Top Architecture Universities in the UK

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Marwa Abady

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17 January, 2021

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7 mins read

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Seeing an architect wearing a yellow helmet on a construction site is popular in movies. However, did you know that real architects do not wear yellow helmets on a construction site? Yes, yellow helmets are worn by architects only in movies and ads since they have a bright colour and will easily catch the eye. Architects often wear white helmets, but this is not fixed and varies from company to company as the owner usually decides on the colour. 

Regardless, if you are fascinated by cutting-edge buildings and their spectacular designs, read through our blog to learn more about the top architecture universities in the UK and achieve your dream!

What is Architecture?

Architecture is both a social art and an artful science. It is the art and science of designing and creating buildings, skyscrapers, and other physical structures, taking into account aesthetic and practical considerations. Architecture is a science before it is a business and a passion before it is a vocation.

Architecture Degrees General Subjects

Studying for an Architecture degree at one of the top architecture universities in the UK means you will generally study environmental design, architectural design, architectural drawing, architectural appreciation and architectural practice management. 

Tuition Fees for the UK Architecture Degrees 

The tuition fees for an Architecture degree from the UK range between £13,000 and £30,261 per year for international students. Costs vary depending on the university, its location, and its ranking. For living expenses, each student needs approximately £1,107 to £1,470 per month; however, these charges will vary from city to city as well.

Top Architecture Universities in the UK

1. University College London (UCL) - Bartlett School of Architecture

The UK's highest-ranked architecture school is University College London. Due to its excellent teaching standards, it received the TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) silver award. UCL's Bartlett School of Architecture is part of the Faculty of the Built Environment (The Bartlett) which has an excellent reputation for education and research and attracts many international students to study at its campus. 

3-Year Bachelor of Science 

Accredited by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Bartlett School of Architecture offers a 3-year Bachelor of Science in Architecture. The degree is highly authenticated from a widely-recognised entity with fantastic teaching standards and prolific history.

Learning in small groups or a one-to-one tutorial basis, you will spend the majority of your time in the studio or the workshop while studying this program. Year one, divided into two semesters, focuses on developing your skills of critical thinking, design, translating your ideas into 3D and observation, as well as studying the theory and history of architecture and the production of the built environment. During the second semester, you will have a field trip to a historic urban area to learn about the ancient buildings, how they were built, urban planning, etc. In years 2 and 3, you will join one of the Bartlett design units where academic professors and leading practitioners will assist you in your learning journey. Once you have completed your bachelor's degree, you will need a  year of practical experience before applying for the Master Degree in Architecture (MArch) or any other postgraduate degree that will allow you to work as a fully qualified architect.

5-Year Architecture MSci 

The Bartlett School of Architecture also offers a 5-year Architecture MSci (ARB Parts 1 and 2) which integrates the undergraduate programme (Part 1) with the postgraduate one (Part 2), including the final year of architectural practice. Throughout the first four years, you will learn structural and environmental concepts and tools, theory dissertation, sample architecture, designing projects, and more; you will also learn about the design challenges that face the built environment in detail, develop your research skills and learn how to apply specialised knowledge in highly-sophisticated and creative designs. During the final year, you will be placed in architectural practice to test your ability in applying your creative ideas in real-life contexts. 

Other Bachelor Degrees

Another 3- to 4-year Bachelor of Science in the Bartlett School of Architecture is the Architectural & Interdisciplinary Studies. This programme allows you to tailor your degree by studying the Bartlett School of Architecture's modules and choosing another UCL module, such as writing which enables you to work as an architectural journalist. There is also a 4-year MEng in Engineering and Architectural Design where you will learn how to integrate architecture and engineering by developing your advanced design methods while understanding how they are augmented and resolved through engineering.

After completing the BSc and MArch or the MSci, you have the chance to work in a number of diverse industries, including architecture, web design, film-making, urban design, architectural criticism and journalism, furniture design, interior design, and built environment consultancy. Also, you may enter the field of research and become an active researcher. 

Student acccommodation near University College London

2. University of Manchester - Manchester School of Architecture

The second best-ranked university for Architecture in the UK is the University of Manchester. It is also the eighth in the world according to the 2021 QS World University Rankings for Architecture. Its Bachelor of Arts in Architecture (Part 1) is an innovative collaboration between the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, which means you get to benefit from the facilities, resources and expertise of both universities and your certificate will be a joint degree from both universities. Furthermore, the degree is highly appraised and accredited by the Architects' Registration Board (ARB), the Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA) and The Landscape Institute.  

Manchester School of Architecture has nationally and internationally famous architects who have educated new architecture students for more than 100 years. The learning process is a combination of traditional classroom sessions and creative design projects in workshops and studios. As an architecture student at the University of Manchester, you will become a member of the Manchester Student Society of Architecture (MSSA), the largest student society in the UK which organises academic events, student projects, sports teams and student-led initiatives. Located near Manchester city centre, it offers its students sources of inspiration since it is surrounded by high-quality, innovative designs.

During your first year, you will develop your skills in technical design, visual representation, critical thinking, and research. In year 2, you will study architectural theories and professionalism and the use of the industry-leading environmental analysis software as a learning tool. In the final year, you will study urbanism and how to integrate theories into architectural practice and work on a complex building case study. The course ends with a self-built exhibition that will be assessed. Upon completion, you will be qualified to work in advertising, architecture, project management, urban design, web design, estate management, real estate and more. To be a qualified architect, take a 2-year architecture MArch where you will gain a deeper understanding of perspectives related to urbanism and contemporary architecture.

Student Accommodation Near Manchester University

3. The University of Cambridge - Department of Architecture

The University of Cambridge is ranked third in the UK for Architecture and ninth worldwide according to the 2021 QS World University Rankings for Architecture. It received the TEF gold award for its outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes. Its Department of Architecture is over 100 years old and located in the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art which holds the Athena SWAN bronze award for equality, diversity, and inclusion. 

Offering a 3-year Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Architecture, it integrates technical and practical subjects with the theoretical and historical context of architecture. After graduation, you will be able to create aesthetic, sound and safe structures or continue researching in areas like the history and philosophy of architecture,  urban design and transport planning, architecture and the moving image, environmentally responsible relief, disaster relief and much more.

Student Accommodation Near the University of Cambridge

4. University of Sheffield - Sheffield School of Architecture

Ranked fourth among the UK top universities for architecture, the University of Sheffield is a world-renowned university. It was awarded the TEF silver award for its teaching excellence. Sheffield School of Architecture combines the theoretical part of architecture with the practical architectural work design. The degree is validated by RIBA. After completing the 3-year Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture, you will need a year of professional practice before taking the Master Degree in Architecture (MArch) to be an officially qualified architect. 

Throughout the three years, you will broaden your horizons in various subjects, such as Architectural Design, Environment and Technology, and Humanities, where you will know more about the history of western architecture, the relationship between architecture and society, and architecture and urban history. In years 1 and 2, you will develop your communication skills, while in year 2 and 3, you will study Computer- Architectural Design and Advanced Structures, and Environment and Management Law. You will spend most of your time in the Arts Tower, which has one of the working paternoster lifts.

Student Accommodation near the University of Sheffield

5. Cardiff University - Welsh School of Architecture

Ranked fifth among the top architecture universities in the UK, and 38th in the world, Cardiff University was established in 1883 and is the only Welsh university in the Russell Group. Its Welsh School of Architecture received the silver TEF award for its teaching excellence, and its programme is approved by the RIBA and the ARB. Mainly, the architecture modules are based on architectural history, theory and technology, as well as digital design and professional practice.

The school's Bachelor of Science is a three-year modular course (Part 1), followed by the Master of Architecture, a 2-year degree (Part 2). During the first three years, you will study architectural design and technology. In addition, you will get introduced to building through time in year 1. In year 2, you will gain a deeper understanding of domestic and medium-span buildings and study the physical and cultural context of architecture. In year 3, you will study topics like issues in contemporary architecture and practice, management and economics. Throughout years 1 & 2, the school organises one-week field trips in the UK and to some European cities, such as Barcelona, Copenhagen and Paris. Also, it organises unit-based field trips in year 3. 

Student Accommodation Near Cardiff University

The first year of the master degree programme is focused on architectural practice, and the second year includes design thesis structured around a themed studio and a 10,000-word dissertation. After graduating, you can work as an urban designer, an architect and a research officer. 

Finally, if you wish to check other architecture universities in the UK, check Loughborough University, Newcastle University, Oxford Brookes University, the University of Bath, and the University of Edinburgh.

If you like designing edifices and physical structures, apply to one of the top architecture universities in the UK and experience not only the high-quality education but the country's fascinating culture! Don't forget to book your student accommodation in the UK with Casita! Casita provides you with a wide range of rooms to suit your needs and budget in UK cities.


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