Which A-Levels Should You Take for an Architecture Degree?

30 Oct, 2023 | University Preparation

City planning, interior design and architectural history are just a few of the potential career options with a degree in Architecture. 

Architecture is a field that encourages both artistic expression and logical thinking, so choosing A-level subjects that foster both skill sets will give you a strong foundation and a head-start for university!

Are There Any Pre-A-Level Requirements for an Architecture Degree?

Most UK universities require applicants to have achieved a grade C / 5 in English and Mathematics at GCSE-level or equivalent, so it’s always a good idea to refine your written communication and numerical skills – even if you haven’t yet decided on your future career path

University admissions teams are also looking for prospective students who can demonstrate a keen interest in the subject they want to pursue. A carefully-crafted personal statement and a strong interview performance are the perfect way to illustrate your personal interest in studying Architecture. 

If you’ve read widely in the architecture field already – whether that’s through books, journals or online articles – be sure to highlight it! The internet is a near-infinite resource for all fields and interests, no matter how great or small, so you’re sure to learn something valuable! 

Keeping a log is another great way to show engagement with the subject. This could include:

  • Recording your visits to different buildings or spaces of interest. Note the name, location, date, any notable features and how you felt about them, and take some photographs for a visual record!
  • Keeping a journal detailing your relevant thoughts and experiences. This could include the emotions or sensations you feel when encountering different architectural styles. 
  • Carrying a sketchbook with you to draw architectural details and elements. Make some annotations describing the materials used or the historical context of a building.
  • Keeping a reading log of books and articles. Try to sum-up what you’ve read to solidify your understanding of the material.
  • Starting an architecture blog to share your experiences, insights, analysis and reviews. This is also a great way to exchange ideas with like-minded students.

Finally, extracurricular programmes are always impressive on any university application. Whether that’s participating in voluntary work, attending a course, or joining a society or club dedicated to architecture, the more time you’ve spent delving into the field the better. 

How Should I Choose My A-Levels for Architecture?

Choosing A-levels can be a tough decision, especially if you’re interested in a range of different subjects and topics. However, the most important thing is to choose subjects you’ll enjoy. Two years is a long time to study something that doesn’t interest you, and the more engaged you are with your A-levels, the more you’ll get out of them. 

Fortunately, most UK Architecture degrees don’t have specific A-level subject requirements, meaning you’ve a great deal of freedom in choosing what to study in the meantime. 

We’ve put together some subject suggestions that offer a solid foundation for  an Architecture degree, but our list is far from comprehensive. If there’s a subject you really want to study at A-level, then go for it! 

STEM A-levels for Architecture

A-levels in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) lay the groundwork nicely for an Architecture degree. 

Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics A-levels develop the kind of analytical and problem-solving skills needed in a number of architectural careers. As an Architectural Engineer for instance, ensuring buildings are safe, energy-efficient and functional is a key part of the role, so a strong understanding of structural principles and mathematical calculations is essential. 

Architecture is as much a creative job as it is STEM-based, so there’s more than enough room to combine STEM subjects with more creative or humanities-based A-levels. 

Creative A-levels for Architecture

Looking at buildings, we can appreciate their structural prowess – the intricate science behind their construction and continued use – but often, we also see a magnificent work of art. 

Consider London’s Gherkin; a building that is as visually striking as it is technically proficient. Architecture is unique in its marriage of two seemingly disparate types of discipline: the technical and the artistic.

Studying subjects like Art and Design, Design and Technology, and Graphics alongside STEM subjects fosters the development of both skills simultaneously. These creative subjects are at the core of conceptualising and conveying architectural ideas through drawings and models.  

Contextual A-levels for Architecture

Architecture is all around us. The location, time period and function of the structure can influence its aesthetic quality significantly. 

Subjects like Art History, Geography and Sociology provide insights into the cultural, societal and environmental factors that have influenced architects for centuries. 

It’s the job of the architect to understand not only how to design and build functional, impressive structures, but how to successfully implement them into our shared environment. 

Complementary subjects for Architecture

Architecture is an ideal field for people with multidisciplinary skills and interests. A diverse knowledge base can enhance an architect’s ability to address contemporary issues such as sustainability, economic considerations and project management. 

A-Level subjects such as Business Studies, Economics and Environmental Science will equip any budding architect with the kind of skills needed in any walk of life, especially one with such a tangible impact on society. 

An OxBright Architecture student working on a drawing.

Key Things to Remember When Choosing Your A-Levels for an Architecture Degree

  • If you’re not sure, then ask! University admissions tutors often provide their contact information, and are happy to answer any questions you may have about A-level subject preferences in applicants.
  • Every university will have different requirements, so it might be helpful to make a list of the universities you’re interested in and note down the entry requirements for each. 
  • Be realistic! Look at the grade requirements for the courses you’re interested in and select subjects you’re likely to achieve those grades in. As we said, Architecture uniquely combines the technical and the creative, so you’ve got plenty of room to play to your strengths! 
  • Choose A-Level subjects that you enjoy and can link to your passion for Architecture. Admissions teams have a keen eye for passion, and writing an impressive personal statement will be much easier if you’re able to portray a genuine passion for your experiences. 

A-levels are the perfect time to hone interests you’ve developed at GCSE-level, so make the most of the opportunity and be sure to make an informed decision on which A-levels to choose! We wish you all the best in your journey to an Architecture degree.

Sam

By Sam Cox

Sam is a recent English graduate from the University of Bristol whose interests include twentieth-century fiction, film, and cultural criticism.

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