Two-Year Postgraduate Programme


The Städelschule Architecture Class' (SAC) main academic offer is its two-year, postgraduate programme leading to a Master of Arts in Architecture degree.  The programme engages with advanced topics in architectural design through its three thematic specialisations that are offered in the second year of studies: Advanced Architectural Design (AAD), Architecture and Aesthetic Practice (AAP) and Architecture and Urban Design (AUD). Upon the succesful completion of the first semester programme, which is common to all students and prepares them for the second, thesis year, students choose one of the three specialisations for design research and experiments as preparation for their final, individual design thesis.

The second year culminates with the students presenting the results of their research and experiments in the form of their respective design thesis project proposal. The individual thesis proposals are assessed at the End-of-Year reviews by a panel consisting of invited guests and faculty members. The review is open to the public and has taken place for the last few years in the German Architecture Museum.

The academic programme aims to see its design research, experiments and project work contribute to the development of the discipline of architecture. While the pedagogical programme is based on the individual research and experiments of its students, each second year specialisation is committed to specific agendas that respectively bridge between the academic years. These agendas are concomitant to longer lasting explorations of specific aspects of architecture as well as experiments that probe the boundaries of the discipline through given design problems. Hence, the respective work of SAC's First Year Group and its second-year specialisations comprise experimental research agendas that now and again result in projects undertaken by groups of students or larger collectives within SAC.

Moreover, the objective of the programme is to contribute to the progress of architecture through the excellence of its graduates. Students are thus prepared for a professional and/or academic career where their individual resources and talents contribute to the development of the field through outstanding practical, intellectual and creative merits.

Programme Content and Structure

Teaching within the Master programme is predominantly in the form of seminars, workshops and individual consultations. The form of teaching reflects SAC's relatively small size as well as its attention to the individual talents and personal development of its students. The programme seeks the closest possible synthesis between conceptual and theoretical aspects pertaining to architectural design and its practical side.

In various discursive settings, students are exposed to select historical and theoretical topics. Workshops, practical tasks and project work introduce students to design techniques and methodologies. This eventually forms the framework for a speculative and experimental approach to the various architectural design problems that students are presented with as well as their final thesis project work in the second half of the final year. Each year the respective programmes of the first year and the second year specialisations address specific themes, and the work of each group evolves with respect to these thematic interests. The respective sub-programmes are structured in a progressive and accumulative manner, which means that students are taken through various phases that build upon one another and prepare them for the final design task that completes the year. The sub-programmes are structured in accordance with sets of teaching modules which include: Architectural Research and DesignHistory and TheoryDesign Techniques and Methods; and Research Methodology. One workshop or design task may cover more than one module.

The programme is fully accredited and complies with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).

Each year in the summer semester, SAC hosts a lecture series that is internationally recognised and features architectural theorists and practitioners as well as guests from other fields to expound on architectural and related topics.