How to Write an Architecture Dissertation 101
In this post we will explore how to write an architecture dissertation, but first…
What is an architecture dissertation?
The architecture dissertation (or thesis) is an opportunity to demonstrate the skills you have learnt and the knowledge you have developed over the course of your studies. It identifies a current question of interest that you are willing to explore and analyse.
Thesis and dissertation mean different things in Europe than they do in the USA. In Europe, a dissertation is usually part of a masters degree involving a broader research project. In the USA however, the dissertation is part of a doctorate degree. Likewise, a thesis in Europe generally refers to research work for a PhD, while in the USA thesis is part of your masters degree. Nice and confusing 🙂
Given that we are based in the UK, we will refer to the document as a dissertation, but much of the information and tips here are interchangeable. Hopefully you will find this guide useful when considering your architecture dissertation… or thesis!
Scroll to the end to download this article as a handy PDF guide!
General Architecture Dissertation Tips
1. Start work on your dissertation early.
2. Include references and citations to other scholars’ work.
3. Discuss the topic with other people.
4. Make the most of your tutorials, or any dedicated sessions.
5. Don’t get stuck on your title/topic. Let your data research lead and guide you.
6. Don’t feel you have to solve the world’s problems with your architecture dissertation. You are contributing to the research on a particular topic, don’t feel that your work has to result in a ground breaking solution to a worldwide problem.
7. Tell a story – make sure there is a flow to your architecture dissertation. Avoid using complex sentence structures and fancy words, make it readable. Always try to say more, with less – keep it simple.
8. Give yourself plenty of time to carry out your project from start to finish. Start early with your research – it takes a lot of time if it is to be done properly.
9. Make a schedule – dedicate chunks of time to your architecture dissertation. Ideally intersperse these studies with lighter tasks or something different like sport. It is difficult to write for more than 4 hours without becoming tired and inefficient so make sure your schedule allows for breaks and changes in activity.
10. If you are asking people for help in your data collection, make sure you give them lots of time to get back to you.
11. Be as direct and clear as you can in your writing, avoid fluffy over wordy sentences.
12. Make visual connections between your architecture dissertation topic and the way you design and set it up. Use a consistent style and readable fonts.
13. Get someone to proofread your work, ideally a couple of people.
14. Use your tutors for advice and guidance, that is what they are there for. Be sure to ask plenty of questions if you are not sure about something.
There will be loads of useful websites and databases that you can access through your university. A few examples include:
The Courtauld Institute’s Conway Library
Arts & Architecture
Harvard Digital Collection Library
Getty Publications Virtual Library
Architectural Association Photo Library
You might also be interested in:
We also have lots of incredible architecture content. Be sure to check it out:
Download the Guide!
Download this helpful article as a pdf to keep for reference later!
We hope this post helps you get started on your architecture dissertation.
Wishing you the very best of luck with your work 🙂
Thank you for reading!