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Architecture (BSc/MArch)

  • K100

3 years BSc, 2 years MArch (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

The BSc in Architectural Studies is a three-year modular undergraduate degree course. During the first and second years, the emphasis of the studio teaching alternates between a concern with the practical ‘making’ of architecture and with its broader physical, social and intellectual contexts. In the third year these concerns come together in longer studio (design) projects.

For those applicants with a first degree wishing to apply for the MArch Part 2 only, please visit our Postgraduate pages for further information.

The Welsh School of Architecture

Each year is comprised of 120 credits, through combinations of single, double, or multiple modules. Architectural Design is the focus of the course, as reflected by the 70 credits assigned to it in each year. The remaining 50 credits are allocated to modules in subjects associated with the cultural, technological and professional context of architecture.

Year 1

  • Architectural Design 1 AR1101 70 Credits
  • Architectural Technology 1A AR1102 10 Credits
  • Architectural Technology 1 AR1002 10 Credits
  • Building Through Time AR1007 20 Credits
  • Design Principles and Methods 1 AR1006 10 Credits
    • Year 2

      • Architectural Design 2 AR2201 70 Credits
      • Architectural Technology 2 AR2002 20 Credits
      • Architecture in Context AR2007 20 Credits
      • Design Principles and Methods 2 AR2006 10 Credits

      Year 3

      • Architectural Design 3 AR3301 70 Credits
      • Architectural Technology 3 AR3002 20 Credits
      • Issues in Contemporary Architecture AR3003 10 Credits
      • Practice Management and Economics AR3004 10 Credits
      • Design Principles and Methods 3 AR3006 10 Credits

      Key Facts

      UCAS Code K100
      Duration 3 years (BSc), 2 years (MArch)
      How to apply
      Accreditation This course is recognised by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for exemption from Part 1 (BSc) and Part 2 (MArch) of the RIBA's membership examinations.
      Typical places available Typical places available The School admits 75 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes, with a further 12 places available for direct entrants to the MArch
      Typical applications received 1000 (BSc) 200 (MArch)
      Scholarships & Bursaries
      Typical A-level offer AAA
      Admissions Tutors Admissions Administrator
      Tel Number 029 2087 5963
      Email address
      School website

BSc Year 1 - Architectural Design

Year one builds skills whilst fostering individual creativity. The first term uses a range of projects to focus on aspects of making, generation of ideas and response to contexts. Term two integrates these skills into a longer project, predicated on the design of a small building. Both urban and rural contexts will be addressed. ‘Vertical Studio’ occupies term three. Here years one and two work together in elective studio programs. Design is supported by Design Principles and Methods and Architectural Technology modules. There is also a week-long study visit to a major European city in which studies relate both to design and to the historical and theoretical issues.

BSc Year 1 —Indicative lecture modules:

Building Through Time (20 credits);

Architectural Technology 1 A (10 credits); Architectural Technology 1 (10 credits);

Design Principles and Methods 1 (10 credits).

BSc Year 2 - Architectural Design

During term one students work on concepts of ‘making place’ and sustainable living through a housing project in an urban context. Term two takes on broader social and contextual issues through a project to design a small public building in sensitive relationship to immediate context. Architectural Technology aims to develop a thorough understanding of domestic and medium sized buildings, and skills in the prediction of building performance combined with technical imagination. Term three runs as a Vertical Studio with Year one, (see above). A week is taken as a study visit to a major European city. Design Principles and Method supports design studio with increased emphasis on digital media. Architecture in Context offers in depth study of particular historical and theoretical issues.

BSc Year 2 — Indicative lecture modules:

Architecture in Context (20 credits);

Architectural Technology 2 (20 credits);

Design Principles and Methods 2 (10 credits).

BSc Year 3 - Architectural Design

In year three a range of studio options are offered, each with a particular intellectual focus and design agenda. The student will work within a thematic unit for the entire year, for work is structured into a continuous investigation specific to the unit. This moves from initial investigative and propositional work at the scale of the urban block or neighbourhood, to a subsequent close focus on a particular moderately complex building within the proposal. This will be explored at various scales; it will incorporate low environmental impact strategies; and use an appropriate architectonic language, brought to a good level of technical resolution. The third year study visit provides an opportunity for students to reflect on the work of the unit, within an international context. DPM 3 currently focusses on digital methods and media; Issues in Contemporary Architecture provides a theoretical background for studies; the Architectural Technology module addresses increasingly complex and integrative methods of environmental, structural and constructional design; Practice Management and Economics offers practice skills and preparation for the year four placement.

BSc Year 3 — Indicative lecture modules

Issues in Contemporary Architecture (10 credits);

Practice Management and Economics (10 credits);

Architectural Technology 3 (20 credits);

Design Principles and Methods 3 (10 credits).

Masters of Architecture

The MArch is a two-year second degree that combines experience in practice with challenges in advanced architectural design. Uniquely in the UK, the first year, which has its own modular structure, is conducted primarily in practice. Students return from practice to the school to pursue an intensive year of study and design to complete their RIBA Part 2 exemption. This structure creates a good balance between learning in practice and in the university.

Year 1

Design in Practice AR4401 60 Credits

Research Preparation AR4402 20 Credits

Reflective Practice AR4403 40 Credits

Year 2

Design Thesis AR5001 80 Credits

Dissertation AR5002 30 Credits

Practice Management and Economics AR5003 10 Credits

(MArch Module Structure 2015/16)

MArch Year 1- The Year of Education in Practice

Students are in paid employment based full-time in an architect’s office, but contact with the School is maintained throughout the year. Students are normally visited by a member of staff, and also return to the Welsh School of Architecture for short courses in aspects of architectural design, technology, research, professional practice and building economics. These are timed to allow those students wishing to work abroad to do so with the minimum of disruption and additional travel costs. Students working abroad (EU only) may be eligible to receive additional financial support through the current Erasmus Scheme.

MArch Year 2- Based full-time in the School

In the second year of the MArch, students are asked to establish their own position in architectural design, whilst meeting the requirements of the RIBA/ARB for Part 2 exemption. The focus of the year is the Design Thesis. Students choose from several Design Thesis units representing different themes and issues for contemporary architecture and urbanism. Each is led by an internal or external tutor. The themes may vary year on year but are related to research areas and strengths within the WSA in History and Theory, Practice Based Research and Architectural Science.

The Thesis begins with an induction phase designed to help students understand its challenges . Developing the Design Thesis involves using theoretically informed analysis of a range of spatial and social issues to construct an argument through architectural and urban design propositions. Students are encouraged to draw on precedents from the history of architecture to inform their approaches to form, language, tectonics, materials and representation.

MArch Year 2 students also submit a 10,000 word dissertation on a research topic for which they undertake preparatory work during the Year in Practice. This research can valuably support the Design Thesis, though students are currently able to determine the degree of connection between the two.

Architectural technology teaching is integrated with the Design Thesis, and specialist advice is provided through consultancies with experts in structural design, environmental design and fire safety. Studies in building economics and professional practice take place through a lecture module, though teaching is also closely integrated with the design work.

The Welsh School of Architecture aims to provide an inspiring and enriching educational experience for students by teaching from a world-leading research and scholarship base. The School engages with research and practice to ensure its teaching courses remain attractive and relevant.

The School develops integration across all aspects of the subject, with project-based studio teaching providing the focus, and encourages effective student-led and autonomous learning, underpinned by professional and personal development planning which is referred to as ‘reflective practice’.

The School produces students who are valued by the profession and who can compete successfully in the economic climate of today and the future, with skills that are valued by the architectural profession and transferable to other sectors.

In the School the studio is the focus of activity, the location for design teaching and learning, model-making tutorials, workshops and debate. The studios are also used for exhibitions and interim and final ‘crits’ - at which students display their work for critical discussion and assessment by staff, peers and visiting critics.

Contact time with staff is high, and students receive regular verbal and written feedback on their progress. Design projects and related exercises are assessed continuously through the year. At the end of each session, a portfolio of all design-related work is presented for formal examination.

Typical A-level Offer


A good academic base required, preferably indicating a balance of skills in visual arts, sciences and writing research. General Studies, Critical Thinking and PE are not considered.

Typical WBQ Offer  Grade A in the Core plus AA from two A Levels.
Typical Int Bacc Offer  36 points from a good academic combination of subjects
Other Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed information about alternative entry qualificationshere.

A list of commonly accepted alternative entry qualifications and admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be read here.

We also require all candidates to submit a small portfolio. Details of the portfolio requirements and a list of commonly accepted alternative entry qualifications and admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be read here.

In 2010, 92% of graduates were in employment or continuing their studies: 76% of the School’s graduates were in employment within six months of graduation, with a further 16% engaged in further study.

Employers included: architects practices, building energy consultants, town planning departments, construction companies, and universities. Career destinations included: architect, urban designer and research officer.

The majority of graduates proceed to a career in architectural practice, and are found in many eminent practices in the UK and across the world.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Architecture Admissions Administrator  

Telephone: 029 2087 5963 



School Website:

More information

School of Architecture