Architecture (RIBA Part 1 Exemption) - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full Time (3 years), Part Time (4 years)
September 2017

Study in state-of-the-art studios, learn from experienced, research-active experts and make connections with over 100 industry partners with our BA (Hons) Architecture course.

Accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to give full exemption from the RIBA Part 1 examination and based at our innovative Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, we’ll educate you to become a registered architect to Architects Registration Board (ARB) standard. We’ve helped over 80 per cent of our graduates gain jobs in professional practice.

Birmingham School of Architecture and Design is one of the few in the country offering fully accredited programmes at RIBA Parts 1, 2 and 3, enabling you to fully qualify as a registered architect within one school.

What's covered in the course?

With the diverse architecture of Birmingham as your initial inspiration, you'll focus on urban environment and look at neighbourhoods, cities, and regional and global networks.

Industry connections in your second and third years help you foster direct links and contacts within practice, helping you to find work experience. We also work closely with RIBA West Midlands, the Midlands Architecture Centre (MADE), and Birmingham City Council. From the first year onwards, you will begin to construct your own online webpage of work and projects, which can then be transformed into an online portfolio and/or CV.

Our recent RIBA Validation Board visit commended our links with professional practice and the supportive learning community we offer. We were also commended for our flexible approach to learning, with strong support for part-time students.

We're a boutique school, accepting only 65 students each year, creating an intimate learning environment and meaning you’ll get fantastic individual support.

You'll have the chance to be part of Co.LAB, a collaborative architecture and design initiative within the School working on live projects. This engagement with one-to-one scale interventions and real-world practice helps you in your learning journey to become a more rounded and responsive designer.

The course goes beyond lectures and gives you great opportunities. Students from all years are offered places to attend events such as national building information modelling (BIM) events, which provide a forum for you to engage directly with practitioners and industry specialists, as well as informing you of changes in current practice.

You'll also benefit from the insight of guest speakers such as Professor CJ Lim and renowned American landscape architect Martha Schwartz, together with other practising architects from firms such as Foster and Partners, Make, Associated Architects, Invisible Studio, Mole Architects, Ash Sakula and various others.  Film work also plays an important part in the perception of the city, and you’re encouraged to use this medium along with a wide variety of other creative outputs drawing upon our fantastic workshop facilities.

In your final year, you'll showcase your work at the Graduate Show, an event attended by practitioners where previous students have been headhunted by leading practices including Grimshaws, Hopkins Architects, Hawkins Brown and Glenn Howells Architects.

You will study in our state-of-the-art Parkside Building, which has been praised for its investment and facilities by RIBA. While based in Parkside, you will get sharpen your CAD and digital visual communication skills, prototyping and digital production, while also having access to a range of specialist software.

“Birmingham School of Architecture takes on what architecture is, and what it can be, making the school a captivating place to study. It’s a challenging but highly rewarding course that provides an invaluable platform for anyone interested in how social, cultural and environmental concerns can influence the built form and its effect on society.” Callum Sohal

Why Choose Us?

  • Validated by the RIBA and prescribed by the Architects Registration Board (ARB), our course meets and exceeds the joint criteria set out by both professional bodies, thus meeting the requirements of Article 46 of the European Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications.
  • You will be exposed to architectural practice and live projects with professional partners, enabling you to develop your skills and creativity. Our connections with over 60 architecture firms and practitioners forms an essential part of our teaching team, as well as enabling you to embark on valuable work placements within the West Midlands, North West, London and abroad.
  • Our intimate study environment ensures exceptional support from staff, with 90 per cent of our graduates going on to work or further study within six months of completing the course. You’ll also have the chance to attend study trips and explore international opportunities, expanding your cultural and academic knowledge.
  • The part-time course is taught one day a week to enable you to study alongside a full-time job in practice.
  • Birmingham School of Architecture and Design is highly respected and has a rich history of providing education and opportunities. It celebrated its centenary in 2009 and is located in new, multidisciplinary studio and workshop spaces in Birmingham’s Eastside.
Student ambassador helps Open Day visitor

Open Day - 19 November 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 19 November 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

This course is open to International students

Birmingham School of Architecture and Design

Discover Birmingham School of Architecture and Design

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Axis Design Architects Ltd
  • D5 Architects
  • Glen Howells Architects

And in jobs such as:

  • Architectural and town planning technicians
  • Architects
  • Property, housing and estate managers

This course is accredited by:

Architects Registration Board

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students

At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics.

136 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels.

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2017/18
GCE A Level/ AS Level AAB at A-level or 136 UCAS tariff points from A/AS level with a minimum of 2 A-levels. The following subjects are preferred:
  • History/Geography/English/Languages
  • Double award in Science or separate Science such as Physics, Biology or Chemistry
  • Maths
  • Sociology/Philosophy/Psychology
  • Art/Design/Music
The following subjects are not accepted:
  • General studies
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at level 3 all of which at Distinction
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) Only considered in combination with other Level 3 qualifications
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DDD grades. Subjects: Art and Design, Business and Economics, Construction and Built Environment, Design Technology, English, Geography, History, Languages, ICT, Land Based and Environment, Manufacturing, Music, Performing Arts and Drama, Science
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 136 UCAS points
BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design Distinction (285 points) plus GCE/VCE A and/or AS Levels in subjects other than art with at least one in which assessment is essay based (see A/AS-level subject recommendations above) to 55 points. 

Merit (225 points) plus GCE/VCE A and/or AS Levels in subjects other than art with at least one in which assessment is essay based (see A/AS-level subject recommendations above)  to 115 points. 

Pass (165 points) plus GCE/VCE A and/or AS Levels in subjects other than art with at least one in which assessment is essay based (see A/AS-level subject recommendations above) to 175 points.
International Baccalaureate Diploma 17 points from 3 Higher Level subjects
Irish Leaving Certificate 136 UCAS points - Higher Levels
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 136 UCAS points
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) PASS combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 136 UCAS points
Other qualifications
  • Advanced Diploma in Construction and Built Environment
  • Advanced Diploma in Creative and Media
  • Advanced Diploma in Environmental and Land-based Studies (commences 2009)
  • Advanced Diploma in Manufacturing and Product Design (commences 2009)
  • ASL (Additional and Specialist Learning) plus Progression Diploma in above subject equivalent to 136 points

If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.

EU/International students
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2017/18
Applications from international applicants with equivalent qualifications to 136 points are welcome.
IELTS Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 17 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.
TOEFL Band scores of: Listening – 17. Reading – 18. Speaking – 20. Writing – 20.
Pearson Band scores of: Listening – 51. Reading – 51. Speaking – 51. Writing – 53.


International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

Mature students
Applications from mature students (+21) with alternative qualifications and/or work experience will be considered on their merits. As a minimum, applicants should have a portfolio demonstrating their creative abilities in a range of media.

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2017 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS
PT 4 years £6,940 per year

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2017 FT 3 years £12,000 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Guidance for UK/EU students


UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Portfolio Guidance

A portfolio is required for International applications.  Find out more details here.

All UK and other EU students will be invited to attend an Open Day or Applicant Visit Day (AVD), where you will have an opportunity to demonstrate your artistic skills and aptitude for the course. If the tutor is convinced that you have all the prerequisite applied knowledge and artistic skills, you will be exempt from having to submit a portfolio. If tutor is not convinced that you have the appropriate skills, or you cannot travel to an Open Day or ADV, you will be asked to submit a portfolio. Find out more details here.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is available part-time

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our pdf application form instead.

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

The core modules covered are Design Studio, Cultural Context and Technology. The Design Studio makes up 50 per cent of the course combining theory with practice. Our Collaborative Practice (Co.LAB) module involves you in live projects with external agencies. The Praxis module supports the delivery of key skills and experience of real-world practice.

In your first year, you'll be given a broad foundation in architecture and in the context of the ‘urbanised field’, as well as the physical and ideological relationship between them. The programme is organised around principles introducing you to a range of concepts which provide the basis for your architectural education.

You'll interpret the non-designed and designed environment, learning to understand the impact of environmental conditions and their relationship to construction and structural design. Digital teaching in a range of CAD, NURBS modelling and rendering packages is blended with workshops in hand drawing, presentation and graphics to enable a holistic competency in architectural communication. Blogs are used as a medium for facilitating an online collation of your work with a view to building your own online portfolio for use later.

History of Modern Architecture
15 credits
Environmental Design Strategies
15 credits
Design Principles
30 credits
History of Pre-Modern Architecture
15 credits
Structures and Materials
15 credits
Design Resolution 1
30 credits

Year two

You’ll examine the role of policy in forming urban and architectural constructs, and the role of the architect in construction. A work placement gives you the chance to experience industry, with companies such as Glen Howells Architects, Green Planning Studios, Seymour Harris and Bournville Architects. You’ll have chance to work on elective programme (Co.LAB), enabling you to engage with design and production practices across the School and external clients.

Students on the architecture programme have worked with the ‘Friends of The Hayes’ to develop a bridge structure in the grounds of The Hayes – a Grade II-listed country house in Staffordshire – using timber sustainably sourced from surrounding woodland, and on a wide variety of other live projects. The theme of "process" in year two facilitates your exploration of the different forms of contemporary architecture and design practices, building on the understanding of principles achieved at year one.

Architectural Theory
15 credits
15 credits
Design Process
30 credits
Collaborative Practice
15 credits
Technical Integration
15 credits
Design Resolution 2
30 credits

Year three

Your final year considers the physical and cultural architectural context, focused on individual exploration of your own interests. You will look at 'dynamic cities' and the implications of new digital technologies, as well as developing and testing strategies in sustainable development and technology against architectural projects. You develop employability and entrepreneurial skills in special working seminars to prepare you for professional employment.

Critical Study in Architectrue
30 credits
Design Exploration
30 credits
Technical Investigation
15 credits
Design Resolution 3
45 credits

Our architecture degree is assessed on 100 per cent coursework, with no practical or written exams. We feel this best mirrors the way you'd work in the real world and so better prepares you for a career in architecture. The structure of the course supports the building of a geared architectural portfolio - providing your 'passport to practice'.

Full-time study

Our Architecture degree is assessed on 100 per cent coursework, with no practical or written exams. We feel this best mirrors the way you'd work in the real world and so better prepares you for a career in architecture and other associated design disciplines. The structure of the course supports the building of an individually focussed architectural portfolio - providing your 'passport to practice'.

Part-time study

Studying Architecture part-time offers an attractive opportunity if you are looking for an alternative route to becoming a qualified architect. Part-time students attend University for one day a week at university, with the other four days spent working in an architect’s office. This will help you to become a strong practitioner who can embrace, adapt and transform practice.

Teaching breakdown

47 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
51 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
2 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown

Live projects in action

Ash and Lacy

Students visited aluminium manufacturers Ash and Lacy, where they were tasked with designing and producing aluminium models for the entrance of our brand new Birmingham Conservatoire.

Read more about the project

With a team of supportive staff, you will feel part of the school and begin shaping your career in architecture and allied professions from the first year. The choices you make will ultimately influence the type of architect or designer you become. As a School, we place a significant focus on encouraging and developing the individual skills our students have.

From first year you will participate in engaging, creative projects to help you understand the basics in design and drawing. With an emphasis on building confidence, enjoyment and getting to know you, this is a great entry point for you to start constructing your architectural career.

Our Co.LAB projects directly engage the school, its staff and students both within and across their disciplines of architecture, landscape, interiors and product. We use the city of Birmingham as a laboratory to test ideas, prove concepts and deliver real projects for the 21st century.

In your third year, you have the opportunity to make informed choices about your final projected facilitating the development of your own interests.

Our course is accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects, allowing you to achieve RIBA Part 1 exemption. This offers you distinct support when applying for placement in practice.

Royal Institute of British Architects

RIBA is a global member organisation, with 44,000 members. It champions better buildings, communities and the environment and provides the standards, training, support and recognition to put members at the peak of their profession.

Our accreditation shows employers that students graduating from our course have the levels of knowledge and skills they need.

Architects Registration Board
Architects Registration Board

Architects Registration board was established by Parliament in 1997 to regulate the architects’ profession in the UK.

They are an independent, public interest body and their work in regulating architects ensures that good standards within the profession are consistently maintained for the benefit of the public and architects alike.


These independent reviews show what our students really think:

"Working in such a creative bubble spurs on creativity and provides a wealth of inspiration for your own work. There are so many artistically genius minds around to ask for her and advise, great atmosphere/environment."

Read all Which? Uni reviews

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further Study

As a graduate of the course, you'll be encouraged to apply for employment as an assistant in architectural practice and, on completion of your year out, will be invited to apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture (RIBA Part 2 exemption). We also offer a Postgraduate Diploma in Architectural Practice (RIBA Part 3 exemption), giving you the opportunity to undertake your entire architectural education at the School of Architecture.

Trips and visits

A majority of your design projects will be located on live sites, meaning regular trips to various locations will become an integrated part of the design studio modules. Study trips at all three levels of the BA programme are often linked to design projects or inform research activities. These provide a very important part of your learning and understanding, building knowledge and skills for interpretation of sites and buildings - locally, nationally and also further afield.

Student stories Elizabeth Clayton

Assistant Architect

Elizabeth is an Assistant Architect at Axis Design Architects Ltd in Birmingham. She got the job part-way through her degree, working during her final summer at university, part-time through her final year and started full-time when she graduated.

Student stories Holly Rose Doron

Chartered Member of RIBA 

As well as being a practising architect at APEC Architects, Holly now also tutors second year BA (Hons) Architecture students at the School she graduated from. The 28 year-old from Birmingham now finds herself bridging the “gap between academia and practice” having also acquired Chartered Membership status at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). 

Enhancing your employability skills

The course gives you a full understanding of the role of an architect and the creative flair and technical skills needed to succeed.

You'll understand sustainability, technical and cultural issues and the challenges of expanding the urban environment.

You'll develop a comprehensive portfolio that shows employers a range of skills in design practice and academic study.

You'll develop a range of transferable skills, such as how to communicate ideas and solve problems, as well as developing negotiation and planning skills. And thanks to the unique nature of the course, you’ll learn how to work effectively and efficiently either on your own or as part of a team.

Your skills will be in demand - architecture, building and planning courses are one of the top 12 degree subjects for getting a job according to a recent article in the Telegraph.


As part of our commitment to developing the essential skills required as part of the BA (Hons) Architecture programme, we have continued to develop the two-week, assessed work placement scheme at Level Five. The placement is part of the PRAXIS (Management Practice and Law) module and takes place towards the end of the academic year.

Over the past three years we have had more than 100 practices taking part in the scheme, providing great diversity in terms of scale, philosophy, sectors and location. This has Included placements being secured with many nationally and internationally-renowned practices such as Hopkins, Make, Populus, Gensler, Glenn Howells Architects, Associated Architects and many others.

While on placement, practices are encouraged to provide you with a wide range of activities, including meetings, site visits and design reviews, as well as developing additional CAD and graphic skills.

Many students are successful in gaining summer paid work in practices as a result of the placement.

Case study: Charlotte Taylor – BA Architecture

Charlotte Taylor BA Architecture

A love of design, as well as being impressed with the facilities and work displayed at our Open Days, inspired Charlotte Taylor to study Architecture at Birmingham City University. Strengthening her skills with a placement at Glenn Howells Architects, she now plans to stay the course and graduate as a fully-qualified architect.

“I have been interested in architecture from an early age – I remember when I was 11, when I moved house I drew a to-scale floor plan of my bedroom and designed where I wanted everything to go. Alongside that, I’ve always loved art and design just as much as maths and physics, so a combination of all three made Architecture the perfect choice.

“I chose Birmingham City University as when I first visited, I felt totally at home and very comfortable. None of the other universities I visited had an atmosphere like the University has, and you could tell the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design was extremely proud of its students.

“As part of our Praxis module, we had to take part in a two-week placement, which I think is a great idea, as not many other universities offer this. I worked at Glenn Howells Architects, designing a reception space for a student accommodation building in Selly Oak. I think going on a placement allows you to get a taste of what it’s like to work in practice, as well as helping you determine what sort of practice you want to go into.

“For the future, I plan on carrying out the full seven-year course. I am really enjoying my time here and hope to progress onto my Master’s for my Part II.”

Case study: Abdul Azeem – BA Architecture

Abdul Azeem - BA Architecture

With a love of art, design and technology, studying BA Architecture was an easy decision for Abdul Azeem. In his second year, he’s enhanced his skills further by undertaking a work placement with Birmingham-based D5 Architects, getting a first-hand glimpse into how an architecture practice works.

“I chose Architecture because of my passion for art and design, as well as a love of technology in buildings. I chose Birmingham City University because of the wide range of services available, such as the workshops and IT spaces. I am local to Birmingham, and I’d definitely recommend students from around the world to come study here, as it’s very educational and welcoming.

“I had the opportunity to undertake a work placement, thanks to the help of my tutors. Working at D5 Architects, the placement was amazing – seeing how my colleagues would interact in a professional environment was incredible. While there, I helped my colleagues with projects such as photo shopping certain renders, researching materials or information, and model making. I definitely feel like I have gained a lot from being in the placement, such as presentation quality, time management and confidence.

“My plans for the future are to move on to complete the full RIBA course.”

Case study: Tatiana Pachina – BA Architecture

Tatiana Pachina - BA Architecture

Originally from Russia, Tatiana Pachina wanted to study in the UK due to the recognition a UK-based education receives. Electing to study at Birmingham City University due to its renowned reputation, BA (Hons) Architecture student Tatiana has recently completed a placement with Birmingham-based architectural practice Gensler, gaining vital first-hand experience.

“I decided to study Architecture in the UK for several reasons. Firstly, a UK education is recognised by employers and governments all over the world, and secondly, studying in the UK would give me an opportunity to improve my English, and meet people from different countries and cultures. I came over to study from Russia in 2012, and it took some time to get used to my new surroundings. If you’re an international student considering studying in the UK, my advice would be to talk, make new friends and be active in university life.

“The course has enabled me to improve my drawing skills, graphic design, model making and ability to gather some architectural knowledge. In addition, I have gotten much more confident when it comes to presenting my ideas to others.

“I recently enjoyed a work placement with Gensler, which has been the best part of my second year. It was a great opportunity to see how architects and designers work together in real life, as well as allowing me to get a feel for working in the architecture industry. With Gensler employing a small staff, it gave me chance to talk to all of them and find out what projects they were working on.

“The work placement was a good experience for me – I found out new things about the industry, I have learned some new skills and made some connections with the real world of architecture.”

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

More than 80 per cent of our graduates succeed in securing positions within the architectural and landscaping sectors. Graduates go on to work with prestigious firms in roles such as architects and graphic design interns, or even set up their own companies. Here are just a few of their stories:

Ben Derbyshire

Ben DerbyshireBen Derbyshire is the Managing Partner of HTA Design LLP, a multidisciplinary firm of 120 architects, graphic designers, planners, landscape architects, web designers and sustainability consultants.

Examples of his practice’s notable projects, both in the UK and abroad, include Greenwich Millennium Village, Waterport Terraces in Gibraltar, the redevelopment of Queen Elizabeth's Children's Hospital and the South Acton regeneration project in London and Hanham Hall zero carbon community in Bristol.

Francis Lee

Chief Executive Officer of global architectural practice DP Architects Francis Lee has worked all over the world on multi-million pound projects.

Yinka Danmole

Graduate Yinka Danmole set up his practice, Danmole Design Studios and now works on commission based projects with local organisations. Also setting up their own firm are architecture graduates Mohamed Rahouma and Shamil Chauhan who launched an independent design studio called 'Backpack Studio 'based in Manchester.

Using industry software

You’ll learn how to use industry equipment and software including rapid prototyping, CAD and digital production. Your observational and technical drawing techniques will be developed, along with other key skills.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Our international students

We have a diverse community of students from all over the world. Our international reputation, professional accreditation and outstanding graduate success rate attracts students from a variety of countries including Brunei, Kenya, Malaysia, Russia and Singapore.

Tatiana Pachina, from Moscow, said: “I decided to study architecture in the UK for several reasons. First of all, because the UK education is recognised by employers, universities and governments all over the world and it gives you plenty of opportunities for further study and career progression. Secondly, studying in the UK gives me an opportunity to meet people from different countries, with different backgrounds and learn something new about their cultures

“I chose the BA Architecture course because I think studying in Birmingham can provide a unique experience and a really focused course can encourage students to be creative. The first year of the course was a great experience that enabled me to improve my drawing skills, graphical drawing, model making and ability to think three dimensionally and gather some architectural knowledge.”

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our architecture course is most popular with international students from:

Brunei Flag


Russia Flag


Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £260 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

You’ll be based in the multi-million pound Parkside building – part of our City Centre Campus – with technology and facilities that reflect advanced professional practice. We offer facilities which will accurately reflect the work environment you will enter after graduating. These include Computer-Assisted Design (CAD) and a computer-generated Virtual Building Site, creating real life scenarios for you to work on.

While based in The Parkside Building, you will get sharpen your CAD and digital visual communication skills, prototyping and digital production, while also having access to a range of specialist software, workshops, computer and project learning laboratories, and a social learning space.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • Design studios
  • Computer and project laboratories
  • Social learning space
  • Café
  • Meeting point

The Parkside Building

Designed to maximise light and encourage collaboration between students across different disciplines, The Parkside Building is the perfect setting for the workshops and teaching spaces of courses within Birmingham School of Architecture and Design.

All this ensures that The Parkside Building offers a first class learning environment and a true central location for students in Birmingham City Centre.

Professor Kevin Singh

Professor Kevin Singh is Head of Birmingham School of Architecture and began his journey as a student with us in 1988. He is actively involved with the RIBA at both a regional and national level and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Association of Architects and an external examiner at the University of Nottingham.

Victoria Farrow

Programme Director, BA (Hons) Architecture

Victoria is the Programme Director and has led the year 1 cohort for over 7 years. Extremely experienced in her discipline, Victoria is a qualified Architect and was chartered with the ARB following the completion of her studies at the University of Nottingham. She has worked in practice, both as the director of her own architectural practice and also as an employee of practices in Nottingham working in variety of different sectors. She has also worked with the fields of facilities management, BIM, occupancy planning, architectural visualisation and interior design. Victoria is incredibly passionate about architectural education and it is this that led her into teaching in 2008 where she began working as an academic at the University of Lincoln and Nottingham Trent University. During her time as an academic, Victoria has developed networks with organisations working in USA, and South Africa, which have provided her with the opportunity to both teach a number of times in the USA and also collaborate on numerous international projects and research activities. Victoria is also one of the founding members of the aae (association of architectural educators).

Hannah Vowles

Associate Professor / Deputy Head of School / Director of Research

Studied architecture at Kingston and the Architectural Association. Worked in architectural practice for 10 years, public and private sector. Founded art practice / project Art in Ruins with Glyn Banks – exhibitions, published critical writing, curating, teaching. Founding Chair of association of architectural educators. 

Alessandro Columbano

Senior Lecturer

Alessandro is a Senior Lecturer at the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design. He also co-established and leads the Collaborative Laboratory (Co.LAB) a teaching intiative and organisation within the school that integrates teaching with practice through live projects, staff research/design and external consultancy. 

Prior to joining the university, Alessandro worked in architecture and research practices in Manchester and London, with experience in evidence-based design and historical refurbishments. He graduated from the Manchester School of Architecture with a distinction in both postgraduate architecture and MA Urbanism prior to developing his portfolio as an independent artist/designer. 

As anviere, a self-identified design guise, Alessandro has developed a portfolio of site-specific installations and artworks commenting on the subversive qualities of our physical environments. 

Alessandro brings these characteristics forward to his teaching as an academic and researcher; taking an active role in the discussion of architectural pedagogy, urban theory and the contemporary vernacular. It is applied by engaging in the city’s cultural network through an ongoing process of collaborative practice.

David Sharpe

David Sharpe

Lecturer in Structural Design

I hold a part-time post as Lecturer in Structural Design at the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, Birmingham City University. My initial focus is to provide Structural Engineering input into the Technology curriculum of both the undergraduate BA (Hons) Architecture and postgraduate M.Arch Architecture.

In my role, I combine my experience of working as a practicing structural engineer with my personal interest in low-energy buildings. Through working with students in lectures and tutorials, I seek to pass on my knowledge and experience so that they can develop another perspective on what contributes to good architecture. 

Jemma Browne

Lecturer in History & Theory, Cultural Context

Jemma teaches history and theory of Architecture across many of the courses in the School, as well as tutoring in the architectural and interiors design studios. She is currently completing her Doctoral research Spatial Representations of Memory and Identity in the City. Her research examines how post-industrial cities in the UK are spatially transformed through time by the layering of new and existing expressions of cultural identity; in particular as a result of postcolonial migration. The project seeks to understand the role that the collective memory of post–colonial diasporic communities plays in the formation of the cultural identity of space within UK cities.

Christian Frost

Professor Christian Frost

Director of History, Theory and Cultural Context

Christian Frost qualified as an architect in 1990 following the completion of his studies at the University of Cambridge. He worked in practice, at home and abroad for over ten years before becoming a full time academic in 2001, when he began to research the history of the foundation of Salisbury which has resulted in the publication of his book Time, Space and Order: The Making of Medieval Salisbury (Peter Lang, 2009).

His student work has been published and was exhibited in London, Frankfurt, Berlin and Prague, and he has worked in Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom on projects ranging from commercial offices and domestic properties to highly specialised Arts projects. In 1992, after two years in practice, he returned to Cambridge to read for an M.Phil. in the History and Philosophy of Architecture concentrating on the architectural continuity which underpinned the transition from the classical to the Christian world. He then worked in Berlin as a part of a team winning several competitions before returning to the UK where he became project architect on the ARC Arts Centre in Stockton-on-Tees, taking the project from sketch designs through to final completion.

Following the completion of the ARC, Christian set up his own practice working on private dwellings, sports facilities, schools and housing proposals.

In 2013 he became the Oscar Naddermier Professor of Architecture at the Birmingham School of Architecture taking responsibility for the delivery of history, theory and cultural context throughout the school, whilst continuing to teach design on the MArch course. 

Ian Shepherd

Course Leader

Ian Shepherd is the course leader within the School of Architecture. He integrates teaching with practice through live projects, design, research and consultancy. Prior to joining the university, Ian was a partner in a local architectural practice for more than 20 years, with experience in design and delivery of community, education and leisure projects.

Michael Dring

Senior Lecturer

Michael is an architect, senior lecturer, MArch programme director and researcher at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design. He brings seven years of professional practice to the role, and is involved in a number of research projects and groups spanning architecture, urbanism, art and design, and ecology.

Jim Sloan

Jim Sloan

Director of Technology

I joined BCU in 2010 as Director of Technology for Birmingham School of Architecture and Design. My role involves an overview of the technical curriculum across all courses in the school. This includes teaching on materials, material assembly, structure, environmental comfort and regulatory compliance for the built environment. My PhD research is looking at the processes, strategies and methods for detailed design evident in architectural practice.

After studying architecture at the University of Bath (1990-94) and Manchester Metropolitan University (1995-97), I worked in architectural practice. At Simpson Haugh and Partners in Manchester (1996-2003) I worked as part of a team on projects for museums, transport infrastructure, retail, multi-storey residential, hotel and private houses. Three of these projects received an RIBA award for design excellence. Most recently I worked at John McAslan + Partners in Manchester, London and Doha (2003-2010), a design lead practice with an international reputation. I became an Associate of the practice in 2007 and lead a team of architects on projects for education, culture, hotels, offices, transport infrastructure and mixed-use residential. Three of the projects that my team delivered received an RIBA award for design excellence.

Research: My PhD research is looking at the processes, strategies and methods for detailed design evident in architectural practice. The research participants are at the end of their full time education in architecture school and at the beginning of their full time careers in architectural practice: Put simply, they have limited experience of architectural practice. The research explores how these designers approach an activity that the literature identifies as primarily informed by experience. 

Enterprise: Through Co.Lab Consult, the School of Architecture and Design’s consultancy service, I provide specialist advice to external organisations. This work focuses on detailed design choices and construction specifications. Engaging with live construction projects enables me to stay up to date with detailed design concerns in architectural practice.  


John McAslan + Partners (2003-2010)

I was fortunate to work on a range of exciting and rewarding projects when I worked at JMP. This included developing a working relationship with Lancaster University that ultimately resulted in six completed projects, three of which received an RIBA award. Latterly I worked in Qatar on a ground breaking regeneration project in downtown Doha. The development aims to break the mould for projects in the Gulf by creating a walkable piece of high density, mixed use urban fabric. I was permanently located in Doha acting as design team and client liaison on several buildings including a hotel, apartments, cultural building, offices and a school.

During my career at JMP I developed from undertaking delegated tasks to achieve specific outcomes early in my career to later become an Associate and team leader, organising the workload of others and supporting the smooth running of the practice’s administration. As part of my senior role within the office I successfully mentored several RIBA part 3 candidates and provided advice and support to less experienced colleagues. Interacting with people, both within and outside the office, was a crucial part of my role. I gained a broad experience of dealing with people at all levels through meetings and presentations with clients, end users, stakeholders, statutory authorities, suppliers, consultants, contractors and installers.

Simpson Haugh and Partners (1996-2003)

I joined SHP (previously Ian Simpson Architects) at a time when Manchester’s regeneration was gathering pace. I was a member of the team that won the urban design competition to develop a vision for Manchester after the 1996 IRA bombing: The practice was involved in a number of projects that developed from the masterplan and I was able to develop the Shudehill Transport Interchange to tender stage.

The practice workload offered a range of projects including new build and refurbishment, individual dwellings and high rise apartment buildings, cultural and commercial buildings, public and private. A key project for me was the re-working of The Manchester Museum at the University of Manchester. On this project I gained valuable skills in working with a diverse client body, nurturing a project through the various funding and listed building consent processes, working with other consultants effectively to get the best for the project and dealing with a contractor to deliver the design on site.


Kasia Nawratek

Lecturer in Architecture, Level 5 Year Leader

Kasia Nawratek is an architect, a lecturer and Level 5 Year Leader at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design. Kasia has 8 years experience in practice, ranging from urban planning, urban design to architecture and architectural conservation. Prior to joining Birmingham City University, Kasia has worked as a lecturer at Plymouth University. Her main research interests are cultural diversity of contemporary cities and uneven distribution of symbolic and economic values in urban areas (drosscapes, urban voids, edgelands).

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