Studying Architecture Abroad: Countries, Costs, Universities and Colleges

What is Architecture?

Since ancient times, the profession of an architect has been in demand, respected and prestigious. An architect combines both creativity and technical knowledge, creating the appearance of buildings, cities and other spaces. On the shoulders of specialists in the field of architecture lie not only design decisions, but also the technical side - drawing up drawings, creating layouts, calculations, drawing up estimates. 

Required Qualities

Despite the fact that in the profession of an architect there is room for flight of fancy, it is important for an architect to understand the features of construction. In addition, the architect will need to develop spatial thinking, an understanding of mathematics and descriptive geometry, as well as a desire to master modeling programs.

In addition, it is important for a future architect to have good eyesight, since the profession involves creating drawings, visualizations and intensive computer work.

Advantages of Studying Architecture Abroad 

  • Up-to-date knowledge and prestigious diploma

A diploma from a European or American university will help a graduate find a well-paid job and be a competitive specialist in the global labor market. 

  • Variety of scholarships and grants

Thanks to the abundance of scholarships that architectural students can count on, studying at a foreign university is practically free. Students can apply for both local university scholarships and grants, and apply to large international foundations that offer funding to talented students.

  • Internship and student exchange opportunities

The curricula of bachelor's and master's programs in architecture usually include exchange studies at other universities and internships in international architectural companies, in which future graduates can gain practical skills and complete a final research project. Thanks to internships, students begin their career path while still studying at university, and have more advantages in finding a job after graduation.

  • Language practice

If you are a non-native speaker trying to improve your language proficiency, immersion in the language environment is recommended. Research suggests that cutting off your native language and immersing yourself in the language you want to learn can be beneficial.

Architecture Specializations

In architecture, in recent years, areas related to the concept of sustainable development, that is, the harmonious coexistence of the urban environment and nature, have gained particular popularity.

Popular specializations in Architecture: 

The program aims to create and develop open spaces, attractions and landscapes. In addition, a landscape architect can design parks, recreational areas, playgrounds and other facilities. 

An engineering discipline that focuses on the structural, technological and mechanical aspects of building construction, as well as the design of utility systems - fire alarms, electrical, heating, etc.

A creative direction in which the emphasis is on visualizing the appearance of buildings, spatial modeling and integration into the existing urban terrain, as well as designing the appearance of the urban environment. 

Sustainable Architecture aims to minimize the negative impact of building construction on the environment through the moderate use of energy and materials, as well as the preservation of natural landscapes and the harmonious integration of settlements into the environment. 

A direction close to architectural engineering. Focuses on the technological aspects of building construction, structural design, and research into the most suitable building materials.

An applied field focused on the use of information technologies for data analysis in the context of urban studies and the urban environment. A discipline at the intersection of computer science, architecture and urban planning. 

The direction is engaged in the development and visualization of the interior interiors of buildings, in other words, interior design taking into account architectural features. 

The direction focuses on ensuring the profitability of work on an architectural project and achieving a balance between design quality and profitability. Project management is carried out at all stages from concept development and drawings to the construction process.

Bachelor's Degree in Architecture Abroad

The strategy for entering a bachelor's degree in architecture will depend on the country where the applicant wants to enroll. 

  • Language certificate confirming your language proficiency level; 
  • Filled-in online enrollment application on a university or college website;
  • Copies of educational documents (diplomas, certificates);
  • Motivation letter (usually in English), in which you need to explain why you want to study at this university or college and why you’ve chosen this major.
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors (usually two or three letters are required).

Master's Degree in Architecture Abroad

A Master's degree in architecture abroad is an excellent chance to strengthen your resume, gain learning experience in an international environment, get an internship, live in the country of your dreams and easily find a well-paid job. 

When choosing a master's program, an applicant can study the specialization in depth. Curricula at universities in Europe and America are varied and allow you to focus on disciplines of interest, independently adjust your schedule and add elective subjects. One of the key advantages of a master's degree in architecture at universities in Europe and America is a practice-oriented approach to learning, an abundance of research projects and independent work.

Studying abroad is possible both for undergraduate graduates of architectural faculties and for students who have already completed a master's degree in architecture in their home country. You can enroll either immediately after university or after several years of working in your profession. In some cases, adult candidates with work experience receive an advantage in admission. 

  • Diploma of higher specialized education
  • Transcript with grades
  • 2 letters of recommendation from the place of study. Recommendations from a supervisor, head of practice, teachers, etc. are suitable
  • Motivation letter 
  • Portfolio with completed projects, demonstrating the applicant’s skills and his development as a specialist 
  • Resume with the main stages of the educational and professional path 
  • Certificate confirming the level of proficiency in the language of instruction. If training is conducted in English, IELTS or TOEFL are usually required

The World’s Best Architecture Universities 

The following is a table that contains a detailed description of the best educational institutions in different countries that offer architecture programs, according QS Ranking

Massachusetts University of Technology (MIT), USA

The university is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. According to the QS World University Ranking, MIT is the most prestigious institution offering architecture programs. Education at the Faculty of Architecture is conducted in five areas, including Architecture + Urbanism, Building Technology, Computation, and History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art.

Delft University of Technology, UK

On the second line of the list of the most prestigious universities in the field of architecture is the oldest technical university in the Netherlands, Delft University. Architecture at this university can be studied at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. The Faculty offers programs for all levels - bachelor's, master's and postgraduate degrees, however, obtaining a bachelor's degree is only possible when studying in Dutch. Education architecture in master's degree is possible in five areas - Architecture, Building Technology, Landscape Architecture, Management in the Built Environment, Urbanism.

University College London (UCL), UK

The third place in the ranking of the best universities with architecture programs is taken by UCL, located in London. Training takes place at The Bartlett School of Architecture. The university offers a wide range of architecture programs including, but not limited to, the professional qualifications required to work as an architect in the UK. The Bartlett School offers both undergraduate, graduate and graduate programs. In addition, short-term certified courses in architecture are available at UCL.

ETH Zurich, Switzerland

ETH, located in Switzerland, is among the top five universities in the world for architecture programs. The Department of Architecture at D-ARCH offers undergraduate and graduate programs. The Bachelor in Architecture program lasts 3 years and includes a 6-month internship, but most subjects are taught in German. D-ARCH master's programs include 3 areas - Architecture, Integrated Building Systems and Landscape Architecture. In addition, ETC Zurich offers research programs for doctoral students.

Harvard University, USA

The famous Harvard University closes the top five, where you can study architecture at The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). There are 2 options for master's programs based on GSD, one of which is designed for students who have completed a bachelor's degree, and the second for graduates of a 5-year university course in architecture, equivalent to a specialty.


Career for Architects Abroad

After receiving a bachelor's or master's degree, architects can pursue careers in various countries. Canada and the UK are popular choices due to comfortable living conditions and ample job opportunities.

Career of an Architect in Canada

In Canada, graduates can easily find architecture-related jobs, with about 3,491 open vacancies in 2023, offering a salary of $80,000 per year. Toronto, in particular, is known for its favorable location, moderate cost of living, and low crime rate. The country is also projected to face a labor shortage for architects over the next decade.

Career of an Architect in the UK

Another attractive country for architects is Great Britain. In the UK, graduates can join the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) after completing their studies, which provides advantages in job hunting. London, with approximately 3,073 open vacancies for architecture professionals, offers an average annual salary of £35,000. The city also boasts a high standard of living and low crime rates.  

Scholarships for Studying to Become an Architect Abroad

Many universities encourage talented students and issue scholarships that fully or partially cover tuition and living expenses. In addition, there are government programs to support promising students, educational grants and scholarships from charities and private organizations. Financial assistance is given to students for academic success, an active social position, participation in volunteer activities, an interesting and potentially useful research project, and much more. 

In addition, in a number of countries, for example, in Italy, there are scholarships for students whose financial situation does not allow them to study on a paid basis. Finally, many universities reward students for academic achievement and may offer a discount on tuition. Applicants applying to study architecture programs abroad can apply for several scholarships at once - for example, university and state, thanks to which study abroad can be obtained almost free of charge. 

  1. DAAD. One of the most generous scholarships in Germany, which can be applied for by applicants applying for master's programs in architecture, landscape design, sustainable development and other areas. 
  2. Scholarship for Sustainable Design and Research. Canadian scholarship awarded to master's students studying green construction. 
  3. Scholarship for Undergraduates of Bradford University. Undergraduate scholarship offered by the University of Bradford, UK. Supports talented students studying Architectural Engineering and Technology. 
  4. MEXT. One of the largest scholarships in Japan, which can be applied for by both undergraduate and graduate students. Financial support is provided to students of technical colleges, so future architects can apply for it. 
  5. ACI Foundation Scholarship. An international scholarship for students of architecture, which can be applied for by both bachelors and masters. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Studying Architecture Abroad

Universities in America and Europe offer programs for both bachelors and masters. In addition, if you have already completed a master's degree in your country, you can continue your studies in a PhD program or complete another master's program by changing your specialization.

Academic success and a high GPA are certainly important and will help with admission to both undergraduate and graduate programs. However, the admissions committee evaluates not only academic performance, but the student’s entire profile. Outside academic achievements, participation in volunteer activities, letters of recommendation and, of course, a motivation letter explaining the student’s desire to become an architect are taken into account. 

Yes, as a rule, a creative portfolio is required when applying to an architecture program, be it a bachelor's or master's degree. At the same time, a portfolio for admission to a master's program will be of a more highly specialized nature, while for undergraduate studies it is often enough to submit drawings and drawings. Please check the detailed portfolio requirements on the website of the selected university or by talking to an EduMapple consultant for higher education abroad. 

English proficiency requirements vary from university to university. Often, the higher the ranking of the institution, the higher the language requirements. In most universities, the overall IELTS score starts from 6.5. 

Often, the idea that education abroad is too expensive is a stereotype. A number of countries offer generous scholarships to international students, allowing them to study architecture virtually free of charge. In addition, some universities offer completely free education in the language of the country of study. 

Yes, of course, you can either choose an architecture program with a specialization of interest, such as environmental design or sustainable development, or continue your education as a doctoral student in a PhD program. 

Germany is considered one of the most affordable countries for receiving education in the field of architecture, urban planning and design abroad. Tuition fees at public universities in Germany start from $300 per semester, and the country also offers many scholarships that cover education and living expenses for international students.

Anna Pukshanskaia