Welcome messages

Our senior staff and department colleagues welcome you to The University of Manchester and outline what to expect in the year ahead.


    Prof Tom Jefferies, Head of the Manchester School of Architecture (MSA)

    Welcome to Manchester.

    Architecture is a discipline that is extensive, challenging, intriguing, exciting, and deeply rewarding.

    Our School aims to enable you to become the Architect you want to be. Take risks, ask questions and immerse yourself in the discipline to build knowledge and ability. Read as much as you can, talk to peers and colleagues, visit buildings and places that interest you. Be prepared to ask fundamental questions about how we define and build the space that makes our cities and landscapes.

    Remember that knowledge and understanding take time, and importantly that Architecture is serious fun.

    We look forward to working with you.

    Dan Dubowitz, Course Leader, BA Architecture

    This is the most exciting time in a generation to study architecture and Manchester is about the most interesting place you could be - in the thick of it. Look around you in any direction in the city centre and you can see towering cranes on the move in the day or blinking at night. This is a city that is remaking itself, and not for the first time. As with the city, the discipline and the profession are also changing and Manchester School of Architecture is actively engaged in shaping the future city and what being tomorrow’s architect could and should be. The teachers you will work with are engaged in live projects and investigating new and alternative futures through their research. The School’s innovative approach to practice and research engaged teaching means that by the end of your degree you will participate in design as a form of applied collaborative architectural research, expanding the scope of our discipline.

    We teach architecture in a way that puts you at the centre of your education. Through interconnected Studio, Humanities, Technology and Professional Practice teaching we ask you to discover what kind of creative architect you want to be, to investigate the matters that you are concerned with and develop your expertise. Across five years you will establish trajectories for you to establish your emerging practice. As you progress through the programme you will be introduced to and influenced by the cutting-edge practice of the architects and research-active tutors who teach in the studio and the groundbreaking research of our academics. You are will be studying architecture within an art school affording you access to an incredible range of making facilities and technical expertise, giving you the opportunity to create extraordinary things. We are looking forward to seeing what you do and become.

    Emily Crompton and Jennah Kinsey, Year Leaders

    First-year at Manchester School of Architecture is focussed on understanding and developing your character, skill, aptitude and passion as an individual, but as part of a vibrant, diverse and inquisitive cohort. We ask you to bring your existing knowledge and be open to experimenting and doing activities to unlock a new understanding of architecture. Your time will be spent making, drawing, thinking and recording in a number of teaching sessions which will ask you to question the context of the space around you.

    We understand that the experience of going to university will look very different from the one before the pandemic began. Rest assured that we are dedicated to ensuring you receive the best tuition whether you are located in Manchester or elsewhere. First-year in Architecture provides a range of different learning experiences and we plan the timetable carefully to ensure you can manage the work and your time effectively. Each week has the same structure, whether you're in Manchester on campus, or at home.

    On Mondays, you will meet with your studio tutor and studio group and work on your design projects. Tuesdays is a self-directed study day, with an optional pastoral drop-in with your year leaders. Wednesday is a dedicated morning on skills, starting with a lecture and then a workshop focusing on the fundamentals of architecture. On Thursdays, you will get inspired in your Humanities and Technologies Lectures, and Friday is a self-directed day.

    Tutorials will happen face to face, you will meet with your tutor every week via a virtual platform. Lectures will all be available online, as it is unlikely we will be able to meet in lecture theatres. The physical studio spaces will be open and we are planning to allow students to take advantage of the computers, printers and workshops all whilst making sure that up to date guidelines on social distancing is followed.

    We recommend that you carry a small sketchbook with you at all times to sketch and diagram as you begin to notice the details, the artefacts and the inhabitants of our cities. It is important to understand that you already have a vast resource of skills and understanding within yourselves and that you understand that the environment of the studio should be seen as one in which individual investigations and debate are as important as ‘being taught’. You will learn to use a variety of creative techniques over the year and to push the boundary of what you think constitutes architectural knowledge.

    Most importantly, you should never be afraid to take risks and to go beyond what you think is ‘required’. Be prepared to work hard and to be challenged on your designs in studio sessions by working in ways which you might not understand at first. Do not be scared to think differently and to make a few mistakes along the way.

    Everyone remembers their first year at Architecture School, and this is going to be one to remember! It is the most exciting, most free and most creative educational space our discipline has, and I am sure that your cohort will take this opportunity with more confidence and enthusiasm then any cohort before you!

    Last but not least please join the official MSA Freshers 2020 Facebook group to start meeting your new course mates. There are a number of third-year student members in the group as well to assist with any general queries about the city or course.