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Department of Architecture



The Design Tripos represents a new way of approaching the problems of sustainability in design and the built environment, combining scientific literacy and creativity to produce new solutions that address today’s challenges.

The four-year integrated Master of Design course combines architecture, structural engineering and materials science, preparing students for a wide range of possible careers in the creative industries. The course is designed to address the particular technical challenges set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Design Degree specifically distinguishes itself from the Architecture Degree in placing greater emphasis on mathematical and scientific literacy, without diminishing the fact that people are at the heart of design in the built environment.

Teaching on the Design Tripos is through a combination of lectures, supervisions, and seminars but studios and workshops are central to the course. The various curricular elements of the Design Tripos are structured to enable students to:




Address the problem; design, make, fabricate
Critique                               Define the problem and interpret the solution; reflect, understand, evaluate, review, debate – historical, economic, legal, social/cultural, ethical, ecological context



Test the solution: calculate, measure, model, experiment



Communicate the solution; write, draw, present, engage, listen, elicit feedback, feed forward


The Design Tripos is founded on these four primary strands of Create, Critique, Analyse, and Explain. The programme aims to provide opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the context of creative interdisciplinary design.

Students are given a series of options which, according to the pathway they choose, will lead to different routes of design or professional accreditation. The first three years (providing a Bachelors Degree) are designed to be equivalent to Part I of the Architecture Tripos while, depending on the options taken in the previous three years, the fourth year (Master of Design course) is expected to lead to accreditation in structural engineering or materials science.