The Master of Science in Human Settlements (MScHS) program develops professionals who are capable of seeing the human settlements from multiple viewpoints. The program is committed to both professional training and research. By proposing an expanded architecturally-based teaching-learning model, the post-professional program aims to enhance the capacity of professionals to engage in inter-disciplinary practice that negotiates between diverse actors in the development of sustainable human settlements. The key quality of MScHS program is its combined strength of multidisciplinary theory, design studio, workshop, thesis and project. Design studio and projects are approached as design-research exercises, where the program exploits the pedagogic potential of the studio as a form of design-based critical inquiry. It takes advantage of architecture’s traditional concerns for site specificity, spatial experience, functionality, morphology and physical form, while also engaging realms of knowledge associated with disciplines such as urban and rural planning, urban geography, anthropology, archeology, urban ecology, landscape design, environmental science etc. In this sense, the program is considered experimental, exploratory, and unorthodox relative to the established canons of the traditional architectural design studio. Grounded in theory, technical and social science research with focused subject matter, the thesis/design-research project culminates with a supervised independent research that allows each participant to frame problems relevant to their field of specialization.
The MScHS program aims to develop the participants' dexterities in design thinking and entrepreneurial approaches to development practices. It is committed to achieve following five specific objectives -
- Promote learning from cutting edge conceptual debates in human settlement design and development theories, and practices so as to identify, investigate and justify possible solutions to problems emerging out of the debates.
- Develop skills in gathering, organizing and using evidence and information from a wide variety of sources. This will be complemented by guidance on how best to manage workloads and obtain research materials.
- Develop analytical skills and inter-disciplinary knowledge in order to advance design communication beyond the generalist education of a professional degree.
- Provide with competency in developing reasoned arguments, finding commonalities and differences, and defending different solutions.
- Enable to explore context-bound approaches and relating these to the operational frameworks for policy, planning, programming, and design to promote development of more equitable and sustainable human settlements in urban and rural areas.
Master of Science in Human Settlements program is an intensive three terms (36 credits) full time professional course with a focus on design research. It includes minimum 18 credits of theory course modules and 18 credits of sessional course modules. The modules are delivered through lectures, seminars, workshop, field trips, and design studio. Student performance is assessed through reading, essay writing, individual and group project work, examination, seminar, jury, criticism and dissertation/project report.
The course is structured so that 12 credits are devoted to the core subjects of human settlement studies and 6 credits to the offered specialist streams. The core course modules provide the theoretical and methodological components of the course while the specialist modules allow students to examine different approaches and problems in accordance with their own particular interests.
The sessional module includes one workshop and one design studio. In the first term, the students engage in workshop that provides basic skills and techniques of settlement studies through communication modules. This workshop aims to provide an opportunity for students to acquire concepts and skills relating to settlement development, urban and rural design, urban transformations at different scales, as well as more general skills such as verbal, written and visual presentation, analysis and synthesis. It focuses on study of practical sites where the multiplicities and challenges of intervening are met with the compounded realities of informality, socio-political, cultural, and built environmental constructs. During the second term design studio module allows the students to bring together theory and practice towards the development of equitable and sustainable human settlements. The studio focuses on learning from real-life design problems based on case studies from local, regional and global contexts. The third term consists of a thesis on a topic of the student’s own research interest that includes colloquium on the thesis concentration.