Cardiff School of Art & Design>Courses>Architecture - BA (Hons) Degree

Architecture - BA (Hons)

Architecture shapes the world around us. It reflects our societies and communities, and influences the way we think and feel. Architecture dominates our skyline, transforms our cities, changes the way we live and work and becomes part of our narrative. Learn how to design buildings and make spaces for people in a creative and environmentally responsible way.

The Architecture course at Cardiff Met is informed by the tradition and heritage of a school of art and design, and by the contemporary creative use of cutting-edge technology, exploring the relationship of human experiences with architecture.

The programme aims to establish a creative dialogue between different areas of architectural knowledge: design, representation, technology, contextual studies and professional practice. You will develop your understanding of these thematic areas and their integration through engagement in projects of increasing difficulty.

This will allow you to formulate architectural proposals that are spatially and technically resolved, with a robust theoretical basis. You will also learn how to effectively communicate your proposals within a professional context through a range of media.

Finally, the programme places special emphasis on the architect’s responsibility in tackling contemporary problems of environmental concern, at the global and local scales (such as the climate emergency). You will be actively encouraged to develop critical perspectives on how knowledge and creativity can be used together to arrive at design solutions that have the potential to render buildings, neighbourhoods or cities more sustainable in the short and long term.

There will be opportunities to engage in real-world activities, including work with local communities and employers, as well as chances to experience other cultures – and their architecture – through overseas study trips.

Image: Mark Popov

​Course Content​

The curriculum is made up of three components that are referred to as Subject, Field and Constellation:

  • Subject grounds students as architects in training.
  • Field enables students to explore and collaborate with peers (and tutors) on the other programmes offered at Cardiff School of Art and Design.
  • Constellation provides theoretical underpinning that encourages students to position their practice within transdisciplinary contexts.


Both Field and Constellation modules allow architectural students to familiarise themselves with various art-and-design disciplines, and appreciate their relationship with architecture and their influence on the quality of architectural design.

Year 1

Subject - Introduction to Architectural Thinking and Design (40 credits)

You’ll be introduced to essential architectural concepts and skills and to an appreciation of what architectural design is and what it involves.

Subject - Integrated Design: Small Interventions (20 credits)

You’ll build upon the skills and knowledge acquired in the first module and further your design ability through engagement in a project that integrates architectural design, representation and technology, and contextual studies.

Field - Collaborate (20 credits)

Widen your horizons by joining students from other courses to collaborate on a project. You'll take inspiration from other disciplines to build on your experience and expand your creativity – and use your skills and artistic insight to apply them to your work.

Constellation - Concept (40 credits)

This module introduces you to the wider world of ideas, theory and contextual studies to help you develop your academic research skills and critical thinking. You'll focus on particular areas of interest in study groups and you'll become familiar with the exciting trans-disciplinary research and expertise at Cardiff School of Art & Design.

Year 2

Subject - Integrated Design: Urban Interventions (40 credits)

This module aims to advance your design skills by presenting you with an integrated project of greater complexity than those proposed in year 1 and by introducing you to the urban dimension in architecture.

Field - Explore (40 credits)

You'll expand your experiences with challenging projects designed to encourage you to explore and experiment outside your immediate discipline. This transformative opportunity leads to new thinking and innovation – and opens up all kinds of future possibilities. You'll take on exciting projects that challenge you in new ways. You can also choose to travel, take a work placement, start your own business or try something new.

Constellation - Integrated Design: Dwelling and Community (40 credits)

You’ll conduct an integrated architectural design project that presents you with new themes and challenges around housing and local communities.

Year 3

Subject - Integrated Design: Comprehensive Project (40 credits)

You’ll consolidate the knowledge and skills that you’ve gained at previous levels of study, and further your ability to conduct an integrated architectural design, by getting involved in a project of increased complexity.

Field - Exposure (40 credits)

Your final term is dedicated to the completion of your Comprehensive Project and an exhibition of your work. This is where you draw together everything you've learnt during the course and is the launch pad to your future career.

Constellation - Contribution (40 credits)

Your design practice is underpinned by your knowledge. Demonstrate your research and analysis skills in your final Constellation submission, where you'll explore ideas in both written and practical forms.


Learning & Teaching

Learning, teaching and assessment strategies seek to promote effective learning styles to create an environment of student participation and engagement in each subject; to encourage independent and life-long learning capability and to realise the full potential of each student.

The programme seeks to develop a teaching and learning culture that cultivates the inquisitive and creative mind whilst recognising the need to respond to the demands of professional photographic practice.

Acquisition of core knowledge and understanding is achieved mainly through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, studio and practical workshops. More ‘advanced knowledge’ and understanding is obtained by the former as well as through independent study and specific group teamwork.

Within studio practice, the major teaching and learning strategy is the Project. Projects are of relatively long duration and are intended to broaden the student's intellectual and creative abilities. They seek to promote an attitude of critical analysis which challenges prior assumptions and aims for genuine innovation. They have prescribed limits and objectives but they do not necessarily have prescribed outcomes.

Project objectives are established at the outset and form part of the brief.

The assessment methods are also identified at this stage. Several types of project are used:


  • Mandatory Projects: staff-set with prescribed objectives and outcomes
  • Student-led Projects: determined by individual students in consultation with staff
  • 'Live' Projects: set by outside or Institute-based clients in consultation with staff.


All project work demands problem analysis, research, creativity, decision-making, practical and technical skills, communication and justification. Project outcomes are generally studio-based but may also be research-based.

Within a project a number of other learning and teaching strategies are utilised. These include:

  • Briefing sessions: used to clarify project objectives and limitations.
  • Project critiques: used to give students the opportunity to present and justify their work to their year group and to staff
  • Workshops: offering a range of practical and theoretical skills
  • Exercises: used to define and clarify specific aspects of the design process
  • Demonstrations: to promote 'learning through example'
  • Presentations: intended to encourage creativity, clarity and confidence in the oral and visual presentation of group or individual work.



Lectures deliver a coherent programme of study and general inspiration. They are supported by visual material and/or textual material. The content can be historical, theoretical, contextual or practical. Where appropriate, lectures are structured to involve students in discussion.

Modular Subject Tutorials

Tutorials are meetings of a student or group of students with a lecturer or lecturers and are used in two ways within the programme:

  • Expanding upon material covered in lectures through an enquiry-driven problem solving approach
  • Remedial work to overcome any deficiencies in a student’s background knowledge.
  • Workshops: offering a range of practical and theoretical skills



Seminars take three forms: those guided by staff where texts or artefacts are provided for students to present an analysis to their group; those where students select texts/artefacts for discussion within the group; and those where students present their own work or research findings.

Seminars are designed to encourage articulate and analytical presentation and, through group discussions, to develop an understanding of the subject and its context.

This is a central teaching & learning method particularly when relating the learning gained from the field and constellation and contextualising it and relating it back into the subject of photography.

Seminars may involve a student or students presenting previously prepared work to peers and a lecturer. This strategy is used to extend specific theoretical or practical concepts as well as introducing problem solving exercises.

Seminars provide students with valuable experience in presentational skills, blogs, wikis or podcasts, as well as providing staff with a method or assessing student-centred learning.

Practical Workshops

Practical workshops enable students to practice and refine their skills in a supportive environment where they can get feedback from a member of academic staff.

Practical workshops represent a valuable transition between theory and practice. Practical studio sessions, emphasising the application of fundamental principles of photography, focus on problem solving and development of creative and technical solutions to photographic projects.

Simulations, exercises and live projects involving external client provide a stimulating challenge for students working both independently and in groups to experience real world problems.

Students are encouraged to articulate their proposals in an objective and critical manner and to develop interpersonal communication skills that are vital to a professional photographer.


The Moodle virtual learning environment (VLE) is extensively used on the programme to enhance the student learning experience.

Apart from its widespread use as a repository for learning material and resources, the VLE is used to engage students in their own learning using wikis, blogs and discussion groups.

In addition, the VLE is used in formative assessment with the use of quizzes and self-diagnostic tests. It is also valuable as a means of communicating with students and a ‘home’ module for photography has been created to provide a focal point for communicating and posting information of a more general nature.

Electronic feedback is used through the VLE via use of the Grade Center.


Critiques are held at each assessment stage (interim or final) of an assignment or project in the studio-based modules where students present their work to the year group and tutor for feedback and debate.

This event is a cornerstone of the learning process. Assignments are designed to ensure that students tackle a wide range of case studies or precedent that illustrates a variety of situations or solutions.

The critique process ensures students learn from work being done by others as well as through their own efforts.


Throughout the duration of your studies, you will be evaluated on three main criteria, which underpin all of the disciplines being taught at CSAD: 

The practical, technical and conceptual skills you acquire during your course.

Your understanding and knowledge of broader intellectual context within which your discipline and work is located. This includes historical, environmental and ethical issues and will often be explored in your 'Theory and Context' modules.

Your understanding of intellectual and creative ideas from within and beyond your discipline; plus your ability to acquire new concepts and form new ideas. Ideas will be explored in your written work, as well as being evident in your practical progress. Each of these criteria is given equal weighting during the assessment process. That is to say that they are seen as equally important and critical to your development; an emphasis which is designed, for example, to enable a more well-rounded skill set from a student who may be skilled technically, but weak in generating ideas, or a student with much creative flair who may struggle to hone a broad concept into a strong, individual design. 

We provide a number of ways for you to track your progress en route to submitting your work for marking. Understanding that the emphases will revolve around the core areas of skills, context and ideas, you will also become familiar with the structured assessment form used by your tutors and learn to relate to your work back to the intended learning outcomes of each brief. 

The main types of formative assessment are; academic (feedback from your tutors); peer (from your course-mates or project partners); and self-assessment (which is your own critique, in light of other forms of feedback). You won't just be receiving feedback at the end of a brief, however – your tutors will often assess your progress as your work develops, providing formative feedback at crucial moments where it is hoped to encourage you to take risks, maintain your motivation or shape-up your ideas ahead of deadline.


Employability & Careers​

Graduates from the programme are well-placed to pursue further study and training towards qualifying as architects, or to be employed as architectural assistants or in the wider creative industries.

During the course, there will be the opportunities to undertake live briefs and obtain work experience. This will include building contacts and undertaking placements as well as exposure to architectural and building professionals through industry talks and mentoring. You will be offered support in forming your own business should you choose to do so.

Some graduates become teachers by taking a PGCE. Some graduates elect to take their studies further by studying at CSAD for a Master's level qualification and there are opportunities to take this further still, into research with a PhD or a Professional Doctorate in Art or Design.

Entry Requirements​ & How to Apply

Applicants should have a strong art and/or design portfolio and demonstrate a commitment to art and/or design, and preferably five GCSE passes to include English language and Mathematics* at grade C or above/grade 4 or above (for applicants holding newly reformed GCSEs in England) 

Following an interview and assessment of portfolio, our typical offers can range between:

  • 120 - 128 points from a successfully completed Art & Design Foundation Diploma or/and
  • 120 - 128 points from at least 2 A Levels; Welsh Baccalaureate – Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be considered as a third subject
  • RQF National Extended Diploma / Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma: DDM
  • 120 - 128 points from a combination of Scottish Highers and Scottish Advanced Highers 
  • 120 - 128 points from the Irish Leaving Certificate at Highers to include 2 x H2 grades from any subject.  H4 at Higher Level is the minimum grade which can be counted towards an offer
  • 120 - 128 points from the Access to Higher Education Diploma within a relevant subject

*For Welsh applicants sitting the reformed Mathematics GCSE, we will accept either GCSE Mathematics or Mathematics – Numeracy.

For applicants only undertaking 2 A Levels or equivalent, or applying with other life experiences, other qualifications and/or art & design achievements will be considered along with the rest of the academic profile and we may issue a graded offer in lieu of an offer using the UCAS Tariff.

If you are studying combinations of the above, or if your qualification isn’t listed please either contact Admissions or refer to the UCAS course search​ for the entry requirements. Further information on our entry requirements, including qualifications from the EU can be found by clicking here.

International Applicants
Students whose first language is not English will need to provide evidence of fluency to at least an IELTS 6.0 standard or equivalent. For full details about how to apply and English Language qualifications please visit the International pages on the website.

Selection Procedure and Interview Days:
Selection is based on the receipt of a completed UCAS application and attendance at a School of Art & Design Interview.

Acceptance at interview is based upon a balance of three criteria:

      • Personal enthusiasm for and immersion in the practice and theory of Art & Design

      • Academic achievement and ability

      • Quality of work, ambition and skills demonstrated in a portfolio

For more information about Art & Design Interview Days, please  click here

How to Apply:
Applications for this course should be made online to UCAS at Part-time applications should be made direct to the University at

For further information please visit our How to Apply pages at

Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) and Credit Transfer into year 2 & 3

If you are interested in transferring credit from another institution to study at Cardiff met for a course which accepts entry for year 2 and/or 3, you can find further information on this and information on how to apply on the RPL page. Please contact Admissions for any queries that you have on RPL.

Mature students

A mature applicant is anyone over the age of 21 who didn't go to university after school or college. Cardiff Met welcomes applications from mature applicants and further advice and information can be found here.

Tuition Fees, Student Finance & Additional Costs

For up to date information on tuition fees and the financial support that may be available whilst at university, please refer to

Undergraduate costs of study in CSAD 


CSAD provides a variety of basic materials. These enable students to develop their competence in a range of skills and demonstrate their technical ability. Materials needed in unusual quantities, or those that are specialised, expensive or unusual are at the student’s expense. Advice will be given about how ‘unusual’ is defined, which materials are deemed to be ‘expensive’, and examples given of what is viewed to be ‘unusual’. CSAD students often elect to spend on materials they prefer to work with, including sketchbooks and pens, as well as specialist equipment of their own choosing. 

In the main, no charges are made for the use of equipment, with the exception of some specialist high end equipment such as the Mimaki and 3D printers. Access to Cardiff FabLab is subject to student membership; it offers reduced fees for student use. 

For further information about additional course costs, including fees, equipment requirements and other charges for each undergraduate programme, please visit

Field trips and visits 

Field trips that are part of core learning will be paid for by the School. Additional visits are occasionally arranged which are optional and where the students may be asked to share the costs. The costs of study abroad, including exchanges, placements and projects are the responsibility of the individual student.

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email

For programme-specific enquiries, please contact the Admissions Tutor Fausto Sanna PhD, MArch, PGCert (HE), FHEA, ARB, RIBA:

Tel: +44 (0)29 2041 6616

Key Course Information

UCAS Code: K100

Place of Study: 
Llandaff Campus

Cardiff School of Art & Design

Course Length:
Three years full-time.

More About the Course
Meet the Team: Dr Fausto Sanna

Senior Lecturer Dr Fausto Sanna discusses how he uses his industry experience to help prepare Cardiff Met Architecture students for their careers.
Find out more

Full terms and conditions in relation to accepting an offer to study at Cardiff Metropolitan University can be found by visiting