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BSc Architectural Design and Technology

Course Overview

The way in which buildings are designed is changing rapidly, with innovative new building materials and techniques appearing all the time. Whilst the importance of conserving and upgrading our existing buildings has become increasingly evident, so has the need for new buildings to meet ever more stringent environmental standards.

Click here to download the Architectural Design & Technology newsletter (pdf format, 2Mb)

At Cardiff Metropolitan University, Architectural Design and Technology concentrates on excellence in technical detailing, coupled with a rigorous approach to sustainability and the minimisation of environmental impact; whether designing new buildings or working with our existing built heritage. You may start the course with a simple desire to design buildings – but we trust you will leave with the knowledge, skills and passion to begin to change our world for the better.

Download a BSc Architectural Design & Technology prospectus here

You will learn about different building techniques, materials, and other factors that impact on the technical design of buildings. At the same time, you will be developing an appreciation of the historical context of architectural design and becoming familiar with the values of environmentally responsive building design as you study innovative building techniques. The course will also facilitate you to gain key presentational skills, and to become proficient in the use of processes such as Building Information Modelling and Computer Aided Design.

Nicola Murtagh“I saw the work that was being put out by the students at the time and I was completely blown away by it. I knew I would love to be on this course.” Nicola Murtagh Click here to find out more about Nicola’s first year at CSAD.

Your working space will be our well-equipped studios – lively and stimulating spaces where students and tutors interact in a variety of different ways; some formal, others more relaxed, but all designed to encourage creative and analytical thinking.

Architectural Design and Technology

Accredited by the Charted Institute of Architectural Technologists, the course is structured in a way that allows you to choose a four year ‘sandwich degree’ option, whereby your third year is spent on placement in an architectural practice of similar environment. You may decide – and will be encouraged – to participate in the school’s ERASMUS exchange programme, spending several months of exciting study abroad at a European university.


The focus of the degree is not only to develop you as a student and critical thinker, but to inspire your growth into a skilled and intellectual architectural technologist. These attributes, which are dependent on one another, combined with practical experience and an understanding of the architectural design and technology industry, will form the beginning of your career, and stand you in the strongest possible position to carry it forward.

Architectural Design & Technology

The Architectural Design and Technology programme is taught by a dedicated team of both academics and professionals from within the spheres of architectural design and technology, as well as art and design. Staff interests and research areas range from sustainable building, and biodiversity, to urban design history and architectural conservation.

YEAR ONE (level 4)

Architectural Science 1 The module is designed to offer you an introduction to the physical properties and attributes of a range of building materials, as well as the principle technologies involved, and the values of sustainable design.

Design Studio 1 In this module, the focus is on simple low-rise, domestic scale buildings. You will be set a design brief for hypothetical projects based on a real site. Applying the skills acquired in the previous module – particularly in design and detailing – you will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of site context, appropriate technology and regulatory constraints, as well as environmental impact.

Theory and Context Throughout your studies, your practical development will be underpinned by modules such as this one – designed to encourage you see Architectural Design and Technology within broader historical, environmental and professional contexts.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).

YEAR TWO (level 5)

Architectural Science 2 This module will support you in carrying out accurate measured surveys of existing buildings, particularly in the identification and diagnosis or building defects such as structural movement, heat loss or damage caused by biological agents.

Design Studio 2 This module centres around medium-rise and long span building of a more complex nature. You will receive a design brief for a hypothetical project based on a real site and, wherever possible, involving a live client.

Management The module’s initial focus is on cost management and control, where you will showcase an ability to establish budgets and cost plans, and use the Building Cost Information Service to inform pre- and post- contract budget control. You will be applying and demonstrating this knowledge through student-centred learning activities and studio projects.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).

YEAR THREE (Year Four on the sandwich degree option; Level 6)

Built heritage In this first major project of your final year, you will be concentrating on the regulatory, legislative and technical constraints around the conversion and re-use of redundant or obsolete buildings.

Design Studio 3 This module is largely student-led, with your individual brief based around the design of a complex live or simulated building project.

Research in Practice In this final module, you will produce a dissertation. This is a 6000-word brief, in which you will be expected to demonstrate the ability to work autonomously and to be self-motivated. However, you will receive tutorial support – particularly in term one, as you complete the greater part of your dissertation.

In addition to your dissertation, you will personally design and develop a research proposal, through which you will construct and communicate a reasoned argument, making use of appropriate research methods.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).


From the outset, you will gain hands-on experience in practical studio sessions and workshops – developing your core material skills. Lectures, lead by members of the academic staff, will broaden your theoretical understanding of your field, whilst smaller, targeted seminars are designed to provide guidance for meeting more individual intellectual and practical demands.

Group work will give you the opportunity to forge working relationships with your peers (collaboration which have frequently extended into extra-curricular or personal projects thereafter). As early on as in your second term, sharing a brief with students across different disciplines from within the school, you will engage with your own perspective to assert your skills and interpretations in the wider context of other mediums and creative thinking.

Allocated to you each year, your personal tutor will provide dedicated support, encouraging you to evolve a critical opinion of your work and perspective as well as the necessary skills for self-reflection and autonomous working.

Motivating yourself – from independent research and development right through to production – will be key to your academic experience. This will frequently be measured by the maintenance of a Personal Development Plan (or PDP), which is designed to start as a focal point for your aims and experimentalism, eventually serving as a comprehensive portfolio through which you can reflect upon a quality body of work.

The opportunity to showcase your designs, in specially co-ordinated programs, will provide you with practical experience in exhibiting your work. A professional emphasis, particularly in the second half of your studies, will similarly build on your vocational skills by introducing you to the industry through guest speakers, placements and experiential assignments with existing agencies.
Your studies will often be enhanced through the use of the university’s e-learning system.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).


Throughout the duration of your studies, you will be evaluated on three main criteria which underpin all of the disciplines being taught at CSAD:

SKILLS The practical, technical and conceptual skills you acquire during your course.

CONTEXT Your understanding and knowledge of broader intellectual context within which your discipline and work is located. This includes historical, environmental and ethical issues and will often be explored in your ‘Theory and Context’ modules.

IDEAS Your understanding of intellectual and creative ideas from within and beyond your discipline; plus your ability to acquire new concepts and form new ideas. Ideas will be explored in your written work, as well as being evident in your practical progress.

Each of these criteria is given equal weighting during the assessment process. That is to say that they are seen as equally important and critical to your development; an emphasis which is designed, for example, to enable a more well-rounded skill set from a student who may be skilled technically, but weak in generating ideas, or a student with much creative flair who may struggle to hone a broad concept into a strong, individual design.

We provide a number of ways for you to track your progress en route to submitting your work for marking. Understanding that the emphases will revolve around the core areas of skills, context and ideas, you will also become familiar with the structured assessment form used by your tutors and learn to relate to your work back to the intended learning outcomes of each brief.

The main types of formative assessment are; academic (feedback from your tutors); peer (from your course-mates or project partners); and self-assessment (which is your own critique, in light of other forms of feedback). You won’t just be receiving feedback at the end of a brief, however – your tutors will often assess your progress as your work develops, providing formative feedback at crucial moments where it is hoped to encourage you to take risks, maintain your motivation or shape-up your ideas ahead of deadline.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).


Whilst your learning is designed to develop you into a rounded and capable artist/designer and intellectual, your curriculum is similarly structured with your potential in mind.

As such, the emphasis that will have been placed upon your work ethic, both creatively and academically, is matched with significant focus on real world experience; from building contacts and undertaking placements to live briefs and, should you choose so, support in forming your own business.

You can elect to take a route through your second and final years of studies where you can engage with businesses or launch your own for the moment you graduate. In your final year, rather than submit a dissertation, you have the option of devising a detailed business plan.

Throughout your time at CSAD, you will be meeting and hearing from professionals within your industry, honing your skills and ideas for commercial and professional advantage. Cross-disciplinary projects will prepare you for teamwork later on, whilst live briefs will prepare you for deadlines and the demands of tight specifications.

Read more about our graduates on the HND/BSc ADT website here.


Applicants should have a strong art and/or design portfolio and demonstrate a commitment to art and/or design, five GCSE passes, including English and Maths at grade C or above, plus:

• 260 UCAS Tariff Points from a successfully completed Art & Design Foundation Diploma or/and
• At least 3 A Levels / Scottish Advanced Highers from relevant subjects: Science/Maths/Technology (General Studies excluded)
• QCF BTEC Extended Diploma: Distinction Merit Merit within a relevant subject
• 260 points from the Irish Leaving Certificate at Highers to include 3 x B1 grades from relevant subjects (minimum grade C2 considered)
• Pass Access with 45 credits at Level 3 within a relevant subject
• 260 points from the Welsh Baccalaureate to include grades CC at A Level within relevant subjects, General Studies excluded, Core counted as fourth subject
• Qualifications equivalent to the above

If your qualification isn’t listed above, please refer to the UCAS website.

For applicants only undertaking 2 A Levels / 12-unit BTEC or equivalent, or applying with other life experiences, other qualifications and/or art & design achievements will be considered. If you are a UK or EU student intending to enter the first year and are confident you will meet the academic level (the tariff points) for your preferred undergraduate course, then you should apply through the usual means (UCAS in the UK) as detailed on the applications page of the Cardiff Metropolitan University website.

Selection is based on the receipt of a completed UCAS application and attendance at a School of Art & Design Interview.

Acceptance at interview is based upon a balance of three criteria:
i. Personal enthusiasm for and immersion in the practice and theory of Art & Design
ii. Academic Achievement and ability
iii. Quality of work, ambition and skills demonstrated in a portfolio

Students who do not attend an interview may not be accepted.

The standards at Cardiff School of Art & Design are set very high. We have a reputation for creative academic research and student attainment to maintain. As our courses receive far more applications than we have places, you can expect that we will choose the most enthusiastic, inquisitive and able to study with us.

However, it is important to know that the way we judge real ability is not based upon exam results alone. When you apply to study for a degree at Cardiff School of Art and Design, the subject team will want to know about you as a person. They will need to find out if you are serious and well informed about your choice of subject. They will also want to know whether you are equipped with the skills and attitudes that would enable you to make the best use of your studies with us.

Interview days are a great introduction for both parties. We like to talk to you in person about your work and aspirations, whilst also having the opportunity to show you around the school and its facilities – they will, after all, play a central role in the next three years for those whose applications are successful. The same is true of Cardiff itself, so interview days make an ideal opportunity to experience the city and hear all about what it can offer you as part of student life.

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).


UCAS code: W290
Course length: Three years full-time
Subject Leader: Nick Evans;


For course specific enquiries, please contact Subject Leader Nick Evans;

For more information about Art & Design Interview Days, please click here.
For more information on Art & Design Open Days, please click here.

For general enquiries please contact the Cardiff Metropolitan University Enquiry Team:
029 2041 6044

Click here to read the full description of this programme (PDF format).

Cardiff School of Art & Design is home to 1200 students, united by ambition and a true passion for creative enquiry. We are makers and thinkers in the fields of fine art, design, architecture and a range of craft practices. We have workshops and studios that ensure our students can operate as professionals from the moment they start their studies.

Why choose CSAD? Read three big reasons here.

150 years of Cardiff Metropolitan University

2015 marks our 150th anniversary.

Read more about the events to celebrate the occasion on the Cardiff Met website.

Open Days

Dates for Undergraduate Open days for 2016/17 entry will be posted on the Open Day web page.

The next Masters Open Day is on Friday 19th June 2015 at 12pm. Please email to book a place.

Visit the Open Day web page for more information.

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Download a prospectus

Click here to visit our Prospectus page with links to pdf prospectuses for the range of subjects covered at CSAD.

Research & Enterprise Newsletter

CSAD releases a regular pdf newsletter featuring the latest Research & Enterprise news from across the School. Click the links below to view a selection of recently published R&E Newsletters (pdf format):

Spring 2015 | Autumn 2014 | Summer 2014 | Autumn/Winter 2013/14 | Summer 2013 | Spring 2013 | Autumn 2012 | Summer 2012 | Spring 2012 | Autumn 2011 | Summer 2011 | Spring 2011 | Winter 2010 | Autumn 2010

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Below is a list of other related courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Visit the courses page for the full list.
Postgraduate Certificate in Research Skills: Art & Design (CRS)
Art & Science - MA (Art &Design)
Ecologies - MA (Art & Design)
Master of Design (MDes)