The MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (Projective Cities) is a globally unique graduate programme at the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) in London. It is designed as a stand-alone, terminal degree (MPhil), but the training in research methods and thesis work offers to many a structured way into a PhD. Founded in 2010, the programme has a very successful record of enabling students to follow a diverse career in practice, teaching and further academic study.
Projective Cities is divided into a Taught and Research Year:
The Taught Year 1 has three academic terms and is organised around seminar courses, design studios, academic writing courses and workshops (Term 1 and Term 2). These introduce the pedagogy and methodologies of the programme and prepare students for the development of a research topic and Dissertation Proposal in the Thesis-Studio (Term 3). Starting in Term 3, the dissertation work accounts for 60% of the credits in the programme. Seminar courses provide the theoretical foundation and research methods required for the analysis of architecture and urbanism. They examine the histories, theories, instruments, and practices associated with their conception, design, and formation. All seminars are thematically and instrumentally integrated with design studios and complemented by skills workshops and academic writing courses that explore the same themes through analytical, design, and writing exercises.
The Research Year 2 has two longer terms (Term 4 and 5) and is fully dedicated to the development of an individual thesis project under the close supervision of the programme staff. The year ends with the submission of a fully integrated designed and written Dissertation.