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Your application

To apply for a place on our BSc (Hons) Architecture course you will need to submit a UCAS application and your portfolio. A high-quality portfolio may have an impact on the likelihood of acceptance onto the programme.

Your portfolio

Your portfolio should demonstrate creative thinking as well as technical ability. There is no expectation of any prior digital drawing skills.

Freehand skills are valued in architecture, therefore sketchbooks showing creative thinking and ideas are particularly relevant. If you have drawings or other graphic representations which have been developed using any type of software, these should be included.

The portfolio may comprise materials from an art or design-related A level, or other relevant work. Please include photographs of any large-scale work which cannot otherwise be readily included in the portfolio.

Portfolios for interview

Think about what your portfolio communicates to the interviewer. It should demonstrate your flair for creative thinking in the medium you have chosen, as well as your 3D understanding and technical ability. It should contain a mixture of 2D and 3D pieces.

During your interview, we will talk through your portfolio, discussing your approaches to drawing and design. We are interested in how you develop your ideas in addition to the final outcome. 

What to include in an interview portfolio

Your portfolio should reflect the breadth of different media which you have experimented and worked with. It should also reflect the depth of your skill in specific forms of representation. 

Include work done in your own time as well as work done in creative courses. 

We look for a range of different creative skills at an architecture degree interview, which may include: 

  • sketchbooks/process work
  • photos of work in progress
  • creative writing
  • precedent studies or case studies
  • concept sketches
  • hand-drawn sketches of places, spaces or buildings
  • life drawing
  • photographic studies
  • collage or mixed media works
  • paintings
  • abstract art works
  • analytical drawings/mapping drawings
  • orthographic drawings (such as plans, sections and evaluations)
  • measured drawings
  • computer-aided design (CAD)
  • images made in Photoshop or other software
  • graphic design
  • product design
  • website design
  • original small-scale 3D work: sculpture, installations, models
  • photographs of physical models.

This list is not exhaustive and if you have work that shows your creative skills which are not listed, we encourage you to bring this along.

Submitting portfolios

Once we have reviewed your application, you may be invited to submit a digital portfolio.

  •  This should be saved and sent as a single PDF, with a file name that includes your name and Reading ID number
  • Images should have a clear title and date, and you should include confirmation that your work is original
  • If you have already prepared a physical portfolio, we would recommend scanning or photographing individual pages or objects and compiling them into a single PDF document between 8-15 pages in length. Following this PDF submission, if you have booked an ‘on campus’ interview you may bring the original works should you wish to do so
  • Your portfolio should present your information clearly, so carefully curate the content, including headings and annotation where necessary. During the group interview you should aim to talk for approximately 10 minutes about your work, so please rehearse and select pieces to discuss that best highlight your ability.

Details of how to submit your portfolio will be sent by the Admissions team.

Sketching and sketchbooks

Although sketching can be used at all stages of the architectural process, it is most commonly employed at the initial conceptual stages. Sketching is about communicating ideas. 

Your sketchbook should display a collection of your ideas and design narratives, including a combination of visual notes developed through observation and theoretical ideas. 

Conceptual sketches

As the name implies, these sketches are created the moment an idea is conceived. They can simply be a doodle that starts the design process.

Analytical sketches

These sketches are used for examining ideas in detail and are normally part of a series of steps. These can depict anything from small spaces to entire cities.

Observational sketches

Architects develop their knowledge of form and structure through observational sketches. Explore the design of individual components and how they are used in conjunction with one another.

International students

For international students (or UK/EU students based overseas), you may be required to submit a digital portfolio containing evidence of original work.

This should be saved and sent as a PDF, with a file name which includes your name and UCAS reference number.

Images should have a clear title and date, and you should include confirmation that your work is original.

Details of how to submit your portfolio will be sent by the Admissions team.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement should explain any experience or skills you have which relate to the study of architecture, as well as your motivation to undertake the programme. 

In addition, you should describe any experiences/extra-curricular activities which have influenced your decision to study architecture.