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Seminar course 3b: Preparatory Research in Theory and History of Architecture and Urban Design for Master's Thesis, 5 Credits

Swedish name: Seminariekurs 3b: Förberedande studier i arkitektur- och stadsbyggnadsteori och historia inför examensarbete

This syllabus is valid: 2019-08-26 and until further notice

Course code: 5AR527

Credit points: 5

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Architecture: Second cycle, has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: Pass course only, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Umeå School of Architecture

Revised by: Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 2019-03-11


The course focuses on preparatory research and studies in architectural and urban design theory and history prior to the degree project. Alongside of studies and design research in Synthesis Course 3 and technical and professional research in Seminar Course 3a, students shall conduct primary research in history and theory for application to the degree project. The emphasis of the course is on identifying a strong position as a baseline and source of support for the degree project. To establish and articulate this position, students shall conduct research at libraries, archives and departments, as well as engage in interviews and fieldwork as needed. Primary research and acquisition of knowledge, including a 3,000-word research report, are stressed.

Expected learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  • present specific issues, complex phenomena and situations in architecture and urban design, as well as cultural, social and intellectual history, theories, technologies, disciplines, processes, methods, current research, development efforts and the statutory provisions that affect them.
  • show a critical understanding of how knowledge is advanced through research to produce clear, logically argued and original written work relating to architectural culture, theory and design.

Required Knowledge

Admission to the course requires the completion of a minimum of 240 ECTS credits or equivalent, including the courses "5AR423 Synthesis Course 2", "5AR524 Seminar Course 2a" and "5AR425 Seminar Course 2b".

Form of instruction

The course includes counselling on research methodologies, seminars and individual tutorials.

Examination modes

The course is assessed by means of the research report and an individual oral presentation at a public discussion. 

A grade of Pass (G) or Fail (U) is awarded for the course. All mandatory oral, written and practical assignments must be finished and approved before the course can be successfully completed. 

Additional examinations are arranged for students who did not pass the original one. A student who fails two exams in a course or component is entitled to have another examiner appointed unless there are extraordinary grounds for not doing so (Chapter 6, Section 22, Higher Education Ordinance). The request for a new examiner shall be turned in to the director of the programme. 

Complementary assignments
A student who does not fully meet the the requirements to pass an examination but is close to a grade of Pass may, upon a decision by the examiner, receive a complementary assignment in order to meet the criteria. The complementary assignment shall be adapted to the particular outcomes that the student has not achieved. The examiner sets the deadline for handing in the assignment. 

Academic credit transfer
Students have the right to request that previous studies, or equivalent knowledge and skills acquired in a professional, work-related capacity, be validated and transferred into credits on an equivalent course or programme at Umeå University. Applications for credit transfer should be addressed to Student Services/Degree Evaluation Office. More information can be found at the Umeå University student web site ( and in Chapter 6 of the Higher Education Ordinance. Appeals may be made to the Higher Education Appeals Board (ÖNH) against a decision by the university not to approve an application for credit transfer (Higher Education Ordinance, Chapter 12), even in cases where only a part of the application has been rejected.

Other regulations

This course may not be used towards a degree, in whole or in part, simultaneously with another course of similar content. If in doubt, consult the study counselor at Umeå School of Architecture.

Examination based on this course syllabus is guaranteed for two years after initial enrolment in the course.


The literature list is not available through the web. Please contact the faculty.