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Architectural Studies (BSc)

  • Subject area: Architecture
  • Next intake: September 2025
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Mode: Full time

Why study this course

This course is for entry in September 2025. We are still accepting applications for September 2024 for the five-year Architecture (BSc/MArch).

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A leading school of architecture

Study in one of the top 5 schools of architecture in the UK, joining our global community of staff and students.

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Funded study visits

Benefit from School-funded study visits in Wales, UK and overseas, experiencing architecture first-hand and alongside teaching staff.

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A focus on real world issues and global challenges

Our BSc promotes ‘grounded creativity’ through exposure to global challenges and engagement with local communities.

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Dedicated studio environments  

Our bespoke facilities, located in a historical building, include hybrid studios, workshops, digital fabrication and a Living Lab.

At the Welsh School of Architecture you’ll develop a thorough grounding in architecture as a discipline and a strong emerging sense of your own approach to design.

Through a combination of design project work and taught modules, you’ll study the varied historical, theoretical, cultural, political, and geographical dimensions of architecture. You will consider how architecture is made, how it performs and how technological choices can support the wellbeing of present and future generations and care for the planet. You’ll explore issues around professional and ethical responsibility to reflect on the role of the architect in society and in response to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Your design studies will continually involve imaginative engagement with real-world issues and global challenges such as climate change within localised contexts.  The design studio is at the centre of our community, a place where you’ll mix with students, staff, and industry practitioners to address ethical, global, climatic and professional issues.

The BSc facilitates progression onto the MArch (Part 2), as well as our suite of postgraduate programmes. Students intending to become registered architects in the United Kingdom will need to complete a Part 3 programme such as our Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture: Professional Practice.

Accreditations

Subject area: Architecture

  • academic-schoolWelsh School of Architecture
  • icon-chatGet in touch
  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 4430
  • MarkerKing Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3NB

Entry requirements

We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. Typical offers are as follows:

A level

AAA-AAB

Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

Our grade range covers our standard offer and contextual offer. We carefully consider the circumstances in which you've been studying (your contextual data) upon application.

  • Eligible students will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range.
  • Where there is no grade range advertised and/or where there are selection processes in place (like an interview) you may receive additional points in the selection process or be guaranteed interview/consideration.

Learn about eligible courses and how contextual data is applied.

International Baccalaureate

36-34 overall including 6 in one HL subject or 666 in 3 HL subjects. 

Baccalaureate Wales

From September 2023, there will be a new qualification called the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (level 3). This qualification will replace the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (Welsh Baccalaureate). The qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

If you do not have a background in an art and design subject, we may ask you to submit a portfolio alongside your application. The portfolio should contain work that demonstrates your creative capacity; this could be showcasing your skills in drawing, photography, pottery, a spatial practice through dance, choreography or filmmaking or anything that captures your individuality.

You must also have or be working towards:
- English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade C/4 or an equivalent (such as A-levels). If you require a Student visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements.
- GCSE Maths grade B/6 or equivalent qualification (subject and grade). If you are taking A-level Maths (or equivalent), GCSE Maths is not required. Core Maths may also be accepted in place of GCSE Maths.

We do not accept Critical Thinking, General Studies, Citizenship Studies, or other similar equivalent subjects.
We will accept a combination of BTEC subjects, A-levels, and other qualifications, subject to the course specific grade and subject requirements.

GCSE

Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 overall with a minimum of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading, and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

At least 69 overall with a minimum of 59 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Other qualifications from inside the UK

BTEC

DDD in a BTEC Extended Diploma in any subject. 

T level

D in T Level Design, surveying and planning for construction.

Qualifications from outside the UK

See our qualification equivalences guide

Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.

Tuition fees for 2025 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2025/26 academic year.

The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in the second and subsequent years of a course as permitted by law or Welsh Government policy. Where applicable we will notify you of any change in tuition fee by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which the fee will increase.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2025/26 academic year.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2025/26 academic year.

Additional costs

We will cover the costs of all essential aspects of study, including essential printing and plotting, software licenses and materials for basic and required model making. You may want to buy additional model making materials beyond what is deemed essential.

We also provide funding to cover the essential elements of study trips and site or field visits. However, sometimes optional modules or projects may incur additional costs beyond what the school covers. We will make sure these choices are always optional, with alternatives available without the higher costs.

Course specific equipment

You will need basic stationery and materials for drawing and sketching throughout the course. We will provide a ‘starter pack’ of drafting equipment ready for use in your Year 1 studio.

We provide a range of high-spec PCs for students to access, but we do recommend you acquire a laptop computer to be able to access digital learning materials and run specific software.

You might also find it useful to have a camera for photographing models and other work and for recording sites and field trips, and a a tablet or phone for recording sound or study-related activities.

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Living costs

We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Course structure

The BSc is a three-year full-time programme with modules varying in size from 10 to 60 credits. Each year consists of 120-credits. 

Modules in each year of the programme are based around five areas:

  • Architectural Design
  • Architectural Technology
  • History & Theory
  • Design Skills, Principles & Methods
  • Practice & Ethics

Design studio modules are 50 or 60 credits. This recognises the emphasis on design project work within the programme and the need for students to show how they can integrate the learning from their other modules into their design projects.

The programme is structured to support the development of your own interests. Within your Year Two modules you will be able to choose from a range of topics, including design project, essay subjects and technical focus. In Year Three you can choose between optional thematic studio modules, based on expertise within our School.  

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2025/2026 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2025.

Year one

In this foundational year you will be introduced to the design studio, where you will learn from one another and develop an architectural sense of knowing and designing. You will work in groups, undertake basic research, take risks and adopt a process of reflective learning and development as part of a collaborative and inclusive studio culture. You will develop an ethical awareness of your actions. Whilst each of the modules will be assessed independently, aspects such as design skills, principles and methods and architectural technology will feed into the spring semester portfolio submission.

A study visit will provide further opportunities to socialise with peers and tutors while engaging with real-world places, buildings, environments, communities incorporating context across all subject threads.

Year two

Building on the foundations of the previous year you will apply techniques, skills, and knowledge to inform and deepen your learning, particularly within the integrated studio project. You will increase your ability to respond to increasingly complex contexts, spatial arrangements, environmental performance and building typologies, as your awareness of professional practice expands.

Design projects will increase in scale and socio-economic engagement, addressing notions of dwelling and community projects. Greater emphasis will be placed on the research, analysis, evaluation and interpretation of data and parameters that inform design decisions. Computational skills that support diverse ways of representing, and modelling ideas will be enhanced.

A study visit will be structured around the integrated studio. Locations will vary across the UK and Europe as relevant to the studio.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Design in ContextAR020120 credits
Architectural Technology in ContextAR020210 credits
Architecture in ContextAR020310 credits
Architecture & Professional ContextsAR020410 credits
Design DeveoplmentAR020510 credits
Conceptualising DesignAR020660 credits

Year three

In Year Three you can select an optional thematic studio module to focus your studies on a particular subject through design and theory into practice and technical integration. You will develop your abilities in environmental modelling, theoretical thinking, and presentation techniques. Your work is reflected through your ongoing practice and ethics portfolio, encouraging a personal ethical stance and preparing you for employment in the following year.

A study visit will typically be coordinated around your chosen thematic studios, identifying contexts appropriate to the theme and integrated subject threads. Locations will vary across the UK and further afield as relevant to the studio.

The thematic studios integrate design, history and theory, and architectural technology to provide greater theoretical and technical support alongside design project work.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Design ManifestoAR030120 credits
Integrating TechnologyAR030210 credits
Theories and ThinkersAR030310 credits
Architectural Practice & Economic ContextAR030410 credits
Design IntegrationAR030510 credits

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Student creating an architectural model
A student creating an architectural model in the studio.

Learning and assessment

At the heart of your experience at the Welsh School of Architecture will be the design project work that is core to the practice of architecture. Design project work is carried out in our purpose-built physical design studios; here you can work with your fellow students, share ideas and provide mutual support.  Your studies will be shaped by exposure to world-leading teacher-practitioners and researchers who, through weekly tutorials, will encourage you to develop new creative approaches to design. You’ll be encouraged to experiment with design, take creative risks and expand your thinking. 

As well as independent study, lectures will explore the contextual issues that inform design project work. Individual and small group tutorials and consultancies will provide feedback and feedforward on your work. Field trips and site visits provide an opportunity to experience architecture, places, and spaces first-hand, and to analyse contexts, cultures and communities to inform your design studies.

How will I be supported?

You will be supported in a number of ways throughout your learning experience.  We host regular year meetings for you and the rest of your cohort to discuss year-wide matters, and for us to listen and respond to your feedback. Module level support is provided by module leaders, and support for design projects and dissertations is provided by a Design Tutor.

You will meet with your Personal Tutor regularly to reflect on your progress and development, and the University also has a student-led mentoring service to support you through your studies. 

You will have access to all course materials, including lecture recordings, handouts, details of all assessments, assessment criteria and links to digital resources, via the Cardiff University Virtual Learning Environment.

Beyond the School, the University offers a range of services to help you with your career planning and runs events to help you manage your emotional, mental and physical health, support with financial issues, and support for students with disabilities.

How will I be assessed?

You will experience a range of different approaches to assessment, which allow you to demonstrate your learning across the subject and to gain valuable feedback which can be applied to future learning. 

As with other creative subjects, much of your assessment will be through coursework. This may be subject specific, such as a technical report or a portfolio of collated studies from one or more subjects. Through your design portfolio you will demonstrate your studio project work and include evidence of learning across the range of modules you have studied. Design Project Reviews, where you present your project work to a panel of reviewers, provide valuable feedback to inform your project work.  Reflective portfolios will assess personal insight on knowledge, observation and experiences within and across subjects and the discipline.  

What skills will I practise and develop?

On successful completion of your Programme, you will be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding:

KU 1 Interpret and evolve design briefs and subsequent proposals as a response to knowledge, observations and interpretations of site, communities, history, technology, people and users.

KU 2 Understand and integrate a range of sustainable building construction systems, assemblies and methods, including structures and materials, into architectural and urban design proposals.

KU 3 Introduce appropriate responses to site and occupant needs through services and sustainable technologies to reduce environmental impact.

KU 4 Synthesise the principles of building physics and performance within the context of environmental comfort, energy and daylight modelling, and life cycle analysis.

KU 5 Critically appraise and synthesise a knowledge of historical and cultural traditions, movements, styles and theories of architecture and associated arts.

Intellectual Skills:

IS 1 Associate and apply appropriate methods and techniques of analysis and interpretation within the histories and theories of architectural design. 

IS 2 Generate, through iterative processes, design concepts and strategies based on a thorough understanding of multiple contexts and inspirations.

IS 3 Analyse and reflect upon, the often contradicting, theoretical, physical, social and environmental parameters of architectural design in the development of architectural ideas.

IS 4 Critically assess design proposals and sites in terms of how they influence occupant wellbeing, environmental, climatic and biodiversity demands, construction and fire/ life safety.

IS 5 Propose and defend the spatial, experiential, and compositional qualities of design proposals as appropriate to building users and wider society.

Professional Practical Skills:

PPS 1 Produce complex and well-resolved architectural and urban design proposals that respond to diverse social, cultural, environmental and socio-economic contexts.

PPS 2 Critically evaluate and use appropriate analytical and research methods to develop reasoned arguments, hypotheses and design decisions.

PPS 3 Systematically select and integrate representation and presentation techniques and tools, aligned with professional conventions, in design, written, modelled and technology work.

PPS 4 Identify ethical responsibilities and fundamentals of practice, including the role of the architect within collaborative professional relationships and with regard to economic, legal and regulatory processes.

Transferable/Key Skills:

KS 1 Develop a personal position on design, ethical and professional contexts with regards to career ambitions.

KS 2 Identify and apply reflective techniques, that informs individual and collaborative performance and learning in complex and unpredictable situations.

KS 3 Apply diverse transferable/ employability skills including: working collaboratively and independently; time management; analytical, logical and lateral thinking to address complex problems; and listening, respecting and contributing to the opinions of others.

KS 4 Apply a range of effective and appropriate communication methods and media in the presentation of design proposals, research, theories, ideas and decisions.

Architecture student crits
External practitioners frequently lead design studio units and feed back to students on their work during architectural crits.

Careers

Career prospects

A degree in architecture opens up a range of opportunities across the world. Our ‘grounded creativity’ approach to design supports the development of graduates who are ready for professional practice, with the confidence and awareness to undertake professional responsibilities.

We have a strong record of employability and further study following graduation. During your studies we’ll support you to prepare a professional CV and portfolio. You’ll have access to dedicated career events and opportunities to learn from active architects and industry consultants, many of whom regularly advertise for graduate positions in the school.

We’re committed to ensuring you develop the six graduate attributes; skills that the University has identified are key skills valued by industry and employers. As a Cardiff graduate you will be:

  • Collaborative
  • An effective communicator
  • Ethically, socially, and environmentally aware
  • An independent and critical thinker
  • Innovative, enterprising, and commercially aware
  • Reflective and resilient

Our emphasis on collaborative and ethical practice will encourage you to develop a personal stance on the impact and influence of architecture on a global society.

Typically, graduates go on to proceed with their training to become registered architects. Previous graduates have also found the BSc is a good foundation for entry into other creative and design disciplines, going on to roles in web design, product design, automotive design, set design, graphic design or illustration, architectural journalism, photography, architectural history and craft/maker-based disciplines.

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

Graduate careers

  • Architect
  • Urban Designer
  • Research Officer

Fieldwork

A study visit to a major city in the UK or abroad occupies about one week in years one and two of the BSc course. Year three students also makes a substantial visit in the UK or abroad; this may be to either a city or a rural location, depending on the project pursued.

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Data from Discover Uni is not yet available for this course.


HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.