Leading Schools of Architecture in the UK and Ireland

Architecture in the UK and Ireland has scribed religiosity, industrialisation and warfare into history, but also deep into the very seams of the earth. Mapping out royal reins and unholy wars, Irish and English architecture tells the story of how civilization came to be, while simultaneously pointing towards where it could be going.

From the Roman baths of Somerset, to Dublin’s Gothic St. Patrick’s Cathedral, to the jaw-dropping skyscrapers throughout the UK capital; English and Irish architecture manifests intangible cultural progression in stone and mortar – or, more recently, steel and glass.

Architects thrive in the creative responsibility to construct buildings that represent society’s most pressing physical and cultural needs. Buildings are not just buildings, but rather the collective identity of our past and present.

It’s no wonder, then, that the UK and Ireland are known to be home to some of the most beautiful architecture in the world. With a history and culture as deep as the ocean, there really is a plethora of rich architectural styles for you to discover.

Distinctive Georgian and Victorian aesthetics can be found within these regions, marking days of frivolity and expenditure; magnificent castles adorn the countryside, reminding us of long-lost kingdoms; factories in the cities transport us to the industrial revolution; while stunning cathedrals inspire thoughts of the crusades.

And thanks to history’s habit of repeating itself, Ireland and the UK continue to be leaders in architectural development. In July 2017, Irish architects McGarry Ní Éanaigh Architects and Seán Harrington Architects won medals in the International Union of Architects’ Friendly and Inclusive Spaces Awards in the new-building category, as well as the existing-and-historic-buildings category.

England also continues to be one of the most dynamic architectural landscapes in the world, offering an eclectic blend of old and new, religious and secular, heritage and business that you simply will not find anywhere else in the world. Here are five of the region’s leading Schools of Architecture…


UCD​ is a globally-renowned institution based in Ireland’s thriving Capital of Dublin – the perfect place for you to embark on your higher education venture.

UCD’s ​School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy​ stands as the only institution of its kind to have the triple, or even double-accreditation by​ RIAI ​(The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland),​ RIBA​ (The Royal Institute of British Architects), and hopefully by the end of 2017, NAAB​ (North American Accrediting Board).

Offering an environment that’s both distinct and interdisciplinary, UCD ensures that students of architecture are challenged and inspired. Programmes are delivered on a comprehensive, one-to-one basis and are led by eminent industry professionals, bringing students face to face with architectural excellence from the very start. Here, students relish a uniquely creative studio culture, excelling in practice and working with real-world scenarios as they prepare to join a global network of respected, high-profile alumni.

The School also prides itself on its global perspective, with over 70 percent of students being involved in the Erasmus scheme or other international study programmes. But with small class sizes of 50 to 70 students and the benefit of dedicated library and studio space, the School still offers a community feel, rich with culture.


Having recently received the Gold Award in the ​Teaching Excellence Framework​ (TEF), ​Newcastle University​ is top of the game in degree-level study. Based in one of the most vibrant cities in the North of England,  Newcastle University offers students the unique chance to become a part of this bustling city.

The ​School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape​ was ranked 5th out of 54 in ​The Complete University Guide’s rankings for 2018​. The School’s research was also ranked 4th out of 45 for power and intensity in the TEF.

Programmes offered are fully RIBA- and​ ARB-accredited​ (Architects Registration Board), and the​ Urban Planning BA​ and ​MPlan​ degrees are professionally-accredited by the ​RTPI​ (Royal Town Planning Institute).

The School also offers other undergraduate courses, such as the ​Architecture BA​, ​Architecture and Urban Planning BA​ and​ Geography and Planning BA​.​ Postgraduate courses ​include the MArch in Architecture and MAs in Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Architecture, Planning and Landscape – Design, and MScs in Sustainable Buildings and Environments, Urban Energy Technology and Policy.


Since​ the University of Edinburgh​ opened its gates in 1583, it has remained at the forefront of academic knowledge. Steeped with history and culture, the University offers students a rich learning experience that places a respectable 34th on the global stage.

The ​School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture​ prides itself on an ​Athena SWAN bronze award​, which recognises the School’s commitment to encouraging women in science, with its large, culturally-rich international student community reflecting the School’s commitment to equality and diversity.

All programmes offered by the School are accredited by RIBA, the ARB and the ​Landscape Institute​. At the University of Edinburgh, undergraduate students can opt to pursue ​Architectural History and Heritage MA​,​ Architecture BA/MA​ or ​Landscape Architecture MA, while the School also delivers an expansive array of postgraduate offerings.

Students benefit from access to the specialised Arts and Architecture library that has specific resources to complement their studies, as well as having designated studio space in the Wood Workshop, equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to help them flourish.


The city of Sheffield was crucial in the industrial revolution and continues to be renowned for its steel production, making it the perfect city in which to study Architecture. The School was ranked No.1 Russell Group University for student satisfaction and undergraduate teaching in the ​National Student Survey 2016​, 3rd in the ​Times Good University Guide 2017​, 4th in The ​Guardian University League Tables 20​18, and within the top 4 UK Schools in the ​QS World Rankings 2017​.

The School offers a range of undergraduate, postgraduate, and research- level courses, all of which are recognised by RIBA and ARB.

Students here benefit from a diverse ​study abroad programme,​ either in Europe through Erasmus, or further afield through the University’s global education links. There is also a clear commitment to being active within the community, and students can expect to work on projects with groups outside the institution walls.


Ranking 8th in the ​QS World University Rankings​, the ​Welsh School of Architecture ​is one of the finest places to study Architecture, not only in the UK and Ireland, but also in the world. Situated in Wales’ most student-friendly city, ​Cardiff University​ combines academic excellence with cultural brilliance to offer students the best experience possible.

The School, which was established in 1920, exhibits its own library, four state-of-the-art laboratories and a skills workshop to produce a creative and intellectually-stimulating environment for students to develop their architectural expertise.

Undergraduate students can study the three-year ​BSc in Architectural Studies , which is also fully-recognised by RIBA and ARB, and graduate students can study the ​MArch in Architecture​ which is aimed to satisfy part two of the UK professional qualification for architects, and is approved by the RIBA and the ARB.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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