The only course at the University that combines the intellectual challenge of a Cambridge degree with the opportunity for creative design.
|UCAS code||K100 BA/Arch
|Colleges||Available at all Colleges except Corpus Christi, Homerton, Hughes Hall and St Catharine's
|2012 entry||Applications per place: 10
Number accepted: 45
|Open days and events 2013||College open days (arts)
Cambridge Open Days - 4 July, 5 July 2013
|Contact details|| 01223 332950
Amazing architectural heritage
Cambridge's beautiful buildings include the work of great architects including Sir Christopher Wren, Sir James Stirling, Edward Cullinan and Sir Michael Hopkins. The teaching is ranked among the best in the country, and there's an outstanding record of graduate achievement.
Our course is 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 which draw on the humanities (history and theory) and sciences (construction, environmental design and structures).
Our small and friendly Department has a very good staff:student ratio and we have a superb library, dedicated computer facilities and photographic areas. The Department provides studio space and workshop facilities.
Successful completion of our full three-year undergraduate course carries exemption from the Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) Part 1 examinations - the first stage in qualifying as an architect.
The Department offers a RIBA Part 2 validated option in its Environmental Design in Architecture MPhil and a RIBA Part 3 course through the University's Institute of Continuing Education as well.
What we're looking for
An enthusiasm for both the arts and the sciences is desirable. The ability to draw and an interest in the history of art and architecture are important, as is a knowledge of mathematics to at least a good GCSE standard.
Students can opt to move to other courses within the University after Part IA. However, this is very rarer and most architecture students stay for all three years (see above regarding professional qualification.
Careers and research
Most graduates continue into professional training, but a number enter research. We have a long-standing tradition of research excellence, in areas such as history and philosophy of architecture, environmentally-responsible design, architecture and the moving image, urban design and transport planning, and disaster relief.
It is not possible to study Architecture as an affiliated course (ie in one year less than usual). However, if you have already completed an undergraduate degree 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 would not normally pay the separate College fees.) Please seek advice about your application as early as possible from one of the mature Colleges.
Throughout the course, you have two 'studio' days each week for set projects which require you to produce models and drawings to communicate your design ideas.
You're supervised on these weekly during individual studio tutorials and critical reviews which encourage you to explore different approaches and develop skills. The resulting portfolio accounts for 60 per cent of the overall marks each year.
Lectures, classes and visits to completed buildings or buildings under construction/restoration cover the rest of the curriculum. You attend a lecture a week on each paper as well as small-group supervisions, for which you're required to complete essays and undertake preparation.
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:
- Introduction to Architectural History/Theory (pre-1900)
- Introduction to Architectural History/Theory (post-1900)
- Fundamental Principles of Construction
- Fundamental Principles of Structural Design
- Fundamental Principles of Environmental Design
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 a reasonable-sized building. 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 Part IA knowledge:
- Studies in History and Theories of Architecture, Urbanism and Design
- Principles of Construction
- Principles of Structural Design
- Principles of Environmental Design
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 whose technical realisation 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:
- Advanced Studies in Historical and Theoretical Aspects of Architecture and Urbanism
- Management, Practice and Law
- Advanced Studies in Construction Technology, Structural Analysis and Environmental Design Related to Case Studies
- Architectural Engineering (examined by coursework)
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.
Typical offers require
A Level: A*AA
IB: 40-41 points, with 776 at Higher Level
For other qualifications, see our main Entrance requirements pages.
Essential: No specific subjects
Desirable: AS Level/IB Standard Level Mathematics or Physics
There is no prescribed combination of A Level (or equivalent) subjects required for the Architecture course. Applicants with backgrounds in either the humanities or the sciences have been successful, although a combination of arts and science subjects is considered the best preparation. The majority of applicants have studied Art or History of Art, which provides a better preparation for the course than subjects such as Design Technology and Technical Graphics. Mathematics at A Level (or equivalent) is also encouraged.
A strong interest and commitment to the discipline is essential and all applicants are expected to show a portfolio of recent work at interview (see box below).
All applicants are expected to show a portfolio of recent work at interview but this isn't expected to be work of an architectural nature (eg plans, sections etc).
Admissions Tutors will 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.
The table below sets out the ways in which each College assesses applicants for this subject. For more information about these methods of assessment and why we use them, see the main Admissions tests and written work page.
Please note: in addition, all applicants for Architecture are expected to show a portfolio of recent work at interview.
|College||Assessment of applicant for this subject|
|Christ's||Portfolio review at interview|
|Churchill||School/college essays and portfolio review at interview|
|Clare||An exercise/project to be done at home in advance of interview; Portfolio review at interview|
|Corpus Christi||Not available at this College|
|Downing||Portfolio review at interview|
|Emmanuel||Preparatory study before interview|
|Fitzwilliam||Written/drawing assignment prior to interview|
|Girton||Written/drawing assignment prior to interview|
|Gonville & Caius||Portfolio review at interview|
|Homerton||Not available at this College|
|Hughes Hall||Not available at this College|
|Jesus||Test at interview|
|King's||'Portfolio review at interview|
|Lucy Cavendish||Test at interview; Drawing test; Portfolio review at interview|
|Magdalene||Written/drawing test prior to interview|
|Murray Edwards||Preparatory study before interview; Portfolio review at interview|
|Newnham||School/college essays; Portfolio review at interview|
|Pembroke||Sketch to be submitted before interview; Written test at interview.|
|Peterhouse||Project set by College; Portfolio review at interview|
|Queens'||Portfolio review at interview|
|Robinson||Portfolio review at interview|
|St Catharine's||Not available at this College|
|St Edmund's||Project set by College; Portfolio review at interview|
|St John's||School/college essay; Portfolio review at interview|
|Selwyn||Portfolio review at interview|
|Sidney Sussex||Portfolio review at interview|
|Trinity||Test at interview; Portfolio review at interview|
|Trinity Hall||Interview only|
|Wolfson||Written/illustrated pre-interview task; Portfolio review at interview|
Find out more about Architecture at Cambridge
- Course website - Explore Architecture in more detail on the course website.
Tools to help you with your Architecture application
- Application information - Information about applying to study Architecture at Cambridge.
The student experience
- ArcSoc - Find out more about the Cambridge University Architecture Society and what they get up to.
From September 2012, every undergraduate course of more than one year's duration will have a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS allows you to compare 17 pieces of information about individual courses at different higher education institutions.
However, please note that superficially similar courses often have very different structures and objectives, and that the teaching, support and learning environment that best suits you can only be determined by identifying your own interests, needs, expectations and goals, and comparing them with detailed institution- and course-specific information.
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