Architecture - BA (Hons)

2024/25 Full-time Undergraduate course


Bachelor of Arts with Honours


Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment


Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment


Belfast campus

UCAS code:

The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20

Start date:

September 2024

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

We are passionate about sharing with our students the vital role they each have now and as future professionals in promoting a sustainable future for all. We believe that sustainability is not the domain of one discipline or profession. It is the responsibility of all disciplines, professions, organisations and individuals.

That is why on each of our courses within the Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment you will learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the contribution you can make now, and as a graduate in the Built Environment.

Read the course details below to find out more.


Architecture : The Best of Both Worlds - where science meets art.


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.

We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

About this course


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


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 2024

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.

Teaching, learning and assessment

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:

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, 20, or 40 credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate courses 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. Teaching and learning activities will be in-person and/or online depending on the nature of the course. 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 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 assessments. This feedback may be issued individually and/or issued to the group and you will be encouraged to act on this feedback for your own development.

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, the assessment timetable and the assessment brief. 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. The module pass mark for undergraduate courses is 40%. The module pass mark for postgraduate courses is 50%.

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.

Figures correct for academic year 2022-2023.

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 - 60% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (19%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (22%) 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 and learning support staff (85%) are recognised as fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advance HE - 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 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 2022-2023.

Belfast campus

Belfast Campus Location

The Belfast campus is situated in the artistic and cultural centre of the city, the Cathedral Quarter.

Find out more about our Belfast Campus.

Campus Address

Ulster University,
2-24 York Street,
BT15 1AP

T: 02870 123 456


High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.

Find out more - information about accommodation  

Student Wellbeing

At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more - information about student wellbeing  


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 1A

Year: 1

Design 1A introduces students to the practice of architecture, through core media, communication, research and design skills. Students are introduced to a new way of thinking, learning and working as part of the studio culture. Through the Design 1A module, students are introduced to the 'unit system' of study, working with students across all year groups and with unit leaders.

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. Sustainable design principles, climate response 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

Through exploration of lectures, reading, building visits students develop awareness of the importance of testing, reflecting, questioning--trial and error-- to develop understanding of the layers associated with the current condition of visual culture. Exploring, discussing and debating history and theory, moving forward the frontiers, prepares students for engagement in architectural discursive practice.

Year two

Professional Context 1

Year: 2

The module will inform students about their role as an architect in the built environment and wider society. It will develop the students' professional skills, their ability act in a professional capacity and so enable them to play an effective role in a variety of processes within the construction industry.

Architectural Technology & Environment 2

Year: 2

This module enhances and extends the knowledge and understanding developed from the first year Architectural Technology and Environment module. More focus is provided on critical aspects of the building envelope and regulatory requirements and in particular building physics and environmental design. Sustainable design principles and climate response feature to a greater extent and are discussed in connection with the requirements of working in practice.

Design Theory and Communication 2 (Building)

Year: 2

An ethnography of architecture and urbanism is a critical methodology to be embraced in the making of places. This is because architecture and place should be more than a simulation of identity or the destruction of existing neighbourhoods in order to make way for new ones with a real 'sense of place'. If place offers a realm of conflicting simultaneity between ideal forms and performative tactics, then an anthropological approach offers the ability to understand how people enact places to reveal the cultural context, both to instil and destabilize beliefs and values, and to perpetuate and rebel against tradition (Wortham-Galvin, 2008). Using such an approach as a core design methodology allows places that appear permanent also to embrace the ephemeral nature of dwelling and being. It allows people to become equal partners with form and space in the making of place, instead of being subservient or non-existent to them.

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 building on Professional Context 1 and will further inform their knowledge of the wider construction sector and related processes to enhance the students' professional skills, develop their ability to act in a professional capacity to enable them play an effective role within the construction industry.

Design 3

Year: 4

Design III brings together all of the discrete 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 low-carbon, sustainable design strategies (environmental, structural and material) and informs each students emergent, personal design approach.

Design Theory and Communication 3 (Context)

Year: 4

This module develops and builds on the earlier related Design Theory and Communication modules by widening the awareness into the differing practices, positions and processes related the urban context principally what we call 'the city' but also the wider landscape, as the focus of ideas and societal and cultural values with which in turn to inform reflective design abilities and skills that shape and make buildings which contribute to the urban and landscape realm.

Standard 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

Grades BBC

Applicants will be required to submit a portfolio, except where the applicant has GCSE Art or GCSE Art & Design at Grade B or higher.

Applicants may satisfy the requirement for one of the A Level grades (or equivalent) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University.

Applied General Qualifications

RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Diploma

Award profile of DMM

We will also accept smaller BTEC/OCR qualifications (i.e. Diploma or Extended Certificate / Introductory Diploma / Subsidiary Diploma) in combination with A Levels or other acceptable Level 3 qualifications.

To find out if the qualification you are applying with is a qualification we accept for entry, please check our Qualification Checker -

We will also continue to accept QCF versions of these qualifications although grades asked for may differ. Check what grades you will be asked for by comparing the requirements above with the information under QCF in the Applied General and Tech Level Qualifications section of our Entry Requirements -

Irish Leaving Certificate

112 UCAS tariff points to include a minimum of five subjects (four of which must be at higher level) to include English and Maths at H6 if studied at Higher level or O4 if studied at Ordinary Level.

Irish Leaving Certificate UCAS Equivalency

Scottish Highers

Grades BBCCC

Scottish Advanced Highers

Grades CCD

International Baccalaureate

Overall profile is minimum 25 points (including 12 at higher level)

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Overall profile of 63% (120 credit Access Course) (NI Access Course)

Overall profile of 15 credits at Distinction and 30 credits at Merit (60 credit Access Course) (GB Access Course)


For full-time study, you must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass at Grade C/4 or above in English Language and Maths.

Level 2 Certificate in Essential Skills - Communication will be accepted as equivalent to GCSE English.

Please note that for purposes of entry to this course the Level 2 Certificate in Essential Skills - Application of Number is NOTregarded as an acceptable alternative to GCSE Maths.

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

Applicants will be required to submit a portfolio, except where the applicant has GCSE Art or GCSE Art & Design at Grade B or higher.

Acceptable alternative qualifications include:

Pass HND with overall Merit to include 45 distinctions in Level 5 credits/units may be specified.

Pass HNC with overall Distinction to include 75 distinctions in Level 4 credits/units may be specified.

You may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications to the same standard as recognised by the University (provided subject requirements as noted above are met).

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 & Morrison
  • 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
  • Trainee architect
  • Part 1 Architectural Assistant

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

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.

Architects Registration Board (ARB)

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


Start dates

  • September 2024

Fees and funding

2024/25 Fees

Fees for entry in 2024/25 have not yet been set. See our tuition fees page for the current fees for 2023/24 entry.

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.

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

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

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.


We’d love to hear from you!

We know that choosing to study at university is a big decision, and you may not always be able to find the information you need online.

Please contact Ulster University with any queries or questions you might have about:

  • Course specific information
  • Fees and Finance
  • Admissions

For any queries regarding getting help with your application, please select Admissions in the drop down below.

For queries related to course content, including modules and placements, please select Course specific information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

For more information visit


  1. 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.
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“Over the last three years, the Architecture course has introduced me to new ways of thinking, understanding, and creating. The one-on-one tutorials with tutors are fantastic. The tutors provided continuous support throughout my studies, as well as on my placement year. I’m looking forward to going back to complete my Master’s Degree at Ulster University”.

Zoe Gibson (BA Graduate 2019)

“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 University 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)