The Student Room Group

Sheffield or Bath for Architecture?

so i have offers from both Bath and Sheffield for their architecture courses and have been debating which one I should put as my firm choice for university

for me the pros and cons of both places are:

- have seen the place, facilities and accommodation itself as i attended their summer school for architecture and really enjoyed it
- 3rd ranking for architecture
- course covers personal interests of mine and seems varied in its content

- teaching quality, student satisfaction and graduate prospects not as good as baths

- offers a placement year (does anyone know if this placement year counts as that year minimum of work experience you have to complete before doing your part 2? is it worth firming bath for the sake of this placement?)
- ranked 2nd for architecture and generally seems like a better quality course over Sheffield

- accommodation and general cost of living is much more expensive than Sheffield and the quality of accoms between the two doesn’t seem that much different
- course seems to place a particular emphasis on engineering?? - not necessarily a con as I understand the course is trying to prepare its students for situations in real-life work and I do like the maths/physics side of architecture, but I’m worried of there being an imbalance and a lack of creative freedom in the assignments they set
- generally seems like there’s less for students to do compared to Sheffield

now, I haven’t been to Bath yet (I’m attending an offer day for architecture in May) so I’m taking the information (esp the cons) with a grain of salt bc my opinion could change later on. but if there’s any current students at bath who could comment about general student life in bath, the socialising-work balance there and if possible, their experiences of its architecture course that would be greatly appreciated, thank you!!
Reply 1
From RIBA PEDR student guide:
"I do a work placement as part of my
course; can I also count this towards my
24 months’ practical experience?
It will depend where you are studying. RIBA/ARB policy does not permit you to ‘double count’ that is to use time spent in practice which contributes to the achievement of academic credits at Part 1 and/or Part 2, to also satisfy part of the practical experience requirement. If your placement does not contribute to the achievement of academic credits at Part 1 and/or Part 2, then it is likely that you would be able to include it."

so basically the issue is that Bath's placement might not be accepted by RIBA as counting towards PEDRs for part 3 - BUT for part 2 course entry it might be OK, id recommend you email the uni and ask

for a sample of bath uni assignments heres their degree work from 2022 if you haven't already seen

PS rankings really don't mean anything for architecture especially near the top, sheff and bath are both really well regarded unis - I wouldn't let the 2nd/3rd place thing even remotely factor into your decision if I were you. pick the course/city that's right for you
Original post by dont.rainonme
so i have offers from both Bath and Sheffield for their architecture courses and have been debating which one I should put as my firm choice for university...

@EJLM is a first year at Bath who might be able to answer some of your questions, and the following thread is worth a read:
Hi there,

Deciding on a university can be difficult - it's good that you already have some pros and cons to consider. I can provide some background on Bath to help with your decision.

Firstly to answer your direct questions - yes the placement year counts as one year of experience. Even though it is sandwiched in, it is not a necessity to receive the degree therefore it is simply a year of work. Bath has great connections to companies for this and good support for applications such as CV advice, mock interviews etc. The placement year is a really good way to gain on the job experience and boost your future career so if you have the option i strongly recommend getting experience where you can.

To address the financial side, bath does have a reputation for being more expensive. However, there are affordable options around bath for student housing and you don't necessarily have to live on campus for first year (although I recommend - I personally lived in the cheaper accoms and found them to be absolutely fine and even met my best friends through here).
Furthermore, there are lots of financial aids offered at bath and student services dedicated to assisting in this - If you ever were worried you can reach out at any time and see what bursaries, scholarships and loans are available for you.

In terms of what to do, I feel bath has more than is advertised. there are lots of food spots to visit, beautiful sights and fun activities such as escape room, axe throwing, bowling, trampolining etc. In addition, Bristol is only ten minutes on the train for a more packed city for anything you wanted to do. Bath has a few nice clubs for nightlife and even an on campus club nights however the buses from Bristol run until 4am if you wanted a bigger night out too.

In addition bath has over 300 societies to join from dance, arts etc to cultural and national societies too. there are lots of sports to try out either just for fun or to join competitive teams. Our facilities include Olympic swimming pools, football and tennis pitches, running track, basketball courts so even more.

Good luck with your decision,

Sophie (uni of Bath)

Reply 4
I wrote a massive reply but the page crashes. Agreed with Sophie about life in Bath but pay attention to housing because the majority of student houses available ARE crap. Freezing cold, inefficient boiler and poor insulation are quite common. One of my previously landlords only finally changed the boiler a year after I left even though it was rated E on at least 2 aspects when I was there. Sheffield's fancy accommodation is so cheap in comparison to the things you can get in Bath. Bath however is super walkable, and is a beautiful city.

Uni wise, I have a complicated relationship with Bath because I was a terrible student who wasn't able to push myself to improve and perpetually falls asleep in lectures while sitting in first row. (I fear my notoriety will prevent me from ever applying to any architectural jobs in Bath and I change to an adjacent field anyway so nvm) However, I do think that Bath is not a university for students who need a lot of guidance and there are more stuffs that you end up having to teach yourself that makes you side-eye especially if it's international student's tuition fee pricing.

Bath's technical aspect is tough only in the first 2 years and often over-exaggerated because if it sounds reasonable enough, the ones who grade your studio projects won't care if it's a bit off. It's just a lot of architectural schools don't teach technical drawings at all that makes Bath look miles better. Even then, I once asked my tutor how I can specifically learn to draw details correctly and he just said, you'll learn once you go to work. In terms of program learning, I have a friend who worked in complete analogue and still does fine. She applied to a pretty posh firm and even they were shocked at the quality of her 2:1 portfolio. Bath really makes you feel smaller than you actually are honestly.

Workload in Bath is A Lot. Students from other uni coming in to do Masters at Bath for example struggled a lot while it's a regular Tuesday for Bath students. But it's not impossible to have work life balance. The best students in my year were doing just fine but it takes discipline, strong personality and strong belief in your design so that you don't get pushed around by tutors who don't remember what they said last week and end up changing your plan for the 7th time. (Do believe what Head of Year tells you to change though because they do most of the grading).

Creative aspect wise, it will never be as conceptual as other universities are but it seems that they are improving. As I said, the stronger your conviction is, the easier you can push the boundary of being creative and staying grounded. You can look at previous yearbooks and compare the style of the 2.

The tutors in Bath are a mixed bag but the real horror are visiting tutors who sometimes treat students like punching bags, the teaching fellows and regular going ones are fine though. My former employer is actually a tutor for 6th year and he is very nice and super helpful. A tutor can be great or not great depending on the students basically and you have a chance to choose your own tutor in the final year still. I didn't get mine so I was paired with someone who I have never studied under.

Overall, the most important thing that makes or breaks your experience is how much you believe in your own passion for architecture. If architecture is not your end all be all, Bath might not be worth the stress and money but that can be said for the whole profession.

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