Architecture, building, and planning

This subject area brings together a wide range of disciplines from both the art and science fields.

Why study architecture?

Graduate destinations

33,310 students were studying this subject in 2014/15.

83.9% of graduates went directly into employment.
Top five graduate destinations:
  1. Professional, scientific, and technical
  2. Construction
  3. Real estate
  4. Wholesale and retail trade
  5. Public administration and defence industries

What courses are available?

Universities and colleges in the UK are offering courses in the following subject areas:

It has a strong vocational link with many courses designed to provide a route to professional qualification. A significant number of courses are accredited by one of the related national awarding bodies. Despite accreditation, courses can still vary considerably in style and content, so it is important to research each one carefully.

Subject combinations and available course options include:

  • single and joint subject combinations
  • full-time and part-time study options as well as a few courses with a placement (sandwich courses)
  • qualifications ranging from BA, BSc, and MEng (Hons) degrees, through to HND, HNC, and Foundation Certificates

Ensuring your course is accredited is very important, as only industry-recognised qualifications enable you to follow a formal route through to becoming fully qualified.'

A degree course in landscape architecture, like the profession it prepares you for, is rich in variety. Some have a strong focus on design skills, while others place a greater emphasis on planning, management or ecology.
Landscape Institute

Are you considering an accelerated degree? Click here to read more about the possibility of completing your undergraduate course on a shorter timescale.  

Higher Technical Qualifications

Higher Technical Qualifications

Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) are an alternative to apprenticeships or degrees.

They have been specifically designed with employers to ensure learners get the skills that employers have said they need. They are a quicker and cheaper alternative to a degree and can lead to higher wages early in a career.

See all Construction, Design and Build HTQs

Efficient energy in architecture

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

The approach to architectural education differs between schools so you should thoroughly research the available courses to see what suits you and your interests, as well as your qualifications, before applying.

Entry requirements for architecture, building, and planning

A levels – To get on to a related degree, you will usually need a minimum of two A levels, with three A levels and A/B grades required for the most popular courses. Entry requirements range from CCD to AAB, with the universities and colleges most commonly asking for BBB. In addition, you normally require five GCSEs at grade C or above, including maths and English. Planning and landscape architecture degrees do not normally require specific A level subjects. Some degrees in building and surveying may also require or prefer maths/science A levels.

Scottish Highers – Entry requirements for Highers (the most common qualification) range from BBBC to AABBB, with universities or colleges most frequently requiring ABBBB. Occasionally, universities ask for Advanced Highers to supplement Highers. If Advanced Highers are requested, universities or colleges typically ask for BB.


Architecture courses may require applicants to submit a portfolio of their work, and this is combined with an interview at some universities.

Universities will want you to show that you are an enthusiastic, practical person who is passionate about the environment and society, and how they interact with one another. You may also be asked to provide a portfolio of your work and/or be invited to come in for an interview. These are both good opportunities to clearly communicate your ideas, your creative skills, and your interest in the natural and built environment.
Landscape Institute


Personal statement

Competition for places can be high so personal statements form an essential part of the selection process. Admissions tutors want to see you have aptitude, interest, and motivation in you chosen subject. Many of these degrees are practical and vocational, which means some previous experience can be important.

Universities will be looking for evidence you've done additional reading and research, for example, finding out about award winning architectural designs.

How to write your personal statement


If you want to combine work and study while earning a salary, you could consider an apprenticeship. Which apprenticeships are available, and how you apply, depends on where you live.

Find out more about apprenticeships across the UK.

There are over 80 apprenticeships in the construction sector available in England, with more in development.

Each apprenticeship sets out occupational standards for specific job roles, designed by employers. The standards outline the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to demonstrate that an apprentice is fully competent in the job role.

Higher apprenticeships (Level 4)

Degree apprenticeships (Levels 5 – 7)

Discover more about apprenticeships in architecture and planning

Our guide has all the info you need to know about doing an apprenticeship in this industry. Find out what it's really like from current apprentices and decide if it's the right route for you.

Architecture and planning industry guide

Key areas of employment

This subject area has a strong vocational link, with the key areas of employment being:

  • architecture
  • building conservation
  • building technology and management
  • civil engineering
  • construction
  • planning and development
  • property and estate management

Related careers

Examples of related careers include:


Find out more

Visit the websites of the following professional bodies to find out more about courses and careers in architecture, building, and planning.

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