Why Study Architecture at Christ's?

Visiting Christ's
  Book College tours and/or online events

Over the centuries Christ’s has welcomed architects and prospective architects of many kinds. Look no further than our College buildings for evidence of our inclusive approach. Nowhere else in Cambridge do you find both the concrete modernism of Denys Lasdun and the Gothic revivalism of Gilbert Scott the Younger. And that’s alongside quirks such as a water conduit-turned-ornamental feature and a quadrangle with a circular lawn.

When you choose Christ’s as an undergraduate, you join a thriving community of Masters and PhD students in Architecture, Urban Studies and Urban Design. Our Director of Studies is Dr Irit Katz.

At Christ’s we encourage our undergraduate Architects to broaden their perspectives as much as possible. Recent Christ’s students have taken part in design projects in Colombia and Mexico, as well as architectural excursions closer to home. We offer generous travel grants and help with the costs of materials for studio projects and key textbooks.

Outside of formal studies, Arctitecture students often join Christ's Art Society, which has an online gallery,  and we have an annual college-wide Art Competition (the theme this year was touch). Christ's has a long tradition of fostering the visual arts, and our alumni include Anthony Caro (sculptor), Nicholas Serota (Director of The Tate), Philip King (sculptor), Anthony Smith (sculptor), Auguste Bréal (painter), and Dee Ferris (painter), amongst others.

Many of our Architecture graduates go on to pursue professional training and practice, some become architectural historians and others work in fields as diverse as conservation, horticulture, journalism, publishing, arts promotion, risk management, strategic consultancy and urban planning. Christ’s graduate Chris Hamill won a Philip Webb Award 2018 for design in the historic built environment for a project he did during his MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design.
 

Course content and structure

New Court, Christ's College
  New Court, Christ's College

Our BA emphasises the teaching of architecture as a cultural as well as a technological subject. This course is unique in combining the intellectual challenge of a Cambridge degree with the opportunity for creative design.

The Architecture course (or ‘tripos’) is a three-year degree and carries exemption from Part 1 of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) exams. Please visit the University website for full details of the Architecture course content and structure, including the course film.
 

Teaching

The Cambridge course takes an unashamedly academic approach, though (as in other architecture schools) the focus of the teaching programme is on practical design carried out in studios. You can see 360 degree photography of some of the teaching spaces: the studios, workshop 1, workshop 2, crit space, faculty library, a lecture room.

Christ’s Director of Studies for Architecture is Dr Irit Katz, an architect and scholar who focuses on the socio-political and cultural aspects of architecture and urbanism. Michael Driver (MA DipArch RIBA) is a member of Christ's College and Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Architecture where he specialises in Construction and Design.
 

How to apply

Visit How to Apply for full details and a timeline of the application process. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and school types, all over the world. If you're applying from outside the UK, please read our international students section.

News
  • On interviews: students who apply in October 2022 and are selected for interview will be interviewed online - you will not need to travel to Cambridge. For more detail see the interviews section below.
  • The written assessment for Architecture is College registered. That means that you do not need to register for it. If you are invited for online interviews, we will organise it for you automatically.

 

Subjects: what do you need?

We expect you to have a combination of both essay subjects and sciences/maths subjects. There are no specific requirements but A-level Art and AS-level Mathematics or Physics are desirable.

We want to see your enthusiasm for both arts and sciences, and a creative ability to represent the world in a variety of ways. You should be able to draw in various media and make objects (sculptures, installations, models) using different materials and techniques. We also look for an interest in the history of art and architecture.

If you don’t have a formal qualification in Art, please contact the Admissions Office to ask about the standard of work required for a competitive portfolio.

Sending a 6-page artwork pdf

Window detailWhen we receive your application, we will ask you to send a pdf of examples of your own original artwork that you feel accurately reflects your abilities and interests. You will need to create an A4 pdf of exactly 6 pages, and no more than 15MB.

The selection of images for your artwork pdf should, in some part, reflect material you might plan to show if you are invited for interview. As it will be submitted as a pdf (not in hard copy), if you’d like to show us any 3D work or a painting, you will need to take photos of it to include. Details for sending your pdf will be included in the current applicants section (in the subject information for Architecture) once you have applied.

Note that this requirement to send us artwork at this stage in the process is in addition to the request for you to show a portfolio if you are invited for interview.

Your portfolio

Applicants who are invited for interview will be asked to show a portfolio of recent work. We don’t expect your portfolio to be architectural in nature (such as plans or sections) but rather to be work that shows your interests, experience and ability in the visual and material arts.

The basis of your portfolio should be drawing and painting work, but you can also include other media such as sculpture, installation, photography or video art. We would like to see ongoing drawings in any media (pencil, charcoal, crayon) showing a variety of subject matter. This can be material you’ve prepared for exams or creative work you’ve done outside of school.

REMEMBER: your portfolio isn’t just a compilation of work, it’s a creative piece that showcases your ability to communicate your ideas. Once the instructions for sending your portfolio are available, please think carefully about the best possible way you can present it to us.

Interviews

If we invite you for interviews, these usually take place in early December. Those invited for interviews are normally interviewed for 35-50 minutes in total. At Christ’s, we usually split the time into two interviews with academics in Architecture. You will need to have your portfolio available in both interviews.

Take a look at the information and short films on Cambridge admissions interviews to find out what to expect.

Written Assessment (College registered)

If we invite you for interview, we ask you to take a written assessment towards the end of November (it won't be on the same day as your interviews). We arrange this automatically so you don’t need to register, and you do the same assessment regardless of which college you apply to.

Further information including the format and sample questions is available in the University course information for Archictecture (entry requirements tab).

You will be able to complete the assessment remotely and upload your work - you will not need to travel for it. Details of how the assessment will work will be given to students selected for interview by email.

Offers

Students talking at swimming pool
Swimming pool

At Christ's we don’t have fixed quotas for places, so the number of students we admit in any year depends on the strengths of the applicants. In Architecture, we aim to admit at least two students each year. A total of 44 students are admitted to the BA in Architecture across all Cambridge colleges each year.

You need to be academically ambitious: our typical conditional offer for Architecture is A*AA at A-level, or for IB students 42 points overall with 7,7,6 in Higher Level subjects, but the majority of Christ’s students arrive with higher grades. If you're taking another qualification, we expect you to be working at or close to the top of the mark range (thus Option Internationale du Baccalauréat candidates are asked to achieve at least 17/20 overall, with 17 or 18 in relevant subjects, and candidates taking the European Baccalaureate need at least 85% overall, with 9/10 in relevant subjects, for example). Read about offer levels in other exam systems and international entrance requirements.

If you will have finished school when you apply, read about post-qualification applications.
 

Helpful resources

Reading suggestions Suggestions so you can choose according to your interests – we don’t expect you to have read all of these if you come for interview!
Preparing for the Admissions Assessment To find sample questions for the Admissions Assessment, go to the University Architecture course informaton, click on the Entry requirements tab and scroll down to Admissions Assessment. There are sample questions in the specification.
ARCSOC Cambridge University Architecture Society
What do Buildings do all day? An architecture and design podcast made in Ireland
Urbanista A webzine of critical perspectives on the contemporary urbanist scene.
The Nature of cities Bringing together a range of perspectives on urbanism.
Deezen Architecture, interiors and design magazine online.

Arch Daily

Website showing Architecture projects.See in particular the projects menu.
HE+ Architecture Resources for secondary school students who want to explore Architecture
Scroop Journal The annual architecture journal of Cambridge’s Department of Architecture
Young Architect blog Helpful blog, podcasts and newsletter
The Funambulist A platform that engages with the politics of space
A lecture with Prof Ash Amin Prof Amin is a member of the Geography department and also a fellow at Christ's, This lecture may be of interest because it is on the social life and sociality of urban infrastructure.
CamGuides Introducing the academic and information skills that you will need during your studies, as well as how and where you be working.

 

Come to an Open Day / Webinar

Student Q&A film
  Watch the Christ's student Q&A film

Our open days and events page advertises regular online opportunities as well as events you can attend in Cambridge. If you can, sign up for a College Open Day (our October, February and September events normally include a meeting with a subject specialist). Between February and August we run regular webinars:

  • Subject Matters: The importance of post-16 subject choices (this one is also run Sept - Nov)
  • Cambridge for Beginners
  • Christ's College: A look at the Grounds and Facilities
  • Personal Statements and preparing for an application

Further subject-specific opportunities you might wish to consider include Subject Masterclasses organised by Cambridge Admissions Office, and subject-specific talks in the July Cambridge Open Days. If you are a UK student from a background where there is little tradition of entry to Higher Education, you can apply to attend a Sutton Trust Summer School in Architecture or to shadow a current undergraduate studying Architecture via the Cambridge SU Shadowing Scheme (do be aware that there's a high proportion of applicants to places for both of these last two opportunities so please don't be discouraged if you don't get a place).
 

Need more information?

For a full picture of what the course involves, please take a look at Undergraduate Architecture admissions on the University website and visit the Architecture Department page too.

If you have any queries at all, please contact us at admissions@christs.cam.ac.uk and we’ll be happy to advise.