Spotlight on: Postgrad Study in Architecture

It is often thought that architecture degrees relate purely to buildings and other such man-made structures, but this is incorrect; they actually relate to a plethora of specialisms from engineering to landscaping, town planning to environmentally-friendly buildings. The one thing that these all have in common is the need to be adept at creating exceptional, but functional designs, which is what is generally at the core of an architecture degree. In the UK, there are 69 universities currently offering postgraduate degrees in an architecture specialism and more than 300 courses to choose from. Many of the architecture postgraduate degrees available are taught degrees, but some are not; which type of degree you decide to opt for will be dependent upon a number of factors and this guide tries to help make it easier for you to make that choice.

Standard architecture postgraduate degrees are usually centred around practical, hands-on projects designed to help students think about solutions to specific design problems in a number of different scenarios. Understandably, each university may offer a slightly different course structure, but the premise is the same; which is to provide students with the necessary tools and knowledge to build upon topics covered in their undergraduate course, as well as instil a firm understanding of more complex methodologies. Kingston University London offers a standard Architecture MA that promises to deliver such outcomes; they also offer postgraduates the opportunity to learn more about theoretical issues and the chance to focus on the study of architecture in line with common UK practice. Oxford Brookes University is another establishment offering a typical architecture degree, the MA in Architecture, but within this course they specialise in experimentation with using things like air, water, light and sound as materials alongside the usual wood and metal.

On the other hand, the University College London allows students to specialise in architectural history and design. Its Architectural History MA offers the chance to explore important structures and cities, particularly in relation to the social, political and technological situation of the time; the university also makes good use of being situated in London, as well as having excellent transport links to European cities, in order to enhance the experience of its students. The MA Architecture and Historic Urban Environments course focuses on the challenges that have come with creating effective urban environments throughout history, with London being the main focus of studies. If learning more about urban development and design is of particular interest to you, then the MA in Architecture and Urban Design offered at the University of Kent may be what you are looking for. The course enables students to examine ways in which cities of the future can be sustainable, yet accommodating of heritage sites and increasing populations. Being situated where it is, the university can offer students the opportunity to examine urban designs both past and present in surrounding areas like Canterbury, Dover and Margate, as well as further afield in Europe. The course also aims to challenge students by offering them "live" situations in which to practise their skills and there is even the chance to undertake a course run by the Head of Master Planning of Farrells, which is a leading architectural planning company.

Deciding on your postgraduate degree is one thing, but you need to make sure that you can get the appropriate funding in place that allows you to undertake the degree without worrying about financial pressures. Our student guide on funding options aims to help you navigate the options, as well as giving you an idea of all the other expenses you are likely to incur when studying at postgraduate level.

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