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Architecture at Sidney

Architecture at Cambridge

Applicants who have a strong interest in architectural and urban design - its history, theory, construction and technology - are encouraged to apply to read Architecture at Cambridge.  The Course is oriented around design - from the scale of the city to that of furniture - and is supported by lecture courses which draw upon the humanities (history and theory) as well as upon the sciences (construction, environmental design and structures).

Cambridge is fortunate in the range of resources available to support the teaching in the Department.  In addition to the University Computing Service, College computing facilities and special resources such as the Cambridge University Moving Image Studio, Cambridge has a wealth of libraries. The University Library, one of the nation's three Copyright Libraries, has a world-class collection.  The Faculty Library, shared with the Department of History of Art, has a collection of exceptional breadth and value: its rare books and the collection of 19th and 20th century periodicals are unique and complemented by the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum. Finally, college libraries add a further tier of library provision; they not only offer multiple copies of basic undergraduate texts but further research collections of outstanding quality.

The Department also offers a one-year post-graduate course leading to an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design, which is open to applicants from a range of backgrounds, including architecture, engineering, physics and landscape design. It addresses ways of minimizing the impact of buildings on the global environment, while maintaining environmental quality within the building, by using passive or bioclimatic approaches to design. The course is part taught - through lectures, workshops and seminars - and part individual research, developing the student's initiative and critical and analytical abilities. Design skills are required to demonstrate the ability to integrate environmental issues in architecture.

Architecture at Sidney

In the first year at Sidney we cover a broad range of subjects, including theory, history, drawing and site visits. 

The Director of Studies in Architecture at Sidney Sussex is Dr Michael Ramage who has particular research interests in materials like masonry, timber, bamboo and earth. He is currently working on the design and construction of two buildings in the UK and South Africa, and has won several awards for his work on the Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre in South Africa's Mapungubwe National Park.

Financial support is available to help Architecture students with the purchase of drawing and modelling materials: the College will reimburse 50% of expenditure each year, up to a maximum of £200.

Hear from a student... 

    First term is usually spent on a design and build project. You’ll be split into groups, with whom you carry out your scheme from the early stages of design all the way to construction. It’s a great way to ease into the course and make new friends without the pressure of individual projects. You aren’t expected to know anything very architecture-specific. Michaelmas term is here for you to learn the basics of technical drawing, model-making, etc. You only start to work individually from Lent term. But by then, you will be quite well-prepared to tackle things on your own!

The Architecture department is about a 15 to 20 minute walk, or 8 minute cycle away, from Sidney. You might choose to get a bike, which would save a lot of time in the morning! However, I walked most of my first year and that was good too. I found the walk provided a nice break to clear the mind and take things a little slower.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time at Sidney. It can be hard work at times but this makes it a far more rewarding experience. I feel my ability, knowledge and perception of the world has progressed hugely whilst I’ve been here. This would not have been possible without the boundless support from my friends, our excellent Director of Studies, the supervisors, and College staff at Sidney Sussex.

Jian Lin Wong, Sidney Architecture undergraduate



Director of Studies (DoS)

Dr Michael Ramage

All of our undergraduate students are allocated a Director of Studies and learn from specialists in particular areas of their subject. From time to time, individual teaching staff may be away on leave.

Typical Intake

2 - 3

Standard Entry Requirements

A*AA at A Level

41-42 points in the IB, with 776 at Higher Level

Please see the University website for standard entry requirements in other qualifications.

Please note that offers are set on an individual basis by the Colleges using all of the information available to us in context of the entire field of applicants.

At Sidney, we require either Mathematics or Physics at A Level or IB Higher Level. For 2020 entry, we require an essay-based subject at A Level or IB Higher Level. Please note that Art is not essential at Sidney but applicants should be maintaining a sketchbook and a portfolio of their own artwork.

Admissions Process

Written work

We will not ask you to submit any written work as part of your application.

We ask candidates invited to interview to bring a portfolio along with them. The portfolio is an essential part of the application. Our advice would be to edit it well, but make sure there is plenty of content, including sketchbooks and life drawings if you have them. There should be no 3D objects in the portfolio— only pictures of sculpture and other 3D work.

Admissions Assessments

At-interview assessment. Read more about the admissions assessment on the University website.


Two interviews. The first will be a more general interview focusing on candidates' interest and wider exploration of Architecture; the second will be subject-related, including discussion of the portfolio and analysis of some architectural images.

We will ask Portfolio of creative work (e.g. drawings, paintings, sculpture, photos) to be brought to interview.

Find out more

Department of Architecture

University website Architecture course page

Skype interviews may be considered for international applicants on a case-by-case basis in certain subjects. If you wish to enquire further, please contact the Admissions Office (