Digital Craft in Architecture


Start dates: January 2024 / September 2024 / January 2025 / September 2025

Full time: 1 Year (September start); 17 months (January start)

Part time: 2 Years (September start only)

Location: Headington

Department(s): School of Architecture

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Digital technology continues to disrupt and transform how we design and build with sustainable materials. Our Digital Craft in Architecture MA is a unique transdisciplinary course that will equip you to engage with an evolving industry, as part of a vibrant community of practice. You will learn to craft designs with advanced digital tools, drawing on traditional knowledge of building to innovate with sustainable materials.

You will gain skills in: 

  • 3D printing
  • CNC Manufacture
  • Mixed Reality Making
  • Parametric and Computational Design
  • Generative AI

Networking forms an intrinsic part of the course; you will collaborate with industry partners and practices to develop innovative research projects with real world implications.

As a professional, architect, designer or engineer, our course provides the ideal environment to make connections and create sophisticated designs that will be valuable in your career.

By joining our community of practice, you will have access to our high quality design studios, providing a risk-free environment to explore and implement new, creative ideas.

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Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Workshops

    Discover advances digital techniques using scripting, parametric and computational design.

  • Networking

    Collaborate with a project team and industry partners.

  • 'Hands on' experience

    With state of the art digital fabrication technologies

  • Teaching Expertise

    In Advanced Architectural Design, Digital Architecture and Virtual Reality.

  • Great partnerships

    At Grymsdyke Farm which houses a digital fabrication facility.

Course details

Course structure

Working both individually and collaboratively, you will develop a unique body of design research, while considering advancements in the design and construction industry.

You will develop methods of exploration, significantly between the digital and the physical, which include:

  • Digital prototyping
  • Computational design
  • 1:1 making with digital fabrication
  • 3D visualisation
  • Technical drawing for manufacture and assembly.

In order to promote networking and development throughout our course, you will work closely with your tutors, while engaging with practices and researchers. Your research will be guided by a collaborative research question that is influenced by industry approaches to sustainability and how digital tools can enhance the utilisation of traditional materials.

A digital construction image

Learning and teaching

The modules you will study combine a ratio of taught to self-led study.

As an example, a module of 20 credits approximates to 200 hours of student effort. Up to 36 hours of which usually consists of:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Individual tutorials
  • Hands on digital and making workshops.

The remaining time is devoted to student-led study and assessment.


Your assessments will be diverse, and will support different learning styles - you’ll have a real opportunity to showcase your strengths. Your learning may be assessed by a combination of individual or group coursework, examinations, and presentations. The assessment methods chosen will be based on your learning needs, individual aims and the academic standards expected for the course.

Field Trips

There is no official field trip on the course.

We will encourage you to visit areas of interest that are relevant to your thesis, and to visit exhibitions and galleries. We recommend you should budget about £300 for trips such as these for your thesis.

Start this course in January

You have the option to start this course in January. You will study a range of modules between January and May. During the summer months you will begin work on your dissertation and then between September and December you will focus on your final modules. You will complete your dissertation by the following May, 17 months after the start of the course.

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the MArchD award your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

  • Advanced Digital Practice (30 credits)

    This module is designed to teach you how to design using a range of geometry, data, and scripting methods. It will also help you develop an understanding of the role of computational design in both theory and practice, and enhance your skills and control of digital tools to generate and rationalise complex geometry. Additionally, the module will assist you in developing the ability to systematically work through complex design problems using digital tools and communicate your process and key principles effectively.

  • Design for Digital Manufacture and Assembly (30 credits)

    This module offers you the opportunity to learn and develop skills in both analogue and digital manufacturing techniques, as well as develop an awareness of materials and their uses, performance, and application in an industrial setting. You will develop your skills in transforming digital geometry into manufacture-ready information and designing parts and components with automation and digital manufacturing in mind. Throughout the module, you will build prototypes to test materials, processes and assembly, gaining an understanding of tacit knowledge of construction and embedding that in your design.

  • Contextual Theory (30 credits)

    You'll attend lectures and seminars on the history of the master builder and the aspects of:

    • The significance of building tectonics from the perspective of anthropology
    • The relationship between designing, making and knowing
    • The 'modern' approach to materials and details in buildings. 

    On this module you'll gain an understanding of how building knowledge has developed and been broadcast in cultures. In the past, as well as in modern times, both in ceremonial and everyday contexts.

  • Collaborative Project (30 credits)

    You will collaborate with practices, industry, academic researchers and tutors for your research project. They will help you plan a research proposal that has clear ambitions and impact in its outcome.

    Using your acquired skills, you will explore the potential of digital technologies. To reformulate and reinvent traditional knowledge of materials, craftsmanship and practice.

    You will create and test to produce your ‘proof-of-concept’; which starts your final project.

Final project

Compulsory modules

  • Final project (60 credits)

    Your final project will represent a culmination of your research and skills learned throughout the programme.  It's your opportunity to show your:

    • Research skills
    • Technical skills
    • Design skills.

    Contextualised as an architectural project.  

    You will develop a body of research into your chosen topic and propose and build an original work at 1:1 in groups. You will show a maturity of purpose and deep understanding. With your research in its wider context through the submission of a thesis report.


Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


Oxford Brookes is renowned for its world-class research into how architecture has evolved in different cultures around the world, notably the Paul Oliver Vernacular Architecture Library and the network of hundreds of researchers connected to this body of work. This unique collection of traditional or vernacular architectures represent an extensive and detailed knowledge database, expressed as an architectural language specific to the spirit and ecology of a place. It also represents an extensive body of research into the way economies and cultures relate to, and utilise, sustainable materials in the construction of architecture.


In the rapidly evolving design and construction industry, there is an increasing demand for specialist knowledge of digital manufacturing. Robotics, augmented reality and 3D printing technologies continue to play a more significant role in how we design and build.

Greater value is placed on first-hand experience and knowledge that can harness these processes in the design and making of our built environment. As a graduate of this course there are many opportunities to find work in the many sectors of design, architecture and the building industry, which includes:

  • Architectural and engineering practices
  • Industrial designers, designer-makers
  • Digital design and manufacture consultancies
  • Building contractors.

Entry requirements

International qualifications and equivalences

How to apply

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year, your fees will increase each year.

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support.

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.


Performing physical experimentation means that you may incur costs for materials. Access to our workshops is free, but you will need to source your own materials to use. It is possible to gain free materials. Or to use natural occurring materials. We recommend  a budget of £300 to £400 for your model making materials. The amount is a guide as your actual cost can vary depending on your area of interest.

Printing and binding

We provide access to show your work in a digital format. Your hardcopy portfolio elements of the course will need a high quality print finish. Therefore, we recommend a budget of £100 for your printing costs over the year.

Information from Discover Uni

Full-time study

Part-time study

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.