MSc Advanced Architectural Design

MSc Advanced Architectural Design


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, public safety and increasing urbanisation, among other challenges, require creative solutions. Our school is renowned for award-winning, innovative research and teaching that is academically rigorous, critically informed, design-led and interdisciplinary. In this endeavour we seek to develop architecture’s voice in addressing these challenges.

Our new MSc Advanced Architectural Design (starting September 2020) provides a space in which students can explore and test the boundaries of what architecture can be. The MSc Advanced Architectural Design is not a validated course within the confines of RIBA or ARB, and because students are not required to follow the strict regulations a validated course requires, the MSc provides a unique opportunity to develop their own personal and experimental positions within the broad culture that is the discipline of architecture.

We thus see the MSc Advanced Architectural Design as a unique place for students to contribute to the ongoing, vital debate that shapes the profession and our world. Possible areas of interest 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, representation plays a crucial role – as does developing a self-critical understanding of how each individual student works as a designer.

The MSc Advanced Architectural Design 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 and their project outputs. The one-year programme comprises of three semesters, culminating in a thesis project in which students follow their own interests in both subject matter and methodology. This project can range from an in-depth exploration of a new type of representation, to a survey of a particular architectural typology; from the development of a new type of material to an interrogation of different types of architectural practice.

The programme is led by Dr Gul Kacmaz Erk, an interdisciplinary scholar with research expertise in cinema + architecture and migration. The staff team 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.

This exploratory framework is further reinforced by Architecture’s placement within the School of Natural and Built Environment (SNBE) at Queen’s. We are aware that architecture exists only in conversation with the world around us and so students on the MSc Advanced Architectural Design will be able to make potent links to other disciplines in our school including Urban Planning, Engineering, Geography and Archaeology. Alongside this sits our school’s very significant material science tradition coupled with close links to industry.

If individuals are keen to go on to earn their Part II qualification, we will consider particularly high-achieving students to enter the second year of the Master’s of Architecture programme at Queen’s. This outcome will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, but it does offer a means for students to develop their skills and knowledge to further embed themselves in the profession in the UK.

Questions about the programme? Please contact

Image credit: Jessica Scott

A digital resource communicating the work of Architecture at Queen's University Belfast