University of Nottingham Ningbo China
Department of
Architecture and Built Environment
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BEng (Hons) Architecture


 The design of the built environment impacts on the quality of life and behaviour of people, the culture of place, as well as on economic, social and environmental development.  The architecture programme at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) provides an open and holistic education in architecture aiming to form the next generation of architects and design thinkers to create better and inspiring built environments. The programme is designed to encourage creativity and innovation, while responding to the professional requirements of architectural education. The curriculum and the teaching environment allow students to develop independent and critical thinking. A unique and exciting programme enables students to develop an in-depth understanding of the contemporary architectural debate through design studios and interlinked subjects such as architectural humanities, environmental science, structure and construction, which are taught as theoretical modules closely correlated to studio projects.

Students are encouraged to experiment and explore various design processes and approaches, so as to develop creative solutions for challenging spatial problems via a variety of hands-on projects, exercises and workshops. The studio facilities in the Department allow students to work in an open collaborative environment that encourages learning from their peers. Facilities are also provided for students to work in digital or analog media for developing their design ideas and present them in an engaging and professional way.

The degree is offered as a three or four year programme depending on your entry qualification. It has received unconditional validation for Part 1 from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Education Committee.

Uniqueness of the programme               

The programme is aimed to equip our students with:

  • Creative problem-solving ability in the design of the built environment, founded on awareness, knowledge and understanding of the contemporary local and global architectural discourse;
  • An understanding, knowledge and ability to design and practice architecture within the local context of China, as well as at an international level;
  • Appreciation of the aesthetic values of means of individual expression, and capacity of communication through an imaginative use of appropriate media;
  • Understanding of the principles of sustainable environmental design, and knowledge of the materials, methods, and techniques relevant to the design and construction of buildings and urban spaces;
  • Capacity to articulate critical thinking and propose original reflections on themes of relevance to the theories and practices of architectural design;
  • Understanding of the national and international framework of professional design practice and knowledge of the contextual regulations of the construction industry;
  • Independent approach to learning, promoting appropriate research methods of design investigation and fostering lifelong education.

Structure of the programme:

  • The design studios and theoretical modules are designed to foster the development of integrated design thinking. This is achieved through integration of taught subjects and their coursework with design studio projects, where specialist technical and theoretical expertise is explored and applied.

Teaching and learning:

  • The programme is supported by an experienced international team of architects and lecturers that bring a rich variety of expertise to the curriculum.
  • High quality workshop, digital tools, and other learning resources are available in the University are available for our students to achieve higher levels.


The programme is designed as a typical UK three year, Part 1-equivalent, programme in architecture. The curriculum is structured in six qualifying semesters that follow a preliminary year (Year 1). Each academic year, or session of study, comprises 120 credits of module-related activity. Each module has a credit value, with 10 credits requiring approximately 100 hours of student engagement. This includes taught and contact time, assessment work, and student-centred learning. Modules vary in size from 10 to 70 credits.

In the first qualifying year (Year 2), students undertake several short design projects, proceeding by stages to the design of a building of small size. In the following year (Year 3), students learn how to approach the design of built environments within the wider context of human settlements and environmental concerns. In the final year (Year 4), when deeper competence is acquired and practiced, students have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and inspiration through more complex design projects, at different scales of development.

On graduation, the students are awarded a degree certificate from The University of Nottingham. In addition, graduates also receive a Chinese version of the certificate that allows them to register their degree with the Ministry of Education in China as a foreign award, and apply for further education in China.

After graduation

The curriculum is designed on international standards founded on the well-established UK pedagogic tradition of architectural education. On completion of the Part 1 programme at UNNC, students are offered a broad range of opportunities in professional practice or in further education both in China and internationally.

Graduates from this programme can enroll in postgraduate architecture courses, such as masters and PhDs, at The University of Nottingham, UK, at other UK Universities as well as in universities in China, Asia, Europe and the US. The Department will provide support to graduates for admission to further degree programmes.

Graduates from this programme will be able to join architectural practices as Part 1-equivalent graduates in most parts of the world. This will allow graduates to gain professional experience and further develop skills that is required them to join programmes of further education or develop a career in architectural practice.  The Department provide support for our graduates for placements and internship during and after graduation.  

Modules in detail

+ Year 1

  • Listening and Speaking in Academic Contexts
  • Architectural Drawing and Graphics
  • Academic Oral Presentations
  • Principles of Design
  • English in Specific Academic Contexts: Science & Engineering
  • Sustainability, Engineering Communication and IT Skills

+ Year 2

  • Architectural Design Studio 1A
  • Architectural Design Studio 1B
  • Environmental Science for Architects 1 
  • People Buildings Landscape 
  • Architectural Humanities 1: History of Architectural meaning from Antiquity to the Present Day 
  • Integrated Design in Architecture 1
  • Tectonics 1

+ Year 3

  • Architectural Design Studio 2A
  • Integrated Design in Architecture 2
  • Tectonics 2B
  • Tectonics 2A
  • Architectural Humanities II
  • Environmental Science for Architects 2
  • Architectural Design Studio 2B

+ Year 4

  • Architectural Humanities III: Critical Theory and Interpretation
  • Practice and Management
  • Architectural Design Studio 3
  • Urban Design Theory(elective)
  • Integrated Design in Architecture 3
  • Building Information Modelling & Management(elective)

Studio and learning environment

The structure of the programme is centred on the design studio, which is supported by a number of theoretical and technical subjects. Design studios at each level are organised to allow students to develop creative, intellectual and technical understanding and skills to solve spatial challenges. The programme employs a variety of teaching and learning techniques to foster originally and creativity. These methods include lectures from staff and guest lecturers, creative workshops, seminars, group and individual work, learning by doing and learning from places. Due to the international background of the lecturers and the cohort of students, studios expose students to various socio-economic and cultural contexts to facilitate the development of design skills and thinking for a globalising world. Conceptual thinking is encouraged at the very early stages of the programme to form a firm foundation for later years.  

Entry requirements

The Architecture programme is structured on a consistent progression of educational experiences and design challenges. In the preliminary year (Year 0), the programme concentrates on developing English proficiency to a high level and on practicing and enhancing the graphic and drawing skills required for an education and a career in architecture. International students who can demonstrate a high level of competence in academic English, and have the necessary study prerequisites, can enter directly to the Year 2 of the programme.

How to apply

See study with us for more information on studying at The University of Nottingham in Ningbo China

Students work

Careers and further study

Of the 16undergraduates who graduated from the department in 2018 and continued onto postgraduate studies, 43.8% were admitted by world top 50% universities according to the 2019 QS World University Rankings. The majority of our graduates continue to apply their skills to design occupant-focused, energy-efficient buildings in their careers.

2019 QS World University RankingsUniversity                                                    Number
 10 University College London   2
 16 Columbia University  1
 29 University of Manchester  1
 42 University of Sydeny  1
 43 New York University  1
 45 University of New South Wales  1
  Total  7

Module Catalogue

Programme Specifications