism

This class introduces students to the field of environment-behaviour studies looking at cultural, social, and psychological issues in architecture and urban design.

Building Information Management

This module explores the main concepts and principles of Building Information Management and the recent paradigm shift within the Architecture/Engineering/Construction industries worldwide to implement BIM Level 2 and target BIM Level 3 in all public projects as well as encouraging it in private projects.

Theory of Conservation

The module aims to provide knowledge and understanding of conservation principles and ethics.

Architectural & Construction History

This module aims to present architectural and construction history both as the wider context of the buildings and as tools for its analysis.


Dissertation Project

Students on the Masters stream (MArch and MSc) are required to complete a substantial piece of research, which can include a design with or a written investigation of an area/topic of interest.

This piece of work is generally carried out over a summer semester and is an opportunity for you to explore an issue of relevance to the course through engagement with its cultural, technical, and/or professional context. The work must demonstrate academic rigour.


ARB/RIBA PART 2 Portfolio: (AAD and MADi)

Over the two years of the programme you're expected to compile a comprehensive academic portfolio which will include all design projects undertaken over the two years of study as well as the outputs of any subject classes.

Your own academic work should be accompanied by the project briefs and all feedback documentation received. The portfolio should be complied in a digital format offering a clear structure and navigation.

Learning & teaching

Each part of the course allows you to explore and develop projects related to your own interests in contemporary architecture.

The course is made up of studio design work, lectures, special projects and workshops.

The focus of study is on design project work including the analysis, synthesis and appraisal of design ideas. You’ll show your understanding of these ideas through drawings, physical and digital models, written and graphic work.


The MArch degree normally requires further assessment over the summer semester. This will be on an aspect of the diploma project that is explored to a greater level of detail.

You’ll have exams in semesters 1 and 2 on all aspects of the course and are expected to present a complete academic portfolio based on advanced design study.



We have two design studios; one is a drop-in studio where you can be part of our collaborative and creative studio community, the other is dedicated to design teaching.


In addition to the main University library, we have our own, on-site, reference library. Our collection is developed in direct response to the teaching delivered in the department.


A full range of hand and portable power tools are available (complete with instruction).

We offer plotter printing, scanning and laser cutting services.

Find out more about the full range of facilities we have to offer.

Architecture students in class.

architecture student Shubham smiling at the camera
Study tours are included as part of the course in both years. In the first year of the course, the Department organised a trip to Switzerland. I had the opportunity to visit and explore the architectural works of Architect Peter Zumthor in different cities while we were there
Shubham Jain
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Entry requirements

Academic requirements/experience

Normally, a first-class or second-class honours degree in Architecture would be required.

If you hold overseas qualifications obtained outside the EU or hold a non-recognised UK qualification you will need to pass ARB’s Examination for Equivalence to Prescribed Qualifications (also known as the ‘Prescribed Examination’) to obtain ARB Part 1 and progress towards registering as an architect in the UK.  Please note, this is not guaranteed and there is a financial cost to this process.  Learn more from the ARB website.

An academic portfolio will be required containing all relevant design work from your previous course of study to provide a broad range of work to evidence your depth of skillset. While work from practice placement or experience can be included, the balance of the portfolio should be towards examples of academic work.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, please visit our English language requirements page for full details of the requirements in place before making your application.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non-UK/Ireland) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde.

Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

Please note: Previous Maths & English qualifications and your undergraduate degree must meet GTCS minimum entry requirements as well as the pre-Masters course and an interview will be conducted before an offer can be made.

Kristina Enberg
Glasgow is a very active city. I came to visit before I applied and I noticed there was a strong culture of music and art. I felt it was a good place not only for architecture but in terms of all aspects of living here.
Kristina Enberg

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland




Additional Costs
  • books & printed materials – £250
  • study trips (optional) – £250
  • drawing materials – £100
  • model making – £200
  • miscellaneous costs – £120

International students

International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish postgraduate students

Scottish postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Faculty of Engineering International Scholarships

If you're an international applicant applying for a full-time, on-campus postgraduate taught course in the Faculty of Engineering, you'll be eligible to apply for a scholarship award equivalent to a 15% reduction of your fees, which will typically be up to £4,240. In addition to this, we also have a limited number of Dean’s International Excellence Awards for our postgraduate taught applicants. These scholarships are worth £5,000 and £8,000 and will be offered to exceptional applicants at postgraduate taught level only. Applicants need to only submit one application and will be considered for all levels of postgraduate taught scholarships.

Scholarships are available for applicants to all self-funded, new international (non-EU) fee-paying students holding an offer of study for a full-time, on-campus postgraduate taught course in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.

Please note you must have an offer of study for a full-time course at Strathclyde before applying. You must start your full-time postgraduate taught course at Strathclyde in the coming academic year (2024-25), this can be in September 2024 or January 2025.

The deadline for applications for the Dean’s International Excellence Award is 28 June 2024. 

Faculty of Engineering Scholarships for International Students
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Career opportunities for Architecture graduates range from working in large multidisciplinary practices to smaller specialist firms.

Many of our graduates are employed by highly respected practices throughout the world, while others have set up their own businesses.

The Department has a growing reputation for developing entrepreneurial graduates who go on to make their mark in the sector independently in practices such as Page and Park, Tog Studio and Lateral North.

How much will I earn?

If you become an architect you can expect a starting salary of £15,000 to £20,000 after Part 1 (first degree qualification).*

Typical salaries after Part 2 (second degree or diploma) range from £20,000 to £26,000.*

The range of typical salaries after Part 3 (final exam leading to registration as an architect) or for those with experience rises to £26,000 to £35,000.*

Where are they now?

A total of 95% of our BSc Architecture graduates find graduate level jobs, are in further study, six months after they graduate.*  

Our graduates have gone on to do many different roles within the area of architecture.

Job titles include:

  • Architect
  • Architectural assistant
  • Assistant rural surveyor
  • Computer Graphics/Web Designer
  • Computer Games Designer
  • Community Engagement Leader
  • Journalist
  • Model Maker/physical & virtual
  • Part 2 architectural assistant
  • Part 3 architectural design
  • Practical conservation worker
  • Project Manager
  • Researcher
  • Teacher
  • Theatre/Stage Set Designer
  • Urban Designer

Employers include:

  • Arup
  • BSP Architects
  • Buro Happold
  • Carbonlite Design and Build
  • Colin Armstrong Associates
  • Covell Matthews Architects
  • Cubitt Ltd
  • Emilio Ambasz
  • Foster and Partners
  • Hayes Macfarlane
  • HTA Architects
  • Jacobs
  • Llewelyn and Davies
  • Nord
  • Northumberland Wildlife Trust
  • O'Donnell & Tuomey
  • Page/Park Architects
  • Peter Eisneman
  • Rafael Moneo
  • Richard Meier
  • Rick Mather
  • Ted Cullinan
  • Terry Farrell
  • Tolmie Ltd
  • URS Corporation
  • WS Atkins
  • Zaha Hadid

*Based on the results of the national Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey.

Information is intended only as a guide.

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Life in Glasgow

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During the application process, you're required to upload the following supporting documents. If these are not provided, we'll not be able to process your application:

  • certified individual semester mark sheets/academic transcript showing subjects taken and grades achieved for all qualifications
    • if still studying, provide individual semester mark sheets to date
  • certified degree certificate for all qualifications
  • provide evidence of suitable English language proficiency if English is not your first language, or you're not from a “UKVI recognised "Majority English Speaking" country”; check the University’s language requirements
  • if you have been out of full-time education for over two years, provide a CV, detailing employment history, organisations worked for, and a brief description of roles and responsibilities
  • a design portfolio, showcasing examples of your recent work
  • a personal statement
  • a copy of your passport containing your photo and passport number
  • a copy of your sponsor letter/scholarship award (if appropriate)
  • names, job titles and email addresses for two nominated referees
  • provide, for academic assessment by the Course Director, a detailed personal statement illustrating your motivation and suitability for admission to the chosen programme
  • provide, for academic assessment by the Course Director, a digital portfolio showcasing a broad range of recent project and studio work, demonstrating your creativity and design aptitude, practical abilities and expertise. The portfolio should be contained within a single file in PDF format and compressed to a max. file size of 5 MB

This is the Master’s route to ARB/ RIBA Part 2 for UK, European and international students.

Start date: Sep 2024

Advanced Architectural Design

Start date: Sep 2024

Start date: Sep 2024

Advanced Architectural Design

PG Diploma
Start date: Sep 2024

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Contact us

Faculty of Engineering

Telephone: +44 (0)141 574 5484