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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).

At a time when the national and international media regularly examine issues pertaining to the nature and habitability of our cities, and buildings which veer between sculptural extravagance and environmental responsibility, there is a great need for serious, committed and imaginative designers and thinkers in the discipline.  The high quality of research carried out at Cambridge is the basis on which the Course maintains a leading position in these debates, always seeking to understand the diversity of possibilities with respect to the profundity and richness of the western tradition.

The course emphasizes an understanding of architecture in its cultural context.  We believe that this helps students to avoid design in abstract terms and without a sense of context, and encourages them to link work in the studios with the ideas and issues raised in lectures, seminars and supervisions. The course prepares students for a future in architectural practice but allowance is also made for the interests of those who will progress into other areas of design, and into construction, other professions and scholarship.

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.


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, or 40-42 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. 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 advuce 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

One hour at-interview assessment, comprising: Writing skills (30 minutes), Graphic and spatial ability (30 minutes). 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