The 10 Best Architecture Schools in the UK

Architecture is an exciting field in which to pursue a career. Not only does it serve as an intellectually stimulating craft, but it plays an integral role in facilitating how societies interact. 

Architects frequently collaborate with experts in the technology field to design safer, more accessible, and more creative buildings and spaces. 

There are specific steps required to become an architect in the United Kingdom. 

Architects must hold qualifications outlined by the Architects Registration Board (ARB), which are referred to as Parts 1, 2, and 3. 

When you retain all these qualifications, you can become a Chartered Architect within the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). 

What does this mean for a college student? 

Architects achieve their Part 1 qualification by obtaining a BA or BSc in architecture. Part 2 entails a master’s degree, while Part 3 involves a postgraduate certificate. 

The following list includes the ten best architecture schools in the UK. The ranking for this list is based on each school’s overall position, according to The Guardian, for the study of architecture. 

All of these schools feature a program that meets the Part 1 RIBA requirement, while many others offer courses designed to qualify for Part 2 and 3. 

Many featured schools also provide one-of-a-kind opportunities to study abroad and design spaces in other countries!

10. University of Nottingham (Nottingham, EN)

University of Nottingham
Enchufla Con Clave, Trent Building, University Of Nottingham (5), CC BY-SA 4.0

The University of Nottingham has previously been ranked as a top 3 architecture school by the 2020 Architects Journal. 

Its alumni enjoy thriving careers at firms like Cullinan Studio, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, and Wilkinson Eyre Architects. 

The average starting salary for a University of Nottingham architecture graduate is promising at £23,150, and 87.3% of the most recent cohort secured graduate-level employment or continued study within a year and three months of graduation.

Nottingham’s BArch course of study is extended by one year of professional experience before commencing a two-year MArch in architecture. 

Here, students can meet all of the required qualifications for becoming an official registered architect.

Undergraduates spend time designing innovative new buildings and improving existing facilities. Students get ample opportunities to hone their craft from study trips, workshops, and projects with real clients. 

Many Nottingham undergraduates earn national and international accolades, including the AJ Student Prize, RIBA Bronze Medal, and RIBA Sergeant Award for Excellence in Drawing.

9. University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, UK)

All program participants in the University of Edinburgh’s BA/MA in architecture, all program participants start on the MA (Honors) architecture track. 

After the first two years, students can opt between completing a three-year BA in architecture or a four-year MA (Honors) in architecture. 

The latter option includes an opportunity to study abroad. 2022-2023 destinations include universities in Austria, Greece, Germany, and Spain.

At home, architecture students spend significant time in workshops and design facilities. 

Their projects challenge them to consider landscape, ethical practices, economics, and other social constructs as they intersect with the design and function of a space.

Edinburgh graduates qualify as architects and work in stimulating positions across a span of disciplines. 

Whether working at the government level, within a commercial organization, or as part of private practice, the skills developed in the BA/MA architecture are transferable to many contexts.

8. University of Liverpool School of Architecture (Liverpool, EN)

There are several student groups devoted to architecture, including Femin.AE (Women in Architecture). 

This organization uses social media to amplify narratives of successful female architects around the world. 

Additionally, it brings in guest lecturers on a regular basis and fosters inclusive dialogue through Q&A sessions.

Established in 1894, the university became the first in the United Kingdom to award a RIBA-accredited degree in architecture. 

Undergraduates can obtain a BA (Honors) in architecture or a BA (Honors) in architecture with a concentration in design studies. 

In the latter option, graduates prepare for careers in construction, building management, project management, and architectural rendering and remodeling.

Many architecture students at Liverpool will take advantage of the Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University exchange program in Suzhou, China. 

Those interested in the XJTLU program should apply in their first year of study. 

The University of Liverpool also operates the highly regarded Year in China program for students beyond the architecture department.

7. University for the Creative Arts (Farnham, EN)

University of the Creative Arts
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) has been ranked 3rd for student satisfaction by the 2023 Complete University Guide. 

The institution offers six concentrations at the Honors level in areas like architecture, automotive and transport design, and architectural technology

One alumni of the architecture program – Chris Simmons – created a mentoring platform to support architecture majors as they transition from their studies to a career.

Within the urban design and planning concentration, students create projects within Canterbury and Kent. On-campus facilities enable undergraduates to design prototypes and use VR technology. 

Automotive and transport design is another exciting area of study. UCA’s program prepares students to take on leadership roles in companies where they’ll be responsible for responding to the global climate crisis. Special attention is paid to innovating transportation technology that relies on sustainable energy sources.

6. Queen’s University Belfast School of Natural and Built Environment (Belfast, UK)

There are five disciplines to choose from within the School of Natural and Built Environment, including architecture, planning, and civil and structural engineering. 

Its course in archaeology and palaeoecology is ranked first in the United Kingdom for student satisfaction.

Queen’s University’s architecture program has consistently ranked in UK’s top ten lists. 

Research is at the heart of the course of study, and undergraduates might design a project like “Design and Integration in the Post-Conflict City” or “What Would an Age-Friendly City Look Like? Aging in the Global South.” 

In the latter study, students might examine how city planning can create friendly environments conducive to breaking down barriers. 

The architecture discipline consistently wins significant funding from major UK corporations, including RCUK and INNOVATE UK.

5. University of Sheffield School of Architecture (Sheffield, EN)

One of the longest-running architecture schools in the United Kingdom, Sheffield affords undergraduate BA tracks in architecture or architecture and landscape. 

The institution’s Turing Scheme program funds study abroad placements for Sheffield students, ranging from two weeks to a year. 

On campus, Sheffield undergraduates work with cutting-edge technology in the George Porter workshop

Tools like bandsaws, heat sheet enders, and laser cutters are at students’ disposal, and staff is always on-site to assist.

There is also an MEng course in structural engineering and architecture. In the first year, students create proposals for a small building in a public area.

In year three, they might take classes like Advanced Planting Design while working on their integrated urban design project.

4. University of Bath (Bath, EN)

Bath’s architecture program was ranked first in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide in 2022. 

It is also ranked second in the 2022 Complete University Guide. Needless to say, many factors set Bath’s architecture curriculum apart from its peer institutions. 

In most cases, undergraduates complete a three-year degree before embarking upon a year of professional experience. 

In the BSc (Honors) in architecture, the year of professional experience is embedded throughout years two and three of a four-year sequence of study. 

Using this structure, students can readily apply their learning to real-world contexts. These experiences are meant to prepare students to transition seamlessly to careers after graduation.

The Erasmus exchange gives architecture students a unique opportunity to study at some of the best-regarded architecture schools in Europe in their third year of study. 

3. Cardiff University Welsh School of Architecture (Cardiff, UK)

Cardiff University
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

In the first two years of the program, Cardiff’s BSc in architectural studies takes undergraduates on field trips throughout Europe and the United Kingdom. 

By the third year, field trips become more unit-based. The best part? The school pays for all travel and accommodation fees!

Students play an integral role in the Welsh School of Architecture’s research impact, which is concentrated in areas like sustainability and energy, heritage, community well-being, and social justice. 

Recently, the institution has saved historic buildings from demotion, developed conservation strategies, and designed visitor centers for essential landmarks.

The School of Architecture has also undergone a recent renovation. Students now have access to a brand new studio for digital fabrication, an auditorium, and a “Living Lab” designed for interdisciplinary projects.

2. University College London Bartlett School of Architecture (London, EN)

University College London Bartlett School of Architecture
Shadowssettle, Bartlett, 22 Gordon Street, University College London in the afternoon, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Bartlett School of Architecture alone maintains over 250 staff representing 32 ethnicities. 

This faculty has been ranked first in regards to contributing world-leading research, according to the United Kingdom’s most recent Excellence Framework exercise. 

The students are additionally successful, having earned more RIBA medals than their peers at any other school in the UK.

In addition to a standard three-year Bsc in architecture, the school offers an interdisciplinary architecture BSc, an MEng in engineering and architectural design, and a five-year integrated MSci in architecture. 

The BSc in architecture comprises approximately 70% studio and workshop time, meaning students have ample opportunity to develop a broad and complex design portfolio. 

They also participate in the UK’s Summer Show, which attracts thousands of visitors annually. The Summer Show, Autumn Show, and other exhibitions are all designed to showcase student work. 

Research is also paramount at UCL Bartlett. The institution focuses on five research areas, including sustainable urbanism and landscape. Within this realm, students and faculty study how to alter behavior and design on a large scale in order to respond appropriately to the climate crisis.

1. University of Cambridge (Cambridge, EN)

Formed in 1921, Cambridge’s architecture BA is one of the best in the UK and the world. 

Architecture graduates lead world-renowned organizations and earn top awards for their designs.

Studio time makes up approximately 60% of the architecture student’s typical year, while the other 40% is reserved for writing essays and completing readings. 

Each student has their own dedicated desk space where they can carry out creative projects, a unique asset for an architecture program.

The head of the department is Professor James Campbell, who helped design the MSt in building history and the brand-new MSt apprenticeship in architecture at Cambridge. 

He has written many academic articles and books and made guest appearances on National Geographic, the History Channel, and other popular UK channels.

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