What's the Difference Between Architecture and Architectural Technology Degrees?

Choosing the right course can be challenging. To make things easier, we’re looking at the differences between BA (Hons) Architecture and BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology to give you a better understanding of which course is right for you. So, what are the differences?

The main differences

Essentially, Architectural Technology students focus more on the design of buildings and their performance throughout the design and construction process. They get the opportunity to create new and exciting designs for a range of building types and functions as well as analyse existing ones, while keeping buildability, technology, procurement, contractual relations and the stakeholders involved in the process in mind. Students have hands on experience on BIM technology tools to enable them to exract information and use it at different stages of design development and construction. They also explore the social, regulatory, technical, sustainable and aesthetic context of the UK and global development industry.

Students also get to be part of Birmingham's 'Our Future City Plan', a twenty-year vision covering every aspect of the built environment which is creating redevelopments and opportunities in Birmingham. HS2, Europe’s largest infrastructure project is on our doorstep, which has created a vast amount of work opportunities within the city and beyond.

The Architecture course covers a broader array of architectural modules and may be better for those unsure of which path to take within the sector. Students will often be studying the surrounding environment by focusing on cities and neighbourhoods as well as other regional and global networks. Birmingham is the perfect place to study the subject, being a city full of diverse and historical architectural feats and a constantly expanding skyline. Students learn about the history of architecture and design, the theory and research behind architecture and explore designs and systems.

There is the opportunity to participate in Co.LAB, an award-winning design and research initiative within the Birmingham School of Architecture & Designworking on live projects with other disciplines and with industry and community partners. Students are also encouraged to use film and other creative outlets throughout their time on the course which will play into modules and projects.


Both courses have their own respective accrediting bodies that are widely recognised in the world of architecture and will set individuals up for a rewarding career.

BA (Hons) Architecture is validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and prescribed by Architects Registration Board (ARB) to give full exemption from the ARB / RIBA Part 1 examination.

BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology has alternative bodies and is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT), and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). 

Inspired Festival vs Innovation Festival

Both courses give students the opportunity to showcase their work at one of our exciting annual final year shows. Inspired Festival showcases the final projects of Arts, Design and Media (ADM) students, whereas Innovation Festival showcases the work of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment (CEBE) students.

Architecture students will be based in the ADM faculty; the work focuses more on creative ideas and creations, and the event has been attended by leading practices including Grimshaws, Hopkins Architects, Hawkins Brown and Glenn Howells Architects who have gone on to recruit students.

Architectural Technology students are encouraged to showcase the more technical side of their constructions and the science behind them by using CAD and other technologies.

Placements and hands-on experience

An optional professional placement year is available on either of the courses. The placement year takes the form of 40-weeks hands on experience that provides credits towards the degree and focuses on allowing students to gain invaluable employment skills and experience.

Architecture students have undertook placements at Gensler, Michael Hopkins and Partners, MAKE, Populus and many more. As well as the placement year, students get to go on live site visits to various locations that will relate to your study and modules.


Students from both courses will have access to our incredible state-of-the-art facilities including CAD and digital visual communication skills, prototyping and digital production. You will also have access to a range of specialist software.

Within Architectural Technology, you’ll have access to our Millennium Point building’s Built Environment space, which includes computers ready-equipped with the necessary software needed for your work. For those who enjoy working from home, the virtual desktops are available so you can access the software wherever you may need it. 

Students are also able to study within STEAMhouse, our innovation centre that aims to create an interdisciplinary way of studying within STEM and the arts – something the Architectural Technology degree strives for.

Architecture students are based in our Parkside building, a hub for creativity that includes architecture workshops and the opportunity to be surrounded by innovative and likeminded individuals that you might even end up collaborating with.

Student Content Assistant, final year English student

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