Study Architecture – A Comprehensive Subject Guide

An architecture degree is an academic qualification earned through the successful completion of a programme of study in the field of architecture. It is typically offered at various levels, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. This degree programme equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary for careers in architecture, including architectural design, building technology, environmental sustainability, and more. A bachelor’s degree in architecture is often the minimum requirement for pursuing licensure as an architect in many countries, while master’s and doctoral degrees provide advanced education and research opportunities in the field.


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What is Architecture?

A professional degree in architecture equips students to design and build buildings and other structures. Architecture is a creative subject, but it also necessitates a solid understanding of mathematics, engineering, and physics.

Typically, architecture programmes last five years and involve a mix of studio classes, lecture courses, and internships. Students learn to design buildings and other structures in studio classes. The history of architecture, architectural philosophy, building materials and construction, and environmental design are all covered in lecture courses. Internships allow students to get real-world experience by working in an architectural practise.

To become licensed architects, architecture students must pass a state-administered exam after graduation. Architects with a licence can create and stamp construction designs for buildings and other structures. The following is a summary of the core courses that are commonly included in an architecture degree programme:

  • Architectural design: In these courses, students learn the principles of design, such as how to create functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces.
  • History of architecture: In these courses, students learn about the history of architecture from ancient times to the present day. 
  • Architectural theory: In these courses, students learn about the different theories of architecture. 
  • Building materials and construction: In these courses, students learn about the different building materials that are used in architecture and how they are constructed. 
  • Environmental design: In these courses, students learn about the environmental impact of buildings and other structures. Students learn how to design buildings that are energy-efficient and sustainable.

In addition to these core courses, architecture students also typically take elective courses in a variety of areas, such as urban planning, landscape architecture, and interior design.

Why Study Architecture?

  • To be creative: Architecture is a highly creative field. Architects have the opportunity to design and build structures that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. They can use their creativity to create spaces that are inspiring, uplifting, and sustainable.
  • To make a difference: Architecture has the power to make a real difference in the world. Architects can design buildings and other structures that improve the quality of life for people and communities. They can also design buildings that are environmentally friendly and help to reduce our impact on the planet.
  • To have a challenging and rewarding career: Architecture is a challenging and rewarding career. Architects have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, from small homes to large skyscrapers. They can also work in a variety of settings, including architectural firms, government agencies, and non-profit organisations.

Aside from these broad reasons, there are other specific reasons why someone might desire to study architecture. Some people, for example, may be drawn to architecture because they are interested in history, design, or sustainability. Others may be drawn to architecture because they wish to work on a specific type of project, such as schools, hospitals, or museums. 

Best Universities for Architecture in the UK

Here is a list of the top UK universities in this field according to the latest QS World University Rankings:

RankInstitutionEntry StandardsStudent SatisfactionResearch QualityContinuationGraduate prospects outcomesGraduate prospects on trackOverall Score
1University of Cambridge1933.823.631008876100
2University of Bath1974.023.398.4889099.8
3University of Sheffield1843.993.5899.7849099.6
4Loughborough University1774.143.5998.3849299.2
5Cardiff University1684.043.5392.69610097.7
6The University of Edinburgh1763.923.38100888496.1
7University of Nottingham1603.953.4297.8848695.1
8UCL (University College London)1923.793.497.5746094.2
9Newcastle University1693.843.3697788694.1
10Manchester School of Architecture16143.4194.2867693.4
11University of Liverpool1574.213.3698.6728093.3
12Bristol, University of the West of England1574.143.1295.5889092.9
13Ulster University1374.373.391.6888891.5
14Oxford Brookes University1443.922.9698928891.4
15University of Kent1343.83.496.6888291.3
16Cardiff Metropolitan University1284.353.392.9909090.6
17University of Plymouth1234.023.2897.9868290.4
18University of Reading1363.713.3490969290.4
19University of Strathclyde2083.673.292.4808290.3
20University of the Arts London1673.633.1895.2886890.2
21Nottingham Trent University1293.933.0497.4909089.9
22Queen's University Belfast1573.83.0692887889.8
23University of Portsmouth1363.772.9794.2929088.4
24Northumbria University, Newcastle1493.912.7995.3787487.2
25University of Dundee1753.623.2290.2709286.5
26Kingston University1334.083.497.1626486.1
27University of Salford1264.023.1291.9827685.6
28University of Westminster, London1334.23.0291.4746884.9
29Arts University Bournemouth1273.912.6796.68284.9
30Sheffield Hallam University1163.853.1293.5847284.3
31Liverpool John Moores University1403.843.0190.9747284.1
32University of Wales Trinity Saint David1444.2895.584.1
33Birmingham City University1444.092.9291.4667883.9
34University of Lincoln1203.32.4296.4948483.8
35Leeds Beckett University1253.872.6290.1907482.8
36Coventry University11343.2787.1807282.4
37Norwich University of the Arts1184.692828282.2
38University of Derby1193.892.3892.8869082.1
39London Metropolitan University1183.98387.482
40University of Huddersfield1233.822.9187.2807681.6
41University of Greenwich1243.732.7191.6768081.6
42Edinburgh Napier University1483.6294.9909081.1
43Solent University (Southampton)1164.2692.5828280.9
44De Montfort University1133.743.0386788280.6
45University of Brighton1273.363.2795.1566080.1
46University of Central Lancashire1234.052.8993.3585879.4
47London South Bank University1184.032.9391.1546078.3
48University for the Creative Arts1214.233.0688.4565678.1
49University of East London1234.282.4894.4467078
50Robert Gordon University1554.142.3791.1667077.7
51University of Hertfordshire1043.922.7186.2687676.1
52Anglia Ruskin University1103.982.6574.3829075.6
53Falmouth University1363.52647274.8
54University of Wolverhampton1013.852.5576.5668271.3

Entry Requirements for a Architecture Degree

The entry requirements for an architecture degree in the UK vary depending on the university. However, most universities require students to have a minimum of two A-levels, including one in a mathematics or science subject. Some universities also require students to have an A-level in an art or design subject.

In addition to A-levels, most universities also require students to submit a portfolio of their creative work. The portfolio should include examples of the student’s drawing, sketching, and design skills.

Some universities also require students to sit for an interview. The interview is an opportunity for the university to learn more about the student’s motivation for studying architecture and their future career plans.

Here is a summary of the typical entry requirements for an architecture degree in the UK:

  • Minimum of two A-levels, including one in a mathematics or science subject. Some universities also require an A-level in an art or design subject.
  • Portfolio of creative work, including examples of the student’s drawing, sketching, and design skills.
  • Interview (may be required by some universities).

Here are some tips for preparing your application for an architecture degree:

  • Start preparing your portfolio early. The portfolio is a very important part of your application, so you want to make sure that it is well-presented and includes your best work.
  • Get feedback on your portfolio from other artists, designers, or architects.
  • Practice your interviewing skills. The interview is an opportunity for you to make a good impression on the admissions committee, so it is important to be prepared.

Jobs for Architecture Graduates

Architecture graduates have a wide range of job opportunities available to them. Here are a few of the most common jobs for architecture graduates:

  • Architect: Architects design buildings and other structures. They work with clients to understand their needs and then design structures that meet those needs. Architects also oversee the construction of their designs to ensure that they are built to specification.
  • Architectural technologist: Architectural technologists work with architects to develop and implement building designs. They use their knowledge of construction materials and methods to create drawings and specifications that can be used to build the structure. 
  • Landscape architect: Landscape architects design outdoor spaces, such as parks, gardens, and plazas. They work with clients to understand their needs and then design spaces that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. 
  • Urban planner: Urban planners work to create and maintain sustainable and liveable cities. They work with a variety of stakeholders, including government officials, community members, and businesses, to develop plans for the future growth and development of cities.
  • Building inspector: Building inspectors inspect buildings and other structures to ensure that they comply with building codes and regulations. They also investigate complaints about unsafe buildings and structures.

Salary for Architecture Graduates

Check out the average salary for graduates in this field: 

Low skilled: £18,000

Medium-skilled: £19,000

High-skilled: £22,000

Topics for Architecture Dissertation

The following are a variety of research fields, each of which provides an opportunity to delve into the complexities of architecture and contribute significantly to its advancement:

  1. The impact of climate change on architecture
  2. The use of sustainable materials in architecture
  3. The role of architecture in social justice
  4. The impact of technology on architecture
  5. The future of architecture
  6. The history of architecture in a specific region or culture
  7. The work of a specific architect or architectural firm
  8. The design of a specific type of building, such as schools, hospitals, or museums
  9. The use of architecture to promote public health
  10. The role of architecture in disaster relief

How Much Does it Cost to Study in the UK

One of the most important things to consider is how much the degree is going to cost. Here is a general guide for 2023/2024:

  • For home students in England, universities can charge up to a maximum of £9,250 per year for an undergraduate degree.
  • In Wales, institutions can charge up to £9,000 for home students. However, Welsh students can apply for a fee grant to cover some of the cost of their tuition fees. This grant is currently not repayable or income-assessed.
  • Northern Irish universities will charge up to £4,275 for home students and may charge up to £9,250 for students from elsewhere in the UK.
  • Scotland does not charge home students fees at the undergraduate level; however, students from England, Wales, or Northern Ireland are expected to pay up to £9,250 per year. International students from outside of the UK will pay significantly more to study in Scotland.
  • International students can expect to pay between £10,000 and £26,000 annually for lecture-based undergraduate degrees at universities across the UK. An undergraduate medical degree can cost overseas students up to £58,600 per year. As for postgraduate degrees, the average cost is estimated to be around £17,109 per year.
Besides the tuition fees, there are also several other cost considerations such as food, accommodation, phone bills, books, social life, memberships, and others. Remember to check out our free student budget calculator

Other Subjects to Consider

Given that you are interested in this subject area, you might also want to consider the following options: 

  • Art and design: This field encompasses a wide range of subjects, such as painting, sculpture, graphic design, and fashion design. Art and design students learn to use their creativity and technical skills to create works of art and design that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Engineering: Engineers design and build machines, structures, and systems. They use their knowledge of mathematics, science, and technology to solve complex problems. There are many different branches of engineering, such as civil engineering, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering.
  • Social sciences: Social science students study human behaviour and society. They learn about the factors that influence individuals and groups, as well as the social and economic systems in which they live. Social sciences include anthropology, economics, political science, and psychology.
  • Education: Education students learn about the principles and practices of teaching and learning. They develop the skills and knowledge necessary to teach in a variety of settings, such as public schools, private schools, and colleges.

Frequently Asked Questions

Consider your interests, passions, and career goals. Research various degree programmes and their content to see which aligns best with your aspirations.

While earning potential is important, it’s also crucial to select a degree that you’re passionate about and suits your skills. A balance between your interests and potential career prospects is ideal.

Location can impact your overall university experience. Consider factors like cost of living, proximity to industry hubs, and personal preferences.

Evaluate tuition fees, available scholarships, and potential for part-time work. Create a budget to ensure you can manage your finances during your studies.

Consider combining your passions with practical skills. For example, if you love art but want job security, explore fields like graphic design or digital marketing.

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