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    I am currently starting year 13, and am planning to apply to architecture. My original plan was Cambridge, however having visited their open day and summer exhibition I became extremely disappointing in the course. The models and work we saw was much worse and less creative than those of Sheffield or UCL which I am also looking at. It is obvious that their practical work is very weak, and only a little time is spent on it compared with other universities (only two days a week compared to four in Sheffield). However, Cambridge is the second best university for architecture, and I am not sure if I should go for it or not. Perhaps the Cambridge course is ranked well as people find jobs after it, but maybe not in the architecture field? Could you please explain what the difference is between having a degree in architecture from Cambridge of from UCL for example?
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    (Original post by MashaG)
    I am currently starting year 13, and am planning to apply to architecture. My original plan was Cambridge, however having visited their open day and summer exhibition I became extremely disappointing in the course. The models and work we saw was much worse and less creative than those of Sheffield or UCL which I am also looking at. It is obvious that their practical work is very weak, and only a little time is spent on it compared with other universities (only two days a week compared to four in Sheffield). However, Cambridge is the second best university for architecture, and I am not sure if I should go for it or not. Perhaps the Cambridge course is ranked well as people find jobs after it, but maybe not in the architecture field? Could you please explain what the difference is between having a degree in architecture from Cambridge of from UCL for example?
    Have a read of the RIBA reviews: https://www.architecture.com/RIBA/Be...rdreports.aspx

    The Cambridge one is pretty poor tbh - the course didn't have enough content on building within regulations and budgets, legal responsibilities and project management They fixed this by 2015 but the fact that it got to that stage in the first place is not great.

    Looking at https://unistats.direct.gov.uk/subje...eturnTo/Search and http://www.arct.cam.ac.uk/Downloads/...-analysis-arch and http://www.arct.cam.ac.uk/aboutthedepartment/alumni it looks as if about 40% or more Architecture grades from Cambridge go on to work in a different sector after part 1
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    (Original post by MashaG)
    I am currently starting year 13, and am planning to apply to architecture. My original plan was Cambridge, however having visited their open day and summer exhibition I became extremely disappointing in the course. The models and work we saw was much worse and less creative than those of Sheffield or UCL which I am also looking at. It is obvious that their practical work is very weak, and only a little time is spent on it compared with other universities (only two days a week compared to four in Sheffield). However, Cambridge is the second best university for architecture, and I am not sure if I should go for it or not. Perhaps the Cambridge course is ranked well as people find jobs after it, but maybe not in the architecture field? Could you please explain what the difference is between having a degree in architecture from Cambridge of from UCL for example?
    as PQ said, read the RIBA Validation Reports - these are a snapshot and can be quite influenced by the chair, so take them with a pinch of salt - especially as they get older (Validation takes place every 5 years, but there are mid-term visits to ensure recommendations are being addressed), however they will be a more comprehensive guide than the League Tables. Cambridge (& UCL, for that matter) are really high in the tables because of how their research has been rated in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) which is unlikely to have any influence on your experience as an undergraduate. A lot of people on here reject the Guardian League table because it is volatile and doesn't agree with the Times and Complete League Tables (perhaps people who's decisions were based on the latter?) but the Guardian's data is based less on high level research and more on the National Student Survey undertaken by final year students.

    The best advice I can give you is attend the open days or interviews, speak to the students studying architecture there and, ultimately, trust your gut instincts. It's hard if your parents or school want you to go somewhere with a prestigious reputation, but architecture courses tend to exist slightly in their own bubble, so the quality of the teaching, facilities and work can be quite different to the university as a whole and league tables rely on aggregated data. Think about the environment in which you will do well - e.g. Do they offer you studio space? Will this influence your ability to work?
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    I think within the architecture world, UCL has by far the best reputation amongst UK (ranked second in the world, first place being MIT) schools, other than perhaps the AA or RCA (for postgrad), but they are private institutions beyond the reach financially of most people.

    This said, I think Cambridge is worth considering on the basis that you will get a great degree which will be more useful for getting jobs outside of architecture. So I think if you've done work experience and are pretty sure you want to do architecture long term then go to UCL. If not then maybe consider Cambridge. I only know one girl who went to Cambridge, and she said she hated it, found it very restrictive creatively and all in all was jealous of me going to UCL. It is also perhaps telling that she got a 2.1 at Cambridge and failed to get a place at UCL for her masters (Part II).

    From my personal experience the Cambridge department seems quite an intimate and cosy community, however it seemed remarkably dogmatic and basically entirely ran by people from the hard-left. To an extent most schools are, but it seemed especially prevalent at Cambridge. In my interview they practically sneered at anything I said that could have been interpreted as a vaguely centre-right political view, and ensured me I was wrong and that their left-wing view point was correct. In other words Cambridge did feel a bit like a virtue signalling echo chamber, UCL felt more open minded both creatively and ideologically.
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    (Original post by Farchitect)
    From my personal experience the Cambridge department seems quite an intimate and cosy community, however it seemed remarkably dogmatic and basically entirely ran by people from the hard-left. To an extent most schools are, but it seemed especially prevalent at Cambridge. In my interview they practically sneered at anything I said that could have been interpreted as a vaguely centre-right political view, and ensured me I was wrong and that their left-wing view point was correct. In other words Cambridge did feel a bit like a virtue signalling echo chamber, UCL felt more open minded both creatively and ideologically.
    Unfortunately I think the far-left bias you speak of is typical of academia in general, not just particular to Architecture.

    For some reason a career in academia just seems to appeal to people with a Communist outlook.

    I would surmise that the reason academia and the public sector in general is full of left wingers is because left wingers often want to aggressively force their own agendas and world view on other people, and academia and the public sector is an effective means of achieving this.

    Also I think the public sector appeals to left wingers because by its very nature the public sector and publicly owned universities are a socialist idea. They don't have to make money like normal businesses do, they just get allocated funds by the government for the most part.
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    (Original post by TobaccoSmoke)
    Unfortunately I think the far-left bias you speak of is typical of academia in general, not just particular to Architecture.

    For some reason a career in academia just seems to appeal to people with a Communist outlook.

    I would surmise that the reason academia and the public sector in general is full of left wingers is because left wingers often want to aggressively force their own agendas and world view on other people, and academia and the public sector is an effective means of achieving this.

    Also I think the public sector appeals to left wingers because by its very nature the public sector and publicly owned universities are a socialist idea. They don't have to make money like normal businesses do, they just get allocated funds by the government for the most part.
    You're almost certainly right, however the small size of the architecture department at Cambridge, combined with its over inflated sense of self-worth seem to make it particularly susceptible to such extremities. At least at UCL, where there may be the same tendencies in general, it is a big enough school such that it inevitably has more space for a variety of perspectives, certainly more so.

    Even skimming through the catalogue of student work at Cambridge it is pretty evident, I showed the book to my friend doing computer science (who has generally centre-left views on things) and he was surprised at how non-objective and clearly left biased it all seemed to be.
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    (Original post by Farchitect)
    From my personal experience the Cambridge department seems quite an intimate and cosy community, however it seemed remarkably dogmatic and basically entirely ran by people from the hard-left. To an extent most schools are, but it seemed especially prevalent at Cambridge. In my interview they practically sneered at anything I said that could have been interpreted as a vaguely centre-right political view, and ensured me I was wrong and that their left-wing view point was correct. In other words Cambridge did feel a bit like a virtue signalling echo chamber, UCL felt more open minded both creatively and ideologically.
    Why were you talking about politics in an architecture interview?
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    (Original post by Tabstercat)
    Why were you talking about politics in an architecture interview?
    That's how Cambridge interviews tend to work, you start at a certain point, they keep asking questions and you end up somewhere else. That said architecture and politics are very much related so it wouldn't be unexpected for an architecture interview to veer into politics...
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    (Original post by Farchitect)
    That's how Cambridge interviews tend to work, you start at a certain point, they keep asking questions and you end up somewhere else. That said architecture and politics are very much related so it wouldn't be unexpected for an architecture interview to veer into politics...
    What kind of political things did you talk about and they scoff at? genuinely interested
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    (Original post by Tabstercat)
    What kind of political things did you talk about and they scoff at? genuinely interested
    Well various things, it was a 45 minute interview. But one thing that I remember was we were discussing if the political establishment is only accessible to people from elite backgrounds, which moved onto if private schools should be abolished (she was clearly from a public school herself). She thought it was ridiculous to suggest that private schools shouldn't be abolished. We were also talking about political reform and making politics more engaging to working class people outside of London. It was as much the tone and facial expressions which accompanied their responses, as it was anything they specifically said.
 
 
 
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