skip to content

Department of Architecture

Is the Design Tripos a Product Design Course?

No, it is a course that specifically aims to look at the issues of sustainable design in the built environment. However, during the course of the degree you will set be projects at a variety of scales which may involve furniture or product design and many of the skills you learn would enable you to pursue a career in a wide range of design fields. In the Fourth year it is possible to do a special project which might involve designing a new product.

Do I need Further Mathematics to take the Design Tripos?

No, we expect offers to include an A* in Mathematics. We understand many schools do not teach Further Mathematics and we do not wish to prevent you doing this course. In the first year Mathematics and Programming course we will teach mathematics to Further Mathematics level and beyond. 

Do I need A level Chemistry or Physics?

No, but obviously there is a lot of science in this degree so having one or both of these will help you when you arrive and you should have sciences at GCSE. 

Do I need Art at A level?

We require a portfolio of artwork in Design exactly as we do for Architecture and we expect you to produce a portfolio of the same format. This is easier to produce if you are doing Art A level. If you are not offering Art A level we advise you to contact your school art teacher to get help on preparing a portfolio both for submission and for interview. We like to see a portfolio which demonstrates your ability to work in a range of media and in 2D and 3D.

Is Design Technology Useful? 

Although Design Technology is useful for teaching you skills in making which are included in the Design Tripos, in general we find Art is a better preparation for the degree. If you do Design technology then we advise you to contact your school art teacher to get help in preparing a portfolio both for submission and for interview. In particular we would like to see well laid out sheets that are graphically interesting. We want to see a range of media and we want you to produce a portfolio that can demonstrate this. It is also important to make sure you get good photographs of the objects you made.

What makes the Design Tripos different from the Architecture Tripos? 

Both the Architecture course and the Design Tripos involve design in the built environment. Both involve designing buildings. The Design Tripos is more scientifically- based and aims to provide you with a greater understanding of the how technical innovation can be used to help solve issues around climate change and sustainability. Sustainability is still an important issue for the architecture course, but a greater emphasis is placed on the socio-political and cultural challenges facing us today. Both courses place a strong emphasis on design and the share many courses.

How should I prepare for the interview?

You need a portfolio. You also need to show interest in the subject, so read around it as much as you can. We provide a reading list of recommended texts for you to look at. Look around your local neighbourhood and try to think about it architecturally. Sketch and draw. We are looking for enthusiasm. Reading books is a good way to evidence this.