Course syllabus


ACE370 - Master's thesis preparation: Academic approaches and general structure, 2023

Course is offered by the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, autumn semester 2023,  lp1 HT23 (5 hp)


ACE370_Course image.png


In order to attend the course you need to choose a profile before the course starts. Contact Maja Kovacs to be added to a profile or if you have general questions about the course. Under the module “Course information” you can find a list of student’s choices for profile. All the tutorials are conducted in the chosen profile, and all the hand-ins are within the chosen profile.  

The course will be conducted at school, but some of the lectures are online. The introduction lecture on the 28th of August will be through zoom. See PDF schedule (länk) or the Canvas calendar.  (, Password: ACE370)  


Contact information  

Examiner and contact person: Julia Fredriksson, 

Course leader: Maja Kovács,  


Modules and contact person within the profile


Architecture and advanced programmes: Anna Braide,  

Architectural Experimentation: Daniel Norell,  

Building design and transformation: Mikael Ekegren,  

Urban design: Joaquim Tarraso,  



Building design and transformation for sustainability: Walter Unterrainer,  

Society, justice, space: Marco Adelfio,  

Urban and rural design and planning: Nils Björling, 


Course Schedule  

The canvas calendar and the pdf schedule are the schedules being used in the course and are always updated. Timeedit is not updated. 


Purpose and aim  

The course prepares students for the master thesis in architecture. It gives an orientation on theories and methods with a focus on academic approaches and writing. Within the course students formulate a project plan in accordance with academic requirements. The course is connected to the course ”Master’s thesis preparation: design approaches and narratives”.  


Learning outcomes  

  • Knowledge and understanding 
    refer the own work to theories and methods within architectural and/or urban design, relate it to a professional context and to a sustainability perspective 
  • Competence and skills 
    reflect upon the relationship between research and design in the students coming master thesis prepare and plan the master’s thesis general structure and formulate it into a project plan in accordance with academic requirements 
  • Judgement and approach 
    reflect on and assess the learning process the student has been through and identify the need for further knowledge and skills constructively evaluate the students own work as well as other students work and give constructive feedback 


Course Design  

The course includes lectures, workshops, seminars, assignments and presentations. The students formulate a project plan in accordance with the academic requirements for the master thesis. During the course the students will give feedback to other students and receive feedback on their own work from other students.  

Students are divided into groups based on assigned master's thesis examiner(s) and supervisor(s), but are also mixed between these groups, providing a cross-critical approach. The learning is structured around lectures, workshops, groupwork, group feedback, individual work, feedback with teachers and assignments. Students work individually or in pairs, depending on how they are planning on pursuing their thesis. 



  • 28th of August, 09.00-11.45, Introduction, Maja Kovács and Naima Callenberg 
  • 28th of August, 13.15-16.00,  What is a MT, Maja Kovács 
  • 30th of August,, Research and design, Maja Kovács 
  • 4th of September, 10.00-11.45, Working with (written) references,  Beate Granström och Emilié Sörberg 
  • 4th of September, 13.15-16.00, Theory and references, Naima Callenberg and Maja Kovacs 
  • 11th of September, 09.00-11.45, Methods, Elke Miedema 
  • 12th of September, 09.00-11.45, Process and Method, Naima Callenberg 
  • 25-26th of October. 09.00-16.00, Final presentation, with profile  


Individual assignments  

You will have individual assignments, where you deliver throughout the course, enabling the teacher to follow your progression. More information will be given in the assignment on Canvas. 

  • Individual assignment 1: Positioning, 5 sep, 18.00   
  • Individual assignment 2: Concept, 18 sep, 18.00   
  • Individual assignment 3: Draft, 9 oct, 18.00   
  • Individual assignment 4: Final draft, 20 Oct 18.00  
  • Individual assignment 5: Final project plan, 27 oct, 18.00   


Tutorials and group work  

You will meet your group to receive feedback on your material throughout the course, as well as the tutorial team from your chosen profile. The schedule for each profile tutorial will be under the profile specific module.  

  • 5th of September, 09.00-12.00, Group work  
  • 6th of September, 09.00-16.00, Tutorial with profile  
  • 18th of September, 09.00-12.00, Group work  
  • 25th of September, 09.00-16.00, Tutorial with profile  
  • 9th of October, 09.00-12.00, Group work  


Group assignments  

You will deliver assignments as a group, discussing articles and documenting your feedback on each other’s work. More information will be given in the assignment on Canvas.  

  • Group Assignment A, 5 sep, 18.00  
  • Group Assignment B, 18 sep, 18.00  
  • Group Assignment C, 9 oct, 18.00  
  • Group Assignment D, 27 oct, 18.00  

Content for final project plan  

The end deliverance of the course is a complete project plan with the following content:  

    1. A Title
    2. An abstract: Concise summary and description of the student’s aims and outcome of the investigation.
    3. Major subject/Problem description of study: focus, issues and scales that are addressed in the project
    4. Research question: What questions do you want to work on, ask and answer
    5. Background: Context in the topic including discussions in the field and knowledge gaps. Contribution of the project in a wider (theoretical and practical) perspective of the profession.
    6. General aim and specific purpose of the project: link to the problem description ́ and  ́background ́
    7. Delimitations: what will not be addressed in the thesis
    8. Relevance for sustainable development: specify how the thesis integrates a sustainability discourse
    9. Theory: what are the main theories you are basing your work on and other significant reference, both practice-based and academic references.  What are the theoretical and practical references? 
    10. Methods and tools: Investigate, choose and state in relation to previous steps what kind of material needs to be explored and studied, what knowledge needs to be gathered and actors need to be involved in your MT process, etc., what tools can be used in relevance to the field of your study, the topic, focus, and research questions and what kind of ways/methods are to be carried to obtain optimum results of your work
    11. Context of the project: Description of the specific location
    12. Process and structure of the thesis: Including a time plan of what, how and when
    13. Schematic drawings and physical model: diagrams, studies, collages, sketches that provides an overview of the topic and synthesize project’s problems and approaches.
    14. Project references, literature, and bibliography: a list of practice-based inspirations, reference texts and readings, done in a in a scientifically correct way.  


Evaluation criteria and supplements  

Grading: Approved / not approve 


  • Presence at the scheduled activities, 80% minimum and active participation at the seminars and group work 
  • Submission of ALL assignments and on time 
  • Quality of submissions: all the assignments should follow the instructions and have the correct content 
  • Participation on the tutorials  



Attendance will be taken through assignments. If more than one lecture is missed, an interview with a student who was present at the time should be summarized and submitted via Canvas, under Supplements. If a group opportunity is missed, a separate individual compilation of the assignment should be made. Submitted via Canvas, under Supplements. A missed opportunity is each lecture or group work, it is not divided per day. 


Assignments and quality: 

The assignments in the course are based on progression and should therefore be delivered on time during the course. 


Integrated learning 

The course runs in parallel with the course Master’s thesis preparation: Design approaches and narratives. If the courses are taken together the material from each course will be connected. 

The deliverance of this course is also connected to the registration process for the Master’s thesis ACEX35. The result from the course will be part of a registration process. More information will be given later.  


Course literature 

Architectural Research Methods, second edition (2013):  by Linda Groat and David Wang. (This book can be found as an e-book at the Chalmers Library website). Read chapters 1 and 2 and choose 1-2 chapters from the book that is relevant to the group.  

Diagramming Design Research (2007); David Wang, in JOURNAL OF INTERIODRESIGN, Volume 33 Number 1 2007.  (This article can be found at Canvas and as an e-book on the Chalmers Library website) 

This is Research by Design; Johan Verbeke in the book “Design Research in Architecture” edited by Murray Fraser. (This article can be found on Canvas) 

Reflecting on RTD 2015: Making Connections to Doing Research Through Design, by Rebecca Taylor, in Design Issues: Volume 33, Number 3 Summer 2017.   (This article can be found at the Chalmers Library website) 

Universal Methods of Design: 100 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, and Design Effective Solutions, by Bruce Hanington, and Bella Martin (This book can be found at Canvas and as an e-book on the Chalmers Library website) 

Basics Design Methods (2017); by Jormakka, Kari Basics Design Methods (This book can be found at the Chalmers Library website) 

Chapter 1, The Selection of a Research Approach, by John W Creswell in the book “Research design” (This article can be found on Canvas)  



Course summary:

Date Details Due