MSc

Digital Architecture and Construction

Digital Design module student work - Banquetting Hall
  • Level(s) of study: Postgraduate taught
  • Study mode(s): Full-time
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Course duration: 1 year full-time

This course will enable students to challenge current and prevailing digital orthodoxy in the built environment and determine strategies to future-proof design and construction processes. You'll acquire the digital theoretical, multi-disciplinary, technology and design management skills to become leaders in the field of digital architecture and construction.

The course focuses on the knowledge, methodologies and reasoning behind software, preparing you to adapt to any existing or emerging software and technology in the architecture and construction industries. This includes our key specialisms including computational design, parametric modelling, mixed-reality, building information modelling (BIM), building performance analysis, historical building information modelling (HBIM), rapid prototyping, and sustainability.

Who is this course designed for?

This course is aimed at graduates or professionals pursuing a career in architectural technology. It's suitable for those from a range of built environment disciplines, including, but not limited to, architecture, architectural technology, interior design, construction, surveying and civil engineering, who are looking to study a technical programme on route to industry or MPhil/PhD study.

Why study this course?

  • Inspiring spaces | Based in our Grade II* listed Gothic Revival Style Arkwright building, you'll work with our industry-standard facilities and studios, including our Creative and Virtual Technologies lab.
  • Collaborative environment | Our studio-based culture provides a dynamic and integrated learning environment that emphasises intellectual development and collaboration between students, academic staff and postgraduate researchers.
  • Specialist academics | Benefit from our team of expert academic staff who specialise in digital design in architecture and have significant experience of working in practice.
  • Guest lectures | Hear from visiting experts and discuss contemporary issues in architecture; recent industry speakers have included a number of RIBA Stirling Awards prize winners.

This course will apply for accreditation with the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT).

What you'll study

The course will cover:

  • Sophisticated digital approaches to design analysis, underpinned by the systematic integration of architectural intentions, construction management and materials technology.
  • Relationships between digital theory and practice, focused on design project management for profitable business administration.
  • The critical evaluation of issues related to design, technical research, construction and professional management in social and cultural contexts.
  • Architectural technology - and relevant specialisms within it - applied to the identification of new professional, digital and technical opportunities and constraints in the built environment.
  • Advanced and effective digital communication techniques applied to a range of built environment projects and scenarios.

Course structure

The course is formed of seven core modules, one of which is a large scale dissertation / applied research project. You seven taught modules will total 180 credit points. The modules’ credit points are weighted based on the total time you can expect to spend studying the module content, both in terms of contact hours and non-contact hours.


Course overview

Module titleCredit pointsCore or optionalSemester

Digital Architecture and Construction

20 creditsCore1

Collaborative BIM

20 creditsCore1

Applied Research

20 creditsCore1

Computational Design

20 creditsCore2

Building Performance

20 creditsCore2

Law of Digital Practice

20 creditsCore2

Dissertation / Applied Research

60 creditsCore3
  • Core module content

    Digital Architecture and Construction

    20 credit points
    Total contact hours: 30
    Total non-contact hours: 170

    • This module will teach you the theories and provide you with experience of using advanced digital design techniques and methodologies to support architectural design and construction processes.
    • You'll explore theories of digital architecture and construction, mixed reality (including virtual reality, augmented reality), rapid prototyping and 3D printing, historical building information modelling (HBIM) and 3D data acquisition and processing.
    • You'll develop conceptual, methodological and technical skills in architectural design and construction, and have opportunity to develop cross-disciplinary understanding of professional relationships, ways of working and areas of responsibility in the industry and related disciplines.

    Collaborative BIM

    20 credit points
    Total contact hours: 30
    Total non-contact hours: 170

    • This module provides you with an overview of the multi-disciplinary nature of building information modelling (BIM) and its collaborative methodologies, technologies and processes.
    • You'll gain hands on experience in developing collaborative BIM models, merge models of different natures for coordination purposes, and undertake clash detection, cost analysis and construction planning.
    • You'll explore various BIM packages (e.g. Revit, NavisWork and Synchro 4D) while developing an understanding of working with data merging, sharing and interoperability across various BIM platforms.

    Applied Research

    20 credit points
    Total contact hours: 30
    Total non-contact hours: 170

    • This module enables you to demonstrate your ability to conduct an independent investigation into an area of your choosing (from a list of available topics related to digital architecture and construction), leading to either a theoretical or design-based report.
    • The output of this module will develop a clear, concise and coherent research proposal on your chose topic(s) which will underpin your dissertation / applied research project later in the year.
    • Delivered through lectures and seminars, the module will provide an overview of a range of real-life research projects, highlighting appropriate research methodologies, languages, methods, knowledge and skills.

    Computational Design

    20 credit points
    Total contact hours: 30
    Total non-contact hours: 170

    • You'll be provided with the essential conceptual, methodological, and technical knowledge and skills to support the architectural and urban design process, by engaging with contemporary trends in computational design.
    • The core content of this module focuses on three main areas: parametric modelling, computer scripting for design purposes and physical computing in architecture.
    • You'll explore the applicability of parametric modelling in the building life cycle, computer programming using a scripting language (e.g. Python) for its application in the design process, and physical computing to support the construction, evaluation, and communication of interactive physical prototypes that respond and adapt to the analogue world. For this, you'll use common microcontroller platforms (e.g. Arduino).

    Building Performance

    20 credit points
    Total contact hours: 30
    Total non-contact hours: 170

    • This module focuses on three core aspects of building performance and their performance during the building life cycle: acoustic comfort, energy efficiency and building emergency evacuation.
    • You'll explore building thermal performance in terms of heat transfer, human comfort and user behaviour, and acoustic comfort in the context of building acoustics, sound insulation, indoor noise level and reverberation times of different buildings.
    • You'll be provided with opportunities to design, evaluate and optimise different building components to achieve optimal performance, with a focus on the thermal, acoustic quality, and fire safety of new and existing buildings. This will also enable you to gain hands-on experience of using a range of simulation tools including crowd movement simulation.

    Law of Digital Practice

    20 credit points
    Total contact hours: 24
    Total non-contact hours: 176

    • This module provides you with a critical insight into the potential legal issues of data sharing between parties including consultants, manufacturers, facility managers and contractors in a digital environment (including BIM platforms).
    • You'll be exposed to real-life case studies which utilise different methods of dispute resolution, including examples of BIM-supportive contract framework, copyright and intellectual property, liabilities, risk management, process, data and interoperability.

    Dissertation / Applied Research

    60 credit points
    Total contact hours: 20
    Total non-contact hours: 580

    This module offers you the option to complete a dissertation formulated as a written thesis, or a 'research by design' thesis where you'll utilise different digital design communication tools to lead investigation and invention, accompanied by a written report. You must select one option only.

    • This module provides you with an opportunity to undertake an independent research project where you'll apply the academic, digital an technical skills gained throughout your studies.
    • You'll build on the research proposal submitted in your Applied Research (20 credit) module and obtain comprehensive feedback to enable you to develop a robust research project.
    • The module offers supervisory meetings throughout the academic year to support and monitor your progress.

How you’re taught

How will I learn?

  • Through the use of regular formative feedback, reflection and review, your learning will be developed and refined in the area of specialism that you wish to follow.
  • Teaching and learning methods include lectures and seminars, tutorials, critiques, case studies, workshops, visiting industry speakers, site visits and field trips and directed and independent learning.
  • Non-contact hours include direct out-of-classroom reading and activities, and independent learning and reading is deemed necessary to achieve the learning outcomes for the course.
  • The course enables collaborative working across disciplines, including presentations involving students studying other (related) courses at NTU.

Assessment methods

To ensure you get the support you need to select your individual learning pathway and achieve the relevant module learning outcomes, a review will undertaken on commencement of your studies to appraise your level of professional skills and expertise (a skills audit). Through this you'll identify strengths, weaknesses and potential for development and workshops will be offered to address individual learning requirements.

  • All assessment methods are coursework based. Assessments vary from module to module and require you to undertake practical work together with research and critical evaluation in order to demonstrate the link between theory and practice.
  • Assessment techniques include technical reports, case studies, individual and group projects and presentations.
  • An assessment schedule will be provided at the start of the academic year, and care is taken to provide you with timely, constructive, formative and summative feedback.

Careers and employability

NTU has an outstanding reputation for producing highly employable architecture graduates from all disciplines.

All of our courses has been designed to maximise the employability prospects of our graduates, equipping you with professional skills as well as enhancing and developing your design skills, technical knowledge and ability to communicate your ideas.

Our Employability team

Our expert Employability team will work closely with you at every stage of your career planning, providing personal support and advice. You can benefit from this service at any time during your studies, and for up to three years after completing your course.

Throughout the year, our Employability team runs a series of events specifically for students studying in the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, such as the Property, Design and Construction Fair, offering employers the opportunity to advertise roles to our students.

NTU Property, Design and Construction Fair

Entry requirements

Applying with prior qualifications

  • 2:2 honours degree in a relevant architecture or construction-related subject including, but not limited to, architecture, architectural technology, interior design, construction management, surveying and civil engineering.

Work submission

If your initial application is successful, you'll be asked to submit a digital portfolio of your work to the University.

Take a look at our digital portfolio advice.

Interview

If your portfolio is accepted, you'll be asked to hold an interview with the academic team. For UK-based applicants, you will be invited to an interview at the University.

Your interview will help us to decide whether we feel you are suitable for the course, and will help you to decide if this is the right course for you.

Applying with non-standard entry qualifications/experience

  • Applicants with non-standard entry qualifications and/or relevant experience will be considered on an individual basis. Assessment of your experience will confirm that you have achieved the necessary skills in the course of your general experience.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions team or call +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Applying with prior qualifications

  • 2:2 honours degree in a relevant architecture or construction-related subject including, but not limited to, architecture, architectural technology, interior design, construction management, surveying and civil engineering.

Work submission

If your initial application is successful, you'll be asked to submit a digital portfolio of your work to the University.

Take a look at our digital portfolio advice.

Interview

If your portfolio is accepted, you'll be asked to hold an interview with the academic team. For EU and International students, you'll hold an interview via telephone.

Your interview will help us to decide whether we feel you are suitable for the course, and will help you to decide if this is the right course for you.

Applying with non-standard entry qualifications/experience

  • Applicants with non-standard entry qualifications and/or relevant experience will be considered on an individual basis. Assessment of your experience will confirm that you have achieved the necessary skills in the course of your general experience.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

  • For a list of our language requirements please visit our English language page.
  • If you need to do a pre-sessional English language course to meet the English requirements please visit our pre-sessional English course page.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our international team for advice.

How to apply

Applications to this course can be made through our NTU Applicant Portal.

Writing your application

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. Make sure you include as much information as possible, including uploading evidence of results already achieved, as well as a personal statement.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our postgraduate pages.

Work submission

If your initial application is successful, you'll be asked to submit a digital portfolio of your work to the University.

Take a look at our digital portfolio advice.

Interview

If your portfolio is accepted, you'll be asked to hold an interview with the academic team. For UK-based applicants, you will be invited to an interview at the University.

Your interview will help us to decide whether we feel you are suitable for the course, and will help you to decide if this is the right course for you.

Advice for non-standard applicants

We welcome applications from applicants without prior qualifications. However, in this instance, you must have proven experience in areas related to architecture and construction, which demonstrates appropriate knowledge and skills at honours degree (undergraduate) standard.


If you are applying without prior qualifications, you will need to submit comprehensive details of your achievements with evidence to substantiate your claim (any documentation can be uploaded to the My Documents section of the Applicant Portal). This type of application will be considered with respect to the University’s provision for ‘accreditation for prior experiential learning’. Decisions regarding the accreditation of prior learning are a matter of academic judgement.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Getting in touch

If you need more help or support, you can call our Admissions Team on +44 (0)115 848 4200, or email applications@ntu.ac.uk.

Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Applications to this course can be made through our NTU Applicant Portal - click on the Apply button at the top of the page to be taken straight through to the Portal. Apply for your course as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here you need to plan this into your application.

  • For a step by step guide on making an application to the University please visit our how to apply page.
  • For advice on applying for a visa please visit our visa information page.
  • For advice on how to write a good personal statement please visit our personal statement page.

Work submission

If your initial application is successful, you'll be asked to submit a digital portfolio of your work to the University.

Take a look at our digital portfolio advice.

Interview

If your portfolio is accepted, you'll be asked to hold an interview with the academic team. For EU and International students, you'll hold an interview via telephone.

Your interview will help us to decide whether we feel you are suitable for the course, and will help you to decide if this is the right course for you.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Getting in touch

If you need more help or support, you can call our Admissions Team on +44 (0)115 848 4200, or email applications@ntu.ac.uk.

Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2019 entry

Fees for 2020 are yet to be confirmed. The fees for 2019 entry should be used as a guidance only.

Study routeHome (UK/EU students)International
Full-time (1 year)£8,000£14,500

Funding your studies

There are numerous sources of funding available for postgraduate students, both from external sources such as the Government and funding bodies, and from the University.

There are two main costs involved with postgraduate study: the cost of your tuition fees which is paid directly to the University, and living expenses such as accommodation, travel and food.

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. You might be able to get a scholarship to help fund your studies. We award scholarships to those students who can demonstrate excellent achievement, passion and dedication to their studies.

Please take a look at our postgraduate funding page for information about sourcing grants, bursaries and scholarships, and much more.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service by calling +44 (0)115 848 2494.

Fees for 2019 entry

Fees for 2020 are yet to be confirmed. The fees for 2019 entry should be used as a guidance only.

Study routeHome (UK/EU students)International
Full-time (1 year)£8,000£14,500

Funding your studies

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service by calling +44 (0)115 848 2494.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418