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The 10 Best Architecture Universities in the UK (2023 List)

30 Nov, 2022
The 10 Best Architecture Universities in the UK (2023 List)

The United Kingdom is well known for its outstanding universities, many of which excel in the field of Architecture. Three of the current top 15 universities for Architecture and Built Environment in the QS World University rankings are in the UK (UCL, the Manchester School of Architecture and University of Cambridge).

Architecture study takes in the areas of technology, design, and theory, and students will benefit from state-of-the-art facilities at UK universities including labs for building prototypes (3D printing and laser cutting) and unique workshop spaces. Courses in the UK are validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects, and the completion of an undergraduate Architecture degree is the first step on the path to becoming a professional architect.

It takes seven years to become fully qualified, combining five years of study followed by two years of professional training and practical work before final exams. Students will become members of the RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects, after their initial three-year undergraduate degree, before enrolling on a BArch, Diploma or March degree.

Top universities for the study of Architecture

In this article, we'll look at some of the top ranked universities for this area of study in the UK, and any particular areas of specialism that they have.

There are several different annual university league tables, most of which include rankings by subject area, including the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, the Guardian Good University Guide and the Complete University Guide.

The universities selected all feature regularly within top rankings for Architecture within them. Of course, when it comes to selecting which colleges to complete bachelor's degrees at, there are many factors aside from rankings to consider, including:

  • tuition fees
  • location and cost of living
  • graduate prospects for employment

Should you enrol on a pre-university programme at Kings our expert UCAS advisors will help establish the best university for your architecture course, putting you on the best possible path for success..

Table of Contents

1. University of Cambridge

2. University of Bath

3. University College London (UCL)

4. Cardiff University

5. University of Nottingham

6. Queen’s University Belfast

7. Manchester School of Architecture

8. The University of Sheffield

9. University of Strathclyde Glasgow

10. University of the Arts London (UAL)

1. University of Cambridge

Most frequently recognised as the top UK institution for the study of Architecture, the University of Cambridge needs no introduction. Its global academic reputation and recognition as one of the world's top universities makes it a top choice for students of all subjects.

Cambridge has some of the most ancient and iconic buildings at any university, yet facilities are modern and benefitting from ongoing and substantial investment.

The university is split into 31 autonomous colleges where students receive small group teaching sessions known as college supervisions. The university's BA in architecture is taught by faculty at St John's College and is described on the university's website as the 'only Cambridge degree that combines the intellectual challenges of both arts and sciences with the opportunity for creative design.'

Course elements include the history and philosophy of architecture, contemporary culture and urbanism, as well as construction, structural design and environmental design

Location: Cambridge

Architecture Department Landing Page: University of Cambridge - Architecture

2. University of Bath

Bath is known for excellence in teaching and research, for its high student satisfaction rates, and providing outstanding preparation for the workplace. Its lively, attractive campus on the edge of the city provides superb sporting, social and cultural opportunities.

One of the first universities to win a national police-approved security award, it is considered one of the safest campuses in the UK. Major investment over the past decade has included accommodation, study spaces, sport and art facilities. Employment rates for graduates are higher than average at the University of Bath — most likely a result of the work placements offered with every degree course and its emphasis on practical, ‘real life’ skills that employers value.

Bath is currently ranked 1st in the UK for Architecture within the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, and the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees with an interdisciplinary focus. The research specialises in sustainability within the built environment.

Courses include:

  • Architecture BSc (Hons) – 4 years including placements
  • Architecture MArch (Hons) – 2 years
  • Structural and Architectural Engineering BEng (Hons) – 4 years including placement year
  • Structural and Architectural Engineering BEng (Hons) – 3 years
  • Structural and Architectural Engineering MEng (Hons) – 5 years including placement year
  • Structural and Architectural Engineering MEng (Hons) – 4 years

Location: Bath, south west England

Architecture Department Landing Page: University of Bath - Architecture

3. University College London (UCL)

One of the UK's top ten universities, and a member of the renowned Russell Group of universities, University College London, or UCL as it's also known, occupies a main campus in upmarket Bloomsbury in central London, and there are plans to open a further campus on the site of the London 2012 Olympic Park in east London.The phased opening of the 50,000 sq m site, based at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will begin in spring 2022.

UCL is home to the prestigious Bartlett School of Architecture, one of the most influential, exciting and innovative architecture schools in the world, which 'sets the agenda for what architecture is and could be'. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees with innovative teaching, top-ranking research and state-of-the-art facilities, across two London sites.

Courses include:

  • Architecture BSc (ARB/RIBA Part 1) - 3 years
  • Architecture MSci (ARB Part 1 & 2) - a 5-year integrated Master's in architecture, accredited by ARB for Part 1 & 2, with a final year on placement.
  • Architectural & Interdisciplinary Studies BSc
  • Engineering & Architectural Design MEng - four years

Location: London

Architecture Department Landing Page: University College London - Architecture

4. Cardiff University

Located in Wales' capital city, across two main campuses, Cardiff University is a member of the Russell Group of universities. Recent refurbishment of the Bute Building (home to the Welsh School of Architecture) has boosted provision for its students.

Its design-led Architecture programme has a focus on making, with two thirds of the BSc currently based on project work in the studio.

Its Architecture (BSc/MArch) is full time with work-based learning, and completed over 5 years. Once students finish their last year studying the BSc degree, they spend the first year of the MArch degree following architectural practice.

Location: Cardiff, Wales

Architecture Department Landing Page: Cardiff University - Architecture

5. University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham is one of the founding members of the prestigious Russell Group, and with campuses in the UK, China and Malaysia, is a truly global university. It’s main UK campus is considered one of the largest and most attractive in the country.

Nottingham is in the top five of universities targeted by the largest number of the UK’s leading graduate employers, according to the most recent High Fliers survey, and more than four in five students land high-skilled jobs or go into graduate-level study within 15 months of leaving.

The University's Department of Architecture and Built Environment was voted a top 3 school for Architecture by Architects Journal, 2020. Currently it offers the following courses:

  • Architecture BArch
  • Architectural Environment Engineering BEng
  • Architectural Environment Engineering with Industrial Placement Year BEng
  • Architectural Environment Engineering MEng
  • Architectural Environment Engineering with Industrial Placement Year MEng
  • Architecture and Environmental Design MEng
  • Architecture MArch (ARB RIBA Part 2)
  • Architecture with Collaborative Practice Research MArch

Location: Nottingham, East Midlands of England

Architecture Department Landing Page: University of Nottingham - Architecture

6. Queen's University Belfast

Another Russell Group university, and the ninth oldest in the UK, Queen’s is based in the very heart of Belfast. Its historic campus and the surrounding conservation area are complemented with outstanding modern facilities for education and research.

Architecture degree programmes are taught within the School of Natural and Built Environment. Students benefit from a vibrant environment with dedicated architectural design studios and workshops.

Cross-programme activities are described on the website as a 'core' feature, providing a connected curriculum which offers all students the opportunity to develop a broad skills base.

Queen’s University Belfast is ranked 8th in the UK for research (REF, 2014). In Architecture, they are leaders in architectural research and their world-class expertise spans three core themes: Architectural Design, Sustainable Cities, Heritage, and Architectural Humanities.

Current undergraduate and postgraduate Architecture degree programmes offered by the university include:

  • BSc(Hons) Architecture
  • Master of Architecture(MArch)
  • Building Information Modelling Project Management MSc
  • Building Information Modelling Project Management Higher Level Apprenticeship MSc
  • Construction and Project Management MSc
  • Construction and Project Management Higher Level Apprenticeship MSc
  • Professional Practice in Architecture PgCert
  • Architecture MPhil
  • Architecture PhD

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland

Architecture Department Landing Page: Queen’s University Belfast - Architecture

7. Manchester School of Architecture

Manchester School of Architecture is a collaboration between Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester. The school is currently ranked among the top fifteen in the world (QS World Rankings 2022). Courses are accredited by institutions such as the Architects Registration Board (ARB), Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA) and The Landscape Institute.

It is located half a mile from Manchester city centre, and are connected to academic and professional practice in Manchester, the North West and internationally.

Manchester itself is a city with rich architectural and landscape history as well as modern urban regeneration, much of which has been designed in conjunction with graduates of the school.

Current undergraduate and postgraduate Architecture degree programmes offered by the university include:

  • BA (Hons) Architecture
  • Master of Architecture (MArch)
  • Architecture and Urbanism (MA)
  • Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)

Location: Manchester, North West England

Architecture Department Landing Page: Manchester School of Architecture

8. The University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is another member of the prestigious Russell Group, and has established itself as one of the largest and best-regarded research universities in the UK. The University ranks among the UK's best for student experience, and outside of study, those who choose to go to Sheffield can enjoy a thriving, cultural city that is also one of the most affordable.

The Sheffield School of Architecture offers a range of degree courses, providing a balance of theory, design work and professional experience. Students will learn how to 'lead on projects, solve complex problems and communicate ideas while thinking about the wider responsibilities of the architect'.

Courses offered include:

  • Architecture BA
  • Architecture and Landscape BA
  • Structural Engineering and Architecture MEng

Location: Sheffield

Architecture Department Landing Page: The University of Sheffield - Architecture

9. The University of Strathclyde Glasgow

The University of Strathclyde is a leading technological university located in the heart of Glasgow – one of the UK’s largest and most vibrant cities. The University won the Times Higher Education University of the Year prize in 2019 – becoming the first Scottish university to receive the UK-wide award twice. It was also named Scottish University of the Year 2020 by the Sunday Times Good University Guide.

The Department of Architecture is part of one of the largest and highest ranking faculties of engineering in the UK. It enjoys close links with the city’s creative design, construction, and engineering industries which provide invaluable opportunities for students to network and engage with professional practitioners, researchers and clients.

Facilities and equipment include two design studios; a drop-in studio where students can be part of the collaborative and creative studio community, and another which is dedicated to design teaching, a reference library, and a workshop for traditional model making.

Courses offered include:

  • Architectural Studies (BA Hons)
  • MArch in Advanced Architectural Design

Location: Glasgow, western Scotland

Architecture Department Landing Page: University of Strathclyde - Architecture

10. University of the Arts London(UAL)

Based in the UK’s thriving capital city London, University of the Arts London (UAL) is the largest specialist arts and design university in Europe.

Its degree programmes in Architecture, spatial and interior design enjoy an excellent reputation and the BA (Hons) in Architecture at Central Saint Martins is prescribed by the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

Architecture students work with clients and commercial organisations that have included Bloomberg, Bouygues, Camden Council, IKEA, and Yamamay and past alumni have gone on to work for renowned architectural practices such as Zaha Hadid Architects.

Courses offered include:

  • Architecture (BA Hons)

Location: London

Architecture Department Landing Page: UAL - Architecture

Other great universities for Architecture

The ten UK universities featured above are all considered among the best in the UK for the study of Architecture, however it's worth noting that the following universities also enjoy a strong reputation in the field and also often feature in top rankings for the subject.

  • Oxford Brookes University
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Lancaster University
  • Coventry University
  • Newcastle University
  • University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE Bristol)
  • Robert Gordon University
  • Loughborough University
  • University of Dundee
  • Kingston University
  • Birmingham City University
  • University of Liverpool
  • University for the Creative Arts
  • Arts University Bournemouth
  • University of Salford
  • Liverpool John Moores University

Next steps

We hope that this article has helped you understand more about the best universities for Architecture and related subjects in the UK. You can find more detailed information about studying Architecture, and a career as an Architect in the Subjects/Career Guides section of the Kings website.

You can also find detailed profiles of the top UK universities.

If you would like receive more detailed information about the Kings and our programmes, please get in touch with us at