Architecture BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year, 4 years with placement)




Make your mark on landscapes of the future with our Chelmsford-based Architecture BA (Hons) degree course. You’ll gain the creative and technical skills you’ll need to produce architectural drawings and to analyse, research and develop briefs. You’ll develop design concepts in our model making studios, and have the chance to display your work in our Summer Exhibition and take a placement year. With this Architects Registration Board Part 1 prescribed course you’ll be taking your first step towards a career as an architect.

Full description


We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

The demand for skilled architecture graduates is expected to grow rapidly over the next ten years.

Our course prepares you for a career in architectural practice. You could also choose to work in associated areas such as town planning, surveying, engineering, property, and building conservation. You’ll have gained creative and practical skills, such as computer-aided design, which will make you stand out from the crowd.

Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us. If you’d like to continue your studies afterwards, we offer a wide range of related full-time and part-time postgraduate courses including MSc Town Planning

Modules & assessment

Level 3 (foundation year)

  • Foundation in Architecture
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in Architecture and related courses. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including researching and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. Students will be introduced to practical art and design skills including developing skills of visual storytelling, image-making both in traditional and digital media, visual language and communication, formulating an independent creative response to a broad range of subject matter. Students will also be introduced to the fundamentals of design from a creative perspective, and to some of the key ideas/movements dominating art, design and culture, during the past few centuries. Students will work extensively in groups and collaboratively, with students from art and design, architecture and engineering pathways. The module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Creative Workshops 1; Creative Workshops 2; Approach to Design; Critical and Contextual Studies; Engineering Design; Specialist Project.

Year one, core modules

  • History and Theory of Architecture (Introduction)
    You will consider key historical and recent examples of architecture and related writings to help you form your own views on contemporary design, including your design work, in a range of appropriate cultural and artistic contexts. The module focuses on a different topic each week, and you will gain knowledge about architectural history that will open your eyes to the built environment and make you appreciate architecture more fully.
  • Folio Skills
    This module is for students of Architecture to develop the traditional drawing and rendering skills that are important in the development of design thinking and crucial to a successful communication of architectural ideas. You will begin with simple exercises on drawing, using the right side of the brain, then you will progress to recording the observed built and natural environment, human body proportions and paper architecture. In addition, the module will introduce you to principles and skills of orthographic and metric projections. You will develop various methods of communicating your ideas, including freehand drawing and modelling, collage and photography. Each week you will be given exercises in class, which you will complete in your own time. These will build up to create a portfolio which will be assessed at the end of the module.
  • Essential Skills for Architecture
    We will equip you with the necessary research, academic and IT skills needed for your course and your chosen profession. You will be guided through the use of commercial software packages to develop an appreciation of ICT skills for research, information management, presentation purposes and computer-based drawings. You will develop skills in the broad area of communication, interpretation and working together: skills that are increasingly demanded for a professional contribution to the built environment. Techniques for various media are considered, together with process, purpose and audience.
  • Architecture and Planning Design Studio A
    This module introduces you to the creative process and skills required within the architecture and architectural technology professions. You will develop a range of graphic communication techniques, including freehand and technical drawing skills. We will refine your ability to understand and produce simple professional technical drawing, as well as developing your appreciation of the extent of information required in the process of planning, designing and constructing a building. You will have the opportunity to investigate; space and form, materials, structure, construction and technology. Throughout this module you will develop your drawing skills relating to scale, proportion and the human body.
  • Architecture and Planning Design Studio B
    This module complements your learning from Architecture & Planning Design Studio A. You will develop a range of graphic communication techniques, including freehand and technical drawing skills. We will refine your ability to understand and produce simple professional technical drawing, building on your appreciation of the extent of information required in the process of planning, designing and constructing a building. You will have the opportunity to investigate; space and form, materials, structure, construction and technology. Throughout this module you will develop your drawing skills and explore the issues relating to scale, proportion and the human body.
  • Design Explorations
    You’ll view Architecture not in terms of the construction of conventional buildings, but as the creation of meaningful, exhilarating and comforting places for human inhabitation within a specific physical and cultural context. You’ll explore how design influences our daily life and the interaction between the fine arts and architecture. Design Explorations is an introductory design module for Architecture Students. It's a core module with an overall purpose to introduce students to the design process. During the module, you’ll become engrossed in the varied world of deign. You’re encouraged to think outside the box, taking nothing for granted, explore your own preconceptions and begin to draw inspiration from a variety of sources (architectural and beyond) and ultimately to approach design in new challenging ways. You’ll begin to become aware of the design process, and your own individual way of meeting design challenges. In the early sessions, we’ll guide you but as the weeks progress, it’s expected that you’ll begin to navigate yourself. Aspects discussed, and the projects that you’ll encounter will be non architectural, but the same design principles apply equally to small-scale objects as they do to architectural proposals. This module will open your eyes, help you make informed design decisions and provide you with the tools to communicate these ideas effectively.
  • Building Technology
    This module is designed for students of construction, surveying and architecture with little and/or no prior knowledge of building construction, services and material properties. You will learn the common materials and methods of construction of both new and traditional housing, by considering in turn each of the main elements of a building's structure. You'll also study the requirements of the internal environment, so as to understand how services installations contribute to user comfort. Other basic aspects such as the personnel involved, health and safety requirements and specialised terminology will be illustrated as appropriate to support this. You'll acquire knowledge related to domestic construction and be able to justify why different materials are used in the built environment.
  • Elements of Construction Design
    This module is designed for students of construction, surveying and architecture to introduce them to some of the basic analytical concepts and processes involved in the design of structures. Students will develop analytical skills which will allow them to carry out basic structural calculations. Students will also be introduced to basic 2D drafting techniques using industry standard software. This will allow them to effectively interpret technical drawing and give them the skills which can be applied to their specialist discipline area in later modules. Skills in this medium are highly sought after in the construction industry. BIM will be introduced to the student and students will gain an appreciation of technology and the role of the designer in the construction process and have an understanding of the design process. The assessment for this module will take the form of a portfolio which will include CAD drawings and basic structural analysis such as bending moments, shear forces and reactions. It is important that sketches are used in the portfolio as a means of communicating the concepts.

Year two, core modules

  • Advanced Construction Technology
    You will develop a broad understanding of the way we build our commercial and industrial buildings. Leading on from the study of domestic construction, you will consider the functional requirements of single-storey industrial sheds and multi-storey framed structures in concrete and steel. In addition, you will examine the affects on the construction process of the latest legislation in relation to fire and health and safety. You will receive a great deal of guidance to help develop your skills.
  • Environmental Building Performance
    The main approach for this module is a scientific one, focusing on the analysis of a problem or set of problems, followed by the synthesis of a solution. Considerable emphasis is placed on the use of environmental criteria to assess a building’s thermal, visual and aural performance. You will explore a number of scientific methods, with a limited amount of practical experiment-based work; technical solutions for lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning a building; and the passive design features of a building.
  • Site Studies and Planning
    Gain an understanding of the inseparable nature of place and context, and how this affects the design of new buildings and a sense of place. You will investigate the influences of physical environment in its historic, present and future context, and study the legal and planning constraints that affect the built environment. Exploring a site, you will learn how to analyse and evaluate elements of townscape. In particular, you will consider the design elements that contribute to urban form and place shaping. As part of this process, you will develop your drawing and sketching skills, providing an enhanced understanding of the place, spaces between buildings and the urban environment. You will examine design procedures and processes and develop a proposal for a new building and place within the context of an existing townscape.
  • Architectural Design Studies 1
    Learn the concepts related to the meaning of architecture, its language, order and form, explored through an individual design project. You will make links with your other modules by working on an architectural design brief for a small building. You will focus on investigating the implications of generating built form, and relate your drawing skills to the presentation of ideas as well as to architectural form. We will encourage you to develop alternative design solutions and explore materiality through your own proposals as well as existing case studies, with an emphasis placed on structural and constructional solutions.
  • Architectural Design Studies 2
    Following on from Architectural Design Studies 1, this module looks at the development of designs from an architectural brief of small contemporary buildings. You will explore the underlying concepts related to the meaning of architecture, its language, order and form. You will learn to communicate your design proposals through drawing and model making.
  • Modernism and Beyond
    You will focus on modern, post-modern and contemporary trends in architecture approached in a chronological perspective; we will explore the cultural, economic and critical debates that have permeated the production of architecture in the 20th and 21st centuries. You will become familiar with a series of themes and concepts such as; expressionism, abstraction, functionalism, semiotics, irony, and historicism. You will consider the theme of the architect as writer and reader by paying attention to the manifestos that dominated the theory of architecture until the 20th century.
  • Site Studies and Design
    Gain an understanding of the design of buildings, spaces and structures within their existing context, and how this affects the design for new buildings within their setting. You will carry out a survey of an existing building, taking into account its history and detailing. Developing the terminology of buildings, you will learn how to develop the ability to analyse and evaluate the elements of design and built form, and how design affects setting. You will advance your drawing and sketching skills to assist in design analysis and widen your understanding of the effect of design on the built and historic environment. You will develop your ability to form a critical point of view and justify your own ideas, both verbally and with the support of drawings and other graphic skills. Our project-based module will see you encompass studio work and engagement with site visits and tutorial reviews.

Year two, optional modules

  • Architectural CAD
    You will get hands-on training in some of the most up-to-date software used within the industry. You will use intelligent object-oriented design methods to create virtual models of traditional residential and commercial buildings. You will gain an appreciation of the substantial benefits such systems can offer in terms of client, design flexibility and Building Information Modelling (BIM). The skills you will gain in this module are vital to your professional development and industry expectations. We will keep you up-to-date with current software packages so you will be at the cutting edge of the sector.
  • Modelling Sustainable Architecture
    You will gain an insight into some of the issues and design processes associated with the design of sustainable architecture. You will have the opportunity to work as a member of a design team working on a number of modelling tools to simulate the environmental performance of buildings. Learning is based on the Building Research Establishment's BREEAM approach to the design of responsible architecture; considering the effects a building has on local resources and global warming. Aspects of heating and electrical energy use, pollution, occupancy comfort, transport, and embodies energy are investigated and combined to produce a building design that will have the minimum impact on the natural world. The work focuses on low energy low impact passive design solutions to environmental problems. Both the passive and active design features are explored and exploited to produce an environmentally responsive building design. Teaching is delivered by blended learning through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), so good access to the internet is essential.

Work placement (optional placement year)

Year three, core modules

  • Construction Technology and Innovation
    This module focuses on current construction issues and trends of a technological nature, including the critical review of methods of special construction. We will assess your learning through a formal presentation, during which you are encouraged to use a variety of illustrative methods to support your work. This is backed up by written proposals containing elements of both group and individual work.
  • Conversion and Adaptation of Buildings
    Study a real-life building and investigate the principles of developing a holistic approach to the adaptive re-use of buildings. You will develop an understanding of user needs in relation to economic re-use of existing buildings by extending, adapting, altering and conserving buildings. You will need to be aware of the concepts of conservation, restoration and preservation along with the realities of extension, conversion and adaptation options for existing buildings in order to optimise long-term sustainable economic viability of buildings. You will consider appropriate and creative technology and their impact upon economic appraisals. You will complete an in-depth case study either individually or as a group. You will also study the impact of modern design concepts, landscaping, low energy, environmental and sustainability issues to meet enhanced user-needs. You will need to research and contextualise architectural history, together with the components and materials of construction previously incorporated, to consider and justify future life-cycle options. It will be important for you to acquire a range of analytical skills to measure existing and proposed building performance from a number of standpoints and be in a position to make recommendations after short-listing a range of re-use options to be considered by a building owner. Your case study will involve a real-life building (or range buildings) in need of economic regeneration and enhancement, in order to advise the ‘client’ on potential options through a written report, an illustrative portfolio and a succinct design-pitch to illustrate and justify your recommended design proposals.
  • Professionalism, Values and Ethics
    Built Environments affect and concern everyone in society and can cover areas including ecological, aesthetic, technological, economic and historical values and ethics. You will look at both modern and older building scenarios and debate value-systems and values and ethics analysis. We will ensure we include focus on relevant building scenarios, such as the Olympics and development plans for areas such as Chelmsford. We will ask questions such as: who is doing this, why, for whose benefit, to whose disadvantage? You will consider scrutiny is in terms of ecological, aesthetic, technological, economic, historical and similar factors and justification of choices made in planning, architecture and design are discussed in terms of goals, actions and outcomes. You will explore underlying values/ethics such as: is what is being done 'good' or 'right' in terms of practical results, fundamental principles, or other objective criteria? This leads on to developing your own views on built environment values/ethics, both as a person and as a future professional.
  • Architectural Design Studies 3
    You will critically appraisal theoretical issues in architecture, in particular through developing a design brief based on a public building. The architectural response you develop will be related to context, historical development and critical argument, and focus on providing a practical and conceptual solution to a brief. Although a building must be functional in its planning and construction, you will place particular emphasis on the building's sense of place and its architectural development, declaring design issues, design generators and concepts.
  • Architectural Design Studies 4 (Dissertation)
    You will select a research topic identify a client and develop a brief and work up an architectural response in sufficient detail to showcase considerations of key aspects, such as spatial arrangements, phenomenological aspects of architecture, and the consideration of environmental and technical issues. On completion of this module you will be familiar and confident with a detailed knowledge of the application of design processes and the technologies required to realise built form. You will develop your ability for architectural design, with a focus on technical solutions through a design brief for a public building.


Throughout the course, we’ll use a range of assessment methods to help measure your progress. These will include design projects, presentations, timed assignments, exams and coursework.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Engineering is one of the largest of the four faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full-time or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate.

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science, technology and engineering fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Additional study information


This course gives you the opportunity to take a work placement between years 2 and 3. You’ll get experience of seeking and securing a job and working in an industry relating to your course. You’ll also get the practical experience and industry contacts to benefit your studies and enhance your long-term career prospects.

Although they can’t be guaranteed, we can work with you to find a placement, using our contacts with a large number of employers. You’ll have regular contact with one of our course tutors and be supported by a supervisor from your placement company. Together they’ll monitor your performance and give you feedback.

To find out more about placement opportunities, email us at

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


Placement year (UK, EU, international students)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

Additional costs

Small model making tools, modelling materials and printing - £150+
Large format printing and stationary - £150+
Contribution to field trip to a European city (subsidised) - £250

Building Site Safety boots - £30-50 (must be boots that cover the ankle)

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

UK and EU students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments

International students

You can pay your tuition fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

All tariff points must come from A levels. Points from AS levels cannot be counted towards the total tariff points required for entry to this course.

Entry requirements for foundation year study at ARU College:

  • five GCSE passes at grade 3 or D or above and evidence of two years post-GCSE study at Level 3
  • if you have achieved at least grade E in one A level, or equivalent, you are exempt from the two year post-GCSE study requirement, but you still have to meet the GCSE requirements
  • if English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificate level of proficiency of at least IELTS 5.5 overall including 5.5 in each band/component.

ARU students who start the BSc (Hons) Architecture with Foundation Year are taught by ARU College for the first year (level 3) of the course. On successful completion of level 3 students continue onto the second year of the BSc (Hons) Architecture course. Students may be able to transfer from that on to the BA (Hons) Architecture following successful completion of ALL level 4 modules. To transfer, you must achieve a minimum mark of 40% for each element of each module. Students who are not eligible for transfer may remain on the BSc (Hons) Architecture course.


You’ll need to provide a portfolio of your work to show us that you have the creative abilities needed to become a successful architect. You should give consideration to layout and presentation, and include images that demonstrate your ability to draw, paint, design, make models, take photographs, sculpt and compose.

We’ll be looking at your ability to draw accurately and to ‘think through drawing’. We’ll want to see you using a variety of media creatively, showing your design sensibility. We’ll be looking for your ability to make accurate models, show a critical eye, create in 3D, and curate your work into a portfolio.

You’ll need to demonstrate your interest in the world around you, particularly related to buildings and architecture. We’ll also want evidence that you’ve visited and sketched examples of both historic and contemporary architecture, providing a short sentence on why you chose to visit that particular building, or what you find inspiring about it.

All documentary images should be good quality, and convey your abilities as well as possible.

Digital portfolios should be formatted as a single PDF, with multiple images and supporting information or text to explain the work. If this is problematic, a series of single jpeg images can be sent, although the size of each file must not exceed 2MB. Images should be numbered, with supporting information giving the title, medium, date, scale and dimensions as appropriate.

If you're submitting a hard-copy portfolio, it should include up to 30 items (original work where possible) and preferably be A2 size (depending on the nature of the work). Include good-quality, well-presented supporting information and include sketchbooks, notebooks and preparatory studies.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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