Architecture courses uk
Exceptional learning environment
With examples of outstanding buildings dating from the Middle Ages to the present day, Cambridge provides the perfect setting to study architecture. Both teaching and research are ranked amongst the best in the country. At Cambridge, you’re taught by practising architects and academics who are leading experts in their fields.
Our course is unashamedly academic in approach, emphasising architecture as a cultural as well as technological subject. The core of the teaching programme is in practical design carried out in studios (from the large scale of a city to the smallest detail), and supported by lectures on both the humanities (history and theory) and sciences (construction, environmental design and structures).
Our small, friendly Department has a very good staff:student ratio. Facilities include a superb library, studios, reprographics areas and workshops, as well as spaces for making models and larger installations.
Successful completion of our full three-year undergraduate course carries exemption from the Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) Part 1 – the first stage in qualifying as an architect.
The Department also offers a Masters in Architecture and Urban Design, which carries exemption from RIBA Part 2, and a RIBA Part 3 course (the final qualifying stage).
What we're looking for
You must have an enthusiasm for both the arts and the sciences. The ability to draw and an interest in the history of art and architecture are essential, as is a knowledge of mathematics to at least a good GCSE standard.
Students can opt to move to other courses within the University after Part IA. However, this is very rarer and most architecture students stay for all three years (see above regarding professional qualification.
Many graduates continue into professional training, but some enter other creative fields or research. We have a long-standing tradition of research excellence, in areas such as history and philosophy of architecture, environmentally-responsible design, architecture and the moving image, urban design and transport planning, and disaster relief.
It is not possible to study Architecture as an affiliated course (ie in one year less than usual). However, if you have already completed an undergraduate degree and now wish to study Architecture at Cambridge as a second undergraduate degree, you can apply to study the full three-year course. (In this case, you would not normally pay the separate College fees.) Please seek advice about your application as early as possible from one of the mature Colleges.
Each week you have two 'studio' days, for which you are set projects which require you to produce models and drawings to communicate your design ideas.
You are supervised on studio work in individual tutorials and group critical reviews which encourage you to explore different approaches and develop essential design skills. The resulting portfolio accounts for 60 per cent of your overall marks each year.
Lectures, classes and visits to completed buildings or buildings under construction/restoration cover the rest of the curriculum. You attend at least one lecture a week on each paper as well as small-group supervisions, for which you are required to complete essays and undertake preparation.
Studio work introduces the possibilities of architecture, with an emphasis on understanding and developing proficiency in traditional modes of architectural representation – models, collage, perspectives, elevations, plans and sections. You also master basic CAD skills, used in studio presentations. A study trip abroad is typically offered in the Easter vacation.
You take five lecture-based papers:
- Introduction to Architectural History/Theory (pre-1800)
- Introduction to Architectural History/Theory (post-1800)
- Fundamental Principles of Construction
- Fundamental Principles of Structural Design
- Fundamental Principles of Environmental Design
You choose from various options for studio work, with projects ranging in scale from mapping studies and interior interventions, to reasonable-sized buildings. Emphasis is on integrating the technical skills learnt in Part IA and in the ongoing Part IB lectures with your studio output. A voluntary study trip is usually offered.
In addition, you take four papers that build on your Part IA knowledge:
- Studies in History and Theories of Architecture, Urbanism and Design
- Principles of Construction
- Principles of Structural Design
- Principles of Environmental Design
For the first, you submit two essays and sit a written examination. The remaining three papers are assessed by a written exam in each.
You choose from three studio options which vary in approach but all require you to produce a building design at the end of the year whose technical realisation is allied to a coherently framed conceptual approach. Again, a voluntary study trip is usually offered.
Four lecture-based papers together carry 20 per cent of your overall marks:
A written dissertation of 7,000-9,000 words on a topic of your choice accounts for the remaining 20 per cent of your marks.