Why study architecture in the UK?

Leeds landscape

Architecture is all around us, from striking skyscrapers in bustling cities to the schools in your hometown. Every building tells a story, and behind every story is an architect. 

Becoming an architect gives you the chance to work on exciting projects that will be used and appreciated by many for years to come.

Studying architecture in the UK is one of the best ways to kick-start your career. Home to some of the most iconic buildings in the world, from Buckingham Palace to The Shard, the UK has been at the forefront of architectural brilliance for centuries. What better way to begin your architecture study journey than in a country rich in history and innovation?

Why study architecture?

Architecture study is not without its challenges, but it is a fulfilling, rewarding profession. Your career can take many different forms, depending on your goals and the particular field you want to specialise in.

High salary

As a qualified architect (with the right work experience), you can expect to earn between £30,000 and £45,000 per year. As you gain more experience in the field, you can expect to earn more fairly quickly. More experienced architects can expect a salary of up to £70,000 a year. Partners or directors of architectural practices can earn even more. 

Good career progression

One of the best things about becoming an architect is that it is a unique career. There is nothing else out there quite like it.

There are many different paths your career can take, too. Working for larger firms provides you with job security and a consistent progression pathway. You might also consider working for a private practice, which not only offers a stable salary but also provides opportunities to later become a partner or associate. 

Whichever path you choose, becoming a chartered architect is recommended for career development and progression.

Plenty of travel opportunities

The language of architecture is universal; it is a global skill and always in high demand. 

Whether you want to work on smaller local buildings or be part of a team working on innovative, larger-scale projects, your skills and qualifications mean you can be employed by companies all around the world. 

Let the creativity flow

Architecture is all about being creative. You have to use your ability to think outside the box and design concepts that will move and inspire, as well as overcoming practical structural problems. 

No two buildings are the same, so every day will be different, something few careers can offer. You will let the world around you be your inspiration.

What qualifications do I need to become an architect?


There are multiple educational options if you want to study architecture in the UK. The most popular way to get into the profession is via a recognised university degree.  During the interview process, it is expected that you’ll have your design portfolio to hand. It’s a competitive field, so being prepared is essential.  

Not sure where to start? The International Foundation Year in Science, Engineering and Computing is the perfect first step in your international study journey. This course prepares you for progression to a range of degrees at the University of Leeds, such as architecture.

Work experience

Most degrees in architecture require you to complete several work experience placements. These are designed to help you gain as much experience of working on projects in a real-life context as possible. 

Further qualifications

You will need to register with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) to become a fully licensed architect. You might also consider becoming a Chartered Architect through membership with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

You might also want to specialise further in a particular field, such as industrial or urban design.

What you learn on an architecture course

Studying an architecture degree at a UK university combines many elements to help you excel in your new career. From a focus on art and 3D design to the more logistical parts of management, an architecture degree ensures you are prepared for the challenges ahead. 

That’s not to say you only ever look forwards. Discussions on history and theory will help you create and influence the buildings of tomorrow. 

This blended approach to learning will ensure that you have a strong understanding of each part of the profession, meaning you will graduate with all the necessary skills and knowledge required.

An example of some of the modules you might study include:

  • Design technology
  • Environmental design
  • Landscape and buildings
  • Designing of a project
  • History and theory of architecture
  • Practice and enterprise
  • Historical and cultural developments of cities
  • Sustainable design

Remember: every university is different. Check the course information to see what modules they offer.

What does a career in architecture look like in the UK?

Once you qualify as an architect, you’ll immediately begin to appreciate how flexible your job can be. Unlike other professions that require a baseline knowledge of maths or science, you’re not bound by a specific progression structure. You might choose to work as part of a larger company or firm or offer your services as a freelance architect. 

For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, as you gain experience and connections, you might even want to set up your own practice. Whilst this comes with its own set of challenges, some find it a rewarding pathway as you are in total control of your career. 

For those seeking something with more structure, seeking out larger firms with an established presence in the industry can offer more natural career progression and advancement.

From town planner to building surveyor, there is no shortage of ways to apply your skills in the UK.

Study architecture in the UK

There are a lot of options to consider when it comes to studying architecture in the UK. It’s important that you do your research, learn about the facilities and modules they offer and whether you can see yourself living there for the duration of your course. 

You might also want to consider the ranking of the university. The University of Leeds, for example, has been ranked number 2 for Architecture in the Guardian rankings 2023.

Each university will offer something unique, and it’s important that you find the one that fits your aspirations. 

At Leeds International Study Centre, our pathway programmes prepare you for degree study. Successful completion of a pathway programme leads to degree study at the University of Leeds, a world top 100 university (QS World University Rankings 2023).

By studying at the University of Leeds, you will graduate with an accredited architecture degree. This meets the highest quality standards set by the ARB, RIBA, CIBSE, EUR-ACE and JBM. This allows you to progress towards becoming a registered architect in the UK.

Take your first step towards becoming an architect today. Find out more about studying a preparational programme at Leeds International Study Centre and how you can gain the skills and knowledge needed to make the most of studying in the UK.  

Frequently asked questions

Is becoming an architect a good career in the UK?

Rich in history and innovation, the UK is the perfect place for budding architects to start their career. It is a career that is constantly moving, and is an intensely rewarding career choice for those who have a passion for designing solutions to complex problems.

How many years does it take to become an architect in the UK?

On average, it takes seven years to become an architect. This includes your degree study and extended periods of work experience, which are essential parts of your professional development. Your work experience placements will typically last around one year at a time. 

Is the UK a good place to study architecture?

The UK’s reputation in architecture is known all around the world. As a result, it is the perfect place to begin your architecture career. There are many universities across the country that offer a degree in architecture, such as the University of Leeds.