BSc Honours Architecture (UCAS Code: K100)
For entrance requirements
T: +44 (0)28 9097 3838
For course information
Dr Paul Larmour
School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering
T: +44 (0)28 9097 5631
For students whose first language is not English
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. See further information on other acceptable English Language qualifications
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 Queen's University Belfast is based on the University campus and offers a range of courses including:
International Foundation in Engineering and Science
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 course. 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 acknowledges that the highest A-level/ILC performance is not always an indicator of an applicant’s suitability for the course.
Belfast is an exceptional place in which to study architecture and Queen's is very supportive of the discipline; our students are taught by a diverse, energetic group of staff and tutors, informed by their research and practice. We have recently moved into the top 10 in both the Guardian League Table for Architecture and the most recent National Student Survey. Every first year student is allocated a personal tutor. We encourage our students to undertake summer work in various countries under the IAESTE programme. Our reputation is such that we are often directly approached by leading employers specifically seeking our graduates.Back to top
This degree is balanced between the creative, theoretical and technical aspects of designing and realising architecture. Design is explored in a supportive shared studio environment - with each student having their own workspace. Design studio takes up half of each semester, with lecture and seminar-based modules in skills, history, theory, management and practice, environment and technology informing and supporting the activities in the studio.
First year focuses on bringing students into university-level education, marrying the development of skills to self-reflection. Students begin to understand the importance and responsibility of practising graphic, design, written, verbal, thinking, self-evaluation and group working skills. Stage 1 also focuses on the issue of how surroundings inform the creation of architecture and how it is experienced.
Second year concentrates on the development of each student's personal, holistic, and viable design skills. Students are encouraged to develop maturity in analysing design problems and to personalise the design process to reflect their own individual interests and concerns in architecture.
Students deliver completed proposals, drawing on all of their learning throughout the degree, and advance their own personal areas of inquiry in preparation for graduate employment, professional life and further learning. We have numerous academic awards and prizes, and the support and guidance we give students often contribute to them receiving other external scholarships, grants and awards. Our students are regularly placed in national and international competitions and award programmes.
Nearly all of our 300 students are members of the student society ARCSOC, which arranges social events and an evening guest lecture programme.
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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.Back to top
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:
Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.Back to top
This first degree on Architecture (RIBA Part 1) leads to the postrgardaute Part 2 and 3 programmes, which can be taken at our institution or elsewhere. Many of our gardautes 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 progress 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.Back to top
Accreditation: this degree has had continuous Part 1 recognition by RIBA and Architects Registration Board for many years. In 2011 it again received full validation, with a very positive and supportive RIBA report.Back to top