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International Architectural Regeneration and Development

MA / PGDip / PGCert

School of Architecture

Architectural regeneration is the collective activities of reusing, adapting and evolving existing buildings within an urban or rural context. The activities recognise the impacts these decisions and interventions have on the regeneration of a place, and are underpinned by the principles of environmental, social and cultural sustainability.

This programme promotes an interdisciplinary approach that combines critical thinking and analysis, as well as creative design. It is based on the ethos that the regeneration and development of the inherited built environment, with its social and cultural fabric, is an essential component of sustainable development.

It prepares you for a practical and leading role in organisations involved in architectural regeneration and development. It is international in focus, with an emphasis on field research and design/implementation projects.

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus

Course length

  • Full time: MA: 12 months, PGDip: 9 months, PGCert: 3 - 9 months (depending on module choice)
  • Part time: MA: 24 months, PGDip: 18 months; PGCert: 9 months

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Oxford Brookes has an established international reputation for its excellence in teaching and research related to international vernacular architecture, architectural conservation and regeneration.
  • Staff teaching on the programme, including Dr Aylin Orbasli and Dr Marcel Vellinga, combine different disciplinary backgrounds with academic and practice experience, and active involvement with projects in different parts of the world.
  • We house the Paul Oliver Vernacular Architecture Library.
  • We stimulate students towards more innovative approaches and dynamic ways of thinking that are now essential to secure a viable future for historic urban environments, traditional settlements and the world’s vernacular architecture.
  • The international nature of the programme builds up skills to work in different cultural contexts and will introduce students to a network of international organisations in the field.

The course is offered at three levels: as a postgraduate certificate, a postgraduate diploma and a master's degree. Normally candidates enrol for the master's degree, but it is possible to enrol directly on the PGCert or PGDip, either on recommendation from the admissions tutor or as an exit point from the MA.

In total, 180 credits are required to complete the MA in International Architectural Regeneration and Development. These are divided into two parts: 120 credits must be successfully completed to qualify for the postgraduate diploma. During Semesters 1 and 2 all MA students take taught core modules amounting to 90 credits and choose options amounting to 30 credits. Research methods seminars and the dissertation itself account for a further 60 credits required to achieve the MA. For the postgraduate certificate 60 credits are needed.

The programme is made up of core (compulsory) modules and optional modules that are explained in more detail below.

Core modules:

  • Architecture, Culture and Tradition provides an introduction to the anthropology of architecture and the field of international vernacular architecture studies. Drawing upon examples of vernacular building traditions from around the world, it seeks to analyse the dynamic interaction between architecture, social structure, cultural behaviour and the natural environment.
  • Applications in Regeneration is a lecture and seminar programme that introduces the principles that underlie sustainable regeneration and the key players involved in the process. The practices of conservation and regeneration ranging from small rural settlements to post-industrial areas are examined through case studies considering heritage value and significance, adaptation of the built fabric, community participation and economic forces such as the role of heritage, the arts and tourism in regeneration.
  • Globalisation, Environment and Development provides a critical examination of globalisation processes, global environmental problems and their relationship with the development process. Issues around global systems theory, industrialisation, trade, debt, aid, transport, communications, food, agriculture and the environment are reviewed.
  • Regeneration and Development Project is a studio-based module that builds on the taught modules in developing strategic planning, contextual design and project management skills to solve problems in adapting and revitalising the existing built environment. Through a project set in an international location, students are expected to develop culturally and socially sensitive, environmentally responsible and financially viable strategic plans and design interventions for historic urban quarters, post-industrial sites or rural/vernacular settlements. Master's students may also develop one aspect of the regeneration strategy through a research report in place of a design proposal.

Optional modules include:

  • Vernacular Architecture, Sustainability and Development explores the interrelation of cultural processes and building traditions, and examines how contemporary phenomena such as globalisation, tourism, resources depletion, conservation, population displacement and technology transfer have an impact on the nature and transmission of vernacular building traditions. It also discusses how vernacular knowledge may actively contribute to the development of sustainable built environments.
  • Master Classes consists of master classes delivered by expert scholars providing opportunities for you to learn from, and engage in academic interaction with leading figures in the field through the intensive and detailed exploration of specific and current themes and problems. Subjects covered range from contemporary approaches to field research, designing in context of a historic environment, designing with tradition and creative feasibility.
  • Development and Urbanisation is concerned with the problems of development, and of cities and inter-urban issues. It provides the theoretical and analytical base for studying the subject, and introduces themes, policy issues and processes which you can further examine in more detail, and in different contexts, in other modules.
  • Urban Design Theory is a lecture and seminar based module in which you are introduced to the theoretical concepts underpinning current urban design practice approaches. The module includes the history and theory of urban design, the introduction of design approaches such as responsive environments, and urban morphology. You are made aware of how urban form is produced and experienced, and of the political and economic context of development.
  • Independent Study students with research experience or with substantial practice and field experience may select a research or practice-oriented route to the MA through the Independent Study option by participating in ongoing research activities linked to the programme. Independent study may include literature reviews or be linked to research in practice.

Other compulsory modules for the MA stage are:

  • Research Methods encourages students to develop the skills needed in the research of environmental problems, including the formulation of research problems and methodology, data collection and analysis.
  • Dissertation/Design Project is a dissertation or a major design project, supported by a project report. This component provides the opportunity for in-depth research and analysis and to develop and apply research and design skills in a specific area of architectural regeneration.

The course is international in focus and throughout the course references and visits to international contexts are made. A field trip is organised each year to look at international examples of regeneration projects. The international body of students on the course are encouraged to reflect on and present experiences from their countries.

NB As courses are reviewed regularly, the module list you choose from may vary from that shown here.

Teaching and learning

The aim of the course is to provide the knowledge and tools that will enable you to recognise the potential of, and contribute creatively to, the appropriate and sustainable regeneration of the inherited built environment in urban or rural contexts, including vernacular architecture.

The course will help you develop a critical awareness of the cultural embodiment of the built environment and associated regeneration and development processes, and attain skills and tools that are necessary to propose and implement innovative yet culturally sensitive and environmentally sustainable strategies and interventions.

Teaching methods include a combination of lectures and seminars, design studios, workshops and group discussions, field study and master classes. 

Approach to assessment

You will be assessed on project work and presentations, other seminar presentations, reports, written assignments and coursework. MA students are also assessed on a subject presentation, literature review and 18,000 word dissertation.

Field trips

An optional international field trip that takes place during the winter break each year is a key component of the programme. The field study encourages you to test field research methods and engage in different cultural contexts as professionals. The field study also forms the basis and location for the second semester regeneration and development project.

Please note that students are required to cover the costs of the field trip.

Field trip locations in the past have included India, Cyprus, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Romania, Spain, Croatia, the Netherlands and Portugal.

Sample work

Akçiçek Village Regeneration Project (Cyprus)

Walled City of Jaipur: Chowkri Modikhana Project

UAE: Urban Identities - Regeneration Projects

Staff profiles

Dr Marcel Vellinga Reader in Anthropology of Architecture, is the Director of the Place, Culture and Identity Research Group and Research Lead for the School of Architecture. Dr Vellinga is co-editor of Vernacular Architecture in the 21st Century: Theory, Education and Practice, co-author of the Atlas of Vernacular Architecture of the World and editor in chief of the Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World.

Dr Aylin Orbasli Reader in Architectural Regeneration, is an architect and international consultant with extensive experience in the Mediterranean and Middle East. She is the author of the books Tourism in Historic Towns: Urban Conservation and Heritage Management and Architectural Conservation.

Julia Wedel, an associate lecturer, is an architect  with both practice and international researcher experience, with a particular focus on development issues.

In addition, leading scholars in the field will be invited to provide specialist master classes on subjects relating to the programme content. The programme is also supported by the work of Professor Paul Oliver, editor of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World and recipient of an MBE for his contributions to architectural education.

Attendance pattern

The programme requires a minimum of two days attendance a week during the first and second semesters, with a possible further day depending on how optional modules are scheduled.

Students attending the programme on a full time basis should allow sufficient time to complete course work, undertake reading assignments and to participate in group work.

A week long field study will take place during the winter break, usually towards the end of January.

Although the dissertation module running over the summer is self guided, students are encouraged to spend this time in Oxford to take advantage of the School’s research facilities, the excellent library facilities found in Oxford and to maintain regular contact with their tutors.

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.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2019/20: £9,390 (Masters) £8,450 (Diploma) £4,695 (Certificate) 2020/21: £9,500 (Masters) £8,500 (Diploma) £4,750 (Certificate)

Home/EU - part time fee: 2019/20: £4,780 2020/21: £4,750

International - full time: 2019/20: £14,000 2020/21: £14,700

Where part time fees are quoted this is for the first year only. Fees will increase by up to 4% each year.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

The ADAM Architecture Scholarship provides support with fees to one master's student on the programme each year.

Entry requirements

The course attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities. 

Applications will normally be open to candidates who fulfil one, or more, of the following requirements:

  • hold a good honours degree (minimum 2.2), or international equivalent, in a related discipline
  • hold a recognised postgraduate diploma or professional qualification in a relevant subject
  • can provide a portfolio or equivalent samples of work (for non-design applicants) 
  • are mature candidates, who can demonstrate considerable practical experience in a related field

English language requirements

If your first language is not English you will require a minimum academic IELTS score of 6.5 overall with 6.0 in all components.


An equivalent English language qualification acceptable to the University.

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

How this course helps you develop

Alongside discipline related knowledge and understanding, the programme aims to develop transferable skills linked to architecture and consultancy practice, such as working in multi-disciplinary teams or operating in different and at times challenging cultural or political contexts, alongside effective written, graphic and verbal presentation skills.

With a truly international cohort of students each year, and with different disciplinary backgrounds the programme additionally provides unprecedented opportunities for peer to peer learning and networking with a community of people who will become life long colleagues. The programme staff support networking activities through a dedicated linked-in group for alumni and through various events held in Oxford.


Jobs in architectural regeneration can include a wide range of prospects including private sector consultancy assignments, public sector decision making positions or working for not for profit organisations delivering or assisting the regeneration process.

Graduates of this programme have gone on to work in a wide range of positions in the regeneration field internationally. Much of the success of a career in regeneration is combining the knowledge and skills learnt in the programme with professional skills gained in previous study and practice.  Although we are unable to directly ‘find’ jobs for programme graduates, we regularly make recommendations through a good network of contacts and alumni and share employment opportunities with current students and graduates of the programme. 

Graduates with architecture backgrounds often go on to work in practices specialising in regeneration or rehabilitation. Younger graduates have found that regeneration expertise has given them an edge and therefore more responsibility in practices they are working at. Those with more experience have found opportunities to diversify and gain positions in consultancy or multi-disciplinary practices.
There are also a wide range of jobs in the non-governmental sectors, ranging from managing small non-governmental (charitable) organisations to working on projects for major donor bodies like UNESCO. We have had an Indian graduate working on post-disaster rebuilding in Haiti, a Japanese graduate working on the preservation of vernacular architecture in Vietnam, and a Canadian graduate running donor-assisted construction programmes in Papua New Guinea. Closer to home, a UK graduate with a background in law is managing a townscape heritage initiative on behalf of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Overseas students in particular, who have joined the programme from public sector assignments, have found that the degree has helped them both specialise and progress in their departments on their return. One graduate has gone onto head the procurement team in the Ministry of Municipalities specifically dealing with major regeneration projects. Several others work for their respective national heritage authorities. 

Other graduates have used the programme as a stepping stone for PhD study, at Brookes or elsewhere. A number of former graduates are now teaching regeneration and conservation at degree and postgraduate levels.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Research highlights

The International Architectural Regeneration and Development programme is embedded in the Place, Culture and Identity research group in the School of Architecture. This group brings together staff from a number of disciplinary backgrounds to research the multitude of ways in which places embody local cultural identities.

Space and architecture are shaped by the culture and the identities of communities as much as those communities are shaped by their perception and use of space and architecture. Members of the Place, Culture and Identity group investigate this dynamic dialectical relationship from different disciplinary perspectives, including architecture, anthropology, urban conservation, political science and history. Focusing on different types of places in various parts of the world (including urban, rural, contemporary, historic, vernacular and post-conflict ones), they aim to gain a better theoretical understanding of both the nature of the process of place-making and the way it relates to aspects of culture, identity, aesthetics, memory, tradition, representation and architectural practice.

The group has a large number of PhD students associated with it, who take an active part in its research activities, including the organisation of seminars and conferences, and the preparation of publications and funding proposals. The IARD programme also acts as a preparation stage for the PhD programme, with a number of alumni having gone on to pursue their PhDs in the School. The research expertise of both staff and PhD students in the Place, Culture and Identity group feed directly into the IARD programme through lectures, seminars, master classes and design studio tutorials and reviews.

The University is proud to host the unique Paul Oliver Vernacular Architecture Library (POVAL) which provides a key resource for interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and comparative research. It promotes projects that extend the geographic, thematic and methodological scope of the field, emphasising the way in which vernacular traditions are of fundamental importance to the sustainable development of the world's built environment.

Research expertise

  • conservation, regeneration and sustainability of traditional settlements in an international context
  • historic towns and tourism
  • heritage management, including in the context of regional development
  • design in a historic and/or vernacular context
  • interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and comparative study of vernacular architecture traditions worldwide
  • transmission of indigenous, traditional and vernacular skills, expertise and knowledge
  • rural regeneration and development
  • cultural geography and mapping of vernacular architecture traditions.

Research areas and clusters

The programme team are currently researching, writing and coordinating a new edited publication titled Architectural Regeneration that will support teaching on the programme.