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UCD: A Global player in Architecture

“I have had unforgettable experiences here in Ireland and at UCD. The architecture programme here is very different to the one I’m in back home, so it took a lot of hard work and getting used to, but I made it through and learned so much about myself and what I’m capable of in the process.” – Marina Williams, UCD international student, originally from the USA

University College Dublin (UCD) has stood firmly on the education stage since 1854 and, thanks to 160 years of experience and tradition, has flourished into the globally engaged education powerhouse it is today. Named one of Europe’s leading research universities – where undergraduate, research, masters and PhD study forms culture of passion and activity; UCD defines itself the nation’s premier Global University, awarded for its substantial contribution to the creation of Ireland as a thriving urban hub.

The School of Architecture, Planning & Environmental Policy (APEP) at UCD dominates the field of built environment studies. Here, students delve into the disciplines that guide the construction of our world, discovering the art of Architecture; uncovering the craft of Landscape Design; mastering the subject of Urban Planning; and examining the structure of Environmental Policy.

“The school offers a range of undergraduate and graduate teaching programmes professionally accredited by the British Royal Institute of Architects, the Royal Institute of Architects Ireland, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Irish Planning Institute and the Irish Landscape Institute,” the faculty explains.

“Students are enabled to think creatively, critically and holistically about sustainable places, whether in design practice or through transferring knowledge to action in the policy and planning process. Its research spans a wide range of themes and is Ireland’s leading centre of excellence for research into design and policy for the built and natural environment.”

Pursuits at UCD Architecture are practice-centred and research-led, with expertise in housing, heritage, resource efficiency and beyond giving students the chance to work on ground-breaking studies with real-world impact and relevance.

And by no means do UCD Architecture’s accolades stop there, with the institution currently working to achieve Substantial Equivalency accreditation for its flagship M.Arch programme  from the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) in the US. The visit from the board was positive, with the report highlighting the school’s many strengths, along with the principles of social engagement and preparation for practice. The final outcome will be announced following a NAAB board meeting in March 2018. If successful, this will be the only Architecture programme worldwide with both RIBA and NAAB accreditation.

As well as enrolling a fast-rising number of international students, the school nurtures a diverse partner network that spreads across the globe. UCD Architecture fosters more than 30 academic partnerships throughout Europe, Australia, the US and Asia, using these links to instil cultural perspectives as students reap the benefits of overseas study. More than 70 percent of UCD M.Arch students learn abroad every year, experiencing architecture in a scope of global contexts for either their first or second semester of study.

The MArchSc in Sustainable Building Design & Performance is specifically-designed for those keen to refine a career in this rewarding field. Unique and globally-facing, this course is perfect for those looking to explore sustainability, architecture, energy, environment and health through expert building analysis and design. Students of the programme undertake real projects with tangible effects. As with the M.Arch, through the careful consideration of complex issues such as the growing crisis in housing, students gain skills they can apply back in their home countries where this sort of experience has the real potential to transform lives.

“This Masters offered me everything that I am professionally interested in and everything that I was looking to learn in order to progress my career,” says Elena Nikolova, an international student enrolled in the programme.

“It is a very interesting and challenging, diverse and up-to-date Master’s that offers great opportunities to expand your knowledge and grow professionally,” she adds. “The experience of undertaking it became even greater thanks to the devoted teachers I’ve had and the many friends from all over the world I [have] made. Another advantage is that I had the chance to explore the amazing natural wonders of Ireland and meet lovely local people.”

Many leading practitioners of architecture have formed a long-term base at UCD, with RIBA Gold Medal winners O’Donnell + Tuomey both serving as Professors at the School. Shelley MacNamara and Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects – curators of the Venice Biennale, 2018 – are also adjunct Professors at UCD, and continue to  motivate students towards international success. Alice Clancy and Emmett Scanlon, two respected lecturers in Architecture, also form part of the Biennale’s core team; while lecturer Orla Murphy, along with studio tutor Lawrence Lord, and alumni Miriam Delaney, Tara Kennedy and Jo-Anne Butler have been chosen to curate the exhibition’s Irish pavilion.

UCD Architecture is delighted to see so many members of staff, alumni and adjunct professors continue to make their mark on a wider world, not just cementing, but augmenting the university’s name as Ireland’s leading player of global education.

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