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Department of Architecture


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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. In the summer term there are no lectures all teaching time is devoted to studio. 



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.

In many architecture schools the cost of modelmaking materials and plotting drawings can be considerable. In Cambridge all portfolio submissions are digital and where you are required to plot for presentations the cost of the plotting of there drawings will be covered by the studio unit. Likewise projects are set with guidance on materials to be used and the materials are supplied by the Department. There should thus be no cost to students for making models and producing portfolios. 
First year students are loaned drawings boards, set squares and cutting mats for their use during the year. These are returned at the end of the year. 
The necessary CAD software and ADOBE Creative suite are provided free of charge to all students on the course.

Our academic courses are taught through a series of lectures, which take place on a weekly basis during the Michaelmas and Lent terms. 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?


Studio projects are handed in and marked at the end of each term, leaving the vacations for coursework assessments for the lecture courses. Students are generally marked on presentations at the end of term. Digital portfolios are submitted and used by examiners for moderation purposes and to show the external examiners at the end of the year. 


Subjects used to be assessed by written examinations but following the experience of coursework during the pandemic we have decided from October 2021 to replace all written examinations with coursework going forward.


In first year history and theory courses are assessed through submitted essays. The essays are set at the end of term and completed over the Christmas and Easter vacations. In second year the paper are assessed in a similar way but the essays are required to be properly annotated with bibliographies and footnotes. In third year students write a dissertation (see below) and the history and theory papers are assessed by marked presentations in seminars as part of the course. The other lecture courses involve a mixture of short projects and coursework submissions which vary from subject-to-subject. In general assessed coursework is done, like history and theory coursework, during the Christmas and Easter vacations.


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).