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Sustainable Architecture

Masters in Architecture | ARB Part 2

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Building design plays an important role in improving quality of life and human well-being, whilst also helping with climate change mitigation and adaptation.

M.Arch Sustainable Architecture offers architects an ARB-prescribed Part 2 qualification, drawing on CAT’s 50 years of experience in sustainability practice.

The intensive course allows graduates to respond more quickly to the urgent need for a greater understanding of sustainability issues in the built environment.

Course structure

This Masters degree starts in September and is available full-time for 22 months or part-time over three years.

The course structure has been designed to accommodate students who wish to maintain a limited amount of employment or other commitments.

Full-time students spend an average of 35 hours per week on their studies, attending CAT for one teaching week roughly every month.


Key areas of study

An architecture Masters with sustainability at its core, the course focuses on how sustainability can be thought about in the design process, in order to create buildings that are functional and sustainable as well as aesthetically pleasing.

This highly practical course allows you to combine design-based academic study with hands-on learning, expanding your critical awareness of current architectural and environmental problems to develop new insights.

You will be studying at the forefront of sustainable architecture, drawing on the skills and knowledge of in-house experts and external designers, including leading sustainable architects such as Professor Pat Borer, Patrick Hannay and Chris Loyn.

You will also have the chance to get involved in community projects, allowing you to develop real-world, practical experience.

Module Descriptions

Integrated Design Project 1

Develop and demonstrate the process of design and design skills by creating a detailed brief from a set of outline requirements, testing design solutions in response to your own brief objectives, investigating appropriate technological solutions and developing an imaginative, sustainable and resolved architectural proposal.

Take the opportunity to begin to develop your own critical position towards architectural design and the role of the architect within the context of society and the environmental debate.

This is a 30 credit module. 

Assessment: Design and technology portfolio

Find out more about this module: AR7400 - Integrated Design Project UEL (After September 2022)

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Architectural Analysis Through Writing

Architects and professionals need the skills to communicate clearly and professionally as part of their day-to-day work activities. Structuring ideas clearly so that the relevant issues are easily understood by the audience is an essential skill.

Develop critical and evaluative thinking skills and the ability to express ideas and arguments clearly, concisely and professionally. Be introduced to writing as a means of analysing architecture and developing a better understanding of buildings through the active role of verbalisation. Also start to learn about the history and theory of writing related to architecture and the process of architectural development, with a particular focus on community participation.

This module is related to your personal and professional position and we encourage you to define a learning agenda in relation to your architectural training.

This is a 15 credit module. 

Assessment: Personal reflective essay, written analysis of experiencing architecture related to an architecture field trip and Integrated Design Project 2 research paper on history and theory of settlement design in relation to sustainability

Find out more about this module: AR7410 – Architectural Analysis Through Writing UEL (After September 2022)

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Professional Studies

The practice of architecture has changed over time and continues to change in response to the context of the industry and the increasing complexity of architecture. It is as important for you to consider your professional future and the direction it might take as it is for you to understand the responsibilities of an architect.

Be introduced to the professional, legal and ethical duties of an architect in relation to their clients, the profession and to society, and to the principles and procedures that are necessary for sound architectural practice. You will be encouraged to reflect on current practice and your role within architecture in the future.

This is a 15 credit module. 

Assessment: Integrated Design Project 1-related report on planning and building control, critical reflective notebook, construction costing and value appraisal report related to design and build project.

Find out more about this module: AR7402 - Professional Studies UEL (After September 2022)

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Integrated Design Project 2

This module introduces you to the urban dimension of the built environment and the relationship between settlement forms and the lifestyles within them, looking at their impact on environmental sustainability.

You will work in groups to research the development context for sustainable development at a settlement scale and create a brief informed by socio-economic and environmental research of the area. The resilience, adaptability and sustainability of the community in relation to climate change and other environmental challenges must be taken into consideration.

Based on the brief developed in groups, you will develop a masterplan that addresses the needs of the locality and helps create a sustainable community. You’ll individually explore one intervention within the masterplan and develop it in detail with consideration of construction and environmental design.

This is a 30 credit module.

Assessment: Essay related to community consultation and brief development, technology submission, and design portfolio.

Find out more about this module: AR7403 - Integrated Design Project UEL (After September 2022)

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Build Project

The aim of this module is to develop an advanced understanding of the practical aspects of implementing designs and construction in practice.

This module will offer students the opportunity to gain knowledge of a selection of sustainable building systems through hands-on building workshops.

You’ll have the chance to design a small structure that can be built at a 1:1 scale by students at CAT. Two to four designs from the cohort’s submissions will be selected and built by groups of students. These will be used to analyse and develop an understanding of the costs and industry implications of such construction.

This is a 30 credit module.

Assessment: Design and implementation report

Find out more about this module: AR7411 – Build UEL (After September 2022)

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

MArch Research Paper

This module provides you with the opportunity to explore, assimilate and synthesise learning related to a topic of your choice. This can also help inform your final design project.

The research paper will enable you to:

  • develop appropriate theoretical and research methodologies
  • consider the ethical implications of your work
  • thoroughly investigate your chosen topic
  • develop a logical and coherent argument and support it with rigorously evaluated and reliable data
  • draw conclusions
  • understand your impact on the wider knowledge base and/or community

The research paper does not necessarily involve original research or primary material, but you may carry out a small original research project using primary material.

This is a 30 credit module.

Assessment: Research Paper

Find out more about this module: AR7412 - Research Project UEL (After September 2022)

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Final Design Project

The main aim of this module is to expand and synthesise the knowledge, understanding and skills gained from the completed modules and produce an integrated, comprehensive and research- and evidence-based design proposal within a technical, social, environmental and theoretical context.

The final design project provides the opportunity to develop a project that responds to and reinforces the role of architectural design within the environmental debate. The project will test original concepts, hypotheses and speculations based on your understanding of the context of architecture attained through rigorous research and logical judgement.

The module encourages you to develop your own working methods to include the generation of original ideas that are examined, tested and critically appraised in an iterative process, as well as the ability to critically reflect on design proposals.

This module also provides the opportunity to examine and verbalise your individual approach to architecture and develop a sense of personal and professional responsibility towards architectural enquiry. It also acts as a vehicle to develop and demonstrate confidence in working with the complex processes of architectural exploration and resolution, with particular emphasis on their approach to the wider environmental debate.

This is a 60 credit module.

Assessment: Final design submission

Find out more about this module: AR7408 - Final Design Project UEL (After September 2022)

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Technical Report for Final Design Project

This module offers you the opportunity to systematically and rigorously develop the technical design solutions associated with the final design project. In doing so, you’ll draw from previous learning and expand your understanding, developing the ability to apply such knowledge in an integrated manner as part of the design process and in a way that enhances the architecture.

This is a 30 credit module.

Assessment: Technical Report

Find out more about this module: AR7407 - Technical Report for Final Design Project UEL (After September 2022)

What’s it like to study at CAT? Read more about the teaching and learning experience.

Our timetable of module dates changes year on year. You can view our most recent version of the Timetable, Programme Specifications, Course Handbooks and Current Student Information on our Current Students page.

Rosie Murphy - CAT Graduate / CAT stories

CAT Stories: Rosie Murphy

Many of Rosie’s projects addressed the intersection between social and environmental injustices within the built environment. Through her university work, voluntary work and activism, Rosie aimed to raise awareness of the concurrent issues of climate and ecological degradation, as well as the racial inequalities that exist within the architectural industry and beyond.

Since graduating in 2021, Rosie has become a Coordinator of the Education Group within the Architect’s Climate Action Network, and works for Matt+Fiona, a social enterprise that believes everyone should have the right to shape their built environment.

MArch student using design software

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees for this course for Home students are £14,500. This is the cost payable to CAT for the course tuition, not per year. Please visit our Fees and Funding page to learn about tuition fees, additional fees and funding opportunities.
Architecture students building

Student projects

Architecture matters. Here is a small sample of some of our student projects exploring how we can do architecture and buildings differently to help us work towards a more sustainable world.

Why study at CAT?

50 years of sustainable architecture

CAT’s world leading eco centre is a pioneer in researching and teaching practical solutions for sustainability. Having spent five decades experimenting with sustainable architecture, CAT is uniquely placed to offer training in this area.

Monthly intensive residential study weeks offer an immersive learning experience – you’ll be living and learning in award-winning buildings made from earth, straw, hemp and timber, all designed with environmental impact in mind.

Projects, lectures, talks, seminars, workshops and practical sessions are all part of the module teaching programme at CAT.

You will develop your skills and knowledge through practical activities, build projects and design tasks alongside studio learning, lectures, small group seminars and discussion forums, group work tasks, tutorials and written and visual learning resources.

Our approach to teaching and learning provides a thorough understanding of the complex challenges that occur when theories are put into practice.

Entry requirements

  • Undergraduate degree carrying an exemption from ARB Part I or a relevant undergraduate degree. If you have a relevant undergraduate degree that does not carry an exemption from ARB’s Part 1 examination you will be required to successfully complete the ARB’s Part 1 examination before you can register as an architect in the UK.
  • Digital portfolio of work.
  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required for applicants whose first language is not English.
  • This course is highly practical and requires attendance in person at CAT. If you live outside of the UK (you are exempt if you already have settled or pre-settled status or are resident in Ireland) and require a student visa you cannot study this course as we do not hold the required Student Sponsor licence (previously known as a Tier 4 licence). You may instead wish to look at our MSc Green Building, which is available via distance learning.

Interested in studying this course? Join us for our next open day, contact us for more information or apply today.

This course is created and delivered by CAT and is validated by the University of East London. Successful completion of the programme MArch Sustainable Architecture at the Centre for Alternative Technology leads to the award of Master of Architecture (MArch) by UEL. The course is prescribed by the Architects Registration Board. 

    Architects Registration Board

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Open Day

Join Graduate School staff on a Graduate School Open Day to find out more about studying one of our postgraduate courses.

Apply now

Applications for entry onto our Masters in Sustainable Architecture Part 2 course in September 2024 are now open.

Due to high interest we recommend you apply early as we consider applications on a first-come first-served basis. If you have further questions or need support with your application then do get in touch.