BA Architecture

BA Architecture (RIBA Part 1)

UCAS code K100
Duration 3 years

Course overview

The BA Architecture is a three-year honours degree that brings together a balanced university education with a professionally orientated course. It combines lecture-based courses with a creative studio culture.

The lectures develop a broad knowledge base ranging across the sciences and humanities; this knowledge is then brought to the studio where it is tested and developed through a sequence of design projects.

Lecture courses are delivered by staff who are all at the forefront of their own field of research, thereby ensuring that the information imparted is up-to-date and relevant.

Within the studio, full time members of staff are joined by practicing architects, who bring with them topical ideas and skills from the world of architecture. It is this combination of a rigorous academic base and a creative professional direction that exemplifies architecture at Sheffield.

Guidance on Applying and Fees

Entry Requirements

Course outcomes

The majority of BA Architecture students follow the professionally accredited route that leads to exemption from RIBA Part 1. Students on this route will generally then take a year out in professional practice before studying a two year MArch in Architecture course and then returning to practice to complete their final professional examinations to qualify as an architect.

Students graduating from the BA at Sheffield have an excellent record in gaining employment. The course is highly regarded in the profession and is recognised as providing well-educated and adaptable students.

Find out more on our Employability pages.

It is also possible after the second year for students to follow a route that is not professionally accredited with the BA Architectural Studies. On this route studio courses are replaced with other modules. The aim of this latter route is to provide an education in a broad architectural context, within which students can develop their own specialisms and interests. Students graduating from this route are well placed to pursue a career in the built environment, or else to progress onto more specialised masters courses.


All three years of the degree course are divided approximately equally between lecture courses and studio based courses.


The first year studio course acts as a foundation year which aims to bring together students from a range of academic backgrounds. After the first year, projects develop in scale and complexity, until the major design project at the end of third year which addresses the full range of cultural, technological, conceptual and representational ideas.

The studio acts as a laboratory for the testing of creative and critical ideas, whilst at the same time developing fundamental architectural skills. In most cases we draw on Sheffield and its immediate surroundings for sites and briefs, in the belief that an immediate context develops relevant and topical solutions. Local projects are supplemented by more conceptual projects which have broader educational aims.

Lecture courses

The lecture courses develop knowledge and skills in three areas of architecture:


The humanities course covers the history and theory of architecture. In history, a broad overview of the cultural context of architecture is followed in second year by more focused case studies. The theory course introduces social aspects of architecture and methods of approaching design. These courses are supplemented by lectures in landscape and town planning, which give an overview of the broader contexts within which architecture is set.


The technology courses introduce the structural, constructional and environmental concepts that underpin architectural production. The emphasis is on how these concepts may inform and contribute to design, so that by third year most of the technical courses are related to the studio projects. The technology courses draw on the expertise in sustainable approaches to design that the academic staff are developing in their research.


The communication courses develop representational techniques for architecture, with an increasing emphasis on computer techniques. In the third year, students undertake a major dissertation, a piece of academic work that encourages an in-depth study of an architectural subject.


Modules - what you study and when

The modules listed below are from the current academic year and there may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, please contact us.

First Year

ARC 101 Communication 1 (10 credits)

ARC 102 Communication 2 (10 credits)

ARC 125 Architectural Design 1 (30 credits)

ARC 126 Architectural Design 2 (30 credits)

ARC 103 Humanities 1 (10 credits)

ARC 104 Humanities 2 (10 credits)

ARC 107 Environment & Technology 1 (10 credits)

ARC 108 Environment & Technology 2 (10 credits)

Second Year

ARC 202 Communication 4 (10 credits)

ARC 225 Architectural Design 3 (30 credits)

ARC 226 Architectural Design 4 (30 credits)

ARC 221 Computer Aided Design (10 credits)

ARC 203 Humanities 3 (10 credits)

ARC 204 Humanities 4 (10 credits)

ARC 207 Environment & Technology 3 (10 credits)

ARC 208 Environment & Technology 4 (10 credits)

Third Year

ARC 303 Humanities 5 (10 credits)

ARC 308 Environment and Technology 6 (10 credits)

ARC 327 Advanced Structures and Environment (10 credits)

ARC 328 Management Practice Law (10 credits)

ARC 325 Architectural Design 5 (30 credits)

ARC 326 Architectural Design 6 (30 credits)

ARC 322 Special study (30 credits)

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of changes the University will consult and inform students in good time and will take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Student experiences

Each year we attract excellent students to this course who all contribute to a socially vibrant and academically challenging environment. Here they share their experiences of studying in Sheffield.

Laura Turner
BA Architecture

Why did you decide to study this course at Sheffield?

Out of the other schools I was considering, Sheffield had the most exciting sounding studio briefs. I was also impressed by the studio spaces with the beautiful views over Sheffield, and the dedication of the staff.

What have you enjoyed about the course?

While I love the work I do on the course, I have mostly enjoyed the social aspect. Not only have I met my best friends on the course, but the whole atmosphere is very supportive - a family away from home!

What skills have you gained while studying in Sheffield?

As well as a strong set of creative design skills, I have developed my time management, people skills and leadership skills. In particular, team working has massively contributed to all of these abilities and I can confidently solve design problems and communicate my work to a range of different people.

How do you think your degree experience will help you in your career?

The degree has had its challenges and learning to overcome these is a great thing to be able to do as an Architect. It has developed my confidence and has encouraged me to have my own design style which will help me stand out in job applications.

How has studying at Sheffield informed the way you think about the subject?

Sheffield's strong social ethos has filtered into my design work. I think sensitively about how my designs might help improve communities and the lives of others. We also have a diverse range of lectures throughout the course, and there are many opportunities to explore all kinds of routes, so you can become the kind of designer you want to be.

What career aspirations do you currently have for after you graduate?

I aspire to do my Part 1 placement year before continuing to my Masters.

What advice would you give to a new Sheffield student?

My advice would be to get involved with everything you can, be open minded and push yourself!

What is your favourite thing about Sheffield?

As a city, Sheffield is full of hidden gems which you will discover as you do each project. It's a very friendly, safe city which feels like home almost immediately, and the Peaks are just on your doorstep.

Graduate profile

Marianne Howard is a graduate of our BA and MArch Architecture programmes and has shared with us her experience of studying in Sheffield and career story so far.

Why did you choose to study at Sheffield?

Marianne HowardI was initially captured by the 360 degree views of the city from the architecture studios on the 17th floor of the Arts Tower. I chose to return to Sheffield and study at MArch level due to the architecture school’s ethos which encourages consideration of the built environment grounded within its wider social, political and economic context.

Highlights of the course?

The supportive and open studio culture; which encouraged the sharing of ideas between groups and yeargroups.

Being involved in a Live Project which involved the curation and construction of a ‘Pavilion of Protest’ in the heart of the RIBA, which aimed to engage students and architects from all over the UK in the debate about the rising cost of architectural education.

Organising a warehouse party for the SUAS architecture ‘ball’ which featured local bands and djs as well as sets from students and members of staff.

Tell us about your career since graduating…

In the two years since graduating I have worked at two different practices, experiencing the realities of working in both a small and medium sized practice, working on projects at a range of scales. I am now studying for my part three part-time in order to gain my professional qualification.

Hyde Hall Learning Centre and Garden for the Royal Horticultural SocietyI currently work at Cullinan Studio. The practice operates as an employee-owned business, and once I have worked there for a year I will be asked to join the co-operative. All members have the opportunity to be actively involved in decision making about the management aspects of the practice, including pay, and the kind of projects we undertake.

This practice structure is designed to engage staff at all levels through a sense of collective responsibility for its work and overall success.

During my time at Cullinans I have worked on projects including a Biomass Energy Centre, the renovation of a Grade II listed Georgian building and the modernisation of the BFI’s archives.

Through working on such a variety of projects I have developed some very specific technical knowledge, but a linking feature is that they are all renovations or re-use of existing buildings. The nature of this work is telling of our current economic climate; where clients need to improve their facilities but cannot afford new buildings, therefore retrofit is a more economically and environmentally sustainable option.

What are the 3 main things you learnt at Sheffield that you have taken with you in your career?

  • Architectural education is one of the most diverse in terms of disciplines it encompasses
  • There is much potential for the role of the architect to evolve, and with the traditional role of the architect within the design process diminishing, architects must use their collective range of skills to demonstrate their value
  • Review of work/performance should be a two-way process; a dialogue rather than a critique; which focuses on the positive before addressing the negative – relentless criticism lowers morale and discourages motivation

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