benchan
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Hi, idk if this has been asked already but I've looked everywhere and can't really seem to find an answer.

I love studying chemistry, however, I also really like art so I've applied for architecture this year as it's a good mix of both arts and sciences.

I'm wondering if I would still have the option to convert to a chemistry/more general science degree after completing a BSc in Architecture?

Sorry for the longwinded question :/
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artful_lounger
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Not without doing another undergraduate degree after your architecture course. You can get funding from SFE for a second undergraduate degree if it's a part-time STEM degree however, but bear in mind that part-time STEM courses aren't as common as one might hope.

There is literally no scientific content relevant to chemistry in an architecture degree. Additionally even for very technical architecture courses like Bath's, there is relatively little "scientific" content anyway (what there is will be more akin to e.g. engineering mechanics of structures.

UCL is renowned for being one of the most conceptual/"arty" architecture courses in the UK, so you can expect to have very little content that could even be loosely construed as scientific. UCL does have an "Architecture and Interdisciplinary Studies" course where you can take some options outside of the Bartlett; I'm not sure to what extent you would be able to take these in chemistry. I would recommend you contact UCL to discuss your options.
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benchan
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Not without doing another undergraduate degree after your architecture course. You can get funding from SFE for a second undergraduate degree if it's a part-time STEM degree however, but bear in mind that part-time STEM courses aren't as common as one might hope.

There is literally no scientific content relevant to chemistry in an architecture degree. Additionally even for very technical architecture courses like Bath's, there is relatively little "scientific" content anyway (what there is will be more akin to e.g. engineering mechanics of structures.

UCL is renowned for being one of the most conceptual/"arty" architecture courses in the UK, so you can expect to have very little content that could even be loosely construed as scientific. UCL does have an "Architecture and Interdisciplinary Studies" course where you can take some options outside of the Bartlett; I'm not sure to what extent you would be able to take these in chemistry. I would recommend you contact UCL to discuss your options.
Thanks for the reply

Yeah ik there's nothing chem related in an architecture degree, but I was wondering if I could do some sort of conversion maybe as UCL's degree is still considered a BSc? Perhaps similar to how a law conversion works idk.

Also, this might be a dumb question but what's the SFE? And would a part-time STEM course/degree be regarded as weaker than a full time one?
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by benchan)
Thanks for the reply

Yeah ik there's nothing chem related in an architecture degree, but I was wondering if I could do some sort of conversion maybe as UCL's degree is still considered a BSc? Perhaps similar to how a law conversion works idk.

Also, this might be a dumb question but what's the SFE? And would a part-time STEM course/degree be regarded as weaker than a full time one?
You fundamentally are not understanding how academia works. A degree being labelled "BSc" doesn't mean anything. Every single degree at LSE except the LLB, BA Law and Anthropology, and BA Social Anthropology are BSc degrees. LSE does not have any science degrees or departments. Every single degree offered by Oxford and Cambridge are BA degrees - their STEM degrees are no less scientific than any other.

Graduate Diplomas in Law (which are being phased out anyway) exist because you don't need any subject specific knowledge to start studying law. Chemistry requires 3-4 years of undergraduate study to just cover the core minimum any chemist needs to know. There are no "conversion" degrees for chemistry because it is literally impossible to cover 3 years worth of organic, physical, and inorganic chemistry, plus innumerable lab techniques, in a 1 year masters course.

SFE is Student Finance England. A part time degree is no better or worse than a full time degree inherently, although most of the stronger chemistry departments only offer full time courses due to, among other reasons, the large amount of lab content in chemistry which makes it difficult to arrange as a part time course. I would suggest you do a lot more research into your future since you seem to have very little knowledge about what university study is or involves.
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benchan
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You fundamentally are not understanding how academia works. A degree being labelled "BSc" doesn't mean anything. Every single degree at LSE except the LLB, BA Law and Anthropology, and BA Social Anthropology are BSc degrees. LSE does not have any science degrees or departments. Every single degree offered by Oxford and Cambridge are BA degrees - their STEM degrees are no less scientific than any other.

Graduate Diplomas in Law (which are being phased out anyway) exist because you don't need any subject specific knowledge to start studying law. Chemistry requires 3-4 years of undergraduate study to just cover the core minimum any chemist needs to know. There are no "conversion" degrees for chemistry because it is literally impossible to cover 3 years worth of organic, physical, and inorganic chemistry, plus innumerable lab techniques, in a 1 year masters course.

SFE is Student Finance England. A part time degree is no better or worse than a full time degree inherently, although most of the stronger chemistry departments only offer full time courses due to, among other reasons, the large amount of lab content in chemistry which makes it difficult to arrange as a part time course. I would suggest you do a lot more research into your future since you seem to have very little knowledge about what university study is or involves.
lol ok thanks for the help?
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PQ
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Tbh if you know now that you have no interest in becoming an architect then I wouldn’t recommend starting the degree at all. It’s a very intensive degree that isn’t something you can coast through with the intention of converting to something else later.

Why not study chemistry at university now? Or take a year to study an art foundation diploma on a gap year to test out studying design/art full time before committing to a design based degree for 3 years?
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Psychetechne
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I’ll echo and expand a little on what artful_lounger and PQ have already mentioned... It is not uncommon for those interested in both the arts and the sciences to gravitate towards architecture, but the extent to which a degree in architecture is scientific or artistic in nature varies from programme to programme, and it’s actually a somewhat misleading reputation (architecture is neither an art, nor a science - debate me).

There are options, both at undergraduate and postgraduate that might interest you. Not least of all because there’s a big debate going on (and has been for some time now) about the future of architecture and the role of the architect. Increasingly you’ll find institutions discussing interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary learning and teaching; indeed, the Dean of the Bartlett mentioned to me a couple weeks ago that “this is where all the interesting stuff is happening”.

With all that said, here are two options you might like to consider (both of which it would be trivial for you to switch to, assuming your application to the Bartlett has been successful)...

UCL’s Architecture and Interdisciplinary Studies (K101/K102): think of this more of a “creative plus something” degree. The beauty of this programme (and it’s cousin, the BASc (Hons) in Arts and Sciences, also taught at UCL) is that, assuming you meet the pre- and co-requisites, you’re able to elect open modules from anywhere else within UCL. It is a very broad degree, almost completely tailor-able to your interests, designed to teach “architectural thinking” and for you to apply such thinking to your individual area of interest, but... it is emphatically not an architecture degree. And I would think most on the programme do so for the opportunity to study additional social sciences, rather than hard sciences (though nothing is stopping you from doing so).

Or...

UCL’s Engineering and Architectural Design (KH11): predominantly focused on engineering and built environment physics, the intention is for this to meet the educational criteria for Chartered Engineer status and as such opens up routes into allied engineering and science professions and postgraduate study. It’s also intended to offer ARB-accreditation, such that it’ll allow its graduates to follow either or both careers. It likely attracts those interested in facade design or the design of unusual structural elements, as well as those with an interest in pursuing UCL’s B-Pro non-accredited architecture masters.

You could conceivably make a case to study a materials science masters following either of the above programmes, but you’d need to demonstrate (not inconsiderable) self-directed study in chemistry and chemical engineering, and it would by no means be guaranteed. (There will undoubtedly be some who’ve studied chemistry or a related science at masters without having done so at undergraduate level, but these will be few and far between, and will be special cases for which it would be hard to advise how to replicate their experiences.)

There is a lot of interesting stuff going on at the intersection of biology and chemistry, and architecture and engineering at the moment; check out UCL’s own MArch/MSc in Bio-integrated Design, and also Newcastle and Northumbria’s newly launched Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment. It is predominantly being researched from a materials perspective, with the architects involved still trying to work out how to make use of the new technologies, but the fact is biochemistry/synthetic biology is becoming increasingly important in the built environment, so your interests are not unusual any more (if they ever were).

I have to agree with what has already been mentioned: if you know now that it is unlikely you’ll want to become a registered, practicing architect, then think very carefully about your next move... but I’d also like to make it clear that you can change careers. If you make a “mistake” now, there are ways of fixing it later (I speak from considerable experience in this regard).

Good luck, and if I can offer any further help, don’t hesitate to ask. I am and have been in a very similar situation.
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benchan
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Tbh if you know now that you have no interest in becoming an architect then I wouldn’t recommend starting the degree at all. It’s a very intensive degree that isn’t something you can coast through with the intention of converting to something else later.

Why not study chemistry at university now? Or take a year to study an art foundation diploma on a gap year to test out studying design/art full time before committing to a design based degree for 3 years?
Hi, thanks for the reply.

Thing is I do have an interest in becoming an architect as architecture and 3D spatial is my area of interest in the arts. I have applied for 2 art foundations this year alongside uni already, at the AA and UAL is (Camberwell) and might well apply for another nearer my home as their deadline isn't until march.

And yeah I think it might be a better idea to go into an art foundation before beginning a degree in architecture as it may give me a better idea of what it would be like to commit to a design based degree.
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benchan
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(Original post by Psychetechne)
I’ll echo and expand a little on what artful_lounger and PQ have already mentioned... It is not uncommon for those interested in both the arts and the sciences to gravitate towards architecture, but the extent to which a degree in architecture is scientific or artistic in nature varies from programme to programme, and it’s actually a somewhat misleading reputation (architecture is neither an art, nor a science - debate me).

There are options, both at undergraduate and postgraduate that might interest you. Not least of all because there’s a big debate going on (and has been for some time now) about the future of architecture and the role of the architect. Increasingly you’ll find institutions discussing interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary learning and teaching; indeed, the Dean of the Bartlett mentioned to me a couple weeks ago that “this is where all the interesting stuff is happening”.

With all that said, here are two options you might like to consider (both of which it would be trivial for you to switch to, assuming your application to the Bartlett has been successful)...

UCL’s Architecture and Interdisciplinary Studies (K101/K102): think of this more of a “creative plus something” degree. The beauty of this programme (and it’s cousin, the BASc (Hons) in Arts and Sciences, also taught at UCL) is that, assuming you meet the pre- and co-requisites, you’re able to elect open modules from anywhere else within UCL. It is a very broad degree, almost completely tailor-able to your interests, designed to teach “architectural thinking” and for you to apply such thinking to your individual area of interest, but... it is emphatically not an architecture degree. And I would think most on the programme do so for the opportunity to study additional social sciences, rather than hard sciences (though nothing is stopping you from doing so).

Or...

UCL’s Engineering and Architectural Design (KH11): predominantly focused on engineering and built environment physics, the intention is for this to meet the educational criteria for Chartered Engineer status and as such opens up routes into allied engineering and science professions and postgraduate study. It’s also intended to offer ARB-accreditation, such that it’ll allow its graduates to follow either or both careers. It likely attracts those interested in facade design or the design of unusual structural elements, as well as those with an interest in pursuing UCL’s B-Pro non-accredited architecture masters.

You could conceivably make a case to study a materials science masters following either of the above programmes, but you’d need to demonstrate (not inconsiderable) self-directed study in chemistry and chemical engineering, and it would by no means be guaranteed. (There will undoubtedly be some who’ve studied chemistry or a related science at masters without having done so at undergraduate level, but these will be few and far between, and will be special cases for which it would be hard to advise how to replicate their experiences.)

There is a lot of interesting stuff going on at the intersection of biology and chemistry, and architecture and engineering at the moment; check out UCL’s own MArch/MSc in Bio-integrated Design, and also Newcastle and Northumbria’s newly launched Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment. It is predominantly being researched from a materials perspective, with the architects involved still trying to work out how to make use of the new technologies, but the fact is biochemistry/synthetic biology is becoming increasingly important in the built environment, so your interests are not unusual any more (if they ever were).

I have to agree with what has already been mentioned: if you know now that it is unlikely you’ll want to become a registered, practicing architect, then think very carefully about your next move... but I’d also like to make it clear that you can change careers. If you make a “mistake” now, there are ways of fixing it later (I speak from considerable experience in this regard).

Good luck, and if I can offer any further help, don’t hesitate to ask. I am and have been in a very similar situation.
Thank you so much for this helpful response , I'll look into the Bio-Integrated design as it's something that sounds interesting at a glance but which I've never heard of before.

I've actually applied through UCAS to the KH11 at UCL and also Structural Engineering and Architecture course at Sheffield, as I thought, as you said, it may leave my options open enough that if I make a good case for myself I could possible switch degrees.

The only debate I'm having is, although the Bartlett is a much better (and I prefer it much more, having done a summer school course there) architecture school, the KH11 isn't actually accredited as of the writing of this post, whereas the Sheffield degree has been accredited for some years (I believe more than a decade), and is a relatively prestigious school that I may consider going to if I get an offer.

I have actually considered the Arts and Sciences course at UCL, however, after having looked more into the modules studied, I thought that it seemed a bit too vague/hand-wavey and I didn't think it would've been something I was interested in studying (as half the course is about the "interdisciplinarity of the world" etc). I also didn't apply for Architecture and Interdisciplinary Studies as at the time I felt that it was a relatively very new course and perhaps wouldn't be considered in a good regard by future employers/wouldn't be accredited by the time I graduated (from what I remember correct me if I'm wrong). Although I may have a conversation with UCL if I do make an offer about perhaps switching to this course if I do make KH11 or K100.

Thanks for all the help though , I'll have a look at Bio-Integrated design.

P.s. see above reply for my other plans lol
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Psychetechne
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Thank you so much for this helpful response , I'll look into the Bio-Integrated design as it's something that sounds interesting at a glance but which I've never heard of before.

I've actually applied through UCAS to the KH11 at UCL and also Structural Engineering and Architecture course at Sheffield, as I thought, as you said, it may leave my options open enough that if I make a good case for myself I could possible switch degrees.

The only debate I'm having is, although the Bartlett is a much better (and I prefer it much more, having done a summer school course there) architecture school, the KH11 isn't actually accredited as of the writing of this post, whereas the Sheffield degree has been accredited for some years (I believe more than a decade), and is a relatively prestigious school that I may consider going to if I get an offer.

I have actually considered the Arts and Sciences course at UCL, however, after having looked more into the modules studied, I thought that it seemed a bit too vague/hand-wavey and I didn't think it would've been something I was interested in studying (as half the course is about the "interdisciplinarity of the world" etc). I also didn't apply for Architecture and Interdisciplinary Studies as at the time I felt that it was a relatively very new course and perhaps wouldn't be considered in a good regard by future employers/wouldn't be accredited by the time I graduated (from what I remember correct me if I'm wrong). Although I may have a conversation with UCL if I do make an offer about perhaps switching to this course if I do make KH11 or K100.

Thanks for all the help though , I'll have a look at Bio-Integrated design.

P.s. see above reply for my other plans lol
I just thought I’d pick up on a few points you’ve made...

I’m very familiar with both the schools, so if I can offer any further help, please ask; although, of course, please be aware it’s always best to get your answers straight from the horses mouth wherever possible.

I would not describe the Bartlett as being “much” better, rather it’s a case of (sticking to the equine analogies) horses for courses. There are absolutely legitimate reasons why someone might choose one over the other, and both provide a very good/excellent education. With that said, of the two specific programmes you mention (KH11 and HK21), the one at UCL is most definitely the more integrated of the two, designed from the ground up for “engineering with design” (rather than “engineering and design”). I have absolutely no doubt, whatsoever, that the ARB/RIBA will award accreditation once the first cohort completes their studies, but as always, I’m just some random on the internet (what I’m getting at, is I don’t think it should factor into your considerations)... what might be a factor is the fact that both these programmes are integrated masters.

The problem with an integrated masters is you’ll not be able to get a postgraduate loan to study a masters in a different subject, so if you decide to switch things up and move into materials or other science, you’ll need to find funding from another source. (Note, however, that you would be eligible for continued undergraduate funding to cover your masters in architecture.) This is certainly something you might want to bear in mind, depending on your individual circumstances.

I agree the BASc is something of a poorly defined degree, but I will say that UCL does a great job of supporting the students on that programme, with a dedicated staff (unusual for liberal arts or sciences degrees); but, based on what you’ve said, I’d agree it’s probably not the programme for you.

Bartlett’s non-accredited architecture programme has been running for a very long time (it was previously known as the BSc (Hons) Architectural Studies) and has no intention of ever becoming accredited - indeed, its very existence is predicated on this fact. At any one time there are fewer than 50 students enrolled on the programme (across all three/four stages) and those students have all likely made the very conscious decision not to pursue a career as a traditional architect; this does not, however, mean they don’t find employment in practice, it’s just likely to be in alternative practice or community-led design (or some other area of the built environment entirely).

As for taking another year to complete an art foundation... it’s not a bad idea at all, and it would in no way prejudice your application should you later decide to apply to pure science programmes (assuming you will also have the other qualifications needed in such an event). Even taking the extra year just for yourself wouldn’t be a bad idea; don’t worry, at all, about arriving at university a year (or even many more) older.

Best of luck. Maybe I’ll see you along the journey.
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benchan
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I just thought I’d pick up on a few points you’ve made...

I’m very familiar with both the schools, so if I can offer any further help, please ask; although, of course, please be aware it’s always best to get your answers straight from the horses mouth wherever possible.

I would not describe the Bartlett as being “much” better, rather it’s a case of (sticking to the equine analogies) horses for courses. There are absolutely legitimate reasons why someone might choose one over the other, and both provide a very good/excellent education. With that said, of the two specific programmes you mention (KH11 and HK21), the one at UCL is most definitely the more integrated of the two, designed from the ground up for “engineering with design” (rather than “engineering and design”). I have absolutely no doubt, whatsoever, that the ARB/RIBA will award accreditation once the first cohort completes their studies, but as always, I’m just some random on the internet (what I’m getting at, is I don’t think it should factor into your considerations)... what might be a factor is the fact that both these programmes are integrated masters.

The problem with an integrated masters is you’ll not be able to get a postgraduate loan to study a masters in a different subject, so if you decide to switch things up and move into materials or other science, you’ll need to find funding from another source. (Note, however, that you would be eligible for continued undergraduate funding to cover your masters in architecture.) This is certainly something you might want to bear in mind, depending on your individual circumstances.

I agree the BASc is something of a poorly defined degree, but I will say that UCL does a great job of supporting the students on that programme, with a dedicated staff (unusual for liberal arts or sciences degrees); but, based on what you’ve said, I’d agree it’s probably not the programme for you.

Bartlett’s non-accredited architecture programme has been running for a very long time (it was previously known as the BSc (Hons) Architectural Studies) and has no intention of ever becoming accredited - indeed, its very existence is predicated on this fact. At any one time there are fewer than 50 students enrolled on the programme (across all three/four stages) and those students have all likely made the very conscious decision not to pursue a career as a traditional architect; this does not, however, mean they don’t find employment in practice, it’s just likely to be in alternative practice or community-led design (or some other area of the built environment entirely).

As for taking another year to complete an art foundation... it’s not a bad idea at all, and it would in no way prejudice your application should you later decide to apply to pure science programmes (assuming you will also have the other qualifications needed in such an event). Even taking the extra year just for yourself wouldn’t be a bad idea; don’t worry, at all, about arriving at university a year (or even many more) older.

Best of luck. Maybe I’ll see you along the journey.
Hi, thanks again for the helpful response.

This is probably a rather stupid question but if my understanding is correct (bear in mind I don't actually know very much but will probs ask more once I have offers), essentially student loans work in the way that one can take undergraduate and postgraduate loans only once in their lifetime for one specific subject? And how much would these loans be, are they a fixed amount/percentage or would they vary depending on person/background and course/university?

Thanks again for the wishes, maybe I'll see you along the journey as well
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Hi, thanks again for the helpful response.

This is probably a rather stupid question but if my understanding is correct (bear in mind I don't actually know very much but will probs ask more once I have offers), essentially student loans work in the way that one can take undergraduate and postgraduate loans only once in their lifetime for one specific subject? And how much would these loans be, are they a fixed amount/percentage or would they vary depending on person/background and course/university?

Thanks again for the wishes, maybe I'll see you along the journey as well
Sort of, but there are exceptions. Your total SFE loan entitlement is equal to the length of your course plus one year, minus the number of years of prior study in an HE course. So somebody who has never been to uni and starting a new 3 year degree will have 4 years of funding (3 + 1 "gift year" in case they need to resit a year or similar). SFE calculates this in reverse, so if you end up in the situation where you no longer have enough years of funding to cover the whole of the rest of the course, then that immediate year where it happens is where you will need to self fund tuition fee loans (this prevents people ending up with not enough funding to finish the course). You should be eligible for maintenance loans in all years, even if you are self funding tuition fees, unless you're doing a distance learning course (like through the OU) or are otherwise not eligible for a maintenance loan. It is also worth noting full-time and part-time loan entitlements are calculated separately, so having had part-time funding previously won't affect your eligibility for full-time funding and vice versa provided you haven't earned any qualifications as below.

You can't get funding for a course that is an equivalent or lesser qualification (ELQ) than one you already have. So if you have a degree, you normally can't get funding for a second degree, or a dipHE or similar. However there are a number of "exception courses" which are exempt from the ELQ rules. These are currently I believe allied health professions courses (e.g. nursing, radiography, etc), and part-time STEM degrees (only part-time). Second degrees in medicine are also eligible for maintenance loans only (no tuition fee loans) during the preclinical years (year 1 for GEM, years 1-3 or 4 for standard entry medicine depending if there's an intercalated year or not). The clinical years of a medicine degree are funded by the NHS separate to SFE. Architecture has a specific format matching the current Part 1/2/3 RIBA accreditation route, where the ELQ rules don't apply if you are applying to a Part 2 course within a certain number of years after finishing your Part 1 course, and I think there is some related policy for Part 3.

The ELQ rules also apply to the PG masters loans, which most notably means if you do an integrated undergraduate masters course (e.g. MChem, MPhys, MSci) you aren't eligible as I understand. However bear in mind for the masters loans you only get a single loan of up to £10k for any costs you incur, including both tuition and "maintenance" costs. There are no separate tuition fee and maintenance loans for PG currently. So generally it's better to do an undergrad masters course (MChem etc) rather than a BSc + MSc, if you can, as then you will have the full tuition fees covered and get a maintenance loan. Not all subjects have such an option though (most non-STEM courses for example).

Not really sure how the interest rates work (although I think the PG masters loans have higher interest rates), but I can tell you on the "debt" front, student loan debt isn't like other debt. It doesn't affect your credit score, and you won't have bailiffs knocking down your door for repayments (unless you specifically try to evade repaying them by e.g. moving to another country and not telling SFE). In this sense it is very much "invisible" debt - all you need to do is check on your PAYE form when you start a new job, and it largely sorts itself out (probably more complex for self-employed people that have to file tax returns). You only make repayments when you are earning over the threshold (although this is calculated on a monthly basis) and these come right out of your paycheque like NI contributions and income tax, and are proportional to how much you are earning. If you are only earning just over the threshold then it's probably like £20 a month. After you turn 65, or if you are earning under the threshold after a given number of years (not sure how many offhand) any remaining loan debt gets wiped off).
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Hi, thanks again for the helpful response.

This is probably a rather stupid question but if my understanding is correct (bear in mind I don't actually know very much but will probs ask more once I have offers), essentially student loans work in the way that one can take undergraduate and postgraduate loans only once in their lifetime for one specific subject? And how much would these loans be, are they a fixed amount/percentage or would they vary depending on person/background and course/university?

Thanks again for the wishes, maybe I'll see you along the journey as well
There’s a useful Ask Student Finance England forum here on TSR for specifics, but the basics (assuming you were born and live in England) are as follows...

For a first undergraduate degree you’ll be eligible for a student loan to cover tuition fees for the duration of your course plus one year (covering the eventuality that you either change course or are required to repeat a year); you’ll also be eligible for a maintenance loan, the value of which is partially dependent upon your parents’ or partner’s income. You can calculate a good estimate of what you’ll be eligible for here: https://www.gov.uk/student-finance-calculator

For architecture, both your Part 1 (whether a BSc, BA, BArch or MEng) and Part 2 (whether a MArch, MPhil or DipArch) are consider one, integrated programme of study, for which in most (but not all) circumstances you’ll be treated as a continuing student throughout and eligible for financial support throughout.

In some specific cases, limited funding is also available for second degrees, either full-time in the case of a very few degrees (of which architecture is one), or part-time for a much wider set of degrees (predominantly science, engineering and mathematics).

Details specific to funding architecture studies are available here: https://www.architecture.com/educati...ctural-studies

Postgraduate funding predominantly takes the form of a single, non-income assessed loan, the amount of which rarely covers both course fees and living expenses. You only get one of these, whether you study full- or part-time; and you’re not eligible if you already have a masters-equivalent qualification, perhaps gained as part of an integrated undergraduate masters. Details for this are available here: https://www.gov.uk/masters-loan

Student finance is notoriously finicky, so you’ll need to contact SFE yourself to establish exactly what you’re eligible for, but hopefully this information helps somewhat.

Edit: ninja’d by artful_lounger
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