Best school of architecture in uk

Last Updated on May 30, 2022

Architecture is a complex profession, with a wide variety of specialisations available for skilled graduates to move into. When studying architecture in the UK, students must complete a combination of five years study and two years practical work experience before completing final exams.

Architecture study takes in the areas of technology, design, and theory, and students will benefit from state-of-the-art facilities at UK universities including labs for building prototypes (3D printing and laser cutting) and unique workshop spaces.

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Studying Architecture in UK

Architecture courses at UK universities focus on the technological, design, cultural and historical elements of the subject, and lectures on history and theory will take place alongside art and 3D design. This provides students with the best approach to learning about each element of the profession.

It takes seven years to become a fully qualified architect, combining five years of study followed by two years of professional training and practical work before final exams. Students will become members of the RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects, after their initial three-year undergraduate degree, before enrolling on a BArch, Diploma or March degree.

Prospective students require patience, hard work and dedication to become architects, but the rewards are huge. The Times University Guide recently reported that three years into their careers, architects are amongst the least likely of all graduates to be unhappy with their profession.

Graduate Architecture Careers and Salary

After completing the seven years of study required to become a registered architect, graduates will find roles in architectural design, engineering and construction, preservation and urban planning.

  • Average starting professional salary: £20,000
  • Average starting non-professional salary: £16,640

Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education 2016-17.

Architecture Entry Requirements

English language, art and design and mathematics are all preferable subjects to have studied before applying to an Architecture programme, and you should also enjoy drawing freehand and have an interest in design and producing 3D work. At many UK universities, a portfolio of work is crucial in being offered a place.

  • Typical International Baccalaureate requirements: Minimum 32 points.
  • Typical A-levels requirements: AAB, with a balance of art, sciences and writing ability.
  • Typical IELTS requirements: 6.5 overall, with no lower than 6.0 in any one component.

Best school of architecture in uk

1. University of Cambridge

Most frequently recognised as the top UK institution for the study of Architecture, the University of Cambridge needs no introduction. Its global academic reputation and recognition as one of the world’s top universities makes it a top choice for students of all subjects.

Cambridge has some of the most ancient and iconic buildings at any university, yet facilities are modern and benefitting from ongoing and substantial investment.

The university is split into 31 autonomous colleges where students receive small group teaching sessions known as college supervisions. The university’s BA in architecture is taught by faculty at St John’s College and is described on the university’s website as the ‘only Cambridge degree that combines the intellectual challenges of both arts and sciences with the opportunity for creative design.’

Course elements include the history and philosophy of architecture, contemporary culture and urbanism, as well as construction, structural design and environmental design

Location: Cambridge

2. University of Bath

Bath is known for excellence in teaching and research, for its high student satisfaction rates, and providing outstanding preparation for the workplace. Its lively, attractive campus on the edge of the city provides superb sporting, social and cultural opportunities.

One of the first universities to win a national police-approved security award, it is considered one of the safest campuses in the UK. Major investment over the past decade has included accommodation, study spaces, sport and art facilities. Employment rates for graduates are higher than average at the University of Bath — most likely a result of the work placements offered with every degree course and its emphasis on practical, ‘real life’ skills that employers value.

Bath is currently ranked 1st in the UK for Architecture within the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, and the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees with an interdisciplinary focus. The research specialises in sustainability within the built environment.

Courses include:

  • Architecture BSc (Hons) – 4 years including placements
  • Architecture MArch (Hons) – 2 years
  • Structural and Architectural Engineering BEng (Hons) – 4 years including placement year
  • Structural and Architectural Engineering BEng (Hons) – 3 years
  • Structural and Architectural Engineering MEng (Hons) – 5 years including placement year
  • Structural and Architectural Engineering MEng (Hons) – 4 years

Location: Bath, south west England

3. University College London (UCL)

One of the UK’s top ten universities, and a member of the renowned Russell Group of universities, University College London, or UCL as it’s also known, occupies a main campus in upmarket Bloomsbury in central London, and there are plans to open a further campus on the site of the London 2012 Olympic Park in east London.The phased opening of the 50,000 sq m site, based at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will begin in spring 2022.

UCL is home to the prestigious Bartlett School of Architecture, one of the most influential, exciting and innovative architecture schools in the world, which ‘sets the agenda for what architecture is and could be’. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees with innovative teaching, top-ranking research and state-of-the-art facilities, across two London sites.

Courses include:

  • Architecture BSc (ARB/RIBA Part 1) – 3 years
  • Architecture MSci (ARB Part 1 & 2) – a 5-year integrated Master’s in architecture, accredited by ARB for Part 1 & 2, with a final year on placement.
  • Architectural & Interdisciplinary Studies BSc
  • Engineering & Architectural Design MEng – four years

Location: London

4. Cardiff University

Located in Wales’ capital city, across two main campuses, Cardiff University is a member of the Russell Group of universities. By the end of 2021, significant refurbishment of the Bute Building (home to the Welsh School of Architecture) will boost provision for its students.

Its design-led Architecture programme has a focus on making, with two thirds of the BSc currently based on project work in the studio.

Its Architecture (BSc/MArch) is full time with work-based learning, and completed over 5 years. Once students finish their last year studying the BSc degree, they spend the first year of the MArch degree following architectural practice.

Location: Cardiff, Wales

5. University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham is one of the founding members of the prestigious Russell Group, and with campuses in the UK, China and Malaysia, is a truly global university. It’s main UK campus is considered one of the largest and most attractive in the country.

Nottingham is in the top five of universities targeted by the largest number of the UK’s leading graduate employers, according to the most recent High Fliers survey, and more than four in five students land high-skilled jobs or go into graduate-level study within 15 months of leaving.

The University’s Department of Architecture and Built Environment was voted a top 3 school for Architecture by Architects Journal, 2020. Currently it offers the following courses:

  • Architecture BArch
  • Architectural Environment Engineering BEng
  • Architectural Environment Engineering with Industrial Placement Year BEng
  • Architectural Environment Engineering MEng
  • Architectural Environment Engineering with Industrial Placement Year MEng
  • Architecture and Environmental Design MEng
  • Architecture MArch (ARB RIBA Part 2)
  • Architecture with Collaborative Practice Research MArch

Location: Nottingham, East Midlands of England

6. Queen’s University Belfast

Another Russell Group university, and the ninth oldest in the UK, Queen’s is based in the very heart of Belfast. Its historic campus and the surrounding conservation area are complemented with outstanding modern facilities for education and research.

Architecture degree programmes are taught within the School of Natural and Built Environment. Students benefit from a vibrant environment with dedicated architectural design studios and workshops.

Cross-programme activities are described on the website as a ‘core’ feature, providing a connected curriculum which offers all students the opportunity to develop a broad skills base.

Queen’s University Belfastis ranked 8th in the UK for research (REF, 2014). In Architecture, they are leaders in architectural research and their world-class expertise spans three core themes: Architectural Design, Sustainable Cities, Heritage, and Architectural Humanities.

Current undergraduate and postgraduate Architecture degree programmes offered by the university include:

  • BSc(Hons) Architecture
  • Master of Architecture(MArch)
  • Building Information Modelling Project Management MSc
  • Building Information Modelling Project Management Higher Level Apprenticeship MSc
  • Construction and Project Management MSc
  • Construction and Project Management Higher Level Apprenticeship MSc
  • Professional Practice in Architecture PgCert
  • Architecture MPhil
  • Architecture PhD

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland

7. Manchester School of Architecture

Manchester School of Architecture is a collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester. The school is currently ranked among the top fifteen in the world (QS World Rankings 2021). Courses are accredited by institutions such as the Architects Registration Board (ARB), Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA) and The Landscape Institute.

It is located half a mile from Manchester city centre, and are connected to academic and professional practice in Manchester, the North West and internationally.

Manchester itself is a city with rich architectural and landscape history as well as modern urban regeneration, much of which has been designed in conjunction with graduates of the school.

Current undergraduate and postgraduate Architecture degree programmes offered by the university include:

  • BA (Hons) Architecture
  • Master of Architecture (MArch)
  • Architecture and Urbanism (MA)
  • Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)

Location: Manchester, North West England

8. The University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is another member of the prestigious Russell Group, and has established itself as one of the largest and best-regarded research universities in the UK. The University ranks among the UK’s best for student experience, and outside of study, those who choose to go to Sheffield can enjoy a thriving, cultural city that is also one of the most affordable.

The Sheffield School of Architecture offers a range of degree courses, providing a balance of theory, design work and professional experience. Students will learn how to ‘lead on projects, solve complex problems and communicate ideas while thinking about the wider responsibilities of the architect’.

Courses offered include:

  • Architecture BA
  • Architecture and Landscape BA
  • Structural Engineering and Architecture MEng

Location: Sheffield

9. The University of Strathclyde Glasgow

The University of Strathclyde is a leading technological university located in the heart of Glasgow – one of the UK’s largest and most vibrant cities. The University won the Times Higher Education University of the Year prize in 2019 – becoming the first Scottish university to receive the UK-wide award twice. It was also named Scottish University of the Year 2020 by the Sunday Times Good University Guide.

The Department of Architecture is part of one of the largest and highest ranking faculties of engineering in the UK. It enjoys close links with the city’s creative design, construction, and engineering industries which provide invaluable opportunities for students to network and engage with professional practitioners, researchers and clients.

Facilities and equipment include two design studios; a drop-in studio where students can be part of the collaborative and creative studio community, and another which is dedicated to design teaching, a reference library, and a workshop for traditional model making.

Courses offered include:

  • Architectural Studies (BA Hons)
  • MArch in Advanced Architectural Design

Location: Glasgow, western Scotland

10. University of the Arts London(UAL)

Based in the UK’s thriving capital city London, University of the Arts London (UAL) is the largest specialist arts and design university in Europe.

Its degree programmes in Architecture, spatial and interior design enjoy an excellent reputation and the BA (Hons) in Architecture at Central Saint Martins is prescribed by the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

Architecture students work with clients and commercial organisations that have included Bloomberg, Bouygues, Camden Council, IKEA, and Yamamay and past alumni have gone on to work for renowned architectural practices such as Zaha Hadid Architects.

Courses offered include:

  • Architecture (BA Hons)

Location: London

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