Fire Safe Design MArch

London, Bloomsbury

MArch Fire Safe Design offers students with an architectural background the chance to learn specialist skills, knowledge and understanding so that they can work on complex buildings as a designer that can deliver fire safe design and generate fire aware proposals.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 30 Jun 2023

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

MArch Fire Safe Design is a 12-month specialist postgraduate degree, or 24-month part-time.

Students with an architectural background will gain specialist skills, knowledge and understanding that enable you to work on complex buildings as a designer that can deliver fire safe designs and generate fire awareness proposals. You will learn what specialist fire engineers can offer in this context and the tools they have available that you utilise in your designs. The programme will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your abilities and hones these skills that allows you to lead design teams from the inception to detailed resolution of buildings and urban designs.

The programme was created as a response to rising international concerns about fire safety resulting from recent fire-related events and to lead the drive towards a zero-carbon future. 

The ethical imperative to improve and innovate the built environment, making it safer for occupants, alongside our commitment to build sustainably, is the bedrock to the programme. You will discover that some design approaches are safer than others and fire safe design can inspire a new wave of elegant urbanism in the 21st century.

Who this course is for

We are looking for applicants with the following qualities:

  • motivation to develop sustainable architecture and the integration of fire safety as a design variable and strategic consideration
  • interest in advancing professional competency through technical design
  • aptitude for critical thinking and a readiness to challenge common practice
  • Ability to think creatively and develop unique architectural responses to a defined brief
The programme is suitable for architects who are already qualified or are in the process of qualification, and for graduates of other disciplines such as engineering, who wish to develop a specialist knowledge of fire safe design or acquire a foundation for research in this field.

What this course will give you

This programme is taught by The Bartlett School of Architecture, a world-renowned architecture school for innovation and creativity. Students have access to space for drawing and prototyping in close proximity to complimentary disciplines and expertise in civil engineering, computer science, architectural computation, environmental design and performance design.

Throughout this programme, students gain advanced knowledge and skills in fire safe design, informed by multidisciplinary theories taken from architectural design, human behaviour and fundamentals of fire science.

Structured to offer a wide scope for creativity, the programme facilitates and empowers students to develop their own unique designs, with an emphasis on fire safety as a design variable and one of the core strategic considerations for architecture. 

The foundation of your career

The Bartlett School of Architecture offers a range of ways for our alumni to join our alumni networks and retain an involvement with the school and university.


The programme has been developed with the support of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). We are in a fast-moving environment where governments are pressing for architectural practice to take responsibility for fire safety in design and for schools of architecture to significantly increase their teaching in this area.

The programme has the express support of Jane Duncan, Ex-President of the RIBA, who leads the RIBA committee on fire safety.

Employment opportunities will occur:

  • In architectural practice as specialists on design teams, especially in the context of complex buildings
  • In architectural education as specialist teachers
  • In companies and research organisations looking at components and complex assemblies
  • In specialist consultancies

Graduate Attributes:

  1. Ability to generate complex design proposals showing understanding of current architectural issues and originality in the application of subject knowledge to include a detailed understanding of fire safe design
  2. Understanding of fire safe design in the context of the construction industry, including the designers role in the processes of procurement and building production and under legislation
  3. Problem solving skills, professional judgement, and ability to take the initiative and make appropriate decisions in complex and unpredictable circumstances.

Teaching and learning

Written coursework in term 1 will be given formative assessment as tasks are submitted followed by summative marking at the end of the module.

Skills modules will include mock quizzes to test knowledge, followed by open-book quizzes (3 in total, per module). 

Design work is given formative assessment at interim design reviews. Summative assessment takes place at a portfolio examination at the end of the module.

The Thesis will be given formal interim feedback when a formal draft is submitted five weeks before the final submission, after which a summative assessment will be made.

In terms 1 and 2 full-time students can typically expect between 3 to 6 contact hours per teaching week through lectures, workshops and tutorials. In term 3 students will be completing their own design projects and theses, with regular tutorials. Outside of lectures full-time students typically study 40 hours per week, using their remaining time for self-directed study and completing coursework assignments.


You will commence the programme with an introduction to the role that fire has played in shaping our buildings and cities and along with the way that levels of fire risk is linked with social inequalities and deprivation. The introductory module will start with a description of the chemical and physical behaviour of fire and smoke. The module will include reference to the way that legislation in this area has developed over time. Coursework will be based on case studies.

At the same time, you will begin the first of two skills classes that will introduce you to an understanding of the engineering concepts that underlie fire safe design.

These include the appropriate choice of materials and both passive and active technologies to give structural fire protection and means of escape. The skills classes will develop in complexity over terms 1 and 2 to include the mathematical representation of fire risk and modes of simulating the behaviour of fire, smoke, and the escape of people.

Your main mode of gaining the required skills and abilities necessary in this field will be based in two major design projects that will commence during term 1 and finish during the following summer.

One of these will be a project for a tall multifunctional tower, the other will be a project for a large multifunctional place of assembly, such as a theatre. The first project will be on a site in the UK and the second will be on an overseas site where there are different construction and fire regulations.

You will work in groups (but produce individual final portfolios) to generate these and then to evaluate them from a fire safety standpoint. You will study how both strategic and detailed fire safety considerations affect the nature of the design and the, sometimes-uncomfortable, relationship between fire safety and energy conservation in this context. You will examine the relationship between relevant construction legislation and the design strategies that are being investigated. You will also investigate the role of building procurement in the context of fire safety of these strategies. Your final designs will be evaluated from both a design resolution and a fire safety standpoint.

In term 3, you will prepare a personal thesis. By then you will be encouraged to pick a particular subject area that is related to fire safe design. The thesis can be undertaken as a predominantly design based study or a written study as is appropriate to the subject that has been chosen.

In the first year of the part-time programme of study, you will complete Contextual Theory for Fire Safe Design, Skills for Fire Safe Design 1, and Skills for Fire Safe Design 2. 

In the second year, you will complete Design Study 1, Design Study 2, and Fire Safe Design Thesis. 

Compulsory modules

Contextual Theory for Fire Safe Design

Skills for Fire Safe Design 1

Design Study 1

Skills for Fire Safe Design 2

Design Study 2

Fire Safe Design Thesis

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MArch in Fire Safe Design.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £16,100 £8,050
Tuition fees (2023/24) £32,100 £16,050

Additional costs

All students are required to pay a fee deposit of £2,000 for this programme.

We estimate that students spend between £250-£500 on specialist materials throughout the programme. All students work differently so costs incurred depend on the approach they take to the brief given. The school encourages students to use recycled materials in their models and presentations, not only is it sustainable, but also cost effective and potentially innovative. The school also offers subsidies for exhibition costs.  

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Brown Family Bursary

Deadline: 8 June 2023
Value: £15,000 (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Fire Safe Design at graduate level
  • why you want to study Fire Safe Design at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • in what ways you think your academic, clinical or professional background might help you meet the demands of this programme
  • how you think this degree might fit into your academic, clinical or professional career plans

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.