Architecture with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

  • UCAS Code: K10F
  • Level: Foundation
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Study mode: Full Time (4 years)
  • Location: City Centre

Are you looking for an architecture degree course at a respected School with connections to over 60 local architecture firms?

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.

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.

About foundation courses

This four year course has been specifically designed you to undertake additional level 3 study designed to ensure you are successful on your chosen degree.

After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree options within Birmingham School of Architecture and Design.

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.

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.

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.

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Saturday 19 October 2019. Book your place to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.

Book your place

This course is open to International students

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Discover Birmingham School of Architecture and Design

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

Visit the School website

Concerns Cover

Read our Annual Review

Concerns is an annual publication by Birmingham School of Architecture and Design. In this issue, you can view final year student work and read more about the activities within the School.

Read the Annual Review 

Where our students go

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

  • Michael Hopkins and Partners
  • MAKE
  • Glenn Howells Architects 
  • Grimshaw Architects
  • Hawkins Brown

Course Accreditations

This course is accredited by:

RIBA
Architects Registration Board

Entry Requirements

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

Essential Requirements

88 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level

Typical Offers (UK students)

At the point of application you must have GCSE at Grade 4 or above in English Language and Maths. Equivalent qualifications can be considered in lieu as long as the required subject is covered.

Plus, you must have achieved or be completing one of the following:

UK Qualification Requirements
A level  CCD. 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. excluding General Studies
A maximum of three subjects are considered. Other 6-unit qualifications can be considered in lieu of one or two A-level subjects.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

MMM. 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.
subjects excluded Hair and beauty, health and social care, hospitality, early years, customer service, citizenship, accounting, PE and sport, public services and uniformed services
Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall - 15 credits at level 2 and 45 credits at level 3 with Merit In a relevant pathway
GCSE Mathematics and English Language at grade C or above or equivalent qualifications within access course must be obtained.

Scottish Higher

Achieve a minimum of 88 tariff points achieved from either five Highers or a combination of two Highers offered with two Advanced Highers.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 11 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects and alongside other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 88 UCAS Tariff Points.

OCR Cambridge Technical Certificate

Can be considered along with a minimum of 2 of the following qualifications: A-levels, BTEC Subsidiary Diplomas/ OCR Cambridge Technical Diplomas. Can also be considered in combination with a BTEC extended diploma, art and design foundation diploma or UAL extended diploma to obtain 88 pts
Art and design, Business, Engineering, IT, Media, Performing Arts excluding Health and Social Care, Sport

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

Must be offered along with either A-level, AS-levels or BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/BTEC 90 credit diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification/Foundation Diploma in Art and Design/ UAL extended diploma to achieve a minimum of 88 tariff points

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. Excluding Hair and beauty,health and social care,hospitality,early years,customer service,citizenship, accounting, PE and sport,public services and uniformed services

Scottish Advanced Higher

Achieve a minimum of 88 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
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

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
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.

Mature Applicants

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

Due to a higher entry tariff for BA (Hons) Architecture you'll need to receive 60 % or more in your final project to progress. 
  • UK students
  • EU and International students

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2020

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • £12,800 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

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

Portfolio Guidance

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

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 your course. 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.

View additional costs for this course

Foundation year

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

Communication Skills
20 credits

This module focuses on developing the 2D design skills and techniques required to communicate and visualise design concepts around space and form. You will work on a series of mini projects using predominantly manual techniques such as freehand sketching, technical drawing, and physical model-making. You will also be introduced to some digital techniques such as Photoshop and Desktop Publishing via InDesign.

Professional and Academic Development
20 credits

This module is designed to develop your academic skills and make the transition to degree level study. It specifically focuses on your ability to critique, reflect and verbalise your thoughts and concepts through channels such as presentations, blogs and live journals.

You will learn how to use research methods to inform your practice and have the opportunity to advance your academic writing and referencing skills.

Design Techniques
20 credits

This module is designed to give you an introduction to the design processes used by the various disciplines and includes appraisal of design briefs, understanding context, design drivers, and the development of concepts and visuals through design feasibility studies. You will begin to understand how to turn your ideas into designs and the level required to reach a professional standard.

Underpinning the practice, you will explore and discuss fundamental concepts, particularly relating to human scale, ergonomics and anthropometrics, looking at design and its relationship to the physical aspects of the environment.

Design Disciplines
20 credits

This module is designed to encourage you to make connections between theory and practice and engage further in critical analysis. You will explore the historical aspects across the two design disciplines (a major and minor) and scales and current practices.

You will further explore the use of precedent studies, which will provide you with the tools to respond to the challenges and changes in different environments and habitations.

Presentation Techniques
20 credits

This module focuses on developing presentation skills, from visual and graphic presentation techniques to pitching and presenting ideas.

You will have opportunities through workshops and online tutorials to learn Adobe Creative Suite and 3D software such as Sketch-up.

Hands on workshop practice will be introduced across a range of materials.

Place and Space and Objects
20 credits

The aim of this module is to develop a concept design within your chosen discipline. You will document the design process, reflect on the experience and the final outcomes and the reasons for selecting your chosen field. The project will culminate in a comprehensive presentation, which will capture the whole design process via a design portfolio.

Year one

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

History of Modern Architecture
20 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 (FT mode only)
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 Resolution 1
60 credits

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).

Calibration (PT mode only)
20 credits

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):

Architectural Theory and Research Methods
20 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. 

Design Methods
20 credits

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 (FT mode only)
20 credits

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 Exchange (PT mode only)
20 credits

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.

Co.LAB (FT mode only)
20 credits

'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.

Co.LAB-KE (PT mode only)
20 credits

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 Resolution 2
40 credits

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):

Critical Study in Architecture
20 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 Exploration
20 credits

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.

Systems in Architecture
20 credits

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
60 credits

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.

After finishing the Foundation Year, 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 attend University for one day per week. The remaining four days are spent working in a chartered (ARB) architect’s practice. 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

Brunei

Russia Flag

Russia

Groupf of Chinese students outside Millennium PointScholarships available for international students. 

Requirements:£2,000 if a 1st degree holder £1,500 if a 2:1 if a 2:1 degree holder £1,000 if a 2:2 if a 2:2 degree holder £500 if a if a 3rd degree holder. 

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

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 expert technicians, you'll be supported from concept through to completion. 

Kevin Singh Profile

Professor Kevin Singh

Head of School

In a teaching career spanning 20 years, Kevin has taught on undergraduate and postgraduate courses across both Architecture and Interior Design, and has also been a course leader for both BA Interior Design and M.Arch Architecture.

In 2000 Kevin co-founded the space studio, an RIBA Chartered design-led practice, with Interior Designer Tony Kerby. The practice undertakes new build, refurbishment, and interior works across a number of sectors. Clients include the English National Ballet, Manchester City Football Club, HMRC, Tesla cars and Birmingham City University.

His Professorship was conferred under the categories of Learning and Teaching and Academic Leadership, having introduced a number of initiatives relating to the blurring of the relationship between academia and practice, and for a proven track record of transforming the success of courses that he has led. He was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in May 2015.

Kevin is heavily involved in the Royal Institute of British Architects, sitting on RIBA National Council, RIBA Education Committee, as well as Chairing RIBA validation panels to Schools of Architecture in the UK and abroad. He is a Board member of Dance XChange and an external examiner at London South Bank University.

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Hannah Vowles

Deputy Head of School and Associate Professor

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. 

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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).

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Kasia Nawratek

Lecturer in Architecture / Level 5 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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Alessandro Columbano FHEA, BArch, MA, BA (Hons)

Senior Lecturer, Enterprise Coordinator, STEAMhouse Academic

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 has 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, he 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 with the city’s cultural network through an ongoing process of collaborative practice – and encouraging students to be entrepreneurial citizens through their design ideas.

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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. 

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Jemma Browne profile

Dr Jemma Browne

School Coordinator, Cultural Context, History & Theory

Jemma teaches history and theory of Architecture and Design and coordinates the overall delivery and development of this strand of all the courses in the School, as well as contributing to the development of the School research environment and supervising PhD students.

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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. 

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Ian Shepherd

Director of Professional Studies

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

Programme Director, MArch Architecture

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.

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Jim Sloan

Jim Sloan

Director of Technology

Jim Sloan joined BCU in 2010 as Director of Technology for Birmingham School of Architecture and Design. His 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. His PhD research is looking at the processes, strategies and methods for detailed design evident in architectural practice.

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Jieling Xiao Profile

Jieling Xiao

Lecturer in Environmental Design

Jieling is a qualified Architect and Designer and makes contributions on most of the programmes associated with the the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design. Jieling believes passionately that designers need to consider more than just how the hardware of architecture functions for its users. Jieling is particularly interested in theories and the creative practice of place-making and environmental design that interprets and plays with people’s sensory experiences, particularly in relation to soundscape and smellscape.

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Harriet Devlin MBE

Course Director - Conservation of the Historic Environment

Harriet Devlin MBE currently runs the Conservation of the Historic Environment programme. Harriet worked in Northern Ireland for 10 years where she championed vernacular buildings and received the Europa Nostra Award for the Mourne Homesteads project. She received a Winston Churchill award and has been a passionate advocate of ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ preventative maintenance for many years. Harriet has large amounts of experience of fundraising for projects, and has coordinated Townscape Heritage initiatives as well as building preservation trusts. She was awarded an MBE in 2014 for her services to the Historic Environment.

Lucas Hughes

Lucas Hughes

Programme Director, BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture

Lucas Hughes holds qualifications in landscape architecture and urban design. He has a broad range of interest and experience within several professional sectors linking across the built-environment industry. His core focus is to promote high quality, integrated, design-led processes for the creation of characterful and sensitive built environment solutions.

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