Architecture, construction and planning
Find hundreds of Architecture, Construction, Building and Planning courses with the UK course search tool – just select your level and enter your subject! Or find scholarships and funding with the UK scholarship search.
Why study architecture, construction or planning in the UK?
It’s a great time to study these subjects in the UK. British architecture is experiencing a wave of fresh talent and UK schools, colleges and universities are welcoming more international students than ever before.
The UK has a history of excellence in architecture, and a reputation for innovation and creativity in the field. Some of the world's most iconic buildings and architects – such as Sir Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid – are the product of study and work in the UK.
Sustainability, environmentally-friendly design and urban regeneration are priorities all around the world today, and these topics are a key part of all architecture courses in the UK. Residential and commercial construction are big industries, and the UK is the top destination for inward investment in Europe (gov.uk).
The UK has a rich architectural heritage...
…incredible diversity – both in its international communities and study options...
…and qualifications that are highly regarded by employers! Many UK courses include opportunities to get experience in a real professional environment – one of many reasons why UK architecture graduates are in high demand all over the world.
Courses and qualifications
Schools and further education
You can start gaining the skills you need for a career in architecture by studying art, design and maths at GCSE level (for students aged 14–16), International Baccalaureate (IB), A-levels or Scottish Highers (for students aged 16–18).
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There are also further education qualifications (for students of any age)
such as BTEC Nationals and foundation degrees in art and design, or
If you want to study construction or town planning, there are BTECs, First Diplomas and National Awards, Certificates and Diplomas in these and related subjects, as well as NVQs. You might choose to study alongside another subject, such as English to improve your language skills at the same time.
To qualify as an architect, most students in the UK study architecture at undergraduate level for three years (known as RIBA Part I) then spend one year in work experience, then two years at postgraduate level for the RIBA Part II diploma – find out more in Careers below. You can find a list of courses validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) here.
At undergraduate level, you could study for a BA or BSc in Architecture or Architecture with related subjects such as History, Technology, Urban planning or Interior design, for example, or a BEng in Architecture and Structural engineering. Undergraduate degrees in architecture usually teach the basics, including graphic design, drawing, physical modelling and CAD (computer-aided design) – as well as the economic, social, environmental and political issues related to architecture.
Courses usually include a mix of lectures, tutorials, seminars and practical workshops, and may be assessed through coursework, group projects and presentations. Architecture students often have a diverse range of assignments – you might be writing essays or constructing scale models of buildings, or even talking to people in the street for public opinion surveys.
At postgraduate level, qualifications include MA, MSc, MArch, DipArch and PhD degrees, and you could choose between subjects such as Architecture visualisation, Landscape or Naval architecture, Conservation, Urbanism and the built environment, Technology and sustainability, and more. Qualifications vary depending on the amount of research and independent study you want to do – see taught vs research postgraduate programmes.
If you want to work in the industry but don’t plan to qualify as an architect, there are even more options. For example, a BTEC HND in Architectural technology, or HNDs and Foundation degrees in subjects such as Computer-aided architectural technology or Architectural design and technology, could lead to a career as an architectural technician or technologist. There are also courses in urban, environmental, regional and town planning.
Construction and town planning are practical skills, so most higher education courses in this area are vocational. There are more than 100 HNDs and Foundation degrees in subjects including Construction management, Housing studies, Property development and Quantity surveying. Many colleges and universities offer courses with a sandwich year so you can gain experience in the workplace while studying.
If you have a visa to study in the UK, check the visa requirements allow you to do a work placement.
The design process: Three projects by BA Architecture student Ian Sawani Omumbwa, from Switzerland, at different stages (Photos ©Ian Omumbwa). Read his story here!
For entry to higher education, institutions often ask for at least a C grade at GCSE level (or equivalent) in mathematics and English language, plus at least 300 UCAS points with a strong combination of arts and science subjects.
This could include A-level, IB or Scottish Higher qualifications in art and design, maths, science or history, or a vocational qualification such as BTEC Nationals in design. Some institutions ask for the post-A-level Foundation Diploma qualification (sometimes called Diploma in Foundation Studies) in Art and Design, particularly for courses in interior architecture.
Architecture is a specialised field, and a relevant undergraduate qualification is required for entry to most postgraduate courses.
International applicants might also be asked for proof of English language ability, such as an IELTS score, or advised to attend a pre-sessional English course.
All schools, colleges and universities have different entry requirements, so make sure you read the course details thoroughly and ask your chosen institution directly if you have any questions.
Architecture is a highly regulated profession. In the UK, it usually takes seven years to become a fully-qualified architect.
First, you’ll spend three years in undergraduate study known as RIBA Part I, then one year gaining professional experience in an architect’s office or equivalent. You’ll then study for two years at postgraduate level for the RIBA Part II diploma, and spend one more year in professional experience. You can then take the RIBA Part III, register with the Architects Registration Board, and work as an architect in the UK.
Many students go on to work in other areas, however. Popular careers include structural or civil engineer, surveyor, landscape designer, industrial designer, building inspector, researcher, art director or historic conservation consultant. Some focus their studies on planning and construction, development and disaster relief, or use their architecture qualification to go into a related field such as architectural journalism, teaching, or production and set design for TV, film and theatre.
You might even move into an entirely new field. With a UK qualification in architecture or planning, you can show employers that you’re both analytical and creative, with strong skills in design, technology and business – these are valuable qualities in many industries around the world.
You can find out more about architecture, building and town planning in the UK at:
See Entering a career for more career advice.