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Guide to studying Architecture

An Architecture degree brings together elements of maths, art and design, management, logistics, mechanics, physics and city planning.

Four young architects working on a project


  1. What's Architecture?

  2. Why study Architecture?

  3. What jobs can you get as an Architecture graduate?

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. How will you be assessed?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Architecture?

Architecture is a word with several different meanings. Firstly, a general term to describe buildings and other physical structures, and secondly the art and science of designing buildings, including the design and method of construction.

Studying Architecture will give you a thorough understanding and appreciation of the structures in which we live today. But it will also let you look to the future of design and how ideas can be created and implemented.

Undergraduate degrees typically last five years if studied full time, and lead to accreditation with the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

Why study Architecture?

Become an architect and you could be changing the face of the human-made world. It's a challenging profession, but seeing your projects come to life can be very rewarding.

Because they combine practical craft and historical theory, Architecture degrees are the perfect blend of arts and science. It could be an ideal career path if you enjoy both creative and academic ways of working.

A lot of Architecture is taught not in the classroom but through going outside and gaining inspiration. There will be field trips, Q&As and even a year abroad. As well as first-hand experiences, you'll learn the history of the craft, usually looking at some of the biggest cities in the world such as Paris, London and Barcelona.

Studying Architecture involves a lot of teamwork, where you’ll often find yourself in the midst of a group project having to coordinate others to achieve a collective goal. That’s not easy, but it does help to develop transferable skills in empathy, understanding, delegation, communication and leadership.

Architecture is a very high paying field. If you pass with good honours, you’ll be pursued by large firms looking for fresh talent and new ideas.

Architect working at home on a computer

What jobs can you get as an Architecture graduate?

Architecture is a competitive field, but if you have the skills and talent, you could make it in a very profitable industry. Particular job roles, other than architect, include building surveyor, lecturer, teacher, conservation officer, landscape architect, production designer for TV, film or theatre, structural engineer and town planner.

Several professional organisations, such as RIBA, offer specialised positions for Architecture graduates.

Professional job: Usually needs a degree
Non-professional job: Doesn't usually need a degree

What qualifications do you need? 

Universities don't usually ask for A Levels (or equivalent) in specific subjects for an Architecture course. However previous study in a combination of maths, science and art subjects will strengthen your application. A portfolio is often required.

Always confirm the grades and other entry requirements for the particular university/course you're interested in, as these vary between each institution.

What degrees can you study?

  • BA Architecture
  • BSc Architectural Design and Technology
  • BA Interior Architecture and Venue Design
  • BEng Civil Engineering with Architecture

How will you be assessed?

In each year of a BA course in Architecture, the project design work and associated exercises carry the majority of assessment weight. Many practical modules are assessed by coursework alone.

Other subjects that are classroom-taught and theory-based are assessed using a mixture of coursework, essays and written examinations. There.s a sliding scale of marks, with later years of the course counting for more.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include a straight MA Architecture, along with more specialist courses such as MSc Architecture and Environmental Design, MA Interior Design and MA Urban Design.

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