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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 and 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 MMU 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

In year one, you will gain an understanding of architectural history and theory. It covers foundational principles in space-making, material expression, brief-writing, contextual research, and the role of humanities in the design process. A series of studio design projects and skills workshops will develop your architectural creative process and the year culminates with events jointly undertaken with second and fifth year students

Studio 1.1

30 credits

Studio 1.2

30 credits

Humanities 1

30 credits

Technologies 1

30 credits

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.

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.

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

In year two, the multi-layered nature of the design process is explored and urban theory and specialised sustainability knowledge is applied to design projects, transforming the aesthetic concepts of first year into the techno-cultural strategies used by professionals. You'll develop an increased awareness of architecture in a variety of contexts and improve your design processes and critical thinking skills.

Studio 2.1

30 credits

Studio 2.2

30 credits

Humanities 2

30 credits

Technologies 2

30 credits

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

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.

Technologies 2

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

Year 3

In year three, you will begin to formulate your individual position on contemporary architecture and urbanism. The third year is organised around a themed 'atelier' system, each atelier applies a particular design methodology to an extended urban project which lasts the entire year. The course culminates with an assessed self-build exhibition.

Studio 3.1

30 credits

Studio 3.2

30 credits

Humanities 3

30 credits

Technologies 3

30 credits

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.

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.

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 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


A2 grades AAA at full A level or BTEC Extended Diploma Grades DDD (or acceptable equivalent). A BTEC Extended Diploma in Art & Design on its own will not be considered as meeting our entry requirements.

Specific GCSE Requirements

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Access to HE Diplomas in Humanities/Science subjects will be considered acceptable. Overall 60 credits are required with 45 at level 3. Minimum of 30 credits at Distinction and 30 credits at Merit.

Additional Requirements

A mixture of Arts/Humanities and Science/Mathematics subjects is preferred at A2 level. General Studies is not accepted

International Baccalaureate
32 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 (2017 Entry)

UK, EU and Channel Island students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government approval, and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy.

Non-EU international students

Non-EU international students: Full-time fee: £21,000 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits.

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, e.g. 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 be 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.

Find out more about our Art School Credit scheme that you can use to help pay for materials needed on the course.


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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