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Architecture - BA (Hons)

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....

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.

  • Level Undergraduate
  • Study mode Full Time/Part Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School Birmingham School of Architecture and Design
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

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.

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, you will be based at our innovative Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, where you start your journey towards becoming a registered architect. We’ve helped over 80 per cent of our graduates gain jobs in professional practice.

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

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this 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.

Accredited By

This course is accredited by:

  • RIBA
  • Architects Registration Board

The whole three years here have been amazing. I was glad that I have chosen this university and become part of the family. I found who I am as a designer and what the principles of the way I speak architecture are.

Marina Georgieva

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.
  • Have the opportunity to enter national and international competitions. Recent graduate Marina Georgieva is celebrating after being named in the first-round winners group for the global Vectorworks Design Scholarship Prize 2019. Marina will also be entered for the chance at the grand prize Richard Diehl Award, with the opportunity to win a further substantial cash prize.
  • 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. 

Entry Requirements

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

Essential Requirements

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

In addition to qualification applicants will also need a good digital portfolio.

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
GCSE
  • GCSE English Language at grade C/4 or above
  • GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Functional Skills/ Essential Skills level 2
  • English & Maths
  • Pass
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details
Scottish National 5
  • English Language at grade C or above
  • Maths at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
IELTS Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • AAB / 136 UCAS points
  • Excluding General Studies and Travel and Tourism
  • Preferred subjects:- Art and Design, History, Geography, English, Languages, Science or separate Science such as Physics, Biology or Chemistry, Sociology, Philosophy, Psychology, Maths, Music
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.
AS and AS VCE
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 136 pts
Access to HE Diploma
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3 with distinction
  • Construction, Planning, Built Environment subjects preferred but other subjects also considered
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
  • DDD
  • Preferred subjects:- Art and Design, Business and Economics, Construction and Built Environment, Design Technology, English, Geography, History, Languages, Land Based and Environment, Music, Performing Arts and Drama, Science
  • Excluded subjects:- Hair and Beauty, Health and Social Care, Hospitality, Early Years, Customer Service, Citizenship, Accounting, PE and Sport, Public Services and Uniformed Services, Travel & Tourism
  • Applicants doing Media subjects will be considered on an individual basis by Admissions Tutor.
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media) Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 136 pts
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 18 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 136 UCAS Tariff Points
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level Maths, grade 5 or above from the IB Diploma will be accepted
International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • Obtain a minimum of 34 points overall
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level Maths, grade 5 or above from the IB Diploma will be accepted
Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers) Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 136 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language and Maths taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016)
OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma
  • DDD
  • Preferred subjects:- Art and Design, Business and Economics, Construction and Built Environment, Design Technology, English, Geography, History, Languages, Land Based and Environment, Music, Performing Arts and Drama, Science
  • Excluded subjects:- Hair and Beauty, Health and Social Care, Hospitality, Early Years, Customer Service, Citizenship, Accounting, PE and Sport, Public Services and Uniformed Services, Travel & Tourism
  • Applicants doing Media subjects will be considered on an individual basis by Admissions Tutor.
Scottish Advanced Higher
  • Achieve a minimum of 136 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades BBC.
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of BB in two Advanced Highers plus grades of CC in two Highers).
UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design Distinction overall
Other qualifications

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
Essential

In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good digital portfolio

Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In addition 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 Requirements
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.

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).

For students who complete the full IB Diploma:
Obtain a total of 17 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects.

For students who do not complete the full IB Diploma:
Obtain a total of 18 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects.


Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

TOEFL Band scores Listening – 17. Reading – 18. Speaking – 20. Writing – 20.
Pearson Band scores 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 Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2022

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

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.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

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.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

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.

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.

Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of safety equipment in order to use the workshop facilities.

Specialist equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including pens, pencils, drawing paper and other stationary items.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may 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.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

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.

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

International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them 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

You will be required to submit a digital portfolio to complete your application. This can be submitted via your applicant portal. Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement 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.

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

If you study this course part-time or via distance learning, you will be charged on a pro-rata basis. This means your fee will be calculated per module.

Course in Depth

Year one

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

This module engages with the key design ideologies of the 20th Century. The History of Western Architecture has an on-going complex relationship with Modernism. Despite having moved beyond Modernism and post-modernism, at the beginning of the 21st Century, the designed environment we live in; buildings, furniture, interiors and the public realm, still holds traces of and responds to elements of the Modernist ideologies. (VAM, 2006)

Structures, Environment and Technology 20 credits

Design Apparatus introduces students to a broad range of skills for architectural communication and representation through the use of basic design projects as a vehicle to introduce presentation techniques and the design development process at this level. Precedent and case studies will be examined as well as techniques for essay writing, structuring written work and verbal presentation skills.  The module focuses on engaging you in a range of hand and digital skills to include drawing, sketching, orthographic line drawing (2 and 3D), together with digital skills, including 2 and 3D CAD and adobe packages .The module is linked to History of Architecture and Design and Design Resolution 1.

Design Projects at Level 4 are linked by the theme of ‘principles” and form part of the broad foundation to the study of the ‘urbanised field’ of architecture and landscape architecture and the physical and ideological relationship between them. Cross-disciplinary practice is facilitated to test innovative approaches at diverse scales.

Design Resolution 1 aims to build upon skills and ideas established through Design Apparatus and draws upon knowledge and skills learned in the module Structures, Environment and Technical studies (SET).

 

Projects within this module explore the experience and mapping of the city and surrounding landscape, leading to a series of various scaled designed interventions, of appropriate scale, structure and complexity to the level. The module draws together principles and skills learned in the module Design Apparatus, where you will have developed basic design skills and knowledge and understanding of architectural communication and representation.

Design Resolution 1 introduces you to a ‘’dry run’’ scenario for the Design Resolution 2 module configuration in the upper years. This module prepares and equips students for Design Resolution 2 (L5) and Design Resolution 3 (L6).

The Birmingham School of Architecture and Design has a long and proud history of offering courses in architecture for part time students based in practice. Formal part time opportunities to study are rare within UK architectural education but the School has a long-standing reputation in this area and is one of the UK’s largest providers in this field.

The first module on the course, Calibration is specifically designed to embrace and support the diversity of students the course attracts who range from mature architectural technicians with years of practice experience to young CAD operators with little practice experience or holistic view of the profession. Alongside this personal diversity, students will also be working in a vast range of architectural practices and undertaking varying tasks.

The Birmingham School of Architecture and Design has a long and proud history of offering courses in architecture for part time students based in practice. Formal part time opportunities to study are rare within UK architectural education but the School has a long-standing reputation in this area and is one of the UK’s largest providers in this field.

The first module on the course, Calibration is specifically designed to embrace and support the diversity of students the course attracts who range from mature architectural technicians with years of practice experience to young CAD operators with little practice experience or holistic view of the profession. Alongside this personal diversity, students will also be working in a vast range of architectural practices and undertaking varying tasks.

Year two

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

In this module, you will start to explore new theoretical ideas which will stretch you intellectually and inform your studio practice.

Firstly, the module will begin to address what theory is in relation to architecture and how it is used in the formation, analysis and making of buildings, landscapes, products and art. Theory isn’t history () or critique (), although we need this knowledge to be able to theorise.  In this module you will be introduced to a way of exploring the ideas, concepts and frameworks that architects and designers use to approach their practice; theory gives practice meaning and makes it relevant and responsive to the particular time and place it operates within (Nesbitt, 1996, p.17). Making theory part of our practice allows us to challenge and speculate, understand architectural problems and propose possible solutions. 

During this module you will explore different research methods to inform, test and develop an iterative design process. Through an intensive process of research using qualitative/quantitative methodologies and design-led research, considering the technological, social, contextual and spatial data, you will test different design methods an develop independent design strategies to apply to your design projects.

This module draws upon content, knowledge gained and teachings as part of module Architectural Theory and Research Methods. The module will explore a range of design methods, in order to understand, compare and critique the process associated with each design strategy. Alongside this, you will study notable architect’s approaches to design and contrast their design processes.

Praxis is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, practiced, embodied, or realised. Praxis may also refer to the act of engaging, applying, exercising, realising, or practicing ideas.

We understand that not all of our graduates will go on to become practicing Architects. An architectural education, particularly the degree course, is a well-rounded education that can lead into numerous other career paths as well as the route to professional qualification. With this in mind we have a clear roadmap for our students in terms of professional knowledge, business awareness, and transferrable skills.

Design in Level 5 sits beneath the theme of Collaboration. As one of the transitional modules between Part Time 3 and 4, ‘Design Exchange’ requires you to creatively explore the exchange of skills in the areas of design and praxis. The exchange will take place with both peers and professional practice in response to a given brief, such as a competition.

The module has both group work and individual components; initially in groups you will complete a feasibility and scoping exercise in response to the project brief. You will be required to take into account current planning and development control legislation as part of the schematic project proposals as you explore the potential impact of building projects on existing and proposed communities. Individually, you will take the role of the “architect” and develop your proposals in more detail.

'The Birmingham School of Architecture and Design occupies a distinctive interdisciplinary territory between the study and practices of the creative arts with the built environment professions.

Links with the professional context and are reinforced through alumni, renowned tutors, events and live research projects. Equally, the School’s position within ADM means that students and staff are well connected to the creative scene of the city.

CO.LAB (the Collaborative Laboratory) is a vehicle for a range of projects that seek to directly engage students with this dynamic context. It is an opportunity for students to work with individuals and groups outside of their discipline area, engaging in a broad creative network.

The Birmingham School of Architecture and Design occupies a distinctive interdisciplinary territory between the study and practices of the creative arts with the built environment professions.

Knowledge Exchange sits with the Co.LAB family and builds on our ethos of blurring the boundaries between academia and practice. Knowledge Exchange aims to provide innovative design thinking and strategies to current practices. Its format is similar to a Government-led model; Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) http://ktp.innovateuk.org which encourages, funds, and supports Universities working with industry partners to tackle core strategic issues in their business and devise innovative solutions to help improve their competitiveness and productivity.

Design Projects at Level 5 are linked by the theme of process, building on the skills and knowledge in ARC5012 Design Process.

Relates to ARC5014 Technical Integration as projects integrate consideration of tectonics, materiality and construction; to ARC5010 Architectural Theory to absorb new ideas emerging from practice; and also to ARC5011 Praxis to engage with issues of legislation.

Year three

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Related to the Level theme, this module traces the context of the designed environment through a detailed critical study of a case study based on a number of relevant social, cultural and political topics that influence contemporary architectural discourse.

The module is organised as a single continual investigative strand where you will generate a response by completing a number of formative tasks to lead up to a final extended piece of critical writing that is thoroughly researched, creative and develops your own theoretical agenda.

Design at Level 6 follows a meta-theme (overarching theme) of identity. You will undertake a year-long design process on a single project zooming across scales, starting with this Design Exploration module.

Here you will open up the creative exploration of a selected studio ‘approach’ before applying this knowledge, process, and skill to developing early ideas to a design project for a given brief.

Technology at Level 6 requires you to adopt an inquiry-based approach where you apply the construction of your knowledge from previous modules to formulate an understanding of technical integration in a design.

Case studies, related to the overarching theme of Level 6 modules, are used to develop questions around current systems in architectural technology. Fabrication, assembly and critical technical analysis is used to explore technology in practical, strategic and architectural terms.

Design Resolution 3 aims to develop the design process, project rationale and construct

a design response for a particular physical and cultural context following on from module Design Exploration. The process identifies and resolve conflicting demands across a range of scales.

You will be tested through a comprehensive design proposal to resolve theoretical, spatial or aesthetic concepts that explicitly inform and shape the design proposal at a strategic, building and detailed level.

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'.

Year one

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.

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.

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.

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 will spend time working in a chartered (ARB) architect’s practice alongside attending University. This will help you to become a strong practitioner who can embrace, adapt and transform practice.

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.

RIBA
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.

Reviews

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."
Anonymous
www.university.which.co.uk

Read all Which? Uni reviews

Employability

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.

Placements

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 Michael Hopkins and Partners, MAKE, Grimshaw Architects, Hawkins Brown, 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: Adam Nuttall

Gensler placement 2

During his studies on the BA (Hons) Architecture (RIBA Part 1 Exemption) course, Adam Nuttall spent two weeks in practice at Gensler, a world leading design firm.

Adam was initially attracted to working for Gensler due to it being the world’s largest film of architects, and the prospects of working with different people and making useful contacts. Adam worked in their small Birmingham office with 12 employees giving him a more personal experience with the added benefit of being part of a much larger film.  

More about our placement opportunities

OpportUNIty

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.

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.”

Facilities and Staff

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the exceptional quality of our campuses. With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

You will be based in our multi-million pound Parkside building – a state of the art facility located within our City Centre Campus. Here you will have full access to our recently upgraded, high spec CAD (Computer-Aided-Design) workstations situated within our dedicated computer labs and open access areas. We also provide access to leading edge digital design software, enabling you to explore technical drawing, graphics, 3D modelling, visualization, animation, computation, simulation, and virtual reality.

The Parkside Building is also home to our digital fabrication labs, where you will be able to explore 3D printing, laser cutting, water-jet cutting, CNC machining, ceramics, glass and traditional model-making, guided by our team of expert technicians with access to our on-site material store, and professional printing facilities.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • Design studios
  • Physical and digital library
  • Loanable laptops
  • Dedicated social spaces
  • Café’s

Photo Gallery

From industry-standard software, to our workshops and studio spaces, everything you need will be at your fingertips from day one. Working with our dedicated teaching teams and expert technicians, you'll be supported from concept through to completion.

Our staff

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).

More about Victoria

Oliver Chapman

Deputy Leader Level 4 Architecture, Lecturer in Architecture

Oliver Chapman qualified as an architect through Birmingham School of Architecture and Design having studied at the University of Liverpool and Queen’s University Belfast. He currently Lectures in History of Architecture and Design, and is a Design Studio Tutor at Birmingham School of Architecture & Design with a keen interest in unifying landscape and architectural proposals. In professional practice, Oliver has experience designing, detailing and delivering projects in a wide range of sectors across the UK, Europe, Middle East, South Asia and South America since 2008.

More about Oliver

Max Olof Karlsson Wisotsky

Lecturer, Head of Year Two Architecture

Max Wisotsky is a lecturer and head of Year Two architecture at the Birmingham School of Architecture, Faculty of Arts, Design and Media, Birmingham City University.

His personal research and design ethos is centred around ideas of authenticity, narrative, and creating spaces representative of the people who will be using them — using the local and vernacular ideas of culture, design, temporality, and material to create compensatory spaces that bring the people, their architecture, and the environment in which they sit, closer together.

He has done writing and research on narrative and creative writing styles as a method of architectural history and theory production;  exploring architecture’s roles in the cultural, social, and environmental ecologies of our cities; and the conception of a Marxist ecological view as a critical method for architectural history.

More about Max Olof

Christian Nakarado

Lecturer, Level 6 Deputy Leader (MArch Architecture, BA (Hons) Architecture)

Christian grew up in the mountains outside of Denver, Colorado, in the United States. He received his BA and his MArch from Yale University.

He has spent the last 15 years working in architecture on the east and west coasts of the United States as well as in Canada and England, and is a licensed architect in New York and California. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers (AICAE).

Through years of practice and the design of research-based exhibitions, Christian has developed a particular interest in sustainability and global resource use. He believes in architecture’s ability and responsibility to manage energy and material flows in ways that are humane and beneficial to species, cultures, and environments across the earth.

More about Christian

Dr Matthew Armitt

Lecturer in Architecture

Dr. Matthew Armitt is a lecturer in architecture having received his doctorate from the University of Liverpool School of Architecture. Mathew has taught architecture since 2014 and possesses a strong interest in the history of architectural teaching and how architectural teaching is taught today. A further area within his approach is teaching ‘research through design’ particularly in view of its relevance to modern architectural practice. His doctoral research studied pedagogical teaching methods at the Russian Architecture School VKhUTEMAS (Higher Artistic and Technical Studios 1921-1926) through a discipline of architectural teaching called Space.

His research and teaching is intended to be delivered together as a means to produce new methods of architectural teaching through a modernist perspective which otherwise would not have been known to the current pedagogical debate and to strengthen the current pedagogical setting with a focused outcome towards success providing an edge over how pedagogy is taught particularly in view of its relevance to modern architectural practice.

More about Matthew

Dr Matthew Jones

Head of School

Matthew is Associate Professor and Head of Birmingham School of Architecture & Design. He is an architect and academic with expertise in making places and communities. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Design Council Expert.

A graduate of the Welsh School of Architecture (WSA), Matthew worked at the Young Architect of the Year Award finalists Design Research Unit Wales (DRU-w) and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris Architects before founding his practice, Coombs Jones. He held academic positions at the Welsh School of Architecture and the University of the West of England (UWE) before joining BSoAD in 2019 as Director of Technical Studies. Matthew developed the innovative BA(Hons) Design for Future Living degree in Collaboration with the educational charity MOBIE before becoming Head of School in 2021.

Matthew’s expertise is in practice-led research. His research focuses on the role of design in creating thriving and resilient towns and high streets. He completed a practice-led PhD exploring place specific approaches to the development of rural towns and he has expertise in community-led place planning. In his recently published book ‘Transforming Towns: Designing for Smaller Communities’ (RIBA Publishing, 2020), he explores the role of architects and designers in transforming our towns to help them thrive. He has developed these themes through artist residencies, events and workshops, co-design activities, architecture, urban design, university-community collaborations, community-led planning and academic research and teaching.

More about Matthew