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Teaching and Assessment

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How will I be taught?


The design course is taught in our undergraduate studio building by our design tutors. Because of the small size of our undergraduate course, we can house all three years of undergraduate students in our studio, where each student has their own design space for the year, strengthening ties across the year groups and helping students to trace their progression through the course.

Design tutors are professional architects who teach in Cambridge two days a week. Each year has two assigned ‘studio days’ each week, which are days when the Design Tutor is present within the studio, and will be working with you individually or in small groups on the development of your project work.


You will be given regular feedback on your design work through a system of critiques and reviews, sometimes involving visiting professionals and/or staff members teaching in other years. These can vary in size from informal assessments of the work of two or three students to whole year review sessions, where work is often displayed in the purpose-built review spaces  of  our Sandy Wilson building .


Our academic courses are taught through a series of lectures, which take place on a weekly basis during term time. Lectures typically last 1 hour, and are sometimes supplemented by classes.


The supervision system is the central part of the Cambridge teaching philosophy, involving close contact between lecturers – or supervisors they recommend - and students. In supervisions, you will meet with your lecturers/supervisors in small groups (usually 3 or 4) to discuss and analyse the essays and/or technical coursework that you have produced for the lecture courses. Supervisions will take place on a regular basis, as suits the structure of the course. This high level of contact time with lecturers/supervisors is one of the things that makes the Cambridge course unique.


Alongside lecturers, design tutors and supervisors, you will also have a Director of Studies appointed by your college who is responsible for overseeing your academic development  throughout yourtime at Cambridge. They meet with you regularly each term to make sure that you are progressing well, and have all the support you need.

How will I be assessed?


Your design work will be assessed through the submission of portfolios in the middle and at the end of the year. These submissions will include work you have completed for studio projects throughout the year. Often, particularly in first and second year, there will be connections between work in the design portfolio and coursework undertaken for academic papers (modules).


Most papers (modules) involve a written examination component. Examinations are taken at the start of Easter (Summer) term.


Most papers (modules) also involve a coursework or essay component. In addition, you will have to complete regular essays and coursework in preparation for supervisions and lectures. These do not form part of the final assessment, but are an integral part of your development and learning.


You will be required to write a 7,000-9,000 word dissertation in your third year on a subject matter of your choice (providing that there is an academic available to supervise it).

Watch the course film


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