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Top architecture courses in the UK

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

...and deciding what is right for you.

You have decided that you would like to study architecture in the UK, and might be wondering what are the next steps. We have prepared a handy guide that covers all the main points you should consider. Continue reading to find out more.

What course is right for me?

There are several good courses that always make it to the top of the UK university rankings. If you don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered! Below, we have outlined differences between some of the top UK undergraduate architecture courses, to help you decide what is right for you. These four have been consistently among the top ten of the university rankings, for at least fifteen years.

The University of Cambridge

The Department of Architecture is located on Scroope Terrace, a quintessentially British row of houses shared with the Department of History of Art, close to the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Department of Engineering. With a history of over one hundred years, the Department boasts an impressive array of alumni.

RIBA Accredited Courses offered:

  • 3-year BA(Hons) course leading to RIBA Part 1

  • 2-year MPhil course leading to RIBA Part 2

  • 9-month Professional Practice PGCert course leading to ARB/RIBA Part 3


  • In addition to your regular for-credit lecture courses, proximity to History of Art and Engineering Departments will enable you to partake in non-credit lecture series offered in both of these departments, with world-leading specialists in each of these fields.

  • You can join a student-initiated society (ArcSoc) that organises several activities, including lectures with leading architecture practitioners, a yearly exhibition, a student-led materials shop, and a variety of cultural offerings like parties and life-drawing classes. ArcSoc members are highly ambitious individuals that will remain your friends for life.

  • You will be able to live in a college, which offers a suitable study environment at good rates, as well as affordable and nutritious meals.


  • Your application is made through the college system, so you have to be admitted both to the college and the Department in order to be admitted to the course.

The Architectural Association School of Architecture

The Architectural Association, or AA for short, has recently obtained degree-awarding powers. This is why it was not featured in rankings up to this point, although this new status might mean there is a new contender on the charts. Founded as a reaction against the architectural training of the mid-1850s, the school has retained its rebellious and non-conformist flair. As a result, projects from the school are always at the forefront of innovation.

RIBA Accredited Courses offered:

  • 3-year BA(Hons) course leading to RIBA Part 1

  • 2-year MArch course leading to RIBA Part 2

  • 9-month course leading to ARB/RIBA Part 3


  • Student-to-tutor ratio is excellent, and you get very frequent contact with your tutors, meaning that your learning curve will be very steep. At the same time, you are expected to develop independence in your work process.

  • You will have intermittent access to the AA’s woodland campus at Hooke Park, through your unit or as part of one of the AA’s Visiting Schools at Hooke. Both Hooke Park and the main Bedford Square campus are equipped with the latest state-of-the-art facilities.

  • The AA boasts an impressive public programme of evening and lunchtime lectures, exhibitions and symposia by world-renowned architects and designers, that you are welcome to join at any time.


  • You must create a separate application, and pay a separate application fee to cover administrative costs, as the AA does not accept applications through UCAS.

The Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL)

The Bartlett School is University College London’s Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. It is located in Bloomsbury, near other renowned colleges affiliated to the University of London, such as SOAS, Birkbeck and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Having recently undergone renovation, and set up a state-of-the-art new satellite campus at HereEast, the Bartlett is one of the most influential schools of architecture in the world.

RIBA Accredited Courses offered:

  • 3-year BSc course leading to RIBA Part 1

  • 2-year MArch course leading to RIBA Part 2

  • 5-year MSci course leading to both RIBA Part 1 and Part 2

  • 6, 11, 17 or 23-month course leading to ARB/RIBA Part 3


  • Having recently undergone renovation and a substantial investment, facilities at 22 Gordon Street and HereEast are spacious and include the latest cutting-edge technologies, from robotic fabrication to 3D scanning.

  • If you so wish, you may obtain both RIBA Part 1 and Part 2 by enrolling into a single course – this course offering is one of its kind and not available elsewhere in the UK. If you change your mind, you can exit with only Part 1, and do Part 2 elsewhere.

  • This integrated 5-year course is committed to offering you a placement on the fifth year, which could be a gateway to permanent employment at the end of your studies.


  • Until recently, one of the main advantages of the Bartlett over the AA (both based in London) used to be that the AA did not award university degrees, and the Bartlett has now lost that advantage.

The University of Bath

Located in the historic city of Bath, in the West of England, Bath consistently achieves top scores in university rankings. Bath’s Department of Architecture is unique in the UK because it is closely tied to the Department of Civil Engineering, providing its architecture students a solid understanding of construction.

RIBA Accredited Courses offered:

  • 4-year BSc (Hons) course leading to RIBA Part 1

  • 2-year MArch (Hons) course leading to RIBA Part 2

  • 12-month Professional Practice PGCert course leading to ARB/RIBA Part 3


  • Course modules are very robust and thorough, with strong emphasis on structural design thanks to the Department’s liaison with the Department of Engineering.

  • As part of this course, you will take part in two professional placements – in your second and third year, respectively. This can give you an edge when it comes to seeking permanent employment opportunities at the end of your studies, as you will already have professional experience, where other applicants may not.

  • Facilities at the Department’s campus (4 East South) are brand new, spacious and well-lit; with dedicated crit spaces. You will have ample space for working collaboratively with your peers and for personal study.


  • The undergraduate course is longer than others in the UK – if you are willing to finish sooner rather than later, this option might not be for you.

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