BA Architecture / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

"Being a student at Manchester School of Architecture gives you the unique advantage of studying at two of Manchester's universities.

Manchester is place of resistance as well as a place of relaxation and enjoyment. This city has been crucial in defining what kind of professional I want to become by the end of my architectural degree."

Jhower Emanuel Sanchez Pinela / BA (Hons) Architecture

BA Architecture is an innovative collaboration between The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University.The course, which is accredited by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA), allows you to take the first step to becoming an architect.

You will benefit from the expertise of specialist practice and research-active lecturers, who provide a rich and stimulating environment in which to study architecture.

What's more, you'll be inspired by the world-famous city of Manchester - the industrial revolution birthplace turned 21st century metropolis - and its vibrant, contemporary and innovative architecture scene.

Manchester is a showcase for recent regeneration and historic context, much of which has been designed with the involvement of our current students and graduates.

The city recognises the value of high-quality design, together with innovative and pragmatic approaches to resolving practical issues.

Special features

Benefit from the facilities and expertise of two universities  

Architecture sits within the Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) - a unique collaboration between The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).  

This allows you to use the workshops and studios, study spaces and students' unions across both campuses.   

You'll also benefit from the range of teaching expertise across our two institutions. 

Experience local fieldtrips  

Gain a real-world understanding of your subject normally through local fieldwork

Gain accreditation   

By completing this course, you will gain exemption from the ARB and RIBA Part 1 professional qualifications, contributing to you becoming a fully qualified architect in the future.  

Join the UK's largest Architecture student society  

Manchester Student Society of Architecture (MSSA) is the largest of its kind in the UK, giving you the opportunity to build valuable relationships with other architects, attend guest talks and enjoy plenty of social activities throughout the year.

Additional course information

Architecture is a course offered by the innovative collaboration between two universities - The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University - forming the Manchester School of Architecture (MSA).

Manchester School of Architecture has deep roots within the city of Manchester - with nationally and internationally renowned architects educating new students for more than 100 years.

Whether you originally applied through The University of Manchester or Manchester Metropolitan University, you will become a student at both universities and your degree certificate will feature both institutions.

You will also benefit from facilities and resources across the two universities - having access to the libraries, workshops and materials stores on both campuses.

The purpose-built Manchester School of Art building on the Manchester Metropolitan University campus offers you contemporary studios with panoramic views of the city's skyline, whilst the Model Making Workshop on The University of Manchester campus will provide you with experience using industry-standard technology and equipment.

Teaching and learning

We combine traditional lecture-based teaching with workshop and design studio sessions.

Project-based learning is the basis of architecture education, and the studio is where this learning takes place. From the very start you will be involved in a variety of projects.

Skills in computing and visual studies will be developed through workshops related to studio projects.

The course has strong links with architectural practices across the North West and involves architectural practitioners in teaching.

Coursework and assessment

Assessments are designed to provide you with feedback on your progress in understanding the subject and in developing essential skills.

All assessments are based on coursework, there are no exams.

Methods include project reviews, assignments, essays, and online assessments.

Course content for year 1

Year 1 will provide you with an understanding of contemporary architectural practice. 

You will study foundational principles in space-making, material expression, brief writing, contextual research, and the role of the humanities in the design process.  

A series of studio projects and skills workshops will develop your architectural creative process.  

Year 1 will culminate with events jointly undertaken with second and fifth-year students. 

Studio 1.1  

  • Establishes the principles and skills in research, analysis, argument and representation that support an understanding of architectural design. 
  • Introduces the concept of thinking as a designer and learning by doing.

Studio 1.2  

  • Apply your developing knowledge and skill base to projects that begin to promote the integration of sensory, functional and technological considerations in architectural design in a contemporary cultural setting.  
  • Develop an understanding of design as a contemporary discourse. 
  • Explore real-world situations that invite thinking that is imaginative, integrative and inclusive. 

Humanities 1  

  • Focuses on disciplinary fundamentals.  
  • The groundwork is laid in this foundation year, introducing you to the history of the profession and to what architecture can be.

Technologies 1  

  • Introduces you to the technological contexts for architectural design. 
  • Develops skills in research, analysis, technical design, and visual representation. 

Course content for year 2

In Year 2, the multi-layered nature of the design process is explored, and urban theory and specialised sustainability knowledge is applied to design projects, transforming the aesthetic concepts of the first year into the techno-cultural strategies used by professionals. 

You'll develop an increased awareness of architecture in a variety of contexts and improve your design processes and critical thinking skills. 

Studio 2.1  

  • Consolidates design capability. 
  • Introduces public and social programmes with associated issues of sustainability, inclusivity and greater complexity in building programme, placing greater emphasis on relational abilities. 

Studio 2.2  

  • Consolidates design capability by extending the exploration of public and social programmes with associated issues of sustainability, inclusivity and complexity in building programme and technological manifestation. 

Humanities 2  

  • Introduces theories of architecture, practice and professionalism. 
  • You will learn how architecture never exists in isolation, either as a design or academic discipline. 

Technologies 2  

  • You will explore in greater detail issues such as the use of industry leading environmental analysis software as a learning tool. 
  • You will work in a team to critically deconstruct an existing precedent. 
  • You will undertake a design project that builds directly on the analytical skills and knowledge of specific systems encountered in the building case study. 

Course content for year 3

In Year 3, you will begin to formulate your individual position on contemporary architecture and urbanism.

The third year is organised around a themed 'atelier' system.

Each atelier applies a particular design methodology to an extended urban project which lasts the entire year.

The course culminates with a self-build exhibition.

Studio 3.1

  • Introduces urbanism and develops the ability to apply techniques in analysis of and strategies for generic urban contexts as the basis for defining and developing a critical approach or agenda on the city. This is developed into a proposition for a major design study.

Studio 3.2

  • Develops ability in architectural design through the exploration of materials, structures, construction, and environmental modification integral with programmatic detail within a building design initiated in response to urban study.

Humanities 3

  • Learn how to mobilise knowledge of history and theory in contemporary architectural practice.
  • Choose from a series of electives, each related to staff research interests to ensure that course content addresses contemporary debates in the discipline.

Technologies 3

  • You will undertake a complex building case study.
  • Through lecture discussions, you will acquire skills in developing rigorous academic argument for the technological realisation of architectural propositions.
  • You will undertake a design project that synthesises the knowledge and skills in technological design accumulated during the course.

Course collaborators

As a student at Manchester School of Architecture (MSA), you will study a degree that is delivered jointly by The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University.

You will, therefore, benefit from the facilities and resources of both institutions such as libraries, computer suites, making and media workshops, and much more.

Upon successful completion of your studies, you will receive one degree certificate.

The joint award certificate includes each institution's crest and awarding body title.

What our students say

Find out more about what it's like to study with us by reading our alumni profiles .


The Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) studios are in Manchester Metropolitan University's purpose-built School of Art Building - the Benzie Building.

Our studios are equipped with PC workstations with industry standard computer-aided design, visualisation, image editing, and print and web design software.

They also have standard and large format printing facilities and Wi-Fi.

In addition, you will have access to specialist Apple Mac-based video editing, scanning, and digital design resources.

There are workshops for model-making and construction projects in both the Benzie and The University of Manchester's Humanities Bridgeford Street buildings.

We house an impressive range of fully equipped workshops for wood, plastics, foam, metal, ceramics, glass, Computer-aided manufacture, textiles, printmaking, and bookbinding.

You will be able to purchase art materials and consumables at cost prices from the Manchester School of Art's Material Stores.

You can also borrow video and photography equipment from the AV Store, and access photography studios, film processing, and video editing facilities.

Manchester Metropolitan University has a nationally recognised art and design collection, and specialist collections include the Manchester Society of Architects' Library, which holds important and rare books on the history of architecture.

The Visual Resources Centre, meanwhile, covers a broad spectrum of subjects, including architecture, art and design, film, popular media and social history.

For more information, see Facilities

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service.

For more information, email