With examples of outstanding buildings dating from the Middle Ages to the present day, Cambridge provides the perfect setting to study architecture. Both teaching and research are ranked amongst the best in the country. At Cambridge, you’re taught by practising architects and academics who are leading experts in their field.
Our course is unashamedly academic in approach, emphasising architecture as a cultural as well as technological subject. The core of the teaching programme is in practical design carried out in studios (from the large scale of a city to the smallest detail), and supported by lectures on both the humanities (history and theory) and sciences (construction, environmental design and structures).
Our small, friendly Department has a very good staff to student ratio. Facilities include a superb library, studios, reprographics areas and workshops, as well as spaces for making models and larger installations.
Successful completion of our full three-year undergraduate course carries exemption from the Architects Registration Board (ARB)/Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Part 1 – the first stage in qualifying as an architect.
The Department also offers a Masters in Architecture and Urban Design, which carries exemption from ARB/RIBA Part 2, and a ARB/RIBA Part 3 course (the final qualifying stage).
You must have an enthusiasm for both the arts and the sciences. The ability to draw and an interest in the history of art and architecture are essential, as is a knowledge of mathematics to at least a good GCSE standard.
It’s not possible to study Architecture as an affiliated course (ie in one year less than usual). However, if you’ve already completed an undergraduate degree at another university and now wish to study Architecture at Cambridge as a second undergraduate degree, you can apply to study the full three-year course. (In this case, you normally wouldn’t pay the separate College fee.) Please seek advice about your application as early as possible from one of the mature Colleges.
Each week you have two ‘studio’ days, for which you are set projects which require you to produce models and drawings to communicate your design ideas.
You are supervised on studio work in individual tutorials and group critical reviews which encourage you to explore different approaches and develop essential design skills. The resulting portfolio accounts for 60 per cent of your overall marks each year.
Lectures, classes and visits to completed buildings or buildings under construction/restoration cover the rest of the curriculum. You attend at least one lecture a week on each paper as well as small-group supervisions, for which you are required to complete essays and undertake preparation.
The studio work introduces the possibilities of architecture, with an emphasis on understanding and developing proficiency in traditional modes of architectural representation – models, collage, perspectives, elevations, plans and sections. You also master basic CAD skills, used in studio presentations. A study trip abroad is typically offered in the Easter vacation.
You take five lecture-based papers:
Assessment is through coursework and written examinations.
You choose from various options for studio work, with projects ranging in scale from mapping studies and interior interventions, to reasonable-sized buildings. Emphasis is on integrating the technical skills learnt in Part IA and in the ongoing Part IB lectures with your studio output. A voluntary study trip is usually offered.
In addition, you take four papers that build on your Part IA knowledge:
For the first, you submit two essays and sit a written examination. The remaining three papers are assessed by a written exam in each.
You choose from three studio options which vary in approach but all require you to produce a building design at the end of the year, the technical realisation of which is allied to a coherently framed conceptual approach. Again, a voluntary study trip is usually offered.
Four lecture-based papers together carry 20 per cent of your overall marks:
A written dissertation of 7,000-9,000 words on a topic of your choice accounts for the remaining 20 per cent of your marks.
Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).
Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.
All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.
All applicants invited to interview are expected to show a portfolio of recent work at the interview but this isn't expected to be work of an architectural nature (eg plans, sections etc).
Admissions Tutors want to see something that will illustrates your interests, experience and ability in the visual and material arts. Normally drawing and painting forms the basis of the portfolio but other media such as sculpture and photography may also be included. It's usually sufficient for three-dimensional work to be exhibited in photographs.
A sketchbook with ongoing drawings is extremely helpful and applicants are encouraged to take one to the interview. It may be in any media (pencil, charcoal, crayon etc) and should include a variety of subject matter. The work can be material prepared for school-leaving examinations but creative work executed outside formal courses is also welcome.
Portfolio requirements vary from College to College. Please see the Department website and individual College websites for further guidance.