4 global education leaders in Architecture, Planning and Design

Throughout history, architecture has provided a fascinating insight into human civilisation. The buildings that have been left behind for posterity offer an invaluable insight and reflection into cultures old and new.

At the root of every great building or structure is the architect. From Imhotep, the first documented architect in Ancient Egypt and designer of the primitive pyramid, through to Zara Hadid and Norman Foster – modern masters of the field. Architects and architecture not only leave their marks in the history books, but also play a significant role in shaping today’s human environment.

This is a discipline that’s complex and diverse. It’s a dynamic subject that looks at the art and science of designing and building structures, as well as considering the psychology behind the built environment.

So what does it take to become an architect? It takes seven years of study to become fully-qualified. Undergraduate degrees in architecture comprise of three years where students will receive a BA or BSc. But becoming a fully-fledged architect requires more time, as well as lots of patience. In this case, students must complete a master’s degree and then further postgraduate study.

Architecture students are highly-creative with visual and technical design-based skills, opening a host of career opportunities outside of the field. It’s not uncommon for architecture graduates to become surveyors, conservation officers, structural engineers or town planners.

Architects with a taste for travel could find themselves with an exciting career ahead of them as job opportunities can be found worldwide. Countries such as the US, Canada, Norway and China all present themselves as good starting points to further a career abroad. Whether it involves working on a landmark project or building infrastructure, even to environmentally-friendly green design solutions, it’s important to observe every country and analyse each city, soaking up their unique situations to acknowledge opportunities that are rife.

The UK Business Insider recently ranked architects within the Top 10 for high-paying graduate jobs. In this region alone, the average salary is around the £40,000 mark. More detailed information about 2017 salary expectations in relation to experience can be found here. But before all of that, you need to put the time and study in. To help you on your way, here are 4 global education leaders in Architecture, Planning and Design.


The University of Hong Kong is the oldest higher education provider in the region and earned a world-class reputation. HKU Faculty of Architecture (FoA) currently ranks 10th globally in QS World University Rankings in Architecture/Built Environment in 2017. Overall the university is ranked 26th in the world, as well as coming 2nd  in the Asian University rankings.

FoA offers five undergraduate programs (Batchelors degrees in architecture, architectural conservation, landscape, surveying and urban studies), and 11 specialist and professional masters programs across the built environment subjects. It currently has 111 PhD students.

The Faculty recently has had major re-investment, making now an exciting time for prospective students looking to join one of the world’s elite schools in this field. Placing hefty emphasis on research, they have recently installed 4 specialist labs filled with state-of-the-art technology in support of teaching and research (architectural conservation lab, robotics lab, SmartCity-iLab, BIMlab).

As well as this, they have recently rebranded their research arm as HKUrbanLab, teaming up researchers from architecture, conservation, construction, real estate, landscape, urban planning and design, to work together and with other disciplines, to answer some of the biggest urban research and design questions facing society today.

With Hong Kong being one of the most energetic, advanced, and beautiful cities in the world, students will find themselves at the heart of a dense, urban city, full of opportunities to kick-start their career.


Based in the heart of London, UCL holds a sterling reputation for its Department of Architecture. Ranked 2nd in the world globally for the past three years, the university has a fantastic international reputation for its research and teaching. As the first architecture and built environment school in the UK, the faculty has been at the forefront of its subject for some time, and is named after Herbert Bartlett, the civil engineer responsible for many landmark buildings in London.

Undergraduate students have a choice of six BSc courses and one MEng, with courses ranging from BSc Architecture, BSc Planning and Real Estate, BSc Urban Studies and MEng Engineering and Architectural Design.

For students looking to continue their education to a master’s level, the Bartlett School offers a number of programmes directed at those pursuing careers as registered architects, as well as advanced specialisms in architectural design, urban design, performance, interaction, manufacturing, heritage, art, and architectural history and theory.

Outside of studying, the Bartlett School of Architecture has a number of fantastic resources to coincide with student learning, including the Bartlett library – one of the most comprehensive collections in the world on the subject of architecture and design. Alongside this they have a busy calendar of events to engage students with a number of thought provoking lecture series and end of year showcases, marking the department as a place of innovation, design and creativity.


Known for its fantastic weather and multicultural society, Sydney is a popular destination for students. The Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney also has the academic reputation to match. Ranked 15th in the 2017 league tables, the school has regularly been at the forefront of the field of architecture, with many national firsts to the faculty’s name including; the first Design Computing program (1978), the Illumination Design course (1979) and the Heritage Conservation specialist program (1990s).

Undergraduate students looking to study at the University of Sydney have three undergraduate programs to choose from, with the highest requirements of any programme of their kind in Australia. In the subject of Architecture and Design, prospective students can choose between the Bachelor of Design in Architecture, the Bachelor of Architecture and Environments and the Bachelor of Design Computing.

For students who wish to continue into post-graduate study, the university offers a wide range of specialist courses including the Design Science program, which allows students to specialise in Audio and Acoustics, Building, Building Services, Illumination Design and Sustainable Design, or a combination of these fields.


Situated in the hear t of Los Angeles, just 20 minutes from Hollywood and 15 minutes from the coast, UCLA’s School of Arts and Architecture offers leading programs in four degree-granting departments: Architecture and Urban Design, Art, Design, Media Arts, and World Arts and Cultures & Dance.

Described as the premier public arts school in the nation, the School of Arts and Architecture at the University of California has moved steadily upwards in the global league tables. This year the university was ranked 13th in the world in the subject of architecture.

UCLA offers undergraduate students a B.A. in Architectural Studies, and a host of specialist MA courses within the field, including a Master of Architecture, a Master of Arts in Architecture and a Graduate Certificate in Urban Humanities. A comprehensive outline of the courses on offer can be found here.

Students at UCLA have access to a range of innovative and creative resources including cityLAB, an architecture and urban research think tank situated within the faculty. Since its beginnings in 2006 cityLAB has allowed students to participate in research, design, prototyping, policy, and exhibition projects that focus on the built environment within the city.

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