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Architecture with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry.

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 ...

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

Overview

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.

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.

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.
  • 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.
  • Two-thirds of the impact of our research was judged to be very considerable (3*) or outstanding (4*) - REF2021

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area in our course talks.

Next Open Days: Autumn 2022

Register your interest

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

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

Overall score of 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in all bands.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CCD / 88 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 88 pts

Access to HE Diploma

  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3 with 18 credits at merit or 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)
  • MMM
  • 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)
  • Merit
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 88 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 11 points or above from two Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 88 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 24 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 88 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
  • MMM
  • 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 88 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 DDD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).
T-Levels
  • Pass overall (C or above on the core)
  • Design, Surveying and Planning T Level considered
UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts Merit 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

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

Overall score of 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in all bands.

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

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

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • TBC

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.

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, including safety boots at an estimated cost of £40.

Media consumable items (mandatory)

This course requires the use of consumables, including a basic 'art kit' of pens, pencils, sketchbook, craft knife/scapel, scale ruler and compass.

Specialist equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment such as card, foamboard, plasticine and other media to make models.

Excess printing (optional)

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

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

UCAS

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

Portfolio Guidance

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

Course in Depth

Foundation year

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

Year one

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

Structures, Environment and Technology 20 credits

Year two

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

Year three

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

Download course specification

Download now

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 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.

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

International

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 & 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

Take a look around on our virtual walkthroughs

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 and Head of Level 4

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...

More about Victoria

Dr Matthew Armitt

Head of Level 6 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...

More about Matthew

Oliver Chapman

Lecturer and Deputy Head of Level 4 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...

More about Oliver

Max Olof Karlsson Wisotsky

Lecturer, Head of Level 5 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...

More about Max Olof