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Validated by RIBA and ARB, this course gives you a thorough insight into how architects work and prepares you for a year in industry. It is jointly run by MMU and the University of Manchester meaning you will benefit from the considerable resources and expertise available in both institutions.

Architectural education at the Manchester School of Architecture consists of five years of full-time study: a three-year BA (Hons) in Architecture followed by the two-year Master of Architecture (MArch). Our courses are accredited and reviewed by the RIBA and the ARB and we have extremely close ties with the RIBA North West regional office for the delivery of professional studies.

Following the BA (Hons) you normally undertake a year of professional architectural practice experience prior to entering the MArch programme. Our graduates work in leading architectural and design offices, or undertake further postgraduate research supported by the excellent opportunities that exist within the school and amongst the external partners with whom we work. We have a strong and growing network of alumni and professionals in the construction sector and our graduates have excellent prospects for employment.

Each year consists of design studio and attendant courses in the history, theory, technology and practice of architecture. All of the credit units are assessed by coursework – there are no examinations. The challenges of the taught programme increase in scale and complexity as you move through each year.

Special Features

  • The School of Architecture is consistently ranked amongst the best in the UK.
  • Characteristically students rate their experience very highly particularly in respect of resource provision, quality of teaching and personal development.
  • Strong links with architectural practice in the Northwest and architectural practitioners are involved with teaching.
  • The course is jointly run by Manchester Met and the University of Manchester. You will benefit from the considerable resources and expertise in teaching and research available in both institutions and receive an award from both institutions.


3 years (full-time)

Course Content

Year 1

You will start with a series of small projects where you will accumulate knowledge about the body in space and the design of small enclosures for specific activities. These studio-based projects are supported by a skills programme where the essentials of drawing, modelling and software based representation are taught. History and theory is taught through lectures and seminars, and you will write reports and essays based on desktop studies and building visits. Technology learning involves the production of case studies and models to demonstrate an awareness of the materials and detailing of buildings.

Studio 1.1

30 credits

Studio 1.2

30 credits

Humanities 1

30 credits

Technologies 1

30 credits

Studio 1.1

This unit establishes the principles and skills in research, analysis, argument and representation that support an understanding of architectural design.

Studio 1.2

This unit applies the developing knowledge and skill base to projects that begin to promote the integration of sensual, functional and technological considerations in architectural design in a contemporary cultural setting.

Humanities 1

This unit introduces students to the historical, social and cultural contexts for architectural design and develops skills in research, analysis academic writing and visual representation.

Technologies 1

This unit introduces students to the technological contexts for architectural design and develops skills in research, analysis technical design and visual representation.

Year 2

You will build upon your design knowledge through a series of interrelated projects that develop the context for architecture as a social and cultural act as well as one that is concerned with technology. History and theory courses can be chosen as you begin to define your own path as an architect. In technology, a specific focus on the ecological and environmental aspects of the profession forms a significant part of the course.

Studio 2.1

30 credits

Studio 2.2

30 credits

Humanities 2

30 credits

Technologies 2

30 credits

Studio 2.1

This unit consolidates design capability and introduces public and social programmes with associated issues of sustainability, inclusivity and greater complexity in building programme placing greater emphasis on relational abilities.

Studio 2.2

This unit consolidates design capability by extending the exploration of public and social programmes with associated issues of sustainability, inclusivity and complexity in building programme and technological manifestation.

Humanities 2

Humanities 2 places the focus on the wider physical, social and economic contexts for architecture and the professional practice of architecture. The course is delivered variously through lectures, seminars and workshops exploring analytical and descriptive frameworks

Technologies 2

Technologies 2 explores contemporary issues in the built environment with a specific focus on sustainable passive and active environmental technologies.

Year 3

You will be guided to direct your own learning and, in an atelier-based system, define your own projects which are underpinned by the application of history and theory into your design studio activities. You will have a choice of history and theory courses and can select technology case studies from a given set. You will have more autonomy in Year 3 and therefore have more authority over your own work, which will give you confidence and assuredness as you prepare for the professional environment.

Studio 3.1

30 credits

Studio 3.2

30 credits

Humanities 3

30 credits

Technologies 3

30 credits

Studio 3.1

This unit introduces urbanism and develops the ability to apply techniques in analysis of and strategies for generic urban contexts as the basis for defining and developing a building programme and design proposition.

Studio 3.2

This unit develops ability in architectural design through the exploration of materials, structures, construction, and environmental modification integral with programmatic detail within a building design initiated in response to urban study.

Humanities 3

This unit develops knowledge and understanding of the historical, cultural and professional contexts for architectural design and extends skills in research,analysis, academic writing and visual representation.

Technologies 3

This unit develops knowledge and understanding of the environmental, material and technological contexts for architectural design and extends skills in research, analysis, synthesis and visual representation.


Project reviews, assignments and essays.

Assessment Weightings & Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A three year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be—

  • Year 1 40% lectures, seminars or similar; 60% independent study
  • Year 2 40% lectures, seminars or similar; 60% independent study
  • Year 3 40% lectures, seminars or similar; 60% independent study
  • Year 1 100% coursework
  • Year 2 100% coursework
  • Year 3 100% coursework

You can find further details about the curriculum for the current academic year in the Programme Specification Document


Graduates go on to work as architects for leading architectural and design practices in leading roles within the wider construction industry or in aligned creative design disciplines. Alternatively, excellent opportunities exist for you to undertake research for further postgraduate degrees.  

Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff Points/Grades Required

Grades AAA. A mixture of science/maths and humanities/arts subjects is preferred, but not essential. Art or Fine Art A-levels are particularly welcomed; however please note applicants with three arts-based subjects (for example Art, Graphics and 3D Design, or Art, Photography and Design and Technology), or a BTEC Extended Diploma in Art & Design on its own will not be considered as meeting our entry requirements.

General Studies is not accepted.

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Overall 60 credits are required with 45 at Level 3 awarded at distinction level.

Additional Requirements

Applicants will have to demonstrate their creative and visual awareness by the submission of a digital portfolio (via a blog) on request. We also consider other factors, such as other educational achievements, life experience and skills on an individual basis.

International Baccalaureate
36 with three subjects at higher level 6 or above Points

International Students

A minimum IELTS score of 6.5, with writing 6.5 and no components below 6 is required.

How to Apply

Applications for the BA (Hons) Architecture course are made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). The UCAS code is K100.

For the UCAS institution code you can use either M20 for the University of Manchester or M40 for the Manchester Metropolitan University. The university that you select makes no difference in the consideration of your application and your final degree will be awarded jointly by both universities. However, you should not apply to both M20 and M40.

Tuition Fees (2019 Entry)

Tuition fees for the 2019/20 academic year are still being finalised for all courses. Please see our general guide to our standard undergraduate tuition fees.

See Money Matters for further information and advice.

Additional Costs

Specialist Costs

£2,400*  plus optional £1,400* Included in this section are course materials, software, digital SLR camera, laptop, model making expenses, printing 3D printing. None of these modes of production are compulsory, and the manner in which items are acquired can result in significant savings, eg the re-use and recycling of available materials in the production of models. There is some requirement to print, but most submissions are digital. All materials, printing (2D, 3D), laser cutting etc. are charged at cost within the institution. The one off acquisition of a camera and laptop for the duration of the course is spread evenly across the three years. It is possible to work on university machines and to hire cameras, thus alleviating the costs incurred on some of these items.

Trips and Placement Costs

£600*  plus optional £1,500* Each BA year has a 5 day optional study trip abroad. An equivalent trip to a city in the UK is designed for those unable to travel for any reason. One might expect the UK trip to attract between £100-200 of expenditure on travel, food and accommodation. The anticipated annual cost of a foreign study trip is in the area of £400-500 inclusive of travel, accommodation and subsistence. The figures shown here highlight the upper end of expenditure on each of these options and should viewed as separate sums and not conflated to a greater total.

Other Costs

£600*  Students may wish to acquire good outdoor clothing, boots and other forms of protective equipment. Measuring devices, such as large tapes etc. could also be a useful part of an architecture students toolkit.

* All amounts shown are estimates.


Telephone: +44 (0)161 275 0969


Frequently asked questions

Where is the course based?

The Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) is a joint school of the University of Manchester & the Manchester Metropolitan University. You will have registration status at both institutions and your degree certificate will be endorsed by both.

Does it matter where I apply?

No, all applications are treated equally. Therefore, if you enter both institutions on your UCAS form (M20 & M40) for the K100 course you will have wasted one of your choices.

Do you interview candidates?

No - we have discovered by experience that we cannot predict which candidates will be good at architecture by interviewing, so we have stopped doing it.

What about Mature Students?

The School welcomes applications from candidates of all ages. Work/life experience can be considered for mature applicants without formal qualifications; we do, however, require a pass in GCSE English & Maths.

How many places are there?

There will be places for 140 Home/EU students in the First Year. You must try to submit your application by the 15th January UCAS deadline. Applications received after this date will be stamped as 'Post 15 Jan' and considered at our discretion.

When can I look around?

The Manchester School of Architecture will be represented at one of the University of Manchester general Undergraduate Open Days, which normally run in June and October.

Due to the popularity of the course, it is not possible to arrange tours of the studios on an individual basis. If you decide to make an independent visit to the School our Admissions Officer will happily meet candidates to answer questions if she is available.

All UK/EU based applicants who receive an offer will be invited to a specific Architecture Open Day, where they will be invited to participate in a small, fun studio project - we will normally schedule about 5 Open Days of this type, running from January - April and applicants can choose from the available dates.

What grades do I need?

Most successful candidates achieve AAA at A-level, or 37 points at International Baccalaureate, or some equivalent standard.

What subjects should I study at A level?

Many candidates offer Art A-level, but it is not essential. Applicants often mix arts and science subjects such as Art, Maths and a language, but Maths, Physics & Chemistry is perfectly acceptable as would be History, English & Religious Studies. However candidates who combine Art with Design-Technology for two of their three A levels or who offer sports-science or similar put themselves at a disadvantage.

Do I need to submit a portfolio?

Because architecture at Manchester is a design-oriented course, most applicants will be asked to submit a digital portfolio (via a blog). We will email applicants with further details on how to create a digital portfolio.

Where can I find a Hall of Residence?

All student accommodation will be provided by The University of Manchester.

Where can I find out more?

Refer to the university websites ( or ) for information on accommodation, tuition fees and general information about student life.

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