Architecture - Uni of Bath or Edinburgh?

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Rachaelllk
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#1
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#1
Bath or Edinburgh fo architecture, in terms of prestige, student life, location etc.
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Psychetechne
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#2
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#2
(Original post by Rachaelllk)
Bath or Edinburgh fo architecture, in terms of prestige, student life, location etc.
While both are ARB/RIBA-accredited programmes, and so meet the educational criteria for Part 1, I think many people would agree with me that these are two of the most diametrically opposed programmes you could have chosen to compare...

I’ll try not to get roped into another argument on something as poorly defined as “prestige”, and instead I’ll use that as a byword for “best, according to the industry”; here I can refer you to the fact that according to the UK’s largest 100 practices, Bath is the “second best” school in the country (trailing behind only the Bartlett, with Edinburgh much further down the list).

Student life is a difficult one to quantify, but I suspect most would agree that Edinburgh is the more diverse and student-focused of the two. Bath is a campus university, which some prefer, but Edinburgh has a lot more going on. Both are expensive, beautiful places to live.

In terms of location, one might argue that Bath benefits from being closer and more convenient for London, something that’s usually quite significant for architects seeking practice experience between Parts 1 and 2. It’s also close to Bristol and Cardiff, two other great cities for students and those seeking work-experience (experience is a very significant factor when considering Bath, as it’s integrated into the programme). Of course Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and it’s surrounded by astonishing beauty, it’s also close to Glasgow and Dundee, two great cities for various reasons.

Other considerations you might like to think about... Bath is based on a “learn to earn” model, best suited to those very confident they’d like to pursue a career as a practicing architect. Edinburgh is renowned for its arts and humanities focus and lends itself to those considering careers in architectural theory or criticism. Both are accredited.

Out of curiosity, what is it that brought you to compare these two programmes?
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Rachaelllk
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#3
Thank you so much for the detailed response, I really do appreciate it.

I've received an offer for undergraduate Architecture from both Bath and Edinburgh. Unfortunately, as I'm an international student, it isn't financially practical for me to attend offer holder days. So I've taken to the web to conduct my research of each respective university, before finalizing my 'firm' decision.

Regarding being "best, according to the industry", I've found conflicting rankings, where some rank Edinburgh over Bath for Architecture, and the other way round. Additionally, while Edinburgh seems to be more recognized internationally, I've also seen rankings where it is further down the list of best Architecture universities in the UK.
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Psychetechne
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#4
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#4
(Original post by Rachaelllk)
Thank you so much for the detailed response, I really do appreciate it.

I've received an offer for undergraduate Architecture from both Bath and Edinburgh. Unfortunately, as I'm an international student, it isn't financially practical for me to attend offer holder days. So I've taken to the web to conduct my research of each respective university, before finalizing my 'firm' decision.

Regarding being "best, according to the industry", I've found conflicting rankings, where some rank Edinburgh over Bath for Architecture, and the other way round. Additionally, while Edinburgh seems to be more recognized internationally, I've also seen rankings where it is further down the list of best Architecture universities in the UK.
By industry, I’m referring to the annual survey conducted by the Architects’ Journal; it asks the largest 100 practices in the UK a simple question: “what’s the best school?” With around a quarter of the vote, UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture has taken first place every year for the last decade and a half... impressive, but not entirely surprising given that most of the practices are based in London. In recent years second place has gone to Bath, with around a sixth of the vote. No other institution has earned more than 5% of the vote, so you have a situation where you get a lot of schools in equal third or fourth place.

The other rankings you’ve seen in your research are all over the place because they have different research methodologies; some weigh in favour of student satisfaction, others on research output, others on other things. Now, how important is all of that to you? Probably not as important, overall, as feeling like you’re getting value for money, because - as an international student, rather than EU - wherever you go it’s going to be expensive.

Speaking of expensive... have you compared the costs? Have you considered the practicalities of Bath’s thin sandwich? Or the fact that at least in theory you wouldn’t need to complete all four years at Edinburgh (it’s ARB-accredited in the first three)? What does best mean to you, what is it that you want most from your time here in the UK? And, while I appreciate coming to visit is hard, have you had telephone conversations with the staff at the universities?

I’ve spent time at both schools and in both cities, so if there’s anything specific I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to ask; I’ll do my best to be impartial and/or point you in the right direction.
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Sarah.janedawson
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Psychetechne)
By industry, I’m referring to the annual survey conducted by the Architects’ Journal; it asks the largest 100 practices in the UK a simple question: “what’s the best school?” With around a quarter of the vote, UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture has taken first place every year for the last decade and a half... impressive, but not entirely surprising given that most of the practices are based in London. In recent years second place has gone to Bath, with around a sixth of the vote. No other institution has earned more than 5% of the vote, so you have a situation where you get a lot of schools in equal third or fourth place.

The other rankings you’ve seen in your research are all over the place because they have different research methodologies; some weigh in favour of student satisfaction, others on research output, others on other things. Now, how important is all of that to you? Probably not as important, overall, as feeling like you’re getting value for money, because - as an international student, rather than EU - wherever you go it’s going to be expensive.

Speaking of expensive... have you compared the costs? Have you considered the practicalities of Bath’s thin sandwich? Or the fact that at least in theory you wouldn’t need to complete all four years at Edinburgh (it’s ARB-accredited in the first three)? What does best mean to you, what is it that you want most from your time here in the UK? And, while I appreciate coming to visit is hard, have you had telephone conversations with the staff at the universities?

I’ve spent time at both schools and in both cities, so if there’s anything specific I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to ask; I’ll do my best to be impartial and/or point you in the right direction.
Hi, I have just applied to do architecture starting in September 2021 and my two top choices are bath and Edinburgh. I was wondering how students found studying architecture at Bath as you do two 6 month placements and I thought it would be really hard to find accomodation that would let you only stay there for 6 months instead of a full year. Anyone know if this is an issue? Also if anyone is studying architecture at bath or edinburgh or has done in the past, which do you think is better and what are your experiences at the uni?
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sunanon
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#6
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#6
Where did you end up studying? I am currently doing my BSc Architecture at Bath but interested in Edinburgh for my Masters. Very curious as to where you are now! And if you are at Bath, say hi
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Sarah.janedawson
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#7
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#7
Hi! I’m at Bath doing architecture! In my first year and absolutely loving it!
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sunanon
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Sarah.janedawson)
Hi! I’m at Bath doing architecture! In my first year and absolutely loving it!
Fantastic, glad you are enjoying it! We may have even spoken before, who knows.
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Virona
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#9
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#9
(Original post by sunanon)
Where did you end up studying? I am currently doing my BSc Architecture at Bath but interested in Edinburgh for my Masters. Very curious as to where you are now! And if you are at Bath, say hi
Hi, I just came across this post and am applying to apply for architecture at bath this year. I was hoping if you could please answer some questions for me!
-how much free time do you get? Are you able to go out at night?
-does the course require you to produce hand drawn or digital designs?
-how is the placement after bath? Do most people get jobs?
-do you have to take classes for maths/Physics?

I know these are a lot sorry. Would be great if you could answer even 1-2!
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sunanon
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Virona)
Hi, I just came across this post and am applying to apply for architecture at bath this year. I was hoping if you could please answer some questions for me!
-how much free time do you get? Are you able to go out at night?
-does the course require you to produce hand drawn or digital designs?
-how is the placement after bath? Do most people get jobs?
-do you have to take classes for maths/Physics?

I know these are a lot sorry. Would be great if you could answer even 1-2!
Hi there! Great to hear that you are applying to Bath, and good luck with that process. It's very competitive. I'd be more than happy to answer your queries, but I've only (almost) done my first year, so that's as far as my perspective stretches.

In first year at least, you do have free time depending on how well you manage it. However, this obviously decreases around deadline and assessment periods (which are every couple of months depending on project timelines). All I can say is my social life has never been better despite doing the degree. You meet amazing people and the city as well as surrounding areas are fun to explore - it's a beautiful place and like nowhere else in the UK.

The course requires a bit of both but they aren't expecting you to be fluent in digital stuff upon arrival. It helps to have access to software like Photoshop and InDesign but it's not essential. A lot of it is independent learning and you will probably find yourself watching a lot of YouTube tutorials despite being enrolled in a degree - but that is rational, the industry is ever-changing so even those who are already qualified learn on the job. Hand drawing is essential for conveying ideas and getting stuff down, so it doesn't hurt to practice that before arriving, but you will be seriously surprised how quickly you improve once you're here!

Most Bath students find a placement. They don't hold your hand through that process unfortunately, but the school has a good reputation. I don't know much about the placement since I'm not there yet, so all you can do at this stage is think about where you want to do said placement - Bath/Bristol, your local area, London, somewhere international etc. Unfortunately, as with anything, the more personal connections you have through family and friends the easier it will be for you to find a placement. That's just how it works. So keep any architects in your life close!

In the first semester you have to take maths-based classes, yes. You have assessments on these modules at the end of the first semester. They're pretty relevant and enjoyable, and as long as you attend the lectures, do the pre-work and other worksheets, and engage in discussions about open questions, you'll be fine. Plus, these exams are open book. They're nothing like A Levels and especially not like GCSEs, which demand irrational memorisation.

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask for any clarification on anything!

If you do come to Bath, you'll get a Peer Mentor - a second year who will be around to help you through your early days. They'll be more than happy to guide you through similar queries. Good luck!
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Virona
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#11
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#11
(Original post by sunanon)
Hi there! Great to hear that you are applying to Bath, and good luck with that process. It's very competitive. I'd be more than happy to answer your queries, but I've only (almost) done my first year, so that's as far as my perspective stretches.

In first year at least, you do have free time depending on how well you manage it. However, this obviously decreases around deadline and assessment periods (which are every couple of months depending on project timelines). All I can say is my social life has never been better despite doing the degree. You meet amazing people and the city as well as surrounding areas are fun to explore - it's a beautiful place and like nowhere else in the UK.

The course requires a bit of both but they aren't expecting you to be fluent in digital stuff upon arrival. It helps to have access to software like Photoshop and InDesign but it's not essential. A lot of it is independent learning and you will probably find yourself watching a lot of YouTube tutorials despite being enrolled in a degree - but that is rational, the industry is ever-changing so even those who are already qualified learn on the job. Hand drawing is essential for conveying ideas and getting stuff down, so it doesn't hurt to practice that before arriving, but you will be seriously surprised how quickly you improve once you're here!

Most Bath students find a placement. They don't hold your hand through that process unfortunately, but the school has a good reputation. I don't know much about the placement since I'm not there yet, so all you can do at this stage is think about where you want to do said placement - Bath/Bristol, your local area, London, somewhere international etc. Unfortunately, as with anything, the more personal connections you have through family and friends the easier it will be for you to find a placement. That's just how it works. So keep any architects in your life close!

In the first semester you have to take maths-based classes, yes. You have assessments on these modules at the end of the first semester. They're pretty relevant and enjoyable, and as long as you attend the lectures, do the pre-work and other worksheets, and engage in discussions about open questions, you'll be fine. Plus, these exams are open book. They're nothing like A Levels and especially not like GCSEs, which demand irrational memorisation.

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask for any clarification on anything!

If you do come to Bath, you'll get a Peer Mentor - a second year who will be around to help you through your early days. They'll be more than happy to guide you through similar queries. Good luck!
This was so so helpful.Thank you so much for taking out time and answering!!
I just had one last question if you don’t mind- I didn’t take art at gcse or A levels so how am I supposed to demonstrate my skills? I’m not allowed to submit a portfolio. I emailed the admissions office and they said it should be thorough extra curricular art/design work, classes or projects. So does that mean just mentioning a bunch of stuff In my personal statement?
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sunanon
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Virona)
This was so so helpful.Thank you so much for taking out time and answering!!
I just had one last question if you don’t mind- I didn’t take art at gcse or A levels so how am I supposed to demonstrate my skills? I’m not allowed to submit a portfolio. I emailed the admissions office and they said it should be thorough extra curricular art/design work, classes or projects. So does that mean just mentioning a bunch of stuff In my personal statement?
Glad I could help!
You're right, Bath is unique in that they don't review the portfolios of Architecture applicants. This is a controversial choice, and their reasoning for it is a mix of the course being more technical than arts-based and the volume of applications they receive, even though those factors also apply to other schools. Personally, I think they should review portfolios considering that a huge part of the course is representations and illustration of architecture (albeit with a technical focus), but it's up to them. I would use the limited space you have in your personal statement to focus on architecture and why you love it. Demonstrate specific passions, demonstrate any experience or specialist knowledge in the field, demonstrate anything that shows you have skills they're looking for from candidates. Since the PS is so unique to each candidate, it's worth asking teachers who know you personally for advice, and try to find some examples online. Since Cambridge was initially my top choice, I wrote my PS with them in mind (they prefer statements revolving around literature and talks you have read/watched to explore the subject further) so it might be worth looking at tips for Oxbridge personal statements. I think that above all, Bath prioritises grades when reviewing candidates (from personal experience). They do prefer candidates who have done an A Level in art (just something to keep in mind) but not everyone on the course has. Practice drawing before arriving as it will help you massively, but as I mentioned previously, you will improve those skills exponentially just by being here and drawing on the regular, as well as being surrounded by some very talented students whose work you will inevitably mirror components and styles of.
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archistu
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#13
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#13
(Original post by sunanon)
Glad I could help!
You're right, Bath is unique in that they don't review the portfolios of Architecture applicants. This is a controversial choice, and their reasoning for it is a mix of the course being more technical than arts-based and the volume of applications they receive, even though those factors also apply to other schools. Personally, I think they should review portfolios considering that a huge part of the course is representations and illustration of architecture (albeit with a technical focus), but it's up to them. I would use the limited space you have in your personal statement to focus on architecture and why you love it. Demonstrate specific passions, demonstrate any experience or specialist knowledge in the field, demonstrate anything that shows you have skills they're looking for from candidates. Since the PS is so unique to each candidate, it's worth asking teachers who know you personally for advice, and try to find some examples online. Since Cambridge was initially my top choice, I wrote my PS with them in mind (they prefer statements revolving around literature and talks you have read/watched to explore the subject further) so it might be worth looking at tips for Oxbridge personal statements. I think that above all, Bath prioritises grades when reviewing candidates (from personal experience). They do prefer candidates who have done an A Level in art (just something to keep in mind) but not everyone on the course has. Practice drawing before arriving as it will help you massively, but as I mentioned previously, you will improve those skills exponentially just by being here and drawing on the regular, as well as being surrounded by some very talented students whose work you will inevitably mirror components and styles of.
Hi there - I am currently deciding on which uni to finalise for architecture: Bath or Cardiff. Do you have any comments onto which I should choose? As my parents are leaning more towards Bath due to its ranking and name.

Regarding bath, there's a popular impression that it's very math focused and doesn't include as much of the creative side (which is what I prefer, although I can still do math) - do you think this is true?

Thank you so much!
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sunanon
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#14
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#14
(Original post by archistu)
Hi there - I am currently deciding on which uni to finalise for architecture: Bath or Cardiff. Do you have any comments onto which I should choose? As my parents are leaning more towards Bath due to its ranking and name.

Regarding bath, there's a popular impression that it's very math focused and doesn't include as much of the creative side (which is what I prefer, although I can still do math) - do you think this is true?

Thank you so much!
I highly advise checking out my AMA thread on being an architecture student at Bath (which you can find here)!

I wouldn't pick a university based on its reputation. That being said, graduate prospects are often better at architecture schools with a good reputation - Bath included. There isn't much math involved past the first semester of first year (where you are required to take two math units and corresponding exams for these at the end of the semester) but the course itself, from what I've gauged so far, does have a more technical focus than the average UK architecture degree. It's a BSc after all. More info in the thread I linked above, hope it helps!
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