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ARC8117 : Design thesis

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Martin Beattie
  • Lecturer: Professor Ali Madanipour
  • Owning School: Architecture, Planning & Landscape
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 3 Credit Value: 60
ECTS Credits: 30.0


In broad terms the module aims to:

•Provide students with experience in design thesis processes and methodology by defining and studying a problem related to their own interests
•Develop an ability to evaluate and analyse design thesis findings according to explicit criteria
•Develop a response to the issues raised by their design thesis

MA Urban design students also share this module.

Outline Of Syllabus

The design thesis project is intended to provide the students with an opportunity to carry out a substantial and largely independent piece of research.

Students will work on a selected theme and area through an individual major design thesis project. The research proposal developed in ARC8120 will be developed into a more comprehensive design report, which supports the design thesis project, and in a format approved by the route leader.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching38:0024:00Design reviews – present in person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching108:0080:00Individual design tutorials – present in person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching58:0040:00Individual design thesis preparation seminars (during semester 2) – present in person
Guided Independent StudyProject work1456:00456:00Independent development of design project
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The design studio is the integrative environment where students synthesise knowledge from other modules and develop their understanding and skills in the context of a design problem set by tutors. Students are supported in their learning through briefings, lectures, group tutorials and critical reviews. Tutorials and reviews are also the principle means through which students receive feedback on their progress.

A submitted design report will allow the assessment of: students’ comprehensive understanding of a specific topic related to emergent design methods and practices and, cognitive skills (e.g. critical reasoning, problem solving, etc.), and transferable skills with respect to the structuring of ideas and presenting them orally and in writing, independent learning through self-directed study and research, and in managing time and resources.

If the public health situation makes present in person teaching impossible, design tutorials and reviews, will all be taught online.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Design/Creative proj3A1004,000-8000 word design report alongside a substantial design thesis project
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

For the design thesis, the development of design skills is assessed through the traditional method of critical review, where students give a visual and oral presentation of their work online to an audience of tutors and peers. The work is discussed and the tutors assess the work against the criteria set out in the project brief. These marks are moderated by another tutor or tutors. Feedback is given orally during the review and as a set of written comments later.
A 4-8,000 word report will explain the rationale behind the design thesis and make up 15% of the mark; the remaining 85% is allocated to the design thesis project.

Reading Lists