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Advanced Architectural Design (MSc)

MSc|Postgraduate Taught

Advanced Architectural Design

Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Full Time)
Places available
40 (Full Time)
This course is now closed to applications for September 2021. If you are interested in September 2022 entry, please register your interest.
  • Overview

    An innovative and personalised Master’s programme for enthusiastic students with an undergraduate degree in architecture who wish to explore future opportunities in architecture, urbanism, design and creative industries


    This is an intensive Master’s programme for engaged students who would like to make the most of their time at Queen’s. The work produced throughout the year will be a collaborative effort between you, your year group, our award-winning academics and practicing architects. Because this year long course does not require you to meet prescription for qualification, it encourages you to work both within and beyond the realm of conventional architectural practice. We would like you to push the boundaries of your imagination and the limits of architectural media.

    You will work on modules including design, humanities and technology, questioning norms in architecture throughout. You will complete a major thesis project, the topic and methodology of which will be self-directed. You will be able to use the thesis as a means to experiment with new ideas, technologies and media, and as a gateway to your future career goals.

    The course encourages lateral thinking, problem solving, creativity and engagement with design in a self-critical process. It will address issues as diverse as our survival on the planet and alternative ways of thinking about what architecture can be and do.


    You will spend the year designing, collaborating and producing with people from around the world on our university campus that has recently celebrated its 175th year. Queen’s clubs and facilities including the Student Union, Queen’s Sport and Queen’s Film Theatre will also provide excellent opportunities to make friends outside of your discipline.


    You will be based in Belfast, a growing city known for its industrial design heritage on one hand and its vibrant arts culture and creative industries on the other. You will enjoy a healthy staff to student ratio, good studios where you will have your own space and excellent workshops for physical and digital manufacturing.


    Now, more than ever, our societies demand innovative designers and creative problem solvers to propose solutions to the challenges we face in a complex contemporary world - health and well-being, climate change, forced migration, public safety and increasing urbanisation, among others. Our school is renowned for award-winning, innovative research and teaching that is academically rigorous, critically informed, design-led and interdisciplinary. In all of this endeavour we seek to develop architecture’s voice in addressing these challenges.

    The MSc Architecture programme provides a scaffold for our students to develop their own personal position within the broad culture of architecture, and in doing so, contribute to the ongoing debate that shapes the profession and our world. Our concerns range from the scale of craft and construction, material intelligences and sustainable prototyping to the mapping and analysis of urban, territorial and global conditions. In all of this architectural media play a crucial role as does developing a self-critical understanding of how each individual works as a designer.

    The MSc Architecture is a studio based programme, underscoring design and design processes as the core concerns, challenging our students to be experimental both in their design methodologies/analyses and their architectural proposals. The one year programme comprises of three semesters. The staff cohort is composed of a diverse spectrum of esteemed practitioners and innovative academics supported by external consultants beyond Queen’s, providing a further dimension to a rich learning environment. In this context, the students are encouraged to push the limits of the profession as well as their personal capabilities.

    Advanced Architectural Design highlights

    Architecture at Queen’s is ranked 9th in the UK in Complete University Guide 2021, including: - joint 7th for research intensity, - joint 7th for graduate prospects, and - 8th for student satisfaction.

    Professional Accreditations

    • Students can apply directly to the 2nd year of Master of Architecture at Queen’s to complete RIBA/ARB Part 2 in the UK.

    Industry Links

    Career Development

    • Opportunity to apply directly to MArch2 (the second year of Master of Architecture at Queen’s) to complete RIBA/ARB Part 2 that is the second step towards registration as an architect in the UK
    • Opportunity to apply to PhD in Architecture at Queen’s

    World Class Facilities

    • Prestigious Master’s degree awarded in one year in a UK Russell Group University
    • Studying in an international environment among native English speakers in continuously-maintained facilities that are adapted to the technical and health requirements of the pandemic

    Student Experience

  • Course content

    Course Structure

    Semester 1 - Design Studio 1, Technical Dissertation & Humanities Dissertation
    Semester 2 - Design Studio 2, Technical Dissertation & Humanities Dissertation
    Semester 3 - Thesis Project

    ModulesThe modules listed below are compulsory. Field trips -within pandemic regulations- will enrich the programme. Students are also encouraged to incorporate other Queen’s modules (second language, advanced English, history, engineering, etc.) as long as timetables allow.

    MSc Design Studio 1 (30 CATS), Semester 1/12 weeks
    MSc Design Studio 2 (30 CATS), Semester 2/12 weeks
    Humanities Dissertation (30 CATS), Semester 1+2/24 weeks
    Technology Dissertation (30 CATS), Semester 1+2/24 weeks
    Thesis Project (60 CATS), Semester 3/12 weeks (Summer)

    People teaching you

    Senior Lecturer in Architecture MSc AAD Programme Director

    Architecture in SNBE

    Teaching Times

    Teaching varies but is typically on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

    Career Prospects

    Employment after the Course
    By completing the programme, you will graduate with an MSc Advanced Architectural Design degree within a year from a Russell Group university in the UK. Strong graduates will be eligible to apply to the MArch for direct entry into the second year, if they wish to complete Part II of the RIBA/ARB criteria leading to eligibility to sit Part III, the Professional Examination and registration as an architect in the UK. Therefore, the MSc is ideal for postgraduate students who have not chosen their career paths yet. If you would like to push the boundaries of your education and think outside-the-box, MSc is for you.

Anywhere in the world in one of many different disciplines. Our graduates have ended up designing skyscrapers in Asia and the Middle East, emergency housing for refugees in Africa, film sets for Hollywood productions, computer game environments as well as working as urban planners, photographers, editors, illustrators, visual artists worldwide and lecturing/researching in universities.

    Learning and Teaching


    Academic writing

    If you have not written scholarly texts before, do not worry, you will be supervised by experts and will become an expert yourself.

    Design studio

    You must already be familiar with studio culture in architecture. In AAD we will particularly emphasise creative solutions for the future, critical thinking and experimentation. The learning environment will be personalised as to your strengths and aspirations. The shared studio environment with other programmes (BSc Architecture and March) at Queen’s will facilitate your learning.

    Technology and media

    Depending on your interests, in this programme, you will be encouraged to use and experiment with a variety of media including filmmaking, animation, casting, performance and contemporary CAD/scripting software. Technology, materials and detailing will be an integral part of design projects.


    Assessments associated with the course, which will include individual and group work, are outlined below:

    Project-based design work (individual and collaborative)

    Critical design reviews

    Representation and multimedia

    Academic research

    Scholarly essays


    (Optional) Competition entry, live project or journal article


    15 Chlorine Gardens - architectural design studios and IT/printing facilities

    David Keir Building - architectural design studios, lecture theatres, IT/printing facilities, computer labs, workshops for digital fabrication, architectural model making, timber, concrete, metal, etc. and student hub

    McClay Library with immense individual and group study spaces with IT facilities

    150-years-old Graduate School building shared with all Master and PhD students

    Queen’s Sport (PEC) with a swimming pool, gym, tennis/squash courts, climbing walls, etc. - busy day and night

    Prizes and Awards

    • GREAT Scholarships 2022 We are offering £10,000 towards tuition fees to a student from India. Find out more:
    • You will be eligible to apply for prizes awarded by the university and external funders. Last year, for instance, the Dept for the Economy generously funded 50 local and international Masters students. You will be notified of upcoming opportunities.
  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    Applicants whose primary degree was/will be awarded in the UK:

    1. Normally a 2.1 Honours degree in Architecture from an approved RIBA/ARB Part 1 course in a recognised institution. A 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may be considered alongside a very strong design portfolio and relevant professional experience.

    2. Normally an assessment of 60% or above in the final year major design project of their approved RIBA/ARB Part 1 course.

    3. A demonstration of a critical awareness of the applicant's position relative to the profession and discipline of architecture. Such demonstration is typically (but not exclusively) achieved through experience in architectural practice in accordance with RIBA/ARB regulations for practical training.

    4. Applicants must submit an architectural design portfolio. A three minute video may also be submitted to support their application (submission of the video is optional). Applicants may also be invited for interview.

    Applicants whose primary degree was/will be awarded outside the UK:

    1. A recognised qualification acceptable to the University which is equivalent to a UK 2.1 Honours degree in Architecture. A 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University may be considered alongside a very strong design portfolio and relevant professional experience.

    2. Normally an assessment equivalent to 60% or above in their (first degree) final year major design project.

    3. A demonstration of a critical awareness of the applicant’s position relative to the profession and discipline of architecture. Such demonstration is typically in the form of a personal statement.

    4. International applicants must submit an architectural design portfolio. A three minute video may also be submitted to support their application (submission of the video is optional). Applicants may also be invited for interview.

    Portfolio and Video Requirement for Application

    As part of the application process you must upload a single pdf portfolio of your best architectural design (personal, non-group) work to date. The pdf should be no more than 5MBIn addition, you may prepare a three minute optional video in relation to one of the following questions: What is architecture for you? As a designer, what are you curious or ambitious about? What would be your dream project? Please upload your video on Vimeo or YouTube, adjust your privacy settings, and provide the link on the cover page of your portfolio. The purpose of the portfolio/video submission is to:

    i. Identify indicators of commitment, excellence and achievement within the applicant’s academic or professional portfolio of experience.
    ii. Evaluate the applicant’s critical awareness of the discipline and profession of architecture.

    The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2022. However, we encourage applicants to apply as early as possible. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

    A deposit is required to secure a place.

    International Students

    Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

    English Language Requirements

    Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in Speaking and Listening and a minimum of 5.5 in Reading and Writing, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required (*taken within the last two years).

    International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

    For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

    • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
    • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £6,650
    Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £6,650
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £7,470
    EU Other 3 £22,050
    International £22,050

    1 EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

    2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees, in line with the Common Travel Agreement arrangements.

    3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2022-23, and relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

    There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

    Advanced Architectural Design costs

    Students are responsible for additional costs for books, materials and software for drawing/model making and printing (including final portfolio). The amount for materials, equipment and printing will vary depending on how students decide to represent their work, but a budget of £1,000 for the course is appropriate. Having said that, we have started to print less and less with the pandemic as well as environmental concerns. Students should also budget approximately £500 for a possible international field trip.

    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

    A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

    More information on funding options and financial assistance.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

    Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

    Apply now

    When to Apply

    The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

    Terms and Conditions

    The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
    Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

    Download a prospectus