Course Information Undergraduate prospectus

Architecture Dissertation

Course summary

Course code: ARCT1014
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Architecture, Computing and Hums
Department: Architecture and Landscape
Course Coordinator(s): Marko Jobst


Pre and co requisites

Successfully passing all level 4 & 5 courses


Current architectural practice requires engagement and understanding of a variety of levels of theoretical, historical, contextual, technological, cultural and social aspects of design. In order to demonstrate this understanding in some depth, the dissertation is defined by each dissertation tutorial group. The preparation of a dissertation enables students to use a range of skills that have been developed throughout the programme: the skills of enterprise and initiative required for thorough investigation and research into a chosen topic; the motivation and time management skills necessary to produce a substantive and organised piece of written work; the ability to synthesise and integrate complex information; and the ability to develop a conceptual and critical approach to architectural design.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1. Within the focus of their dissertation topic: demonstrate as appropriate, an awareness of the influences on the contemporary built environment of individual buildings, the design of cities, past and present societies and wider global issues.

2. Within the focus of their dissertation topic: demonstrate as appropriate, knowledge of the histories and theories of Architecture and Landscape, the history of ideas, and the related disciplines of art, cultural studies and landscape.

3. Demonstrate systematic information gathering and carry out research, using mainly secondary sources.

4. Deploy with rigour, established techniques of critical analysis within the general subject of architecture.

5. Evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions and structure ideas to discuss a coherent argument relating to architectural culture, theory and design.

6. Present a final illustrated essay using appropriate IT software and display a correct academic presentation of sources and references.

Indicative content

Each dissertation tutor will offer a ‘specialist’ theme and reading list for their tutorial group through lectures, discussions and workshops. For this reason, the themes may vary from year to year. Each student will select a dissertation topic based on the theme of their tutorial group. The course acknowledges a diversity of architectural positions and interests and attempts to engage students by presenting their work at discussion workshops and in tutorials. The dissertation results in a 5000 to 7000 word long essay, with the visual form supporting and contributing to the argument.

Teaching and learning activity

Students will be part of a tutorial group led by a dissertation tutor. The chosen theme(s) for the tutorial group will be explored through a series of workshops and seminars, including site visits where appropriate. Individual dissertation topics will be developed through workshop presentations and through tutorials. Early on, students will be required to present a dissertation outline which must be submitted and approved at the required time in order to be allowed to submit the final dissertation. The final submission is timetabled early after the Christmas break in order to allow students to concentrate on their final design project thereafter.


Research Methods Statement - 10% weighting, 40% pass mark. LO 1-6. Outline Details: Written Research Methods Statement, 2,000 words.
Formative Assessment: Continual feedback through seminars, tutorials, workshops and presentations.

Wittten Dissertation - 90% weighting, 40% pass mark. LO 1-6. Outline Details: 5,000 - 7,000 word written dissertation.
Formative Assessment: Continual feedback through seminars, tutorials, workshops and presentations.