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Architecture
BA (Hons)

2021/22 Full-time Undergraduate course

Award:

Bachelor of Arts with Honours

Faculty:

Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment

School:

Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment

Campus:

Belfast campus

UCAS code:

K100
The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20

With this degree you could become:


  • Architectural Assistant
  • Architectural Intern
  • Building Control Assistant
  • Site agent
  • Trainee architect

Graduates from this course are now working for:


  • Allies & Morisons
  • Andrea Caputo
  • Faulkner Browns
  • Hall Black Douglas Architects
  • McGarry Moon
  • Office Metropolitan Architecture
  • White Ink Architects

Overview

Architecture : spatial, material and intellectual craft.

Summary

The BA Hons in Architecture is a studio-based, full-time course delivered over three academic years. There is an exit qualification of an Associated Bachelors (AB) after successful completion of two academic years, with a further one academic year for BA Hons completion.

The course is validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects and is prescribed by the Architects Registration Board. Successful completion of the course (BA Hons) offers exception from RIBA Part 1 examinations.


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Belfast campus

A globally recognised hub of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship

About this course

About

The Belfast School of Architecture is unique in the UK and Ireland in that it is in a Faculty with the School of Built Environment on one side and the School of Art and Design on the other. These alignments and adjacencies inform our teaching and research.

The BA (Hons) in Architecture at Ulster engages in the complex and changing context of architecture, urbanism and landscape and the transformations taking place in society. Important aspects of this engagement are with the wider issues facing the profession and the provision of a creative context to investigate, challenge preconceptions, explore and fully engage the role of the architect in society.

In order to qualify and practice as an architect it is necessary to acquire a core group of skills that are necessary for a professional working life. In addition it is necessary for you to demonstrate the intellectual skills and the knowledge, judgement and understanding expected at bachelor degree level.

The course is based on a Vertical Studio structure across two semesters also known as the SuperStudio. The Vertical Studio approach is one in which all students are taught together across all year groups, including Masters students, in distinctly themed Studios. The resulting cross-cohort model replicates the dynamics, opportunities and challenges inherent in an architectural practice.

The course curriculum leads to professional recognition and is guided by the Criteria for Validation set down by the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Prescription of Qualifications established by the Architects Registration Board. These criteria set out the minimum levels of awareness, knowledge, understanding and ability of architecture that you must acquire at key stages for RIBA/ARB Part 1 exemption in the process of qualifying as an architect.

The BA Hons Architecture degree at Ulster gives exemption from the RIBA/ARB Part 1 Examination.

Associate awards

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Find out more about placement awards

Attendance

The BA Hons in Architecture is offered in full time mode over three academic years.

An average week comprises of two days dedicated for SuperStudio work, which includes individual tutorial time, reviews, workshops and independent project work. Other days are lecture-based days which include year-specific seminars, practical work and site visits. The University designates Wednesday afternoon for sports and recreational activities.

Since the University has generous purpose-built provision for the Architecture course, all students have their own dedicated work areas within their studio which will be their base throughout the academic year.

Start dates

  • September 2021

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching on the BA Hons course is carried out using a range of methods including group projects, course work assignments, case studies, written essays and design exercises.

Assessment on the course is 100% coursework. There are no written examinations.

Individual and group research activities are especially important teaching and learning methods especially for design projects, oral presentations and precedential studies.

All these requirements are supported by 1-to-1 tutorial support and feedback sessions by respected professionals and academics teaching on the course.

Self-directed learning is carried out within the module timetable such as ideas development, designing, drawing, reading, writing etc.

Furthermore, the BA (Hons) course uses a range of IT software and digital technologies as part of its learning and teaching methods. The computer suites on campus host many commercial software packages for the student’s use including AutoCAD, Sketch up, Microsoft Project and Revit. Digital classes are delivered in yr2 and yr3 and are designed to demonstrate theoretical principles of the various software and how they can be used to complement the student’s work.

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    Content

    The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

    Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

    • the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
    • the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
    • the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.

    Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Assessment

    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

    Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning.

Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

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    The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

    Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

    Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Modules

Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

Year one

Design I

Year: 1

Design I introduces students to the practice of architecture, to the design of buildings and landscapes. Students are introduced to a new and very different way of thinking, learning and working and to the studio culture, which encourages an atmosphere of collaboration and critical reflection.

Architectural Technology & Environment 1

Year: 1

Architectural Technology and Environment 1 introduces students to the technical side of architecture and the relationship between the built and natural environments. The principles and applications of technology are introduced in order to provide a foundation for an understanding of the construction methods and performance of a building at a low rise domestic scale. Students are introduced to construction design, applied mechanics, climate design, support structures and materials. Sustainability and the health of the environment and society are key themes driving the direction of this module.

Design Theory + Communication 1 (Elements).

Year: 1

The student entering an Architecture course might assume that there are immutable, basic rules about buildings and building design, even 'meaning' in Architecture. This module will help to lay out some of the basic rules/ concepts and critically engage and question them, enabling the student to give proper consideration to which basic concepts/ meanings/ rules/ skills etc. are most engaging and relevant for their own design practice.

Visual Culture

Year: 1

The art of building and the intrinsic specificity of architecture as a scene of Visual Culture are explored in this module. A structured overview and insight into the history of architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture is provided. Students are introduced to the various ways of approaching and learning about the history and theory of the designed environment. The module will bring together literatures and debates that cross the social sciences, humanities and science/technology. Case studies will be central to the teaching, developing theoretical and methodological strategies to enable discussion on the way in which societies and cultures convey meaning through the artefacts of the designed environment.

Year two

Professional Context 1

Year: 2

The module will enhance the students' professional skills, develop their ability act in a professional capacity and therefore allow them to play an effective role in a variety of processes within the construction industry.

Architectural Technology & Environment 2

Year: 2

This module enhances the first year basic principles of technology and environmental design in architecture. The module focuses on the understanding of functions, principles and sustainable methods in the design and construction of multi-storey buildings, and develops greater awareness of the role of building technology and the impact of structural, environmental and material principles on architecture and their interdependence.

Design Theory + Communication 2 (Building)

Year: 2

This module develops the initial enquiry into practices and processes begun in the earlier related module by now taking 'the building' as the focus of ideas, practices, positions and cultural values and as a framework within which to inform and widen historical knowledge, precedent evaluation and analysis, and to strengthen reflective design abilities and skills.

Design 2

Year: 2

This project will explore the relationship between landscape and tectonic detail in the design of public space(s) and building(s), which combine a number of different uses and activities. Students will be required to strategically organize architectural elements and programs within the scope of a wider environment while being fully aware of the social, spatial and experiential consequences. The ability to move between scales in concept and artefact will be emphasised to allow students to develop an understanding of the construction, assembly, and materiality of detailed elements and how this integrates into an existing context.

Year three

International Academic Studies

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module provides an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline whilst generating educational and cultural networks. Students will develop their subject area knowledge in urbanism, architecture, engineering and design.

Year four

Professional Context 2

Year: 4

The module will enhance the students' professional skills, develop their ability act in a professional capacity and therefore allow them to play an effective role in a variety of processes within the construction industry.

Design 3

Year: 4

This design module brings together all of the discreet elements learned in Yrs. 1 + 2, utilising the knowledge and skills gained to produce a sophisticated, well resolved architectural proposal, responding to site and the wider context, occupation, technical and environmental imperatives and the more esoteric issues of how we enjoy, appreciate and value the built artefact and how it can make a positive contribution to our environment.

Architectural Technology & Environment 3

Year: 4

This module aims to help the student deepen their appreciation and understanding of the basic structural, material and environmental design strategies and informs each students emergent, personal design approach.

Design Theory + Communication 3 (Context)

Year: 4

This module develops the initial enquiry into practices and processes begun in the earlier related modules by now taking 'the urban context' as the focus of ideas, practices, positions and cultural values and as a framework within which to inform and widen historical knowledge, precedent evaluation and analysis, and to strengthen reflective design abilities and skills.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

A level

BBB (to include 2 A levels at minimum grades BB) + GCSE Mathematics and English grade C. Applicants without Art at GCSE and/or A-level may be invited for a portfolio interview. Guidance for applicants preparing an art portfolio is available.

Applicants may satisfy the requirements for one of the A level grade B requirements (or equivalent) by substituting a combination of alterative qualification to the same standard as defined by UCAS.

Architecture at Ulster University is a creative, design-based discipline, with adjacencies to the Belfast School of Art, as well as integration within the School of the Built Environment. Therefore, a broad spread of technological, creative and humanities-based subjects is desirable in meeting the entry requirements for the course.

Furthermore, evidence of a genuine desire to explore creative concepts, work collegiately and consistently with strong motivation are positive attributes of applicants considering the course at Ulster University.

Applied General Qualifications

Overall award profile BTEC Level 3 QCF Extended Diploma DDD.

Overall award profile BTEC Level 3 RQF National Extended Diploma DDM.

Irish Leaving Certificate

The Irish Leaving Certificate requirement for this course is based on an overall profile of H3, H3, H3, H3, H3 and English Language, Mathematics and Science at grade O4 or above.

Scottish Highers

The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is BBBCC.

Scottish Advanced Highers

The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is CCC.

International Baccalaureate

Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum 26 points (13 at higher level).

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Successful completion of Access Course with an average of 70%.

GCSE

GCSE profile to include minimum grade C in English Language and Mathematics.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

Submission of a satisfactory portfolio if requested. Guidance information for portfolios is available on request.

Exemptions and transferability

The BA Hons Architecture course will accept advanced entry to Year 2 in exceptional circumstances:

  • Mature students with considerable experience in related practice

All students applying to be considered for entry to Year 2 will be required to submit a portfolio. If unsuccessful they will be considered automatically under the general entry criteria for entry to Year 1.

Careers & opportunities

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course are now working for:

  • Allies & Morisons
  • Andrea Caputo
  • Faulkner Browns
  • Hall Black Douglas Architects
  • McGarry Moon
  • Office Metropolitan Architecture
  • White Ink Architects

Job roles

With this degree you could become:

  • Architectural Assistant
  • Architectural Intern
  • Building Control Assistant
  • Site agent
  • Trainee architect

Career options

At Ulster University students are taught to understand architecture as a response to complex social, cultural and environmental contexts and develop the design skills to improve those situations. Therefore, architecture crosses the traditional boundaries between art and science, which means that you are equipped to enter a wide range of careers.

After achieving the award of BA (Hons) Architecture, graduates can:

  • continue on to complete a further period in professional practice and a further period of full-time study at Ulster University to become fully qualified architects recognised and licensed by UK professional bodies.

  • be involved in constructing new buildings and renovating existing ones as well as collaborate on the design and planning of public spaces, rural developments and new cities.

  • work with clients, members of the broader public, local government and statutory agencies as well as many parallel disciplines engaged in the built environment; including surveyors, project managers, construction and civil engineers and building services engineers as well as landscape architects and artists.

Work placement / study abroad

There are opportunities within the BA (Hons) course for students to take a year-long placement to an associated architecture school internationally as part of the Erasmus programme.

Professional recognition

Architects Registration Board (ARB)

Accredited by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) for the purpose of a Part 1 qualification.

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at Part 1 level for the purpose of eligibility for membership of the RIBA.

Apply

Applications to full-time undergraduate degrees at Ulster are made through UCAS.

Start dates

  • September 2021

Fees and funding

Scholarships, awards and prizes

There are several awards and prizes associated with the BA (Hons) Architecture course:

  • ARD Mackel Prize

  • White Ink ‘Smart Thinking Award’

  • Specialist Joinery Awards

  • Deans List

  • RSUA President’s Medal Awards

Additional mandatory costs

There will be costs associated with the course including purchase of drawing and modeling materials and associated equipment.

Each year in Semester 1 there is a School study trip to a destination outside of the UK and Ireland. Biennially this is a visit to the Venice Biennale with alternate years including cities such as Paris. The trip is self-funded by the student. Whilst it is not mandatory for students to attend it is encouraged as part of their wider educational experience.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.

Contact

Mrs Helen Dowie, Course Administrator

T: +44 (0)28 9536 7427

E: h.dowie@ulster.ac.uk

Sharon Moore, Admissions

T: +44 (0)28 9036 6018

E: s.moore@ulster.ac.uk

Dr Martina Murphy, Course Director

T: +44 (0)28 95367058

E: m.murphy@ulster.ac.uk

For more information visit

Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment

Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment

Disclaimer

  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  5. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.

Testimonials

“I was drawn to architecture at Ulster university for a myriad of reasons perhaps something to do with shaping the world around me. What I have learned, is that, as a discipline, architecture is a journey of study.

The beginnings of that journey can be no better served than at the Belfast School of Architecture, where learning is rooted in the principles of Modern Architecture. With strong links to the arts, both the School of Architecture and its facilities are of the highest standard and offer the scope for the ambitious amongst us to seek academic excellence.

The undergraduate programme at Ulster Univeristy encourages critical thinking, rather than trying to manufacture 'off-the-shelf' graduate architects. This emphasis on thoughtfulness speaks to me. If the journey is long, it’s better to enjoy it along the way."

Aedan Mackel (BA Graduate 2019)

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