Programme title:
MSc Spatial Design: Architecture and Cities
Final award (BSc, MA etc):
Postgraduate Certificate/ MSc
The course follows the Built Environment Regulations for the award of
Certificate, and MSc on the 120/60 weighting model. The certificate is
awarded for 60 taught credits assessed at 50% or above. The MSc is
awarded at the completion of 120 credits assessed at 50% or above
and the 60 credit MSc Dissertation assessed at 50% or above.
(where stopping off points exist they should be
detailed here and defined later in the document)
UCAS code:
(where applicable)
Cohort(s) to which this programme
specification is applicable:
From 2014-15 onwards
(e.g. from 2015 intake onwards)
Awarding institution/body:
University College London
Teaching institution:
University College London
Built Environment
Parent Department:
Bartlett School of Graduate Studies
(the department responsible for the administration of
the programme)
Departmental web page address:
(if applicable)
Method of study:
Criteria for admission to the
A second class honours degree from a UK university or an equivalent
overseas qualification in an architectural or urban design related
subject, although consideration will be given to applicants from other
fields, particularly: Human Geography, Anthropology, Archaeology.
Length of the programme:
12 months full-time; up to 5 years flexible
(please note any periods spent away from UCL, such
as study abroad or placements in industry)
Level on Framework for Higher
Education Qualifications (FHEQ)
(see Guidance notes)
Relevant subject benchmark statement
(see Guidance notes)
Level 7
Brief outline of the structure of the
(see guidance notes)
Board of Examiners:
Professional body accreditation
(if applicable):
The programme requires 180 credits for the MSc route and 60 for
the Postgraduate Certificate.
MSc students must take eight-15 credit modules in addition to the
dissertation module. Certificate students would normally take
BENVGAAM and BENVGAAN or BENVGAAP plus two other
modules in the first or second terms.
120 credits are taught; equivalent to 60 credits in each of the first
two terms. The 60-credit final report of 10,000 words is taught
and written from the second term through the third term and
summer period.
Students are offered an elective option in the second term
choosing between BENVGAAN (analytical-research project) and
BENVGAAP (studio design-research project).
Module assessments are diverse and range from unseen written
examination, take-home exam, blogging, debating, oral presentations,
class-based discussions, poster presentations and analytical projectbased work. For module details see:
Name of Board of Examiners:
MSc Built Environment Programmes
Date of next scheduled
accreditation visit:
That students will:
1. develop an in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge of the built environment and its functions considered as
spatial, physical and human systems at all scales from the domestic to the regional.
2. acquire a high level of skill in research and analysis of the built environment and its functions in support of better
and more humane design;
3. Communicate this through clarity of argument, written and visual expression; acquire and demonstrate
operational skills in managing their intellectual advancement; set attainable goals and exercise imagination and
creativity in the pursuit of an understanding of their field through the capacity for hard work, both as individuals and
members of a research team.
The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding,
qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:
A: Knowledge and understanding
Knowledge and understanding of:
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
(1) theories in architecture and urbanism,
including the theory and methods of
‘space syntax’
(2) evolution of towns and cities in
different parts of the world; urban
concepts and theories at all urban scales
(3) the socio-economic context of the
spatial morphology of buildings and cities
with regard to issues of social exclusion
and sustainability
(4) theories of the conditions under which
complex buildings evolve to enable the
student to form a better understanding of
buildings and their history, through use of
historical examples and cross-cultural
(5) the ‘knowledge-based’ design
process; reflecting critically on this
process and considering how scientific
and evidence-based theories and
methods can usefully inform design
(6) to be able to synthesise theory and
practice, analysis and design in real-world
environments and scenarios.
(1) Through lectures, seminars and student-directed
sessions in which an understanding of the variety of
ideas in the field of architecture and urbanism is
established; through class-based discussions in which
students explore alternative theoretical perspectives on
space in relation to questions of architectural and urban
(1-6) As above and through student-led analytical
research project work which requires them to conduct
empirical research on urban areas or complex buildings
in order to understand their key spatial-morphological
features in the context of the culture and social
functioning of the sites being studied, and to present this
work to their peers.
(1-6) As above and through student-led research design
studio work in which students develop an integrated
approach to design and research in response to wellframed design issues.
(2, 3) Through lectures in which built environment
research is shown to elucidate broad questions of social
exclusion and sustainability; brings a strong
interdisciplinary focus.
(4) As above and by guided site visits to a variety of live
design projects and key buildings; class-based
discussions of site visits and readings.
(5) Emphasis is on introducing key theoretical concepts
from a wide-range of disciplines and through debate
asking the students to consider the relevance of these to
design questions.
Through a variety of methods: group and individual
project work, design portfolio, essays, reflective reports
written examinations, oral presentations, posters,
blogging, class-based discussions, debating and a final
B: Skills and other attributes
Intellectual (thinking) skills:
To give students skills in handling the
continuing theoretical themes in
architecture, and how they relate to
current issues and debates, in particular:
(1) Critical reading of theoretical and
professional texts – how to identify the
use of paradigmatic statements.
(2) Ability to present a theoretical idea or
ideas, explain it through examples and
reference to other texts and present an
original interpretation of the subject.
(3) A scientific approach to setting up
research projects – how to set up a
research question, how to gather data in a
systematic way and to interpret in
objectively, how to set the significance of
the findings in the broader theoretical
(4) The ability to communicate complex
arguments visually
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
(1,2) Through lectures in general as well as through
required reading and examination on the content of
theoretical texts both in architecture and in related
disciplines like anthropology, sociology, human
geography, psychology and archaeology.
(3,4) Through a variety of tutored project work
throughout the year backed by lectures and seminars on
analytic skills, scientific theory, visual communication of
arguments, presentation of current and past research
work done by practitioners in the field; through classbased discussion and debate of key theoretical ideas in
relation to questions of architectural and urban design.
Assessment is through the various modes described in
section B above.
C: Skills and other attributes
Practical skills (able to):
(1) Demonstrating academic
craftsmanship in the preparation of clear,
well structured theoretical and analytical
essays and reports, using source material
to support an argument, writing clear
conclusions, using word processing and
electronic bibliographical software.
(2) Apply a variety of methods and
techniques for describing, representing,
modelling, simulating, interpreting and
evaluating urban and building form and
layout, as well as those needed for the
study of homes and houses using space
syntax techniques, computer aided
design, geographical information systems
and other graphical software.
(3) Apply a variety of methods for
gathering qualitative data on space use,
user preferences and other ethnographic
and sociological type data.
(4) Compile data from various sources
into statistical database, analyse and
interpret that data in a scientific fashion,
present and interpret the results in a clear
fashion using statistical software.
(5) Make clear oral and visual
presentations of complex ideas,
supported by graphical illustrations using
presentation software – e.g. PowerPoint.
(6) Prepare and present arguments orally
and visually with confidence
(7) Integrate the research and analysis of
the built environment with practical
application in the design process and the
design studio.
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
(1) Detailed feedback on written work, including
feedback at the draft stage; seminars on academic
craftsmanship including writing skills, use of bibliographic
databases and library (including electronic) searches.
(2, 3, 7) Through lectures, practical exercises (in
particular group and individual project work whether in
analytical-research or design-research modes) and
tutorials on project work.
(3) Through specific training and workshops in
specialised space syntax software, ethnographic
methods and questionnaire design.
(4) Workshops on statistical analysis in spatial
(5) Through lectures and written guidance and through
seminar presentations on which feedback is given.
(6) By encouraging discussion and debate and the
preparation of a visual arguments.
(1) Through the variety of written coursework.
(2, 3,4) Through project work requiring comparison and
analysis of architectural/urban projects and through the
final report.
(5, 6) Through assessed oral component of project work.
(6) Through class-based discussions, preparation of
posters and formal debate.
D: Skills and other attributes
Transferable skills (able to):
(1) Write concise, evidence based,
theoretically grounded academic work in a
variety of formats
(2) Use analytic techniques in a rigorous
fashion and to interpret their results
(3) Analyse complex databases and
present scientific results in a clear and
rigorous fashion.
(4) Make oral presentations or prepare
written reports in a clear, concise and
informative manner, using a range of
visual, written and verbal techniques in
order to communicate theories, research
and design, incorporating relevant media
and software.
(5) Work in an interdisciplinary
environment and collaborate with others.
(6) Apply space syntax spatial modelling
methods and software in architectural
research, consultancy and practice.
(7) Synthesise research results in order to
address a specific problem.
(8) Form considered judgments about the
spatial and social qualities of a design
within the scope and scale of a wider
environment and listen and engage in
informed dialogue about architectural
(9) Work autonomously in a self-directed
manner, thereby developing the practices
of reflection and of lifelong learning.
(10) Manage time and work to deadlines.
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
(1) Through writing essays, reflective reports, blogs and
a dissertation; receiving detailed feedback and rewriting
them where possible.
(2) Through lectures and practical exercises.
(3) Through lectures and tutorials and analytical
(4) Through presentations and project work, preparing
visual arguments in posters, debating tutorials and classbased discussions.
(5) Through group projects in which students are
required to organise their own work and then present it
as a group.
(6, 7, 8) Through specialised workshops and project
work in both analytical-research and design-research
(8) Through Project reviews, requiring students to
engage in informed discussions about their own and
their peer’s work and through student-led seminars.
(9) Through individual project work and final report.
(10) Through the pacing of coursework and careful
timetabling of teaching events, requiring students to
organise their time carefully.
(1) Through the variety of written coursework.
(2,3, 6-9) Project work and the final thesis.
(4) Assessed oral presentations, debate and class-based
(5) Assessed group work.
(10) Coursework assigned throughout the year.
The following reference points were used in designing the programme:
 the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications:
 the relevant Subject Benchmark Statements:
 the programme specifications for UCL degree programmes in relevant subjects (where applicable);
 UCL teaching and learning policies;
 staff research.
Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the
learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes
full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information on the learning outcomes,
content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each course unit/module can be found in the
departmental course handbook. The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually by
UCL and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.
Programme Organiser(s)
Date of Production:
Date of Review:
Date approved by Chair of
Departmental Teaching
Date approved by Faculty
Teaching Committee
Dr Sam Griffiths
Revised July 2014 (based on previous revisions to the MSc Advanced
Architectural Studies Programme Specification September 2008, June 2003
and November 2013).
October 2015
October 2015
October 2015