Advanced Architectural Design

PgCert | PgDip | MSc

The MSc Advanced Architectural Design degree at Robert Gordon University is a 12-month research-led course, designed to equip you to play a lead role in the future design and construction of our buildings, cities and rural communities. It will provide you with the knowledge and skills to develop innovative yet contextually appropriate solutions to challenges of major consequence and complexity.

Projects are connected with industrial research and innovation the University is actively working on, meaning you will explore real-world problems in zero-carbon buildings, design for fabrication and assembly, digital and parametric design and future bound design agendas.

You will gain a solid understanding on how UAVs and drones will radically change the world as we know it, and you will have the opportunity to work alongside a drone with our fully qualified pilot.

This course has one study option

Mode of Attendance

  • On Campus

Mode of Study

  • Full Time

Start Date


Course Length

12 months

Term 1

You will study one research-based module which integrates 4 core strands of contemporary architectural design and production. These include low energy/low carbon design, the sustainable development of the contemporary city, the use of data in an increasingly digital industry and contemporary project management.

Term 2

You will develop a thorough understanding of innovative approaches to architectural and urban design by applying theoretical knowledge and consideration to a project in a UK setting. The brief for the term will ask you to apply innovative technologies such as UAVs or blockchain technologies in a studio or research setting. You will develop in parallel your research skills and methodologies to underpin your final thesis project in Term 3.

Term 3

Your final term is focused on the Thesis project, which is expected to reference the core strands of the course in some form. Your Thesis topic is your choice and should address an architectural or urban problem of significant complexity and be of relevant context to your home country or intended global destination.

Overarching Theme

During 2020/2021 students were asked to develop a series of forward-looking projects under the overarching theme 'Automata'. They will be among the first in the world to release their work as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

Student & Graduate Stories



Modules and delivery order may change for operational purposes. The University regularly reviews its courses. Course content and structure may change over time. See our course and module disclaimer for more information.

Detailed module information

Learning Methods

You will learn by a mixture of studio-based activity, tutorials, lectures and seminars. The studio space dedicated to the course provides you with an appropriately equipped place to undertake self-directed study and form your own architectonic positions.

You will study alongside our Master of Architecture students, and benefit academically and socially from being part of this wider community.

Whilst Term 1 introduces theoretical ideas, and in doing so ensures a common level of understanding across the cohort, Terms 2 and 3 are predominantly research-focused and are driven by independent learning.

Activity Summary

  • Lectures - 20 students per group, 4 hours per week (Terms 1 & 2)
  • Seminars - 10 students per group, 2-3 hours per week depending on modules chosen
  • Webinar - 20 students per group, 2-6 hours per week depending on modules chosen
  • Practical class or workshop - 10-20 students per group, 2 hours per 2 weeks (Terms 1 & 2)
  • Supervised time in studio / workshop - 10-20 students per group, 6-8 hours per week (Terms 1 & 2)
  • Independent Study - 10-20 students per group, 500 hours per term
  • Field Work - 10-20 students per group, hours depending on Thesis chosen, per term
  • External Visits - 10-20 students per group, depending on arrangements with offices/venues per term

How long is an Advanced Architectural Design course?

The Advanced Architectural Design degree can be successfully completed in 12 months.


Typically students are assessed each year:

  • 2 reports
  • 1 dissertation
  • 1 portfolio
  • 1 project output
  • 3 oral assessments
  • 1 group critique


We aim to provide you with feedback within 20 working days of hand-in for all written exams, coursework and practical exams.

Independent Study

You are expected to be active participants in the learning process and to extend your learning from formally delivered materials through wider reading, research and self-directed enquiry. You will be encouraged to regularly reflect on your learning and take ownership of your studies.

Staff Delivering on This Course

You will learn from experts who are actively researching leading edge practice, winning industry practitioners and academics with relevant international industry experience across the fields of Architecture, Urbanism and Project Management.

Examples of research leading practice that our staff are involved in, and you will be able to collaborate on includes:


Academic Support

The Inclusion Centre advises and supports students who disclose a sensory or mobility impairment, chronic medical condition, mental health issue, dyslexia and other specific learning differences. Applicants are encouraged to arrange a pre-entry visit to discuss any concerns and to view the facilities.

Online Learning & Support

All undergraduate and postgraduate students, whether you are learning on campus or by online learning, benefit from using our collaborative virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle. You will be provided with 24/7 online access to your learning material and resources, along with the ability to interact with your class members and tutors for discussion and support.

Study Skills Support

The Study Support Team provides training and support to all students in:

  • Academic writing
  • Study skills (note taking, exam techniques, time management, presentation)
  • Maths and statistics
  • English language
  • Information technology support

Library Support

The Library offers support for your course, including the books, eBooks, and journals you will need. We also offer online reading lists for many modules, workshops and drop-ins on searching skills and referencing, and much more.



This course prepares you for a leading role in a global industry. You will be equipped with high level innovative tools to tackle complicated architectural problems and be able to work in architecture offices across the world. 

It also provides a pathway to PhD study or the opportunity to develop your business ideas through the RGU Start-Up Accelerator.


What is needed to study MSc Advanced Architectural Design?

  • Applicants normally hold a 2:2 undergraduate honours degree or its equivalent, in one of the following subject areas: Architecture, Architectural Design, Architectural Technology, Design Management, Sustainable Building Design, Urban Design / Planning.
  • Applicants with a lower degree classification and / or relevant work experience will be considered on a case by case basis.

Portfolio of design work

Please submit a portfolio of creative and technical work developed during your undergraduate studies. This might include design or architectonic work, and/or technical resolution of a building, a structure or other artefact. The length and format of the portfolio work is up to you, however, it is best to be selective and showcase quality work rather than everything you have done. If you have worked in projects in practice, include those as well, with clear annotation on which was the area of your responsibility.

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English should have an IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5, or equivalent.

We accept a variety of in-country and secure English language tests, find out more:

Please note, some courses may require a higher standard of English than stated in this page. Contact for further information.


Academic Year 2022-2023

Scottish Students

Full Time

On Campus
Over 1 year Year 1 £6,180

Rest of UK Students

Full Time

On Campus
Over 1 year Year 1 £6,180

EU Students

Full Time

On Campus
Over 1 year Year 1 £6,180

International Students

Full Time

On Campus
Over 1 year Year 1 £14,130

Academic Year 2021-2022

Scottish Students

Full Time

On Campus
Over 1 year Year 1 £6,000

Rest of UK Students

Full Time

On Campus
Over 1 year Year 1 £6,000

EU Students

Full Time

On Campus
Over 1 year Year 1 £6,000

International Students

Full Time

On Campus
Over 1 year Year 1 £13,720

Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:

  • The cost of books that you may wish to purchase.
  • Costs associated with your placement / study abroad
  • Accommodation and Living costs
  • Printing
  • £100-£150 material costs per term
  • £800 - £1000 laptop is recommended but not required
  • £100 local travel per term (approximate) International travel is not required, but dependant on the choices of the students.

Alumni Discount

Robert Gordon University is delighted to offer a 20% loyalty discount on course fees for all alumni who have graduated from RGU.

Student Funding

Postgraduate students will normally make their own arrangements for payment of fees. However, there are a limited number of SAAS funded places on certain postgraduate courses.
There are also sources of funding that are applicable to categories of student.

Scholarships and Financial Awards

You may also qualify for a scholarship or financial award:


For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter.  For further information see:


Have a question about the course? Get in touch with our Student Admissions Service and we'll do our best to help.

Get in touch

Taking this course, you will have access to some of the world's best facilities. 

We've invested more than £100 million in the development of our campus, new facilities and new resources.

University Wide Facilities

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