The diploma stage offers Part 2 accreditation from the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).
The Diploma in Architecture at Oxford Brookes is set up for those who wish to become professionally qualified in the UK. It is fully validated by the Architects Registration Board and the Royal Institute of British Architects and leads to exemption from Part 2 of the three-part qualification programme for professional architects in the UK.
Students can have very different experiences depending on which choice of studios and courses they make. You might, for example, choose to push the boundaries of design one year, then learn to work in poverty stricken or war-torn environments the next. Alternatively, you might make the move from conceptually challenging drawings to making a zero energy building (without compromising on either front). It is also possible, through the Major Study design specialisation, to spend half of the course pursuing your own research and design programme.
A range of architecture-related master's courses share modules with the Diploma in Architecture. These programmes are one of the main reasons that the diploma has a healthy emphasis on research and theory. Our main focus is design, but we recognise that designers need to be informed about the contexts in which they are operating.
The course is divided into two equal stages.
The Design and Technology Stage is generally spent in one of six design studios (studios 1-6). All studios have control over their own course of projects; each also has a different view of architectural culture and promotes different design methods. The design studios are taught by some of the brightest designers and tutors in the country. Their courses will demand high levels of creative and intellectual endeavour from you. They also expect high levels of productivity. Their aim is to raise your design thinking and skills to the highest standards possible at diploma level. A number of students from our design studios have recently won major national and international design competitions, as have some of our tutors. During the design and technology stage your design work is developed into technically ambitious architecture and becomes the subject of integrated technical studies. There is a strong emphasis in these studies upon the creative possibilities for architectural technology. We ask for an open and experimental approach to technology, but also a clear understanding of its context and aims.
The Research into Design Stage has a strong emphasis on acquiring specialised knowledge in an architecturally important field of study and utilising that knowledge in design projects. This is done by taking modules from the Department of Architecture's range of master's courses in conjunction with dedicated design studio courses. We call these packages of modules Design Specialisations. The range of master's-level Design Specialisations are: advanced architectural design, international architectural regeneration and development, development and emergency practice, sustainable building: performance and design, and urban design. In addition, there is also the Major Study, which enables self-initiated design or written research projects. Many students taking this route have won the prestigious annual RIBA Dissertation prize. All of these courses are taught by leading academics and practitioners in their fields. All of the Design Specialisation courses can be extended to Masters level after completing the Diploma in Architecture.
There are opportunities for taking part of the diploma at an overseas school of architecture as an external study. At present we have links with Virginia Tech, of which the Department of Architecture is a partner, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), and Brisbane (QUT). The department is also part of the Socrates programmes that offer exchanges to a wide range of European universities.
There are a range of optional modules to choose from. Some of them are modules from the Special Routes that are made available to all diploma students. Current options include:
* Culture and Environment in Vernacular Architecture
* Vernacular Architecture: Development and Sustainability
* Independent Study
Teaching, learning and assessment
For the different aspects of the course, different teaching, learning and assessment methods are used.
Design Studios are mainly taught through weekly studio-based individual tutorials, group seminars and project reviews. The projects are assessed at the project reviews and at portfolio reviews. The design projects also provide the focus for construction, structures and environmental technical studies, which are generally taught via lectures, seminars and studio tutorials and are assessed through reports and the design portfolio reviews.
Design Specialisations are mainly taught through a combination of studio tutorial-based project design work, with seminars and lectures in specialist theoretical and practical knowledge. Assessment for the Design Specialisation takes place within those course areas. With the exception of the Major Study, they are externally examined independently from the Diploma in Architecture.