Architectural Technology with a Foundation Year - BSc (Hons)
Want a career as an Architectural technologist? Our BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology with Foundation Year degree is where the science of construction meets the art of design. The course focuses not only on the creation of the built environment, but also the structuring of space in and around it. Much of your learning activity will be hands-on, with access to our strong industry links....
Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23
The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.
Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Want a career as an Architectural technologist? Our BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology with Foundation Year degree is where the science of construction meets the art of design. The course focuses not only on the creation of the built environment, but also the structuring of space in and around it.
Much of your learning activity will be hands-on, with access to our strong industry links. You’ll also be provided with the latest CAD software, meaning you’ll be well equipped to make an impact in an important industry. This course is also accredited by the CIOB.
About the Foundation Year
The Foundation Year course option enables you to study for our BSc (Hons) degree over an extended full-time duration of four years by including a Foundation Certificate (year one of four). The Foundation Certificate provides a broad study programme that underpins the follow-on degree. In order to progress to the next year of your degree, it is necessary to achieve a pass in all of the modules of the Foundation Certificate.
What's covered in this course?
Our course will develop your ability to appreciate and analyse existing design as well as create new ones, while keeping buildability, technology, procurement, contractual relations and the people involved in the process in mind. You will also explore the social, regulatory, technical, sustainable and aesthetic context of the UK and global development industry.
Our outstanding industry links mean you’ll be able to work on live projects, using the very latest technology and techniques. You will learn how to construct designs using CAD in a three-dimensional format. You’ll also be kept up to date with the latest skills, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) and will be actively involved in the creation of a BIM model for a prestigious UK building.
We help you gain the skills to negotiate with planning and building authorities, and develop the expertise to advise them. You will also investigate project and contract management.
Our excellent relationships with employers opens up a range of opportunities for work placements. This will enable you to gain first-hand experience of the work of architectural technologists while making valuable professional contacts.
With the support of experienced and qualified staff, you’ll use facilities that reflect the work environment you’ll enter after graduation. Studying at our expanding City Centre Campus, you’ll be immersed in a creative environment with the chance to be inspired by the urban architecture of Birmingham.
The city plays host to regular festivals that celebrate architecture, including the Birmingham Architecture Festival and Still Walking, so there are lots of opportunities to explore the possibilities and potential of the built environment.
Regular field trips to construction projects throughout the Midlands will add further colour and relevance to your studies as you gain inspiration from a variety of landscapes and settings.
This course is accredited by:
Lecturers are always willing to help... they work to ensure everyone can reach their full potential. Aneesa Muller
Studying Architectural Technology at BCU has been the best decision I have made. Sagal Rooble
Why Choose Us?
- Accredited course - Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).
- Industry-standard facilities - You'll be studying at our Millennium Point campus in City Centre, where facilities have undergone a £6.5 million investment. You will use Computer-Assisted Design (CAD) 2 and 3D, as well as work in the Building Information Modelling (BIM) environment. Enter your career with skills which give you a competitive advantage.
- Outstanding industry connections - These include partnerships with engineering, management and development consultants at Mott MacDonald and Birmingham City Council’s Urban Design team.
- A leading provider - This course was ranked 5th out of 24 institutions offering it in the Guardian League Tables 2018.
- Study at the heart of Birmingham’s regeneration - The Big City Plan, a 20-year vision covering every aspect of the built environment, is creating redevelopments and opportunities in Birmingham. HS2, Europe’s largest infrastructure project is on our doorstep.
- We are an Autodesk Training Centre (ATC) -This national and international recognition will give you access to on-campus training by certified Autodesk instructors, providing you with digital skills that will be highly sought after by employers. Autodesk applications play an important part in supporting the digital transformation of Architecture, Engineering and Construction.’
- Scholarships - You might be eligible for grant funding of up to £9,500 towards your degree, through the Built Environment Scholarship. You may also be able to gain funding through our travel scholarship scheme.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
BB or 80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||
|Scottish Intermediate 2||
|Scottish Credit Standard Grade||
|Scottish National 5||
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|A level and Advanced VCE||
|Access to HE Diploma||
Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate - Skills Challenge Certificate (first teaching September 2015)
Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma – Core (awarded until 2016) ESW/KS Combined component
International Baccalaureate Diploma
|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.
Additional information for EU/International students
Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
In additional to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications|
6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||
1. For students who complete the full IB Diploma: a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects.
2. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates.
Students must have grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level)
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
As part of the application process you will be invited to attend an applicant visit day where you will undertake a short one-to-one interview with an academic member of staff. This is your chance to show us how passionate you are about the subject and it will help us make a decision on your application.
This will provide you with more information about the School and your course. In addition, it will give you a chance to meet and our staff and students to gain a better understanding of what it is like to be a student here.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Award: BSc (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BSc (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £13,500 per year
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Using our Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) you will be able to use many specialist software applications on your personal device, as well as devices on-campus including Autodesk Revit, Autodesk AutoCAD, Autodesk Navisworks, Solibri, Synchro Pro, VRay, Lumion, Sketchup Pro and CostX.
Project materials (mandatory)
This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
Some modules may suggest that you purchase a key textbook. All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. Many students choose to purchase a copy.
Placement expenses (optional)
If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
Field trips (optional)
This course may involve local site visits relating to essential module coursework where you would pay transport costs to and from the site. This course may also include the option of additional trips to complement your studies; these would be at extra cost.
Guidance for UK students
UK 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
Course in Depth
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).
The Built Environment is a complex, unpredictable and unique in its own way. This module aims to provide an introductory platform towards understanding the elements and factors that influence the built environment, which support shaping the context of built environment. This module will also walk you through different built environment professions.
Within the built environment, many traditional and modern techniques are being incorporated in order to cope with the nature and functional requirements of a building. This module aims to draw focus upon high level elements that are present in every building including building structure, enclosure, materials and environmental factors. Building on the knowledge that you developed from “Built Environment Context and Practice”, this module compliments the importance of different professions within the built environment
The use of computing and technology have become an essential part in our daily routines. This module aims to focus on many of the daily utilised computing technologies such as ICT, programming, graphics and effective use of visualisation tools. It then draws the attention towards built environment computing technologies, demonstrating how different professions utilise it to communicate, exchange and interpret information. Regardless of the built environment profession that you aim to specialise in, this module embeds computing technology-related knowledge that will support you at different levels during your degree.
The use of numbers within the built environment is inevitable, unavoidable and impactful in many ways. This module aims to provide an overview over the use of quantitative methods within the built environment and their relationship to different scenarios and identifying their value allowing you to develop the necessary foundation skills. This module acts as a preparatory stage in terms of both enhancing and developing your mathematical and quantitative abilities before commencing to Level 4. It also develops your awareness of the quantitative-related matters within different professions.
Academic and personal study skills are essential elements which should be applied in order to be successful in Higher Education. This module aims to help you in developing basic research skills, academic writing and reflection skills. These skills are inevitably important and will support your transition to the higher education levels of study associated with your chosen degree programme.
During the journey within higher education, developing your independent study is an essential skill to support shaping the knowledge to become more useful and applied within practice. This module aims to provide you with necessary skills and tips that should support you to work independently within your discipline and to successfully apply project management tools and techniques to a mini project related to your subject discipline.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).
This module will support the Architectural Technology and Building Surveying courses and aims to:
- Provide you with a broad based study of Architectural Technology together with the personal qualities of observation, analysis, judgement and communication appropriate for the profession.
- Provide you with a clear understanding of how their decisions regarding technology, materials and design impact on the environment.
- Provide you with the ability to communicate effectively using appropriate technical language and drawings associated with the practice of Building Surveying.
- Provide you with an understanding of the whole life structure and fabric of the built environment.
This module is delivered to all of the undergraduate programmes in the built environment disciplines and provides you with the basic legal concepts and principles you will need throughout your professional career.
The purpose of this module is to begin your journey into architectural design and technology knowledge and skills through involvement in a practical industry-focused residential project.
In this module, you will be given a project brief and your goal is to come up with a comprehensive architectural design that responds to the project brief. Learning the design process is one of the most important objectives of this module.
The design process is a series of sequential actions you take and decisions you make to find an architectural response that addresses the project brief while considering a variety of factors influencing the functionality and quality of a residential building such as site features, environmental, contextual, economic, legal parameters and standards. As part of this module, you will work with a variety of industry-standard and cutting-edge digital tools and technologies to produce construction and architectural drawings and presentations.
Digital construction is an integral component of contemporary design, development and maintenance of modern residential development. Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology is at the forefront of the progressive movement towards total digitalisation of the built environment.
Environmental and materials science is an important area of study for all disciplines involved with the design, planning, developing and management of the built environment. This module encourages you to consider how the properties, structures and performance of materials influence why buildings and structures function. You will be encouraged to consider how these properties impact construction from a design and practical use perspective. This module will therefore enable you to develop innovative solutions for more robust, resilient, safe and sustainable buildings and structures.
This module introduces, for all of the built environment professions, a range of concepts relating to the technology of construction. It provides you with an understanding of modern and sustainable methods of construction. We use the example of low rise residential construction as it is relatively straightforward and allows us to introduce and explore these issues appropriately.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).
The benefits of automation and digitalisation have steered government reforms globally towards embedding digitalization throughout architecture, engineering, construction and operations sectors. For example, the UK government’s strategy ‘Digital Built Britain 2025’ is an ambitious plan to digitise these sectors. This strategic vision has similarly been enacted via the BIM Level 2 mandate to extend digitized design, construction and asset handover for commercial developments.
Against this backdrop, this module aims to provide a foundation for you to successfully develop a Digital Execution Plan (DEP), understand BIM processes, develop commercial project documentation, and achieve interdisciplinary understanding of roles and responsibilities on a single simulated commercial project.
This module develops your ability to assess the needs of clients. It provides a broad based study of Architectural Technology (AT) and Building Surveying (BS); combining the personal qualities of observation, analysis, judgement and their ability to communicate effectively using appropriate technical language and drawings associated with professional practice.
This module supports the Architectural Technologists’ and Building Surveyors’ need for specialisms and will see you focus on specialist professional development and allow you to build on the Level 4 Design and Surveying Skills module (or other approved study) to extend both your specialist CAD skills of computer aided drawing and contextualisation, and to develop further your building design and presentation skills.
The module introduces advanced applications to develop and explore sustainability, urban streetscapes and building forms. It will also allow you to engage with current image creation/transformation software to create advanced display material. You will be provided an opportunity to implement professional skills appropriate to design and surveying, particularly sustainable design and then implement design decisions and focus on professional display using 2D and 3D formats.
This module builds on your foundation of knowledge gained around residential technology in the Built Environment Technology 1 module at Level 4 (or any other accepted prior learning) and develops your understanding of commercial construction techniques and methods, it will also provide you with an understanding of modern and sustainable methods of commercial construction. Relevant Building Regulation, Health Safety and Welfare legislation will also be reviewed concurrently.
This module will develop your intellectual appreciation of the theory and practice of Facilities Management and Building Information Modelling (BIM) and how these subjects contribute to the successful design, specification and management of existing buildings. You will develop skills in critical thinking and problem solving to make well informed decisions at both design and operational stages within the commercial built environment.
This practical module is focused on the technical and technological aspects of designing a commercial building.
In this module, you will work towards addressing the requirements of an industry-focused commercial project. Following a creative and logical design process, you will analyse site features and precedents and incorporate influential parameters (economic, social, contextual, environmental and legal) to shape a design proposal. Your design ideas will be further developed to incorporate building technology aspects such as building services, building structure, building performance, construction material and outline specifications.
One of the most important elements of this module is the application of Building Information Modelling to produce technological design output following UK BIM standards and RIBA Plan of Work Stage 4. The module will allow you to practice the skills to create, manage and extract building data from a digital model.
For this module you will be investigating a named site; using common research methods discussed in class you will gather data on various elements of the site and impacting on the site. This module dovetails with the Design Project module: the site for that module and this will be the same. This will ensure the applicability of the research you do for Research in Practice. During the module, contemporary issues of sustainability in the built environment will also be covered, as potential elements to be included in future design work. The use of an applied project to develop research skills and enhance specific knowledge of contemporary issues in this way means this module fits well with the overall programme philosophy of ‘problem based learning’ or a ‘flipped curriculum’. In so doing, it develops and enhances the transferable skills essential for the modern professional.
This is a design-led module, allowing you to implement and practice advanced design skills in response to a small-scale design project. This module is underpinned by a series of lectures relating to the history and theory of urban and architectural form and design; and time is also devoted to studio-based and lab work that helps develop and enhance your design enquiry and creative drawing / model-making skills. The module also encourages you to explore the wider role of, and connections between, design theory & practice, governance, planning and how innovative design strategies might be used to resolve complex issues associated with contemporary urban challenges.
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and research-informed project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. In agreement with your supervisor, you will decide upon your topic which will take the form of a practical outcome (artefact) with accompanying contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be aligned to the programme you are studying, and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.
This module will provide you with a foundation of knowledge and practice to establish and execute the BIM process, facilitate its adoption, and achieve site survey data to execute multiple BIM data developments for a client representative. The project development will focus a specified building. The assessment builds on your ability to conduct a professional site survey, develop as-built BIM data for a client, and drawing outputs from site survey and independent desk studies.
This module will focus on extending and providing appropriate evidence of your professional skills and development. Within an applied socially responsive framework, you will examine a range of issues related to the client, the site, planning, financial/development appraisal, design technology, legal and regulatory, health and safety etc. These will be covered in conjunction with other professional courses or your own discipline as appropriate, given that all built environment professions and recent reports such as the Farrell Review place increasing stress on interdisciplinary understanding and working.
Modelled on the practice of the architectural technologist in industry, this course will provide you with the opportunity to develop a demandingly broad range of technical and built environment knowledge.
The assessment methods used reflect the course philosophy, with focus on the ability to produce consistent work in line with the high standards and competences our chartered body, CIAT, expects.
The first year of the course focuses on developing your fundamental skills and knowledge in the residential area of the built environment. You will explore the traditional areas of the built environment, gaining an insight into how your future role is relevant to it. You will be introduced to the innovations of a modern construction project through the Building Information Modelling (BIM) environment, the requirements of the law and an understanding of the key technology relating to residential built environments.
Your skills will be developed further in your second year, with specialist modules and more challenging project experiences. You will learn more about commercial technology, advanced design practice, 2 and 3D design environments, and experience working collaboratively with students from other courses. You will also develop specialist skills in designing and planning the broader built environment.
Your final year will see you refine your skills and realise your full potential. You will be building up your portfolio of advanced design and specification work in readiness for your first steps in industry.
For more information on attendance requirements, course contact time and suggested self-study hours, download the course specification.
The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)
The Chartered Institute of Building is at the heart of a management career in construction. Its focus is on those entering and already in a management career in construction, by delivering qualifications and certifications that meet the needs of a changing industry. It works with members, employers, academia and governments across the globe to drive forward the science, practice and importance of management in construction.
Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT)
Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) represents professionals working and studying in the field of Architectural Technology and is internationally recognised. CIAT qualifies Chartered Architectural Technologists, MCIAT and professionally qualified Architectural Technicians, TCIAT.
As a membership based organisation, CIAT is owned by and operated on behalf of its members with a growing network of members who are based around the globe. This network is open to all members creating a huge resource and knowledge base.
Enhancing your employability skills
Engaging with industry and gaining work experience during your studies is essential if you are going to be taken seriously in the job market. Getting work experience in architectural technology can be challenging, so we encourage you to be agile and help them engage with the broad range of opportunities available. We support you through our virtual learning environment, Moodle, where we have a dedicated page which is regularly updated with potential opportunities for experience, placement opportunities and employment offers for students at all levels of their degree.
The University is eager to recognise students who have made the effort to gain industry experience and stand out from the typical graduate, and thus it offers a range options for you to get extra awards and recognition for your work in industry.
You have the option undertake an assessed sandwich year between your second and third year, which will provide you with valuable work experience and give you the real-life skills you need.
The University also has its Graduate+ programme, an extracurricular awards framework that is designed to augment the subject-based skills that you’ve developed throughout the programme with broader employability attributes, which will enhance your employability options upon graduating.
Benefitting from our links, you will be encouraged to engage with industry and develop your professional experience throughout your degree, creating and sharing your own portfolios to demonstrate your development through the course and your design achievements.
Architectural technology graduate Rafal Daszczyszak, who secured a role as a graduate intern with Willmott Dixon, said: "My CV is much more enhanced by doing this job. My skills and knowledge are really desirable in the job market so it's a really good opportunity for me."
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.
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 subject area is particularly popular with students from the Far East and Africa. They are attracted by our practical teaching, using the very latest design software which gives them a head-start in industry.
Some students return home after graduation but others make the UK their home and build a successful career here.
Erika Parn, from Finland, was looking for a city based course and ended up staying in Birmingham, working for the School. She said: "You get good feedback from lecturers and a lot of support. The city is changing a lot and constantly improving, which is why I'm still here."
Facilities and Staff
The School of the Built Environment provides the best possible equipment and facilities for all students. Our gallery below showcases the Built Environment’s learning spaces, civil engineering lab and state of the art computer aided design labs.
The facilities on offer to our students reflect the work environment you will enter as you start your career. We ensure that you are equipped to participate fully and possessed with the equipment needed to support your studies.
Computer Assisted Taking Off (CATO)
In offices today, much of the pen and paper approach to quantity surveying has been replaced by the use of specialised software systems. Here at Birmingham City University you will make use of commercial software as part of your assessment. Work is carried out in well-equipped and air-conditioned laboratories.
Computer Assisted Design (CAD)
You will be provided with the latest CAD software – free of charge – to enable you to acquire the skills you need in a modern design office.
Part of your learning activity will be hands-on, including carrying out survey work using a range of equipment, such as: Levels, Theodolites and Measuring tapes
Computer-generated virtual site
The use of a virtual building site will help you to appreciate the surroundings of a typical construction site and experience some of the challenges you will face in practice.
Built Environment live sites
Birmingham is undergoing huge regeneration. One of the city's two new HS2 stations will be built right outside our City Centre campus and there will be many opportunities, now and in the future, for those with built environment qualifications.
Paul is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering and the Built Environment and Course Director for BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology.
Paul was originally a site manager. He moved into design management and from there became an Architectural Technologist. He taught at Northumbria University and then moved back into industry as a developer, before returning to education at Birmingham City University in 2005.More about Paul
James is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering and the Built Environment. He is an Architectural Technologist with 30 years post qualification experience in most construction sectors and has been teaching at Birmingham City University since 2008.More about James
Dr Beck Collins
Dr Beck Collins currently teaches across all undergraduate courses in the School of the Built Environment, as well as MSc Construction Project Management and MA Planning Built Environments.
Beck was awarded her PhD in “Local Projects for Sustainable Energy – Exploring the Nature of Success” in 2014, and is interested in local approaches to installing sustainable energy. This could be as social housing refurbishment projects, community renewable energy projects and so on. Beck is particularly interested in questions of governance, systems intervention, behaviour change and projects for change, that sustainable energy throws up.
Beck explores this both in her research and in practice – Beck has worked on local authority energy efficiency programmes and is also a volunteer Director of a Community Energy Company which is looking to install renewable energy in Birmingham.
Beck also brings all these research and practice based insights into the classroom, where she lectures on sustainability and research methods topics.
More about Beck