Architecture (RIBA Part 1 Exemption) with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
K10F
Attendance:
Full Time (4 years)
Starting:
September 2019
Campus:

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.

Subject to Updates

As part of BCU’s commitment to providing excellent student experience, the content and structure of this course is being refreshed to ensure that it continues to meet the highest educational standards. This page will be updated with the revised course documentation by 31 January 2019.

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.
This course is not open to International students
Architecture and Design Right Column

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
Essential

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.

88 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2018/19
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.
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 or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 4 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. 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

Additional costs

The additional costs listed at the bottom of the page are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

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.

Download the full module specification

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.

Download the full module specification

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.

Download the full module specification

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.

Download the full module specification

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.

Download the full module specification

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.

Download the full module specification

Year one

The core modules covered are Design Studio, Cultural Context and Technology. The Design Studio makes up 50 per cent of the course combining theory with practice. Our Collaborative Practice (Co.LAB) module involves you in live projects with external agencies. The Praxis module supports the delivery of key skills and experience of real-world practice.

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.

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

History of Modern Architecture
15 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)

Download the full module specification

Environmental Design Strategies
15 credits

Understanding the context of technological choices is important to introducing the linkage between technology and space/form. At level 4 students are introduced to three principal strands of technology: Structures; Environment and Materials. Curriculum in these three strands is delivered in two modules that set technological developments in their historical context.

Download the full module specification

Design Principles
30 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 the physical and ideological relationship between them. Cross-disciplinary practice is facilitated to test innovative approaches at diverse scales between 1:10000 to 1:20.

Download the full module specification

History of Pre-Modern Architecture
15 credits

This lecture series provides students with the opportunity to explore the constructed environment as a reflection of and in relationship to its cultural context, informed by the level theme of ‘principles’, through the analysis of its formal qualities and criticism. It promotes critical and analytical thinking as an integral component of design explored through a selection of precedents from the pre-modern period to explore the boundary between design practice and theory and demystify the design process.

Download the full module specification

Structures and Materials
15 credits

Understanding the context of technological choices is important to introducing the linkage between technology and space/form. At level 4 students are introduced to three principal strands of technology: Structures; Environment and Materials. Curriculum in these three strands is delivered in two modules that set technological developments in their historical context.

Download the full module specification

Design Resolution 1
30 credits

Design Resolution is the second module in the suite of design modules at Level 4 and it introduces students to the ideological, theoretical, historical and cultural context of the non-designed and designed environments. Related to the level theme of ‘principles’ the module introduces the overarching theme of modernity, examined at multiple scales: of the city, the landscape, the building and the detail. The module focuses on the pre-modern phase. It also introduces student to the discourses (terminology, texts and representations) of architecture, landscape and urbanism through reading, writing and diagramming.

Download the full module specification

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.

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

Architectural Theory
15 credits

This module builds on Level 4 Cultural Context Modules in History of Modern Architecture ARC4010 and History of Pre-Modern Architecture ARC4013 and is linked to Design Process Module ARC5012 and Praxis ARC5011. Related to the Level theme of process the module extends knowledge of design theory. Students will engage with critical reflection on a variety of contemporary design processes, relating them to social, historical, and technological contexts. This module is relates to Design Process, and Praxis modules.

Download the full module specification

Work experience (Praxis)
15 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place or a live case study, and to critically reflect upon your learning and future options in that context. You will be assisted by the School in arranging an appropriate work-placement following completion of a proforma and an informal interview with academic staff. Typically, the placement duration is for 2 weeks.

Download the full module specification

Design Process
30 credits

Design Projects at Level 5 are linked by the theme of process. Students investigate various design methodologies, and approaches to problem solving through experimentation and documentation. The module feeds forward to Design Resolution 2.

Download the full module specification

Collaborative Practice
15 credits

Birmingham School of Architecture and Design occupies a distinctive interdisciplinary territory between the study and practices of the creative arts and built environment professions. Links with the professional context are reinforced through alumni, through visiting tutors, through internationally renowned invited lecturers and through live research projects. Equally, the School’s position within ADM means that students and staff are distinctly well connected to the creative scene of the city and university.

Download the full module specification

Technical Integration
15 credits

Level 5 technology requires students to consider the integration of engineering systems and respond to statutory requirements. The project brief simulates a 'real world' scenario for a modest building required by a demanding client. Development of the project proposals is supported by lectures and seminars from specialists as well as design reviews. The project outputs match those commonly seen in practice in response to a Client’s request for proposals for possible projects.

Download the full module specification

Design Resolution 2
30 credits

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.

Download the full module specification

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.

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

Critical Study in Architectrue
30 credits

Related to the Level theme of exploration and identity, this module traces the development of the contemporary designed environment to changes in the concept and understanding of ‘time’ and ‘space’ from pre-industrial, to industrial and postindustrial city.

Download the full module specification

Design Exploration
30 credits

Design projects at level 6 aim to evolve the understanding of architectural context from the local to the global, at the same time looking towards cross-disciplinary practice to test innovative approaches at diverse scales of 1:1000000 to 1:1, through issues such as the study of dynamic cities and understanding the implications of new digital technologies. Strategies in sustainable development and technology will be developed and tested against architectural projects.

Download the full module specification

Technical Investigation
15 credits

Technology at Level 6 requires students to adopt an inquiry-based approach to their studies. This moves study away from a passive process where students receive knowledge from tutors towards an active mode of study where students fully participate in the acquisition and construction of their knowledge. Level 6 is a crucial threshold for students who will enter the work place; graduates in practice are expected to acquire new knowledge as necessary and inquiry-based learning is an essential skill for employability.

Download the full module specification

Design Resolution 3
45 credits

Design projects at level 6 are linked by the theme of ‘exploration’ as a formative design process and aim to evolve the understanding of architectural context from the local to the global, at the same time looking towards cross-disciplinary practice to test innovative approaches at diverse scales of 1:1000000 to 1:1, through issues such as the study of dynamic cities and understanding the implications of new digital technologies. Strategies in sustainable development and technology will be developed and tested against architectural projects.

Download the full module specification

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'.

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.

Live projects in action

Ash and Lacy

Students visited aluminium manufacturers Ash and Lacy, where they were tasked with designing and producing aluminium models for the entrance of our brand new Birmingham Conservatoire.

Read more about the project

With a team of supportive staff, you will feel part of the school and begin shaping your career in architecture and allied professions from the first year. The choices you make will ultimately influence the type of architect or designer you become. As a School, we place a significant focus on encouraging and developing the individual skills our students have.

From first year you will participate in engaging, creative projects to help you understand the basics in design and drawing. With an emphasis on building confidence, enjoyment and getting to know you, this is a great entry point for you to start constructing your architectural career.

Our Co.LAB projects directly engage the school, its staff and students both within and across their disciplines of architecture, landscape, interiors and product. We use the city of Birmingham as a laboratory to test ideas, prove concepts and deliver real projects for the 21st century.

In your third year, you have the opportunity to make informed choices about your final projected facilitating the development of your own interests.

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.

Student stories Elizabeth Clayton

Assistant Architect

Elizabeth is an Assistant Architect at Axis Design Architects Ltd in Birmingham. She got the job part-way through her degree, working during her final summer at university, part-time through her final year and started full-time when she graduated.

Student stories Holly Rose Doron

Chartered Member of RIBA 

As well as being a practising architect at APEC Architects, Holly now also tutors second year BA (Hons) Architecture students at the School she graduated from. The 28 year-old from Birmingham now finds herself bridging the “gap between academia and practice” having also acquired Chartered Membership status at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). 

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: Charlotte Taylor – BA Architecture

Charlotte Taylor BA Architecture

A love of design, as well as being impressed with the facilities and work displayed at our Open Days, inspired Charlotte Taylor to study Architecture at Birmingham City University. Strengthening her skills with a placement at Glenn Howells Architects, she now plans to stay the course and graduate as a fully-qualified architect.

“I have been interested in architecture from an early age – I remember when I was 11, when I moved house I drew a to-scale floor plan of my bedroom and designed where I wanted everything to go. Alongside that, I’ve always loved art and design just as much as maths and physics, so a combination of all three made Architecture the perfect choice.

“I chose Birmingham City University as when I first visited, I felt totally at home and very comfortable. None of the other universities I visited had an atmosphere like the University has, and you could tell the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design was extremely proud of its students.

“As part of our Praxis module, we had to take part in a two-week placement, which I think is a great idea, as not many other universities offer this. I worked at Glenn Howells Architects, designing a reception space for a student accommodation building in Selly Oak. I think going on a placement allows you to get a taste of what it’s like to work in practice, as well as helping you determine what sort of practice you want to go into.

“For the future, I plan on carrying out the full seven-year course. I am really enjoying my time here and hope to progress onto my Master’s for my Part II.”

Case study: Abdul Azeem – BA Architecture

Abdul Azeem - BA Architecture

With a love of art, design and technology, studying BA Architecture was an easy decision for Abdul Azeem. In his second year, he’s enhanced his skills further by undertaking a work placement with Birmingham-based D5 Architects, getting a first-hand glimpse into how an architecture practice works.

“I chose Architecture because of my passion for art and design, as well as a love of technology in buildings. I chose Birmingham City University because of the wide range of services available, such as the workshops and IT spaces. I am local to Birmingham, and I’d definitely recommend students from around the world to come study here, as it’s very educational and welcoming.

“I had the opportunity to undertake a work placement, thanks to the help of my tutors. Working at D5 Architects, the placement was amazing – seeing how my colleagues would interact in a professional environment was incredible. While there, I helped my colleagues with projects such as photo shopping certain renders, researching materials or information, and model making. I definitely feel like I have gained a lot from being in the placement, such as presentation quality, time management and confidence.

“My plans for the future are to move on to complete the full RIBA course.”

Case study: Tatiana Pachina – BA Architecture

Tatiana Pachina - BA Architecture

Originally from Russia, Tatiana Pachina wanted to study in the UK due to the recognition a UK-based education receives. Electing to study at Birmingham City University due to its renowned reputation, BA (Hons) Architecture student Tatiana has recently completed a placement with Birmingham-based architectural practice Gensler, gaining vital first-hand experience.

“I decided to study Architecture in the UK for several reasons. Firstly, a UK education is recognised by employers and governments all over the world, and secondly, studying in the UK would give me an opportunity to improve my English, and meet people from different countries and cultures. I came over to study from Russia in 2012, and it took some time to get used to my new surroundings. If you’re an international student considering studying in the UK, my advice would be to talk, make new friends and be active in university life.

“The course has enabled me to improve my drawing skills, graphic design, model making and ability to gather some architectural knowledge. In addition, I have gotten much more confident when it comes to presenting my ideas to others.

“I recently enjoyed a work placement with Gensler, which has been the best part of my second year. It was a great opportunity to see how architects and designers work together in real life, as well as allowing me to get a feel for working in the architecture industry. With Gensler employing a small staff, it gave me chance to talk to all of them and find out what projects they were working on.

“The work placement was a good experience for me – I found out new things about the industry, I have learned some new skills and made some connections with the real world of architecture.”

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.

Graduate jobs

More than 80 per cent of our graduates succeed in securing positions within the architectural and landscaping sectors. Graduates go on to work with prestigious firms in roles such as architects and graphic design interns, or even set up their own companies. Here are just a few of their stories:

Ben Derbyshire

Ben DerbyshireBen Derbyshire is the Managing Partner of HTA Design LLP, a multidisciplinary firm of 120 architects, graphic designers, planners, landscape architects, web designers and sustainability consultants.

Examples of his practice’s notable projects, both in the UK and abroad, include Greenwich Millennium Village, Waterport Terraces in Gibraltar, the redevelopment of Queen Elizabeth's Children's Hospital and the South Acton regeneration project in London and Hanham Hall zero carbon community in Bristol.

Francis Lee

Chief Executive Officer of global architectural practice DP Architects Francis Lee has worked all over the world on multi-million pound projects.

Yinka Danmole

Graduate Yinka Danmole set up his practice, Danmole Design Studios and now works on commission based projects with local organisations. Also setting up their own firm are architecture graduates Mohamed Rahouma and Shamil Chauhan who launched an independent design studio called 'Backpack Studio 'based in Manchester.

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.

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. 

External Parkside Building and Water Feature
Parkside building from Curzon building
Parkside Interior
3D Printer - Arch and Design
CAD LAB - Arch and Design
Laser Cutter - Arch and Design
Spray Booth - Arch and Design
Kiln Room - Arch and Design
Glass Cutting - Arch and Design
Plaster - Arch and Design
Ceramics - Arch and Design
Water Jet 3 - Arch and Design
Woodwork 2 - Arch and Design
Bag Press 1 - Arch and Design
Bag Press 2 - Arch and Design
CNC Router - Arch and Design
4 Axis Miller - Arch and Design
Metal - Arch and Design
Product Studio - Arch and Design
Product Studio 3 - Arch and Design
Product Studio 4 - Arch and Design
Arch Studios 1 - Arch and Design
Arch Studios 3 - Arch and Design
Arch studio - Arch and Design
Floor 4 - Arch and Design
Arch Collab Space - Arch and Design
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.

Read Kevin's full profile

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. 

Read Hannah's full profile

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).

Read Victoria's full profile

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).

Read Kasia's full profile

Alessandro Columbano

Senior Lecturer / Level 6 Leader

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 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, Alessandro 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 in the city’s cultural network through an ongoing process of collaborative practice.

Read Alessandro's full profile

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. 

Read David's full profile

Jemma Browne profile

Jemma Browne

Lecturer in History & Theory, Cultural Context

Jemma teaches history and theory of Architecture across many of the courses in the School, as well as tutoring in the architectural and interior design studios at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She is currently completing her Doctoral research ‘Spatial Representations of Memory and Identity in the City’. Her research examines how post-industrial cities in the UK are spatially transformed through time by the layering of new and existing expressions of cultural identity; in particular as a result of postcolonial migration. The project seeks to understand the role that the collective memory of post–colonial diasporic communities plays in the formation of the cultural identity of space within UK cities.

Read Jemma's full profile

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. 

Read Christian's full profile

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.

Read Michael's full profile

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.

Read Jim's full profile

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.

Read Jieling's full profile

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.

Read Lucas' full profile