Tuition and Attendance

Tuition is provided through a combination of research supervision, attendance at Saturday workshops, and related e-learning support.

Research supervision

All candidates are allocated a supervisor when they join the programme. The supervisor will have expertise in the candidate’s area of research, as well as in research processes and methodology. The supervisor will be the candidate’s main point of contact throughout the whole duration of the programme and will guide the overall direction and progress of the research. In most cases a co-supervisor is also allocated in order to provide a different perspective on the research at the various stages when this might be required.

Candidates clearly need to maintain regular contact with their supervisor. The form of this will be negotiated between candidate and supervisor according to individual circumstances and then recorded in a learning agreement. Some combination of meetings, telephone, email and e-learning or conferencing would be normal, depending on the location of the candidate.

The Saturday workshops

Candidates attend a series of all-day workshops in Central Manchester on Saturdays. They are one of the defining characteristics of the programme and provide a common framework for candidates as they develop the early stages of their research in particular. They also provide a supportive and enjoyable environment in which to study with other candidates from similar professional backgrounds who have embarked on the same journey.

The workshops provide a varied combination of lectures, tutorials, exercises, presentations and informal discussions. The content of each workshop is chosen so as to provide maximum support for the particular assessment that candidates are then working on within the modular structure. The workshops are led by a regular team of three academics (including me) but our input is always supplemented by guest lecturers, tutors and facilitators who are chosen for their specialist expertise in particular fields.

Six workshops are held during year 1. They then progressively decline in frequency as candidates increasingly rely on their supervisors for the specialist support necessary to pursue their individual research projects to a successful conclusion. Four workshops therefore take place in year 2, three in year 3, and then two in each of years 4 and 5.

Paul Chynoweth

Programme Leader

“The programme is designed to be accessible to built environment professionals throughout Europe. A combination of individual research supervision and e-learning support provides maximum flexibility for candidates to plan the timing of their studies and their contact with supervisors. This distance learning approach is supplemented by attendance at occasional all-day workshops in Central Manchester on Saturdays. The venue is easily accessible from Manchester International Airport and Manchester Piccadilly railway station. The workshops provide a varied and, we hope, entertaining range of interactive class-based tuition and discussion, as well as the opportunity to meet up with other members of one’s cohort in a friendly and informal setting.”

The year 1 workshops for the 2015/16 academic year will take place on the following dates:


  • Saturday 10 October 2015

  • Saturday 4 December 2015

  • Saturday 23 January 2016

  • Saturday 12 March 2016

  • Saturday 7 May 2016

  • Saturday 9 July 2016


E-learning support

The programme provides candidates with e-learning support via
Blackboard, the University’s virtual learning environment (VLE). Copies of all teaching materials, presentations and programme information from the workshops are made available to candidates in this way and the VLE also incorporates a range of electronic communication facilities for use by candidates and tutors.

Some supervisors will also make use of additional e-learning facilities (including Blackboard Collaborate) to provide real-time meetings and tutorial facilities, particularly for students who are not locally based.

Attendance requirements and accessibility

Our existing candidates come from all corners of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland and the expectation is that all workshops should be attended.

To facilitate this we hold our workshops on Saturdays, and locate them in Media City UK which is easily accessible from Central Manchester, its train stations, and Manchester International Airport. Workshops typically start at 9.00 am and finish by 5.30 pm.

The station itself is a 20 minute shuttle journey from Manchester International Airport, with trains running 6 times an hour throughout the day.