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Architecture Part 2 Decision - Manchester School of Architecture or Northumbria?

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Why bother with a post grad? Are they even worth it? Have your say! 26-10-2016
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    I'm due to study my Part 2 in Architecture, and I have offers from both Manchester School of Architecture and Northumbria. I am struggling to determine which is the right option for me, and I am interested to hear what others think about each university.

    I studied my Part 1 at Northumbria and it more than fulfilled everything I expected from University. The teaching, projects, course structure, city - everything was really good. I was 100% satisfied with the course, and managed to get a job in a great firm before even graduating. The lecturers and external architects were helpful, challenging, and they knew all students on an individual level - which to me is very important.

    When I came to apply for Part 2, I figured I'd be stupid to not go back to Northumbria having had such a great experience for Part 1. However, my family home is based in Manchester, and so the Manchester School of Architecture became more and more tempting. I am aware that MSA is high up in the league tables, and personally I would not have got the grades to study there for part 1 - I always wanted to, it just wasn't an option for me. However, since going to university and building up my portfolio, I managed to get myself a place. It seems natural to go there having achieved the chance to go, however the more I have dwelled on the decision, I can't help but think, why change what's not broken? When Northumbria was such an amazing course for me and my way of learning, why do something different? As such an established university, with access to both MMU and UoM, MSA almost feels a little daunting to me and out of my league.

    Having lived in Newcastle for 3 years when studying at Northumbria, I know the city so well. Equally, living outside of Manchester until university, I love the city and getting to know it as a student excites me more. I have thought about all factors i.e living costs (having my family home in Manchester), course structures, cities, friends etc - and I am currently struggling to decide.

    What are other students experiences with these two universities? What do people think about going to a different university for Part 2 in comparison to sticking with your Part 1 choice?

    Thank you

    My direct experience of either is limited; I interviewed at Manchester and Newcastle (not Northumbria), but chose UCL in the end.

    First of all, are you going to start in September 2016? If so then I imagine you wouldn't have time to apply elsewhere, but if you're going for September 2017 entry I was wondering why you didn't seem to be considering anywhere else. If you have a decent portfolio, at least a 2.1 and can write a half-convincing personal statement then you can pretty much get into anywhere for Part II.

    Between Manchester and Northumbria I would personally pick Manchester for the following reasons (bare in mind I am a lot more familiar with the Manchester school than Northumbria):

    - More lively city
    - Better connected to the rest of the UK such as London and Birmingham
    - The facilities for model making etc. at MSA are second to none
    - Seems a bit boring to study at the same university for Part I and II
    - Access to both MMU and UoM libraries, and faclities generally
    - Prestige: I'm aware Northumbria is doing well at the moment, but historically MSA has always been better (it is ranked 10th globally), and its affiliated to a very prestigious university, so it more than likely always will be, whereas Northumbria may not be. That may seem trivial if you think where you got your degree from is just to get you the job after you graduate, but in reality, people will always judge you somewhat on where you studied.
    - Related to the above point, but if you ever decide to leave architecture, a degree from the University of Manchester (ranked 33rd globally) will look a lot better to employers than one from Northumbria.

    Obviously all of the above assumes that the focus and content of each course is equally preferable for your interests.
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