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BA (Hons) Architecture

Course Overview

The structure of the course supports the building of a geared architectural portfolio - providing your passport to practice.

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.

The university’s connections with over 100 architecture practices give you lots of opportunities for experience and placements. All second year students undergo a two week placement as part of their studies to gain experience of industry. The university works with companies including 3D Reid, ADP, BDP, D5 Architects, Daniel Hurd Associates, Glazzards, Hawkins Brown, Vivid Architects and many more. The placement gives you the chance to develop your skills and make vital connections which could lead to future employment.

The programme fully meets and exceeds the joint criteria set out by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Its scope is commensurate with the guidelines for RIBA validation and ARB prescription. This programme also meets the requirements of Article 47 of the European Directive on the recognition of Professional Qualifications.

The programme leads to the award of the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Architecture and exemption from RIBA Part 1 Examination.

Key information

    Course name

    BA (Hons) Architecture

    Total academic credits

    360 credits

    Qualification awarded

    BA with honours

    Awarding body

    Birmingham City University

    Professional recognition

    Architects Registration Board (ARB)

    Academic level

    Undergraduate (QCF_NQF Level 6)

    Study mode

    Full time


    3 years

    Tuition fees

    £12,000 per year



    Work placement


    Course location


Academic entry requirements

At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics. GCE A Level/ AS Level with AAB at A Level or 340 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels. Equivalent qualifications will be accepted.

English entry requirements

Students for whom English is not the first language must satisfy the University requirement for IELTS currently at 6.0 overall, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in other components.

Progression route

Further academic study at postgraduate level Graduate Diploma in Landscape Architecture, Master of Arts in Urban Design, Postgraduate Diploma / Master of Arts in Landscape Architecture, Master of Arts in Conservation of the Historic Environment, Master of Arts in Zero Carbon Architecture & Retrofit Design, MPhil and PhD degrees by research or professional career.

Career opportunities

Graduates of this course are able to embark upon careers as Architect, Architectural technologists, Interior and spatial designer, Building surveyor, Town planner, Residential surveyor, Landscape architect, Structural engineer and many more.


Year 1

  • History of Modern Architecture (15 credits)
  • Environmental Design Strategies (15 credits)
  • Design Principles (30 credits)
  • History of Pre-Modern Architecture (15 credits)
  • Structures and Materials (15 credits)
  • Design Resolution 1 (30 credits)


Year 2

  • Architectural Theory (15 credits)
  • Praxis (15 credits)
  • Design Process (30 credits)
  • Collaborative Practice (15 credits)
  • Technical Integration (15 credits)
  • Design Resolution 2 (30 credits)


Year 3

  • Critical Study in Architecture (30 credits)
  • Design Exploration (30 credits)
  • Technical Investigation (15 credits)
  • Design Resolution 3 (45 credits)


Assessment methods
100 per cent coursework, with no practical or written exams.


Main learning outcomes

Year 1

The core modules covered are Design Studio, Cultural Context and Technology. The Design Studio makes up 50 per cent of the course. This will combine theory and practice and will involve ʻliveʼ projects with external agencies. Modules in Collaborative Practice and Praxis support the programme delivering key skills and experience of real world practice projects.

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. There is a theme of "principles" throughout which introduces you to a range of concepts which provided the basis to architectural education.

You'll interpret the non-designed and designed environment, look at key areas of sustainable development and technology, and examine a range of architectural representational skills and media. Digital teaching in a range of CAD, nurbs modelling and rendering packages is blended with lectures in hand drawing, presentation and graphics to enable a competency in architectural communication.


Year 2

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 this year 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. The theme of "process" in year two allows you to explore more deeply the understanding of principles achieved at year 1.


Year 3

Your final year considers the architectural physical and cultural context, focused on the theme of exploration. You will look at 'dynamic cities' and the implications of new digital technologies, and you will develop and test 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.


Reasons for choosing this course

Programme philosophy

The BA (Hons) Architecture study

  • enables the student to become independent, critically reflective and creative
  • embeds employability, enterprise and entrepreneurship across the curriculum
  • inspires students to face the challenges of the world in which we live
  • introduces and extends knowledge in the subject of architecture and its cultural, technical and ideological context
  • is delivered through a variety of modes, exposing students to a range of methods of iteration and understanding
  • is dynamic, absorbing new ideas and responding to external changes and opportunities
  • encourages and enables interdisciplinary cooperation and collaboration
  • synthesises design based activity, cultural context and technology
  • explores the limits of architectural practise


Programme aim

The aim of the programme are to:

  • The degree programme is designed to equip students with a knowledge and understanding of architecture fully meeting and exceeding ARB/RIBA Pt1 criteria to BA(Hons) level. Its scope is commensurate with the guidelines of the Joint Validation Panel for RIBA Part 1 and ARB Criteria, with the Quality Assurance Agency benchmarks for architecture, and with Article 47 of the European Commission Architects Directive
  • equip students with a range of critical and cognate skills to facilitate participation in both academic and professional environments at undergraduate honours degree level
  • enable students to identify and develop a propositionally based position with regard to the study and practise of architecture
  • enable students to succeed within the profession of architecture, the construction industry and allied fields of employment
  • explore the possibilities of architecture as a cultural practise
  • explore the possibilities and limits of urban space
  • explore the meanings, definitions, ramifications and limits of sustainability

The programme embodies the Part 1 graduate attributes as prescribed by the ARB and RIBA and maps these onto its structure. These are:

GA1 With regard to meeting the eleven General Criteria at Parts 1 and 2 above, the Part 1 will be awarded to students who have:

  • ability to generate design proposals using understanding of a body of knowledge, some at the current boundaries of professional practice and the academic discipline of architecture
  • ability to apply a range of communication methods and media to present design proposals clearly and effectively
  • understanding of the alternative materials, processes and techniques that apply to architectural design and building construction
  • ability to evaluate evidence arguments and assumptions in order to make and present sound judgments within a structured discourse relating to architectural culture, theory and design
  • knowledge of the context of the architect and the construction industry, and the professional qualities needed for decision making in complex and unpredictable circumstances
  • ability to identify individual learning needs and understand the personal responsibility required for further professional education


The programme provides learners with:

  • an educational framework that supports a rigorous and intellectually demanding academic and vocationally pertinent experience
  • learning opportunities for progressive and integrated accomplishment, understanding and experience in architecture to enable creative and critical participation in discourse and practice with self-confidence, enthusiasm and commitment to the profession
  • a curriculum which provides a rigorous framework emphasising the development of independent judgment, accountability and responsibility in the discipline of architecture towards the realisation of socially and physically sustainable designed environments
  • a supportive environment encouraging confidence, competence and independence in learning, maximising opportunities for individual development, grounding further academic study and progression to full professional qualification
  • a structure of undergraduate study supporting students with traditional and non-traditional education, experience and qualifications appropriate to the broad scope of architectural studies, addressing educational and professional diversity