A combination of art and science, architecture is the process of planning, designing and fabricating large structures and buildings, whilst also considering functionality, durability and aesthetics through the use of different materials, technology and elements of design.
When a new building is designed and constructed, the architect plays a very important role in the process. With the worldwide population being at an all time high, architectural practice, as well as the construction industry, needs to keep with the modern built environment requirements.
Highlighted courses and degrees in Architecture
An undergraduate degree in architecture will give you a good foundation of knowledge in the area. You will cover the basic concepts of architecture, before developing these as you progress. Modules studied could include the science of designing, designing buildings, designing structures, as well as learning about how to use architectural technology in your design work.
Your degree will be delivered through lectures and seminars, as well as incorporating practical sessions and field trips. You may also be able to work in a design studio. There may be an opportunity to take part in a work placement, which will allow you to gain some practical experience.
A postgraduate degree in architecture will allow you to build on the knowledge gained at undergraduate level. The modules you study will cover the more complex and specialist areas of architecture. These modules could include sustainable architecture, material science, advanced praxis, and urban design.
Your degree will be delivered through lectures and seminars. Many architecture schools emphasise practical experience, and the application of your skills and knowledge. This means that you may have the chance to take part in a work placement, or attend masterclasses with industry experts.
Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise throughout your degree. This specialisation can influence the area in which you choose to work after you have graduated. They can also help you to decide which area you wish to complete your dissertation or final major research project on. Common specialisations include:
The accreditation of your degree will depend on where you choose to study. It will also be influenced by your level of study. At undergraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Architecture (BArch), a Bachelor of Science (BSc), or a Bachelor of Arts (BA). At postgraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Master of Architecture (MArch), a Master of Science (MSc), or a Master of Arts (MA). If you choose to study for a postgraduate research degree, you will be awarded a Master of Research (MRes), a Master of Philosophy (MPhil), or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
As well as gaining a normal degree title, you might also be required to gain a professional accreditation in order to practice under the title of architect. For example, in the UK you must be registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) in order to legally call yourself an architect and perform an architects work. In order to gain this accreditation, architecture students must study for ARB/RIBA Part 1, ARB/RIBA Part 2, and ARB/RIBA Part 3. There may be an equivalent to this system and process for the country in which you choose to study. Your institution of choice will be able to provide you with more information about this.
Generally, an undergraduate degree will take three to four years to complete. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years when studied full-time. A postgraduate degree will normally take one to two years. If your course includes a placement, this will normally add another year onto your studies.
Some institutions might offer part-time study options. Studying for a degree part-time normally means that your course will last anywhere between three and eight years, with some universities offering more flexible study options.
The entry requirements for an undergraduate degree in architecture will depend on where you choose to study. Normally, you will be expected to have previously studied a mixture of arts and science subjects, but this tends to differ from institution to institution. If you do not have a strong background in these areas, but can prove that you are passionate about architecture, some universities may still consider your application.
Some institutions might require you to sit an entrance exam, where others may rely on previous exam results. Other universities might consider previous relevant work experience. If your first language is not English, it is likely that you will be required to prove that your English language skills are to a high enough standard.
The entry requirements for a postgraduate degree in architecture will depend on your institution of choice. They will also depend on the level of postgraduate degree you are applying for. Typically, you will be expected to have gained an undergraduate degree in architecture, as well as the relevant accreditation for your country.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.
Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary greatly from institution to institution. Fees for postgraduate degree courses tend to be higher than undergraduate courses. Exact tuition fees are displayed on institution course pages.
You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This may be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.
It most common for architecture graduates to go directly into the field as a licensed architect, architectural technologist, drafter, interior designer or landscape designer. These positions are available in partnerships or firms, as well as opportunities to become self-employed.
Skill gained from an architecture degree will be transferable to many other career paths. Related positions include surveyors for commercial and residential properties, historic building conservation officer, town/urban planner and production designer for film, TV and theatre.
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