Clare College Cambridge

Studying Architecture at Clare

Although Architecture may be studied at University primarily as an academic discipline, the teaching programme in the Department of Architecture is designed to provide an education suitable for a career in the architectural profession. Studies in Architecture at the University call for a wide range of skills and commitment for success.

The education programme for architects takes seven years to complete. The first three lead to the BA degree in Architecture and this is followed by one year's employment in an architect's office to obtain practical experience. Students then return to university for a further two years of study known as the Diploma in Architecture or RIBA Part 2. At Cambridge, a new Part 2 course, based around the MPhil in Environment and a year in practice, has been introduced in 2008-9 and subsequently received ARB/RIBA validation. In the seventh year, Part 3 is further instruction, primarily in Professional Practice. This course is offered by Cambridge.


Course Outline

You’re taught in our studio – where you have your own dedicated design space – two days a week, during which you’re set projects that require you to produce models and drawings to communicate your ideas. You’re supervised on studio work in individual tutorials and group critical reviews, which encourage you to explore different approaches and develop essential design skills. The resulting portfolio accounts for 60 per cent of your overall marks each year.

Lectures, classes and visits to completed buildings or buildings under construction/restoration cover the rest of the curriculum. In addition to the two studio days, in the first year you typically attend six or seven lectures each week; and three classes and three small-group supervisions each fortnight, for which you’re required to complete essays and undertake preparation.

Year 1 (Part IA)

The studio work introduces the possibilities of architecture, with an emphasis on understanding and developing proficiency in traditional modes of architectural representation – models, collage, perspectives, elevations, plans and sections. You also master basic CAD skills, used in studio presentations. A study trip abroad is typically offered in the Easter vacation. 

You take five lecture-based papers:

  • Introduction to Architectural History/Theory (pre-1800)
  • Introduction to Architectural History/Theory (post-1800)
  • Fundamental Principles of Construction
  • Fundamental Principles of Structural Design
  • Fundamental Principles of Environmental Design

Assessment is through coursework and written examinations. 

Year 2 (Part IB)

You choose from various options for studio work, with projects ranging in scale from mapping studies and interior interventions, to reasonable-sized buildings. Emphasis is on integrating the technical skills learnt in Part IA and in the ongoing Part IB lectures with your studio output. A voluntary study trip is usually offered.

In addition, you take four papers that build on your Part IA knowledge:

  • Studies in History and Theories of Architecture, Urbanism and Design
  • Principles of Construction
  • Principles of Structural Design
  • Principles of Environmental Design

For the first, you submit two essays and sit a written examination. The remaining three papers are assessed by a written exam in each. 

Year 3 (Part II)

You choose from three studio options which vary in approach but all require you to produce a building design at the end of the year, the technical realisation of which is allied to a coherently framed conceptual approach. Again, a voluntary study trip is usually offered.

Four lecture-based papers together carry 20 per cent of your overall marks:

  • Advanced Studies in Historical and Theoretical Aspects of Architecture and Urbanism
  • Management, Practice and Law
  • Advanced Studies in Construction Technology, Structural Analysis and Environmental Design Related to Case Studies
  • Architectural Engineering (examined entirely by coursework)

A written dissertation of 7,000-9,000 words on a topic of your choice accounts for the remaining 20 per cent of your marks.

For further information about studying Architecture at the University of Cambridge see the Department of Architecture website.