Cambridge is a rich environment in which to study Architecture, having numerous significant buildings that together represent one thousand years of architectural history. The University is highly ranked for both teaching and research in the subject. 

The three-year Architecture Tripos course provides a basic grounding in Architecture and exemption from the Part I exam of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The Cambridge Architecture Course is oriented around design - from the scale of the city to that of furniture - and is supported by lecture courses which draw upon the humanities (history and theory) as well as upon the sciences (construction, environmental design and structures).

Applicants who have a strong interest in architectural and urban design - its history, theory, construction and technology - are encouraged to apply to read Architecture at Cambridge.

Like other architecture schools elsewhere the core of the teaching programme is in practical design, carried out in studios. Projects are set throughout the year and students are required to produce models and drawings to communicate their design ideas. The Department provides studio desk space together with workshop and computer facilities. The course also involves lectures, classes, visits to buildings under construction or restoration, and study trips.

Photo of Architecture

Academic Requirements:

There is no prescribed combination of A Level (or equivalent) subjects required for the Architecture course. Applicants with backgrounds in either the humanities or the sciences have been successful, although a combination of arts and science subjects is considered the best preparation. The majority of applicants have studied Art or History of Art, which provides a better preparation for the course than subjects such as Design Technology and Technical Graphics. Mathematics at A Level (or equivalent) is also encouraged. A strong interest and commitment to the discipline is essential. The Department and College recognize that mature students can bring particular knowledge and skills to the course on account of their previous studies and experience.

Please note that it is not possible to apply as an affiliate student for the Architecture course. Applicants with a first degree may apply for the full three-year course.

As part of their application applicants are required to submit a sample of drawn work in form of 4 x A4 sheets to Wolfson College.

See also Entrance requirements for additional advice about general requirements for entry, qualifications and offers.

What we are looking for:

We are looking for students with a natural curiosity about the world and a sense of spatial imagination. The course demands that students are able to draw with precision and to develop ideas in visual ways. Candidates for architecture need to be prepared to work in a broad range of disciplines. They need to be able to understand conceptual, technical and analytical approaches to the built environment. Architectural students need to be able to draw fluently, to calculate logically and to conduct evidence-based argument persuasively.


Candidates will be asked to attend two interviews, a general and a subject interview and to undertake an assessment. Further information on the format of the Admissions Assessment can be found here.

All applicants are expected to show a portfolio of recent work at interview; they will be encouraged to discuss their work with the interviewers during their subject interview. We are not expecting to see work of an architectural nature in the portfolio (e.g. plans, sections, etc). What we will want to see is something that will illustrate that candidates have a strong interest in the subject as well as exceptional ability in the visual and material arts. Normally drawing and painting forms the basis of the portfolio but other media such as sculpture and photography may also be included. It is usually sufficient for three-dimensional work to be exhibited in photographs.

A sketchbook with ongoing drawings is extremely helpful and applicants are encouraged to bring one to the interview. It may be in any media (pencil, charcoal, crayon, etc) and should include a variety of subject matter. The work can be material prepared for school-leaving examinations but creative work executed outside formal courses will also be welcome.

Director of Studies: Dr Claudia Marx

Full details of the Architecture course are provided on the department website, and summarised in the University Undergraduate Prospectus.