Why study this course
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.
Funded study visits
Benefit from School-funded study visits in Wales, UK and overseas, experiencing architecture first-hand and alongside teaching staff.
Our BSc promotes grounded creativity and responds to real-world challenges, producing quality graduates to address diverse demands and shape the future of design practice.
The Welsh School of Architecture has a reputation for being one of the best in the UK. Our aim is to make the world a better place through contextually sensitive, sustainable and beautiful architecture.
Through our courses, we support our students to become well-rounded and capable individuals, by addressing the full range of skills required to be an architect. These include creative design, building construction and performance, environmental design, issues of sustainability, matters of professional responsibility and the duties of an architect, and an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of architecture and urban design.
The BSc/MArch is a unique degree course as, after successful completion of the three-year ARB/RIBA Part 1 BSc with at least a 2:1 (or equivalent qualification from another university), students will spend most of the first year of the MArch in architectural practice. This is followed by a single, final year based in the school.
Part 1 and Part 2 of the UK professional qualification for architects are fulfilled by the BSc and MArch degrees, respectively. Both degrees are approved by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB). Students intending to become a registered architect in the United Kingdom will need to complete a Part 3 programme, for example our Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture: Professional Practice.
Most of your time on these courses is spent in the design studio, working on architectural design projects that grow in scale and complexity as you progress through them. Many of the skills mentioned above are developed through and integrated into design. We offer a range of working spaces, workshops and computer aided design facilities to support this.
You will be taught both by permanent academic staff and tutors from local and leading UK practices, providing an exciting mix of design approaches and experiences. As the leading school of architecture in Wales, we have good links with the Welsh Government, construction industry bodies and professional practice locally, and we also have strong international links.
If you already have a first degree and wish to apply for the MArch Part 2 only, please visit our postgraduate pages for more information.
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:
Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.
This grade range reflects our typical standard and contextual offers. We carefully consider your contextual data (the circumstances in which you've been studying) upon application. Eligible students applying for this course will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range.
36-34 overall including 6 in one HL subject or 666 in 3 HL subjects.
From 2023, the Welsh Baccalaureate will be renamed the Baccalaureate Wales Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate. This qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Other qualifications from inside the UK
DDD in a BTEC Extended Diploma in any subject.
D in T Level Design, surveying and planning for construction.
Additional entry requirements
Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.
Tuition fees for 2023 entry
Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.
Fees for home status
We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2023/24 academic year. Fees for the previous year were £9,000.
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2023/24 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 2023/24 academic year.
The School covers the cost of everything that is an essential part of the programme, this will be clearly detailed in all programme information and in any verbal instructions given by tutors. Costs associated with the sandwich year, such as travel and accommodation, are not covered by the School.
The University considers that the following costs do not need to be covered by schools as they are either not essential or are basic costs that a student should be expected to cover themselves:
- Laptop computers
- General stationery
- Text books (assumed to be available in the library)
- Basic copying / printing
If there are optional costs/fees to be covered by the student, these are not a requirement to pass the degree.
Course specific equipment
You are asked to bring basic drawing equipment. A laptop computer with appropriate software is highly recommended. Much of the software typically used is available through educational agreements at zero or reduced cost.
Any other equipment needed will be provided by the School. You have the opportunity to work within the School’s design studios, have access to a suite of PC computers running the necessary software and use large-format plotters, a digital laser cutter and a well-equipped workshop.
We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.
We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
We are currently working with our students to update and improve the content of this course. The information shown below reflects the current curriculum and is likely to change. The review of the course is expected to be completed by August 2023 and this page will be updated by end of October 2023 to reflect the changes.
The BSc is a three-year full-time modular course. Core modules vary in size from 10 to 70 credits. You need to earn 120 credits a year.
The MArch is a two-year second degree. The first year is spent mainly in architectural practice. It includes short courses in the School and a modular structure of associated coursework. The second year is taught in the School and is, again, modular, involving a major Design Thesis and a Dissertation.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2023/2024 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.
The modules in year one set a foundation for your development across all parts of the architectural curriculum, with the exception of economic and professional studies. There are studio based modules dedicated to architectural design and design principles and methods, lecture-based modules dedicated to architectural technology and the history and theory of architecture. A study visit to a major city occupies one week in the second term. In recent years students have visited Paris, Barcelona and Copenhagen.
Currently in the first term you would work in the studio on concepts of “making place” through the medium of a sustainable housing project. In the second term the projects address broader challenges, applying analysis of an existing settlement to a proposal for a small public building and attached public space.
Other modules in year two address issues of digital design and the physical and cultural context of architecture viewed through the research interests of the School’s staff and visiting lecturers.
We also aim to develop a thorough understanding of domestic and medium-span buildings, and to equip you with techniques to evaluate and predict the environmental performance of your designs.
As in year one, we will usually take a week-long study visit to a major city.
In the third year studio programme you will choose to work in one of a range of ‘units’. Each unit comprises a group of students, who work on the same architectural brief over the course of the year, supported by the tutors who devised that brief. The year starts with a master planning exercise embracing the broader context of site. The second term focuses on the design of a specific architectural proposal within this broader context.
The third year study visit serves as a preparatory stage to introduce the aim of second-term project.
Lecture-based modules continue to develop your understanding of technical, cultural and digital studies established in earlier years, while introducing topics such as practice management and economics.
The first year of the MArch – the Year of Education in Practice – is mainly spent working in architectural practice, whilst pursuing associated coursework modules.
Though you will be based full-time in an architect’s office, contact with the School is maintained. You are normally visited by a representative of the School and also return to the School for a number of short courses, which address aspects of architectural design and technology, research and cultural studies, 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. During the year a design project is set, and you will also be expected to reflect on your learning in practice and undertake preliminary work related to a dissertation.
The second year of the MArch is spent full-time in the School and aims to take you to an advanced level of architectural research and design. It offers an intense and lively forum for the exploration and discussion of issues in contemporary architecture and urbanism and includes modules in building economics and professional practice.
The focus of year five is the Design Thesis, which asks you to define and establish your own position in architectural design, while meeting the requirements of the RIBA/ARB Part 2 syllabus. The thesis is structured around thematic studios, or ‘units’ – led by design tutors who have expertise and interest in specific areas of research and/ or practice. The themes are often related to areas of research expertise within the School.
The year also includes a 10,000-word Dissertation on a topic for which you undertake preparatory research during the Year in Practice. You are encouraged to relate this research, where possible, to your Design Thesis. You are supported in its development by dedicated members of staff within the School.
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.
Learning and assessment
The School aims to provide an inspiring and enriching educational experience for you by teaching from a world-leading research and scholarship base (as demonstrated by our REF 2014 results).
Most of your time in the School will be spent in our design studio. Here the key teaching method is the traditional one-to-one tutorial, supported by lectures and group assignments into which all aspects of the subject are integrated.
The studio is the location for design teaching, model-making tutorials, workshops and debate. It is also used for exhibitions and “crits” – at which students display their work for critical discussion and assessment by staff, fellow students and visiting critics.
The School encourages effective student-led and independent learning, whether through site analysis, library research or “reflective practice”.
Your studies will also include regular lectures and seminars. Modules in history and theory of architecture, architectural technology, practice management and economics, and digital approaches to design are delivered predominantly this way. They frequently also entail an element of project based learning, or an integration with studio based design projects.
Teaching also includes the provision of online learning materials, such as briefs, bibliographies, readings and precedents, as appropriate to the module.
How will I be supported?
Each academic year is coordinated by a ‘year chair’ with responsibility to oversee student progress. You will also have a personal tutor with whom you can (in confidence) discuss any concerns that may affect your progress. Regular progress reviews are held throughout the year with the year team, and an open-door policy exists throughout the School.
The School provides opportunities for you to reflect on and define your individual learning needs. This generally takes the form of a reflective diary or sketch book. Increasingly these take the form of online blogs.
The architectural library is located in the same building as the School and provides easy access to resources and support. Electronic course materials are also generally held on the University network.
During the MArch Year of Education in Practice contact with the School is maintained throughout the year. You are normally visited by a member of staff or a member of the School’s alumni.
The University also offers a range of services for students to access, including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.
You will receive regular oral and written feedback on your progress throughout the course. Feedback on coursework is usually given using a standard feedback pro-forma or can be given orally, in a similar way to design project work.
How will I be assessed?
Contact time with staff is high and you will receive regular oral and written feedback on your progress throughout the course. Design projects and related exercises are assessed continuously. At the end of each year of study, a portfolio of all design-related work is presented for formal examination by panels of internal examiners and then for moderation by external examiners.
It is a requirement of our professional accrediting bodies that students meet all of their validation criteria. External examiners are expected to confirm that these requirements have been met.
Lecture-based courses are assessed through written examination and coursework submitted during the semester. Feedback on coursework is usually given using a standard feedback pro-forma or can be given orally, in a similar way to design project work.
The criteria by which assessments are made are contained in the School’s Teaching Handbook, in project and coursework documentation, and explained at introduction to the various modules and design projects.
In MArch year one (Education in Practice) you are asked to undertake assignments which enable you to reflect on office processes and procedures as well as your own individual learning. You will conduct research in your office environment and critically evaluate your experience through an online e-portfolio and blog, and regular written feedback is given to you as this progresses. Assessment is based on the degree by which you reflect on your experience, rather than on the nature of the experience itself. Progress on work is also monitored through visits to students in their workplaces.
As part of the Dissertation module in the MArch year two (in the School), you are expected to meet an internal and external examiner for an oral examination based on your research.
NOTE: The University welcomes applications from disabled students and we may be able to offer alternative assessment methods. However, this may not always be possible. Competence standards may limit the availability of adjustments or alternative assessments, but you should refer to the module descriptions for details.
What skills will I practise and develop?
You will acquire and develop a range of skills valuable in a working environment, both discipline specific and more generic employability skills:
- through design projects you will develop skills in analysis, creativity, problem solving, planning, organisation, decision making and attention to detail
- you will develop interpersonal skills such as empathy, ability to influence, listening and questioning
- through group work you will develop team-working skills
- through regular presentations, you will develop strong communication skills
- you will learn to deal with uncertainty and develop skills in adaptability and flexibility
- the intensive nature of the course means you will develop skills in time management and tolerance of stress
- you are specifically taught skills in Information Technology (and Computer Aided Design), information retrieval and basic research.
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 our graduates proceed to a career in architectural practice, and are found in many eminent practices in the UK and across the world.
- Urban Designer
- Research Officer
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.
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 2018/19, published by HESA in June 2021.