Key Course Information
A-Level Requirements *
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Professional Year Out
Natural and Built Environment
*Indicative Only. Please see the Course Entry Requirements section for details on subject specific or GCSE requirements.
Queen's University, as part of the Russell Group, is one of the best places to study Architecture in the UK. In 2014-2015, Queen's Architecture was ranked 1st in the UK for student satisfaction in The Sunday Times League Table and ranked 5th out of 45 schools of Architecture in the Guardian League Table.
Supported by a diverse group of staff and external tutors engaged in international, award-winning research and practice, over 75 per cent of our students regularly graduate with a 1st Class or 2.1 degree. All students, many of whom come from outside Northern Ireland, receive a high degree of personal tuition in a strong studio culture in which every student has dedicated personal studio space.
Our established reputation generated over 50 years means that our graduates are often placed with leading employers from around the world. They are those who will be leaders in their fields, creatively rethinking the past, present and particularly the future of the built environment.
Accreditation: this degree has had continuous Part I recognition by RIBA and the Architects Registration Board for many decades.
Study Abroad and Work Experience: the course offers opportunities for working with Masters students via a Live Project with real clients and real sites as well as opportunities for international study through the Erasmus programme and through study tours.
Excellent facilities: students have access to a well-equipped workshop and dedicated studio space to support their studies.
In addition to the entrance requirements below, it is essential that you read the How We Choose Our Students pdf prior to submitting your UCAS application.
A-level: AAB + GCSE Mathematics grade C. Applicants with a grade C in GCSE Art or no Art at GCSE/A-level may be invited for a portfolio interview. Neither Technology and Design nor Craft, Design and Technology are considered an alternative to Art.
Irish Leaving Certificate: H2H3H3H3H3H3 + if not offered at Higher Level then Ordinary Level grade O4 in Mathematics.
Applicants with a grade C in Junior Certificate Art, or no Art at Junior/Leaving Certificate, may be invited for a portfolio interview.
All applicants: a broad spread of scientific, creative and language-based subjects is desirable, since high scores in specific subjects do not necessarily indicate suitability for the wide-ranging demands of the degree. Evidence of broad general intelligence, a hardworking nature and a genuine motivation and interest in architecture is also required. Applicants are encouraged to appreciate the demands of studying architecture and the combined scientific and creative nature of the subject.
The entrance requirements outlined above reflect the demands of the BSc, but acknowledge that the highest A-level performance is not always an indicator of an applicant's suitability for the degree.
If you are an international student and you do not meet the entrance requirements, you should consider a preparation course at INTO Queen's University Belfast, which will prepare you for successful study on these degree courses. INTO at Queen's is based on the University campus and offers a range of courses including the International Foundation in Engineering and Science.
For students whose first language is not English
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in Speaking and Listening and 5.5 in Reading and Writing, or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this degree. Please click the links below for more information:
- English for University Study - an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English - a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English
How To Apply
How to Apply
Applications for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/apply.
When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in Autumn 2017 from 1 September 2016.
The normal closing date for the receipt of applications is 15 January 2017.
For candidates applying to Oxford or Cambridge and for those whose choices include Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Medicine/Science the closing date is 15 October 2015.
Currently there are two intakes to Adult Nursing (one in September and the other in February).Those applying for entry in February 2016 should apply prior to 15 January 2015.
Applicants are advised to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.
Earlier applicants normally receive decisions more quickly, however, UCAS accepts that some applicants, especially those from outside the UK, may find this difficult. Late applications are, in practice, accepted by UCAS throughout the remainder of the application cycle, but you should understand that they are considered by institutions at their discretion, and there can be no guarantee that they will be given the same full level of consideration as applications received by the advisory closing date.
Take care to enter the details of the institutions and courses clearly and correctly on the application. For Queen's, the institution code name is QBELF and the institution code is Q75. These should be entered in the Choices section of your UCAS application. Please note a Campus Code is not required. For further information on applying to study at Queen’s, please click here.
COMING FOR AN INTERVIEW
We normally look for a basic competence in Art as represented by a B at GCSE level, a B at A level or the equivalent from other exam boards. If you do not satisfy these requirements, we may ask you to come for an interview at which time we will also ask you to bring a portfolio. Below are some tips to help you in that process.
We prefer that the portfolio is presented in a folder, no larger than A1. In your portfolio, you should aim to show us your current range of artistic skills. We encourage you to include a range of items which shows us your ability with a variety of media. We accept and encourage work that is not necessarily all finished to a final high quality but does illustrate an interest and willingness to experiment and gain confidence.
The following types of work may appear in your portfolio:
- Freehand pencil, charcoal or pen sketches of objects or places, drawn from direct observation, but not copied from photographs.
- Freehand colour drawings or sketches using watercolour, pastels, or acrylics, drawn from direct observation or imagination, but not copied from photographs.
- Painting in various media
- Photographs of models, including joinery work
- Creative photography
- Textiles, including costume or fashion design
If you do not have a body of work and wish to prepare for the interview, we would suggest the following range of subjects:
- Figure studies
- Still life studies
- Sketches of buildings and spaces in your own locality and
- Landscape studies
Suggestions for creating a strong portfolio:
- Don't overcomplicate your portfolio -- let the work speak for itself without "decoration" through overuse of fonts, distracting graphic design, etc.
- Your portfolio should contain between ten and twenty pieces of your best work, so be careful what you choose.
- Please ensure that any reproductions -- photographs of models or scans of large-scale paintings, for example -- are extremely good quality. You will do yourself a disservice if the quality of reproduction of good work is poor.
- We are interested in your artistic process as well as final products, so be sure to include your sketches and preparatory work. However, be sure that you are selective in this -- we don't need to see every single aspect of the development of the pieces.
- You should be prepared to discuss your work with the interview team.
Please note – engineering drawings, technical drawings, tracings, CAD exercises and Design and Technology reports will not normally fulfil the requirements for this interview.
Course Content (including module information)
'Creativity with Purpose' is the basis of Architecture at Queen's.
Students explore design in a studio environment, contextualised by modules in history/theory, technology/environment and professional practice. The course is modular in structure, allowing students to learn and develop their skills through an extensive range of topics, which grow in complexity throughout Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the degree. Topics include:
- History and Theory of Architecture: students are introduced to the historical and theoretical backgrounds to Architecture by exploring key buildings and spaces, as well as significant principles, texts and thinkers. Architectural and cultural theory, produced by both architects and theorists, are introduced and explored. Students are also provided with a platform for the development of skills, including research methods, essay writing and critical thinking.
- Architectural Design and Communication: students learn about architectural design and representation through design-based projects, which vary in scale and complexity as the course progresses. The urban physical context and the critical thinking processes in relation to the built environment and design are explored. Students also learn about structures and materiality and the importance of architectural communication, using appropriate graphic media. Research of architectural precedents and presentation of analytical studies both verbally and in the form of models and drawings are key features.
- Technology and Environment: students learn the principles of building technology, including structural behaviour, building construction and materials, within the context of the building process, sustainability, and the use of descriptive and performance specifications. The topic also deals with the environmental performance of buildings through passive design strategies, eg, natural light and ventilation and the way these requirements inform the design of buildings, their forms and structure.
Students have four modules they need to pass each year, and the degree result is cumulative, with 10, 30 and 60 per cent for Stages 1-3, respectively.
Stage 1 focuses on our belief that our students benefit from a smooth transition into university, and thus we strongly support students in learning to draw architecturally, make models and to begin the process of forming and communicating positions on Architecture.
Stage 2 acts as a laboratory for testing creative and critical ideas and the process of creating. We continue to support students' increasing levels of confidence and independence through developing more complex architectural skills and understanding of technology.
Students in this Stage are both speculative thinkers and accomplished designers, able to deliver detailed, resolved proposals. They operate independently, drawing on previous learning and personal interests. In this final year, they consider the many possible career paths presented to them over the course of their studies.
Fees & Scholarships
There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union. Higher education funding arrangements mean that students can study now and pay later.
Further details can be found on our fees and funding section.
Queen's works to ensure that all those who can benefit from a university education have the chance to do so, and a generous system of financial support is in place to help them. Each year Queen’s offer a range of scholarships and prize for new students. The most up to date listings are available here.
Learning and Teaching
The undergraduate course adopts a year structure with each year (or ‘stage’) adopting both architectural and teaching/learning aims. The design studio is a well resourced focus of the programme, with each student having over twenty hours of contact time each week of both of the twelve week teaching semesters. Whilst Architecture is understood as an intellectual discipline, it also relies heavily on a range of skills, the most obvious of which are drawing, model-making, written and verbal communication skills and design. Around these core representational skills sit other skills such as time-management and critical reflection. This programme attracts academically able students, but typically their intellectual capabilities exceed their skills. The staff have heavily invested in first year skill-based teaching to increase students capabilities in such areas as technical drawing, model making and writing, whilst at the same time reinforcing the students’ own responsibility to progress their skills through self-directed learning.
Stage One focuses on bringing students into university level education, marrying the development of skills to self-reflection. Students in Stage One begin to understand the importance and responsibility of practising skills: graphic, design, written, verbal, thinking, self-evaluation, group working. In addition to this transition and acquisition of skills, Stage One focuses on the architectural issue of context in all its complexity and how it impacts on programme, materiality and form. Our students are very complementary about the joint one week design studio “Street Society” project, bringing Stage One and first year postgraduate (part 2) students together to work on real projects for real clients.
Stage Two focuses on the development, by each student, of personal, holistic, and viable design skills. Students are encouraged to develop maturity in analysing design problems and in broadening their understanding of the relationship between architecture, technology, construction, theory, history and the wider social context. Building upon the skills and applications learnt in Stage One, students investigate place makingin a variety of contexts. Combining this with the consideration of design generatorsand integration of technology, students are encouraged to personalise the design process to reflect their own individual interests and concerns in architecture.
Stage Three is recognised both as an end point to undergraduate studies and as the beginning of a student’s future development. Stage Three asks students to deliver completed, resolved proposals, drawing on all of their learning throughout the course. Students are encouraged to advance their own personal areas of enquiry in preparation for professional life and further learning. The focus of Stage Three is on more complex contexts and agendas for Architecture and / in / of the City.
We emphasise to students that much of their learning and skill development occurs away from the formalised areas of the course. We use the metaphor of the iceberg in respect to learning -- the small visible section above the water line is contact teaching time with staff whilst the much larger section below the water line is a student’s own self-led learning time. We also encourage students to learn outside formal teaching environments, including external lectures and exhibitions and service projects as well as international study visits which occur in all Stages of the BSc undergraduate Course.
We have numerous academic awards and prizes, many of which are funded through trusts and industry sponsors. The support and guidance we give students often contributes to them receiving other external scholarships, grants and awards. Nearly all our three hundred students are members of the student society ARCSOC, which is very active arranging social events and an evening guest lecture programme. Our students are regularly placed in national and international competitions and award programmes.
This first degree on Architecture (RIBA Part 1) leads to the postgraduate Part 2 and 3 programmes, which can be taken at our institution or elsewhere. Many of our graduates return to our postgraduate Part 2 programme.
Our graduates can be found involved with a surprisingly wide range of activities. Many continue to work in private architectural practices ranging in size from two or three people to a staff of over 100, providing a general practice service to private and institutional clients, designing individual houses, social housing, commercial developments, civic buildings, concert halls, theatres and galleries. Many commissions are won through architectural competitions.
Although primarily intended as a first degree for those wishing to undertake postgraduate studies and become professionally qualified architects, the course offers a wide-ranging general education in design, visual appreciation and problem solving, which is valuable in its own right.
Although a much higher proportion of our graduates progresses to being registered architects, a certain number of our graduates do diversify and move outwards into related careers and roles. They may work in stage set design, town planning or housing policy, conservation of historic buildings, interiors, furniture design or specialist building physics such as acoustics. They may provide technical assistance to voluntary and community groups tackling difficult social and economic problems. Our graduates work in many different parts of the world, have their work published and receive awards.
Other Career-related information: Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers. Queen’s students will be advised and guided about career choice and, through the Degree Plusinitiative, will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skills development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer. See Queen’s University Belfast fullEmployability Statementfor further information.
Degree Plus and other related initiatives: Recognising student diversity, as well as promoting employability enhancements and other interests, is part of the developmental experience at Queen’s. Students are encouraged to plan and build their own, personal skill and experiential profile through a range of activities including; recognised Queen’s Certificates, placements and other work experiences (at home or overseas), Erasmus study options elsewhere in Europe, learning development opportunities and involvement in wider university life through activities, such as clubs, societies, and sports.
Queen’s actively encourages this type of activity by offering students an additional qualification, the Degree Plus Award (and the related Researcher Plus Award for PhD and MPhil students). Degree Plus accredits wider experiential and skill development gained through extra-curricular activities that promote the enhancement of academic, career management, personal and employability skills in a variety of contexts. As part of the Award, students are also trained on how to reflect on the experience(s) and make the link between academic achievement, extracurricular activities, transferable skills and graduate employment. Participating students will also be trained in how to reflect on their skills and experiences and can gain an understanding of how to articulate the significance of these to others, e.g. employers.
Overall, these initiatives, and Degree Plus in particular, reward the energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm shown by students engaging in activities over-and-above the requirements of their academic studies. These qualities are amongst those valued highly by graduate employers.
Assessment & Feedback
Feedback (general): As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face to face comment. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
- Placement employer comments or references.
- Online or emailed comment.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.
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Latest Research Publications
The links below will take you to the latest Queen's Research publications in the PURE portal.