The Cambridge Design course brings together architecture, engineering and materials science in a single degree. Blending technical content with design freedom, this course offers opportunities for creativity and a new approach to tackling societal and environmental issues, including poverty and climate action.

Grounds and Facilities poster
Book for our next Grounds & Facilities webinar or see Visiting Christs

Course content and structure

Please see the Design page on the Cambridge Admissions website, which has tabs for the overview and course outline.

Students can graduate with a BA (Honours) degree after three years, but most will continue to the fourth year (Part IIB) to graduate with a BA and a Master of Design (MDes).

Hall window with shrubs outside
Hall window, First Court



The Christ’s Director of Studies for Design is Dr Irit Katz, and the College level of teaching is small group supervisions, which will complement the work you do in the Department (a 15 minute walk from Christ's, on Trumpington Street), where you'll have studios and workshops, as well as lectures, and seminars.


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.

  • If you are considering an application in October 2024 for October 2024 (or deferred Oct 26) entry, we recommend that you sign up for the next College Open Day, which will include a Design subject meeting.
  • College registered assessments can change from year to year. We will have further information on the Admissions Assessment for Design by the end of March 2024.

Subjects: what do you need?

To apply for Design at Christ's, you must be taking or have taken three A levels including Mathematics or an equivalent such as the International Baccalaureate with Higher Level Mathematics (Analysis and Approaches or Applications and Interpretation) or three Advanced Highers in the Scottish system including Mathematics.

What else are we looking for?

  • Drawing skills
  • Interest in engineering and materials
  • Interest in design and architecture

Sending a 6-page artwork pdf

When 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 Design) 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.


If we select you for interviews, these usually take place in early December or possibly the very last days of November. At Christ's we do all of our interviews online (we will update this page if there is a change to this). You can have your interviews either at home (most applicants do this) or at school (if easier). 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. You will need to have your portfolio available in both interviews. You will be allowed to screenshare (we'll send you information about how to do this) or hold your portfolio work for the interviewers to see - whichever works best for you.

Further, more general information about interviews (including two useful films) is available in the Cambridge interviews section, and it's worth also having a look at supervisions (short film here), as interviews are similar to what you do every week as a Cambridge student.

Written Assessment (college registered)

Assessment details are confirmed by July each year, but note that applicants for Design who are selected for interview are normally asked to take an Admissions Assessment at the end of November (last year's date is Friday 24 November). We arrange your assessment automatically so you don’t need to register. You complete the assessment remotely and upload your work - you will not need to travel for it. Details of how the assessment will work are given to students selected for interview by email.

The Assessment is the same as the one taken by applicants for Architecture. Information about the format and content of the Admissions Assessment is available in the Undergraduate Design Course Information. See the entry requirements tab. There are sometimes changes to assessments from year to year - any changes are confirmed by the July before you apply.


We define each offer individually, but for Design our typical conditional offer is

  • A*AA at A-level (including Mathematics)
  • 42 points overall in the International Baccalaureate with 7,7,6 in Higher Level subjects (including Higher Level Mathematics Anaylsis and Approaches or Applications and Interpretation)
  • A1, A2, A2 in three Scottish Advanced Highers including Mathematics

You need to be academically ambitious: note that the majority of Christ’s students arrive with higher grades than the requirements.

If you’re taking another qualification, we expect you to be working at or close to the top of the mark range i.e.

You can look up other qualifications in the offer levels for other exam systems and international entry requirements, and if you are applying from outside the UK please read the Christ's international students section for further information and check the country pages.

If you will have finished school when you apply, please also read about post-qualification applications, taking a gap year, and, if relevant, applying from a university.

Helpful Resources

Reading suggestions These books are suggested for prospective students in both Architecture and Design. Note that you don't need to buy them - you may be able ti find some of them in local libraries or any local Architecture Schools / RIBA Library (London). If you are looking for second hand books, good sources for cheaper copies are abebooks or wob.
Preparing for the Admissions Assessment To find sample questions, go to the College admissions assessments page.
Designing Buildings Industry-wide, cross-discipline forum for finding and sharing knowledge about the planning, design, construction and operation of buildings.
The Funambulist Magazine Website on the politics of space and bodies
Urbanista Webzine of critical perspectives on contemporary urban design and its responses to social, cultural, political and economic patterns globally.
What do Buildings do all day? An architecture and design podcast made in Ireland
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 or online event

Our open days and events page advertises online and in-person opportunities to find out more about the College and studying Design here.

 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 Design or to shadow a current undergraduate 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).


Want more information?

For more detail about what the course involves, please read Undergraduate Design admissions on the University website.

You might also be interested to read the following news article:

If you have any queries at all, please contact us at and we’ll be happy to advise.


Undergraduate Admissions main page / Back to the subject list / How to apply / Why choose Christ's?