Architecture (Undergraduate)

Welcome for undergraduate students will begin on Monday, 26 September 2022.

Welcome messages


    Welcome information and timetables

    Welcome for undergraduate students will begin on Monday 26 September.

    Make sure you familiarise yourself with your course Welcome timetable below.

    Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) is a joint School of Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and The University of Manchester (UoM).

    This means you are in the unique position of being registered at two universities, with all their facilities at your disposal - but first, you have to register at each university.

    For details of any steps you need to take with MMU, please visit their Welcome website.

    You will be receiving or will have already received, emails from The University of Manchester which explain to you how to obtain an IT account at Manchester.

    This is the first step to follow - once you have IT access, you can register as a student.

    You will be paying your tuition fees to MMU so the financial stage of registration at UoM should state that no fees are due, but you must still complete all the stages of registration, including the financial stage, to register.

    If fees are listed in error at this stage, call the UoM registration helpline on +44 (0)161 306 5544.

    Once you are enrolled at The University of Manchester, you must also enrol at Manchester Metropolitan University.

    At MSA we use the term dates of MMU, which means your induction weeks will begin on Monday, 26 September.

    If you are moving into UoM accommodation, it may be possible to move in earlier so that you can be on campus for the MSA induction week.

    This will need to be arranged in advance with the accommodation team.

    Please note, if you are unable to join us on campus on 26 September, all induction lectures will be online and recorded.

    Induction booklet

    Welcome timetable

    Introduction to Year 1

    If, as is currently the case, there are no COVID-19 restrictions in place, the Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) intends to deliver all design studio sessions in person next academic year and we look forward to welcoming you back on campus.

    As such, there is no option to study fully online in the forthcoming academic year.

    All students in the Bachelor of Architecture (Hons.) (BA1,BA2, BA3), Master of Architecture (MArch1, MArch2), and Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA1, MLA2) are required to be on campus to engage with the course induction weeks from 26 September, 2022, and in-person studio teaching from the week of 3 October, 2022.

    All students in the Master in Architecture and Urbanism (MA A+U), are required to be on campus to engage with the course induction weeks from 26 September, 2022, and in-person studio teaching from the week of 3 October, 2022.

    To maximize on-campus studio activities and build on the many positives of online 'live' lectures in the last year, we have decided to maintain this approach in the 2022-23 academic year.

    Therefore, all lectures for all students on the BA, M.Arch, MLA, and MA A+U will be online.

    To support our live interactive (but online) lectures, we will also provide additional asynchronous materials to maximize your learning through being able to access materials such as presentations, video content, online discussion boards, or collaborative documents in your own time.

    To help support you with the asynchronous learning, we will provide a detailed timetable of all events for the whole year and additional guidance to help you balance your workload, broken down into daily suggestions of what to study on which days.

    We will recommend a suggested timetable to help you structure your study time on a week-by-week basis.

    Find out more at Studying in September 2022.

    Course units


    Studio is where you will learn how to test and experiment with form, debate ideas and present your own unique proposals.

    We will challenge your existing knowledge of space and how space is created.

    Projects begin from a variety of starting points and increase in scale over the year.

    Through this unit, you will become independent designers capable of developing complex briefs and beautiful ideas.

    The starting point for your first studio project will require you to consider how movement might be visualised and manifest spatially.

    Through the design of a space for dance, the idea of considering the specific qualities of a space will be introduced, so you might want to start thinking about how you could best represent your ideas visually.

    The next project considers a compact home and the final one considers space for manufacturing.

    Over the summer think about your own home, and how you live, think about the activities and how much (or how little) space they require.

    Start by measuring yourself, and try to draw people doing different daily activities.

    We have provided some links to some free books on the reading page of this booklet to help get you inspired, so have a look at those.

    First Year Motto: Remember that Architecture is a doing word!


    Humanities at MSA will help you to develop your understanding of the social, cultural, historical, and theoretical aspects of Architecture and we begin to do this through a deeper understanding of drawing. 

    Firstly, we’ll be discussing why you should draw as much as considering its history and practicalities. 

    Our position is that architects think through drawing, so we’re challenging you to understand the spatial knowledge possible through plans, sections, elevations, and perspectives. 

    We then discuss architectural history more directly as a history of ideas. 

    Each lecture will be a survey of a theme: healthcare, power, class, for example. 

    The aim is to equip you with the skills to conduct your own research as well as to discuss key ideas and examples with each lecture.

    Over the summer, keep a sketchbook. 

    Don’t just draw perspectives, draw sketched plans and elevations as well (a notebook with a grid can help a lot here). 

    Learning to look is an essential part of architecture, and drawing in a sketchbook helps you to see. 

    Whilst you draw, think about when the building was made and why: has it been adapted, and why does it take the form that it does? Why don’t we build like this now? 

    Every building represents the philosophy and culture of its time and place in some way: there’s no such thing as a building that’s too boring to think about!


    The Technologies unit asks you to question the experiential and instrumental performance of a building by examining materiality, buildability, technology, sustainability and detail.

    Through a series of lectures and case studies, the course allows you to analyse architecture starting with the following time-honoured criteria set by Vitruvius of ‘Fermitas, Utilitas, Venustas‘ [Firmness, Commodity, and Delight] :

    • Firmness // Is the building safe, stable, and durable?
    • Commodity //  Does it accommodate its programme comfortably?
    • Delight // Is the experience of the building delightful?

    Get inspired over the summer by drawing a portal frame, finding out the compressive strength of a standard brick, making a simple model of a frame, designing a tall tower to support a tennis ball with one sheet of paper, finding three types of bridge, drawing a staircase in section and finding a structural fault in a building.

    Studio Skills

    Each week is supplemented by a SKILLS workshop session.

    These sessions are designed to allow you to progress the many skills required to meet the course deadlines and align with Studio, Humanities, and Technologies outputs which require rudimentary knowledge and skills that underpin the discipline.

    Get inspired over the summer by simply looking at drawings that inspire you and working out how you think they were drawn by experimenting with techniques and recording them in an experimental sketchbook.

    Some of our favourites can be found at

    MSA Live

    In the summer term, each year students work with key collaborators in the city in an intensive MSA Live programme which tackles live agendas through exhibitions, installations, built projects, workshops, charrettes, processions, and protests.

    Over the years this programme has seen students working with real clients doing anything from bricklaying to creating digital environments.

    Get inspired over the summer by reading the blog of MSA Live 2022 and get involved in some architectural events where you live from exhibitions to volunteering for community building projects.

    Reading list

    A specific reading list will be provided for you along with each studio, humanities or technologies brief, however,  there are four key texts which will serve as an essential reference in Year 1, and will prove useful throughout your architectural education.

    • Studio Craft & Technique for Architects (Delany, M. & Gorman, A.)
    • Model Making (Werner, M.)
    • Architect’s Pocket Book (Baden-Powell, C.)
    • Pevsner’s Architectural Guide: Manchester (Hartwell, C.)

    These can be bought as a bundle exclusively from the Blackwells in Manchester for a discounted price.

    They also offer free UK delivery.

    Equipment list

    Architectural education combines drawing, model making, test modelling, photography, filmmaking, sketching, experimentation, computer presentations, analysis and written work which all requires a lot of equipment.

    Although we do not suggest you buy overly expensive materials and experiment with found objects and recycled basics, there are some things that are worth investing in as follows.

    Essential from day one

    • Sketchbook
    • Mechanical Pencil
    • Pencil Leads
    • 3 x Drawing Pens: e.g. 0.25mm/ 0.35mm/ 0.7mm
    • Tape Measure
    • Masking Tape
    • Metric Scale Rule: 30cm (scales: 1:1/ 1:5/ 1:20/ 1:50/ 1:100/ 1:200)
    • A1, A2 and A3 Paper
    • Tracing Paper (a roll of tracing paper can be a great idea)
    • Laptop (should have a graphics card/ good for image processing)

    Good to have

    • Portable Drawing Board (A2/ A3)
    • Adjustable Set Square // 300mm
    • Sketching Pencils
    • Notebook
    • Cartridge Paper
    • Drawing Tube (A1)
    • Model Making Grey Card
    • Scrap Card
    • Balsa Wood
    • Model Making Glue
    • Cutting Mat (A1/A2)
    • Steel Rule: 1000mm/ 300mm
    • Scalpel & Blades
    • Suitable Waterproof Clothing
    • Calculator
    • Digital Camera/ Camera Phone
    • External Hardrive
    • Cloud Storage for Backup

    International students

    As you join the University you are required to complete pre-enrolment.

    This is where we scan originals of your passport, immigration permission (visa), and the qualifications that helped you get an offer for your course (these would normally be the certificates/transcripts listed on your CAS).

    The scanned documents are kept securely on your student record as part of our license requirements with UKVI.

    If you are an overseas, study abroad, or exchange student, you must attend pre-enrolment before you can complete online enrolment with the University and begin your studies.

    Find out more

    Support and advice

    If you have any questions about your course, you can get in touch with our teaching and learning team at

    For the latest engagement and support information, events and activities, follow SEED Student Support and Guidance on Facebook or Eventbrite.

    For more information about the whole range of support available from the University, please visit the University's Student Support website.

    You can use the live chat facility below to contact our course support teams for help and advice on things such as registration, course unit selection, and exams.

    Live chat is available Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

    Preparing to start your course

    Visit the Get Ready pages. There are a few practical things we need you to complete in your first few weeks to get things started. 

    Take a look at the Welcome and Induction pages. We're looking forward to welcoming you to Manchester. 

    For a welcome to your chosen course, Your Area of Study has welcome messages from department senior staff and colleagues.

    The city of Manchester

    Find out more about the city of Manchester:

    Study skills

    Knowing what additional academic and study skills support is available and how to access this is essential for getting the most out of your time at University. Whether you would like to know how to write better essays, how to develop your critical thinking and analysis skills, learn how to reference accurately, or manage your time better, the University has the academic and skills support to help. 

    My Learning Essentials is the library's award-winning skills support programme. It offers face to face and online support across a variety of topics. 

    Student support services

    We warmly welcome you to the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) and we hope you are looking forward to beginning your journey here as a student at the University of Manchester. Starting a new programme can be both exciting and challenging so we wanted to let you know that the Student Support and Wellbeing Team is here to support you throughout your time as a student in the School of Environment, Education and Development. From questions about your programme, to mitigating circumstances; from support for wellbeing or welfare concerns to support for a disability or academic skills support; and everything in between, we are on hand to assist in any way that we can! To get in touch, simply email, or visit the Arthur Lewis Building (2nd floor). 

    There are a wide range of support services across the university so it’s well worth taking a moment to familiarise yourself with some of what’s available: 

    Support for international students

    For all students planning to travel to the UK, it is important to be aware of the current rules and requirements relevant to your circumstances before travelling. The situation is changing on a regular basis, so we strongly advise you regularly check the advice available from the UK Government. There is also support available and useful information on the EU and international students FAQs page

    Further support for international students can be found below:

    Support for students from under-represented backgrounds

    We recognise that some student groups will need specific support during their time at university. You may belong to one or multiple groups and we are here to ensure that you can access the help you need. 

    Further help and support

    There is lots of help and support available from your programme and student support team from now and when you will join us in September. 

    You can get in touch with us now with any queries about your studies by contacting us on

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