The pedagogy of the Paris School of Architecture is rooted in testing the complex and divergent issues in which architecture exists through a single, comprehensive, year-long studio project. Developing a post-graduate architectural project from September until June allows for greater time of research, narrative, representational expression, philosophical engagement, and craft output than found in semester-long briefs. Such projects are intellectually demanding, and critically rigourous, with graduates leaving with portfolios with projects of great depth and complexity.
The two year post-graduate course at the Paris School is composed of five subjects;
*History & Theory / Critical Writing
The History and Theory subject involves the study of the historic architecture and philosophical movements of Paris from Antiquity to the present day, and forward to projected future projects for the city. This is delivered through site visits, lecture series, talks, and seminars in the first two terms of the first year.
The Critical Writing subject follows on from the students History and Theory courses, and affords the opportunity for a single topic research paper of between 15,000 and 20,000 words to be developed and presented. The resulting essay may be related to other subjects studied, or may provide an opportunity for significant divergence from the student’s other work that year. The final paper is presented in the first week of the second year as a paper submission, followed by a presented defence of the topic and paper by the student.
Communication involves the study and development of methods of visually expressing architectural concepts, the agency of drawing and making as forms of representation, and how the language of architectural representation sits within the wider discourse of visual communication and its related fields. This course is delivered as an integrated part of the Studio Research subject, but is assessed separately.
The Studio Research subject involves the production of an architectural project over the period of one academic year. This project is to be based within the greater Paris region, Île-de-France. This subject is delivered through weekly tutorials and termly project reviews. The studio project is developed through a period of several months rigorous research into an area of interest to the student. With support from studio tutors this research is then formulated into a brief identifying and elaborating on a scenario written by the student and presented at the beginning of the Spring Term. In terms two and three, an architectural response to this brief is formulated. As the length of time of the Studio Research project is much longer than many students will have experienced in their undergraduate studies, and it is expected that a greater depth and complexity in their work, and ultimately more sophisticated portfolios will result. The Studio Research project results an architectural output unique to each student, and frames their learning each academic year.
Master Classes augment the Studio Research, and are composed of projects or lectures on a highly specialised subject, and delivered by an expert in the field from industry. Master Classes are an opportunity both to gain specific skills and knowledge or simply broaden the scope of study that term.
Professional Practice commences in the second term of the first year, and introduces students to a range of issues they will face in their future careers in architecture; from the protected title and activity of the architect, establishing a practice, fees and forms of appointment, clients, urbanism authorisations and the planning process, detailed and technical design, pricing and the tender process, and on-site work. This is delivered through a simulated "first project" after graduation, providing the necessary skills for graduates to undertake professional commissions, or to progress towards professional registration. This course covers the process using the systems and regulations in both the UK and France.
Each academic year culminates in the End of Year Show, a public gallery exhibition of each student’s work held in central Paris. This offers our students the opportunity to showcase their work to family, friends, and potential employers and investors. Assessments of the year-long studio project are made following a final presentation on the day before the opening night of the end of year show. Additional assessments on each Master Class are made on a subject by subject basis, depending on the subject in question. All Master Classes must be passed in order to exhibit at the show.
One unique element of the pedagogical philosophy of the School is that we do not implement a grading system, meaning that projects are judged as either a Pass or a Fail. This encourages maximum freedom of expression, and allows students to take risks and innovate without fear. In order to maintain high academic standards, a Pass mark is awarded only to high quality and rigorously researched submissions. Exceptional projects in any subject area may be awarded a Distinction, at the discretion of the head of that subject.
Students who wish to undertake French language courses during their studies will be able to do so. These are offered to assist the student with their day to day activities while they are living in Paris. These will be available at both beginner and intermediate level and will not be subject to assessment.
The Paris School post-graduate course is composed of an in-depth, two-year period of study in central Paris, culminating in a year-long research project in the second year, and public end of year show exhibition and the award of the PSA Diploma.
*Duration: 2 Years
*120 ECTS Credits = international MArch/Masters
*Entry requirements: BA degree in Architecture
*Tuition Fees: 10.709 euros per year
*Application Documents: PDF Portfolio, CV and Letter.
*Award Name: PSA Diploma
* Post-nominal style: Dip PSA
In the first year students study History & Theory, Communication, Studio Research, Critical Writing, Professional Practice and take 9 mandatory Master Classes.
Subjects and Master Class areas typically cover the following:
* Communication Design
* Fine Art
* Print Making
* Architectural Draughtsmanship
* Modelling and Animation
* Publishing and Curatorship
* Moving Image
* Business Structures
* Finance and Economics
* Cost Management
* Roles of Consultants
* Emerging Construction Technologies
* Virtual World Design
* Video Game Design
* Interaction Design
* Critical Design
* Modelling and Rendering
Master Class areas change in response to cultural shifts over time, the requirements of future architectural practice, and substantive requests from the Student Council.
In the second year, students are expected to develop their thesis as integrated research projects, more closely resembling PhD ‘study by project’. Each separate subject is combined into a single area of study with one outcome and point of assessment: the Final Research Project. This mode of study offers considerable freedoms for each student to conduct their own rigourous research, develop a project brief and an architectural response to it. Although closely resembling the First Year Studio Research project, the Final Research Project is expected to reach levels of thinking, ambition, and complexity greatly in excess of that of a First Year project. The FRP is assessed through a curated exhibition of writing, images, drawings, models, moving image and other media at the End of Year Show. A student may only pass this subject, and therefore the course, by attaining a pass from each member of the Academic Council, representing each area of study from the First Year; History & Theory, Communication, and Studio Research, and as such must contribute substantially to the body of knowledge in each area.
Master Classes continue to be offered in the Second Year, with a minimum of 3 to be taken by each student.
The academic year is divided into three parts, or terms, the Autumn Term, Spring Term, and Summer Term. Assessments of each First Year subject will take place at the end of each term, and must be passed to allow progression to the next.
In recent years, and increased focus on the mental health of architectural students has demonstrated that some pedagogical formats exerted considerable and consistent stress on many candidates. Unlike the semester system where work is produced throughout break periods with exams occurring in January and July, the Paris School Term system focuses on research and production solely during the academic terms. While the Paris School’s curriculum remains competitive and rigorous, the Christmas and Easter brakes afford students the opportunity for rest, recuperation, and reflection. The Critical Writing Essay is produced over the Summer break with submission in September to allow students to focus solely on their written paper without the distraction of other subjects.
The Paris School academic calendar commences each year on the third Monday of September. The 2023/24 academic year key dates are set out below.
*Starred events may be attended by the public, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your place.
Autumn Term 2023
Monday 18th September - First Day of Term
Tuesday 24th October - Sunday 29th October - School Trip
Friday 8th December - End of Term Review*
Friday 8th December - End of Term
Spring Term 2024
Monday 8th January - First Day of Term
Friday 29th March - End of Term Review*
Friday 29th March - End of Term
Summer Term 2024
Monday 15th April - First Day of Term
Wednesday 12th June - Year 1 Final Exams
Thursday 13th June - Year 2 Final Exams
Friday 14th June - End of Academic Year & End of Year Show Opening*