Master of Design Administration (MDA)

Cardiff University
1-2 years
Full time/part time
Master's degree
Scholarships available

About this program

Master of Design Administration (MDA)

The Master of Design Administration (MDA) aims to equip graduates with the expertise necessary for the successful administration and management of the design process in the procurement of buildings, from inception to occupation. It is intended to fulfil the growing need for experts in design management, working within consultancies, or in contracting or specialist contractor firms, or in client bodies.

The program combines management and legal aspects of procurement, with a unique focus on design aspects, addressing current topics of key interest to construction professionals.

It is taught through blended learning (a combination of distance learning methods and on-site courses) and is undertaken while you are working in practice. A wide range of distance learning teaching methods are used; including webinars and online, a program blog and discussion boards. Course material will be available in the form of detailed course notes, wikis, and pre-recorded video presentations. You will be supported by regular online tutorials and provided with detailed feedback on all course assignments.

Admission requirements

Typically, you will need to have either:

  • a 2:2 honours degree in a relevant discipline related to the built environment such as architecture, contracting, engineering, facilities management, or others related to the construction industry
  • a university-recognised equivalent academic qualification
  • or at least three years’ full-time equivalent relevant professional experience, such as in building design, the construction industry, or as a client of the construction industry, evidenced by a reference(s). This should include experience of managing or liaising with a multi-disciplinary team, either internal to the firm or comprised of representatives of various firms.

English Language requirements

IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all other subskills, or an accepted equivalent.

For more information about admission requirements, please check the university website.

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Program content

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2022/23 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2022.

Core modules for year one

  • Industry Context
  • Construction Contracts
  • Professional Services
  • Design Delivery
  • Project Delivery
  • International Procurement
  • Dissertation

Scholarships & funding

For more information about scholarships, please visit the university website.


Full-Time tuition fees

  • UK students: £10,200
  • International students: £23,450

Part-Time tuition fees

  • UK students: £5,100
  • International students: £11,725

For more information about tuition fee, please visit the university website.


What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning outcomes for this program describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you and academic staff will focus on precisely what they want you to achieve within each Module.

Knowledge & Understanding:

On completing the program you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Demonstrate a systematic and in depth understanding of the methods used to regulate development, the construction industry and the provision of design services within and outside the UK
  • Critically evaluate and compare simple and complex procurement systems, including collaborative and multi-party arrangements, assessing their implications for the role of consultants, including design managers
  • Demonstrate a systematic and in depth understanding of the relevance of design management to contemporary practice and the potential role of design managers in delivering client objectives.
  • Critically evaluate procedures and tools for managing design firms, design teams, and the design process throughout all stages of a project.

Intellectual Skills:

On completing the program you will be able to:

  • Identify and appraise sources of information (including current research work), relating to the construction industry within and outside the UK, to determine their authority and reliability.
  • Undertake a detailed analysis of the purpose, role, and relative and combined impact of selected regulatory instruments on the design and feasibility of building projects.
  • Construe the individual and combined effect of key terms in professional services and construction contracts on the extent of design responsibility and level of risk assumed by those involved.
  • Critically analyse key methods for coordinating design development prior to construction including design team integration, early supply chain involvement, and collaborative working at the interface of demand and supply
  • Critically analyse key methods for ensuring delivery of project objectives during construction, including risk management, change control, quality monitoring and handover procedures.
  • Analyse and compare the roles of contract administrator and project manager as delineated in a range of contrasting contract types, including their duties and powers relating to achievement of quality, time and cost targets.

Career paths

Students who undertake this course are required to already be in employment. However, this course is designed to enhance their professional development, and aid in career progression.

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About this institute

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is among the top 25 universities in the UK and is ranked 154th in the world. Founded in 1883, Cardiff University combines a prestigious heritage with impressive modern facilities, on one of the most beautiful campuses in the UK....

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Contact info

Cardiff University

CF10 3AT Cardiff

Phone no: +442920874432

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