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Architecture Subject Guide

Considering architecture for your postgraduate studies? Whether you’ve already completed your undergraduate studies in the field, or are thinking about branching into architecture from a different discipline, it’s a challenging and potentially confusing study pathway. 

With unique industry accreditations, practical experience requirements and a unique range of digital and practical tools to get to grips with, you might have a lot of questions about your potential master’s or PhD in architecture. 

This guide contains everything you need to know about studying architecture at postgraduate level, including what architecture jobs it could lead you to, what skills you’ll build, and the entry requirements for top courses. 


Why do an architecture degree? 

Architecture is a multidisciplinary, highly applied field that brings together skills and knowledge from design, engineering, social science and art to focus on the shaping and construction of buildings. From the choice of materials to the shape of the walls, angle of the windows, architecture is concerned with the physicality of a building but also much more. The accessibility, sustainability, local social and cultural impact, and emotional response that a building results in are also key considerations. 

With an exciting, creatively-driven subject matter and the potential for high income, it’s no surprise that architecture is a highly competitive field. Students are drawn to postgraduate architecture degrees as a great way to develop specialist knowledge, stand out from other applicants and prepare for success across a range of architecture jobs. 

What qualifications can you get? 

There are several types of architecture degrees open to you as a graduate. Your study options will differ somewhat depending on whether your previous degree was in architecture or a related field. 

For graduates of architecture, master’s degrees such as the MArch are built around completion of the ARB/RIBA Part 2. This professional qualification will allow you to use the regulated title ‘architect’ and access a range of architecture jobs. 

For graduates of other fields, they may be able to get an exemption from ARB/RIBA Part 1 due to the relevant expertise they have already developed in their previous degree. Some courses, like the MSc in Sustainable Building Design, won’t allow you to qualify as a certified architect but are a great way to move into other design and planning roles in the construction or estates industries. 

Research qualifications and doctoral qualifications, ranging from MRes to MPhil and PhD, will allow you to develop your research skills and conduct investigations into new processes, technologies and policies which can be applied in the architectural field. 

What jobs can you do with an architecture degree? 

Completing a postgraduate course in this field is an excellent way to prepare for a wide range of architecture jobs and roles in a variety of related industries. 

Architecture graduates are sought-after by employers in many sectors due to their extensive training and interdisciplinary skillset. Bringing together design, management, engineering and sustainability knowledge, they can turn their hand to a number of different job types and excel in them. 

You could go on to work in architecture careers such as: 

  • Architect 
  • Architectural technologist 
  • Interior designer 
  • Urban designer 
  • Spatial designer 
  • Town planner 
  • Building surveyor 
  • Building control surveyor 
  • CAD technician 
  • Construction manager 
  • Estimator 
  • Estates manager 
  • Landscape architecture 
  • Structural engineer 

What are the architecture degree entry requirements? 

To successfully enrol on an architecture master’s degree, you’ll typically need an undergraduate qualification in architecture with a good grade. In most cases students will have completed the RIBA/ARB Part 1, but this isn’t a requirement for all courses. Depending on your previous education, you may be able to get an exemption from this certification or simply apply anyway. 

Professional experience in an architecture setting is often a requirement for postgraduate study. 

What architecture courses are there? 

You can choose from a variety of architecture courses, each suited to a student based on their ideal architecture jobs and educational experience to date. You could study programmes like: 

  • MArch Architecture 
  • MSc Sustainable Building Design 
  • MSc Modern Building Design 
  • Master of Architecture (Part 2 ARB/RIBA) 
  • PhD Architecture 

What topics does an architecture degree cover? 

During your architecture degree, you can typically expect to study a range of modules such as: 

  • Design, process and communication 
  • Construction technology and environmental design 
  • Cultural context 
  • Comprehensive design 
  • Sustainable building assessments 

What do you learn in an architecture degree? 

Postgraduate architecture degrees provide a comprehensive education around the design and construction of buildings and structures. You’ll develop technical skills such as drafting, modeling, and material selection, as well as gaining an understanding of relevant laws and building regulations. 

Critical thinking and problem skills will be essential areas of development during your studies, as you examine how form and function relate to each other in architectural design. You’ll hone your creative toolset, applying various approaches, styles and principles to solve problems and create aesthetically pleasing, sustainable structures. 

You’ll develop an advanced understanding of the theory and history of architecture, informing your work for a lifetime. 

In addition to this, you’ll become an adept communicator and effective team player, working with peers and colleagues to create innovative solutions to the challenges posed and translating them into clear visions, presentations and written reports. 

How will you be taught and assessed? 

Your taught master’s in architecture will typically employ a mix of lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, and design studios. The design studio is the core component of an architecture education and provides hands-on experience with the design process. Research students will have fewer contact hours and will instead focus more on independent work in studios, labs and digitally, working on an extended project or thesis. 

Assessment methods in architecture courses vary depending on the institution and program, but will usually include a mix of coursework, exams, and design projects. Your design projects are a key component of your assessment, allowing you to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in a practical context, and are helpful additions to your graduate portfolio when you apply to graduate architecture jobs. 

How long is an architecture degree? 

Postgraduate degrees in architecture will be different lengths depending on the type of qualification you select. With a range of different study options and a plethora of associated professional placement and training options embedded within courses, a taught architecture master’s could last anywhere between 12 and 24 months if studied full time. If you’re studying part-time, you could expect to double this. 

Doctoral research qualifications, like the MPhil or PhD, can take between two and four years of full-time study.  

Where can you study architecture? 

You can choose from over 340 postgraduate architecture degree courses in the UK, offered at over 50 different universities. Our university search tool makes it easy to browse courses and unis, get details on course content and entry requirements, and select your ideal study option. 

What similar subjects are there to architecture? 

Thinking about studying something similar to architecture? Consider one of these other subjects... 

  • Structural engineering 
  • Civil engineering 
  • Interior design 
  • Products design 
  • Spatial planning 

Next: Search for architecture courses


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