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BSc in Architecture

HoP - Prof. Bassam  AbuHijleh

BSc in Architecture


Why study a BSc in Architecture at The British University in Dubai?

The BSc in Architecture degree at BUiD is designed to provide teaching which leads to critical and independent learners. The undergraduate course emphasises the specificity of space and place expressed in integration and acknowledgment of its context. The programme’s modules explore sustainability in architecture, green buildings, energy efficiency, building codes & regulations, building indoor environment, and they depict the cultural and ecological conditions that shape the built environment. Students are encouraged to find their own responsible roles within the architecture profession. The course considers the role of sustainable materials and state of the art technology as integral parts of architectural concepts with emphasis on the importance of occupant experience.


Programme structure

The student will have knowledge and understanding of fundamental working principles, design strategies, integration of structural systems and major building services, and the impact of design on users’ thermal, visual, acoustic, and health comfort and wellbeing. They will learn what issues and relationships, including technologies and strategies, are involved in the development of a sustainable design approach. They will be able to investigate, conceptualise and develop the design in three-dimensional form and to apply the creative application of architectural theories, inclusive and holistic design, technical requirements, historical & cultural contexts, and sustainability in design studio projects.

Students will be equipped with the skills needed in their employment such as creativity, design presentation skills, problem-solving, and relevant technical and communication skills.

The programme is delivered over four years. Each year is divided into three terms. In each term, students take four modules of 10 credits. Students start with a semi-common first-year before taking programme-specific courses in years 2-4.  During years 2, 3 and 4, students will take design studio classes that span over the whole year, with term 3 fully dedicated to their design studio.  This allows the students to implement what they have learned during the year into their design project.

The architectural design is taught in an educational model of studio culture with open-ended creative solutions to architectural problems. Some modules will teach special topics with an emphasis on sustainability, indoor environment, building construction and structure. Students explore their creative design through the use of scale models using 3D printing technologies. The programme is designed to equip the students with skills in using state of the art computer technologies such as virtual and augmented reality.


Career prospects

Since our programme is accredited by the Ministry of Education, our graduates are eligible to register with the UAE Society of Engineers which allows them to work in a variety of organisations including public and private institutions. Examples include (but are not limited to) architectural design firms, contracting companies, project management companies, regulatory agencies, or  their own private practice. 

Related linkFees and Payments





Minimum Score Required

UAE Curriculum & ADEC

General Track (Business & Computer Science Programmes)


Advanced Track (Business & Computer Science Programmes) 60%

UAE Curriculum and ADEC

General Track ( Architecture and Engineering Programmes)


Candidates from the General track must also have a score of 90% or above in Math and Science. Also they  must pass a preparatory Module in physics.

Advanced Track ( Architecture and Engineering  Programmes)

For ADEC Track advanced Mathematics (Level III) and advanced Physics (Level III) are required


GCC Curriculum

General Secondary School Certificate


Indian Curriculum

Indian School Certificate awarded by ICSE or CBSE



At least 7 GCE/GCSE/IGCSE subjects
A combination of GCSE (O level) and AS/A levels is acceptable provided that the subjects cover at least four of the following fields:




Humanities and Social Sciences

Arts and Design

Students must complete a minimum 12 years of schooling and a School Leaving Certificate must be provided.

The minimum grade for each level is:
C for the O level
D for the A / AS levels

American Curriculum

American High School Diploma providing grade 10, 11 and 12 Mark Sheets

Overall average of Grade "c” or minimum 60% ( 2.3 out of scale of 4)


International Baccalaureate Diploma

 (24 Points)



Preparatory Modules (Non-Credit Bearing)

General Mathematics (to be offered to students who after testing show a requirement.

English learning and communication skills (to be offered to students entering the programme with TOEFL between 500 and 530)

Placement Tests

English: students with a score less than the minimum required must take English Language Modules and will be placed at the appropriate level.

Math:  student must provide the Math score required for their respective education track or pass a Math placement test.

Students who have not satisfied the Math requirements or passed the Math Placement test may be granted a conditional admission but they cannot register in any Math or any other modules that have Math as a perquisite until they satisfy the Math requirements. 

Probational Entry Requirement:

  • Candidates having school average of less than 70% but 60% or more may be considered for admission subject to following conditions:
  • The student has achieved 70% in at least one of the three most relevant subjects, as specified for each programme separately; and
  • An interview/ assessment/ other records of achievement submitted as part of the student application.
  • Similar student cases from other National Systems will be considered on case-to-case basis.
  • The non-English native speaking candidates must obtain an English Language proficiency equivalent to TOEFL score of PBT 500/iBT 61 or IELTS 5.0, or an equivalent using a standardized test approved by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
  • Candidates having 11 years of Education in British System (O levels/GCSE) may be considered for admission subject to an interview/ assessment as part of the student application.
  • Students who have completed 13 years of education may be considered exempt from equivalent first year modules in-line with the University policy on Advanced Standing as detailed later in this document.

Notes: Students with qualifications other than those listed above are advised to contact the student recruitment and admissions representatives at BUiD to determine their eligibility.

English Language Requirement:

  • English Language proficiency equivalent to TOEFL score of PBT 500/iBT 61 or IELTS 5.0, or the UAE Ministry of Education EmSAT score of 1100.




General Education Learning Outcomes


The following outcomes will be achieved by all students as a result of completing the University-wide general education modules for first year.


By completing the general education modules a student will:




1    Gain knowledge and understanding of key concepts related to English, mathematics, and the use of computers.

2    Develop an understanding of citizenship through the transfer of knowledge relating to humanities and social sciences issues and challenges.

3    Acquire knowledge and competencies for the use of quantitative methods based upon introductory statistics and numerical techniques




4    Acquire ability to discuss, and improve citizenship skills through competency and understanding in the areas of society, politics, economic development, cultural diversity and in environment.

5    Be able to critically analyse and discuss opposing ideas, recognising information needs and sourcing.

6    To be familiar with university academic and student culture and environment




7    Acquire the ability to apply skills in all areas of the English language, in mathematics, and in the use of computers

8    Be able to apply understanding of the social sciences to develop critical awareness, enquiry and thought.




9    Gain knowledge and skills required for successful performance as a university student

10  Drawing upon the undergraduate educational experience and culture, be capable of engaging constructively and purposefully in a range of different activities provided by the different modules constituting the general and introductory Year one curriculum

11  Exercise the appropriate skills of comprehension and communication using English language, quantitative methods and computer use, for the understanding and critical review of a range of scientific and cultural areas

12  Recognise, understand and respect other perspectives and cultures


BSc Architecture Programme Outcomes (Programme Specific)


The programme provides an opportunity for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the area of Architecture by  following subject specific modules (4 modules in first year and the rest in second, third and fourth year).


By the end of the programme a student will be able to Appreciate:




K1- The ways that architectural and urban histories and theories, and the existing physical and cultural context, can inform design processes, programmes and proposals. 

K2- The conventions of architectural representation and the importance of communication and dialogue in the development and discussion of design ideas

K3- The structural and constructional principles, the properties and inter relationship of materials and the ways that these may inform and influence design decisions

K4- The procurement, construction, servicing, managing and maintenance processes and how they impact on architectural design.

K5- The impact of regulatory frameworks, the needs, and aspirations of clients or users, the roles of those who collaborate in the making process and the impact of the design upon the health and welfare of people and the environment.

K6- The issues and relationships involved with the development of a sustainable design approach and outcome.




I1- Reflect upon and relate their ideas to a design and to the work of others, past and present.

I2- Exercise appropriate judgement in the location, extraction, analysis and presentation of information, methods or resources.

I3- Form considered judgements about the spatial, aesthetic, technical, economic, and cultural qualities of a design.

I4- Critically evaluate and report on the process and outcome of a design.

I5- Be aware of their role in the profession and society and how their actions influence others.

I6- Be aware of the cultural and social contexts which underpin design.




P1- Investigate, conceptualise and develop the design of three dimensional forms and spaces.

P2- Develop designs that demonstrate the integrative relationship of structure, building materials and constructional elements.

P3- Develop designs that demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between building and environment.

P4- Develop projects that respond to a broad constituency of interests and to the social and ethical concerns of architecture.

P5- Use a range of visual, written and verbal techniques, both traditional and ICT based, in order to communicate architectural designs and ideas.

P6- Research and critically evaluate information in order to generate design programmes and evaluate or inform design decisions.




T1 Communicate effectively, with a range of people, visually, verbally and by written means, selecting and using the appropriate traditional, ICT and multi-media methods for each given situation.

T2  Work in a critical and self-directed manner, developing the practices of reflection and lifelong learning.

T3  Work effectively in teams by demonstrating an awareness of the varying roles within a group, and the ability to choose the most appropriate role.

T4  Manage time and skills flexibly in order to work effectively towards deadlines.

T5  Analyse problems and use lateral, critical, and reflective thinking to seek innovative and viable solutions.

T6  Be flexible and adaptable in the approach to and development of an issue, problem or opportunity.

T7 Demonstrate innovative thinking, creativity and knowledge of future trends in the subject area.


Year 1, Term 2


Year 1 Programme Specific Modules

ARCH101 Freehand drawing

This module introduces and tends to equip (via numerous assignments) students  with the essential skills needed for freehand drawing (i.e. drawing done by hand without the use of tools or aids such as templates, stencils, tracing, etc.). It emphasises on the ability to have good command on the use of hand, improvement in observation skills which helps train the eye for better accuracy in estimating lengths and foreshortenings, and ability to concentrate to achieve better accuracy


ARCH102      Computer Aided Architectural Design CAAD


In this modules students will learn to digitize their visual communication skills learnt in ARCH101 through variant of image processing and editing tools such as photoshop and adobe Illustrator. Then, they will be introduced to the fundamentals of computer drafting and the tools used in this technique. Students will learn a basic computer drafting vocabulary, line weights and values, as well as the skills necessary to produce floor plans, building sections, elevations, reflected ceiling plan and a quick introduction to Architectural desktop basic 3D and rendering

ARCH103 Introduction to Sustainability

The module introduces the fundamental principles sustainability including avoidance or minimization of negative impacts on the environment; Conservation and efficient use of natural resources; preservation of cultural patterns; and Ecological harmony and respect for biodiversity.  It emphasises the importance of creating a liveable environment and the practical goal that our interaction with the natural world should be working towards.

PHYS101 Physics 1

This module is similar to introductory Physics modules those offered in most universities but is modified to place heavier emphasis on those topics pertinent to architecture, specifically: forces, reactions, thermal properties of matter, heat transfer, and insulation. The course covers units, vectors, Newton's Laws of Motion, Applying Newton's Laws, work, energy, conservation of energy, momentum, impulse, collisions, rotation, equilibrium, gravitation, periodic motion, fluids, temperature, heat, thermal properties, and the first law of thermodynamics.


Year 2 Modules

ARCH201 Architectural Design One

This is a studio based module that aims to widen the students perception of architecture and architectural space, within both historical and contemporary context. It runs over three academic terms. An indtroductory module in representation techniques that aids students in understanding representation both as a means to communicate design intentions and as a means to understand space and its design development. To provide opportunity for students to begin to develop primary representation skills. To explore and begin the process of developing students design skills through the development of critical and analytical skills. To introduce primary skills of structure, construction, services and materials in relationship to the design process. To develop an understanding of the role of the architect in society and identiifying the need for appropriate representation skills, site visits to project’s site will have a considerable weighing in the study hour formats.

ARCH202 Architectural Technology 1

module will introduce students to the principles and applications of building technology at a domestic scale. It will explain the connection between creativity and technique in architectural design. Concept of design for technical performance will also be introduced to students.

ARCH203 History of Architecture

To introduce students to a representative range of vernacular buildings world-wide. To develop an understanding of how buildings modify climate. To develop an awareness of the constructional potential of traditional building materials. To introduce ideas of culture and settlement. To explore techniques for drawing and modelling the physical form and performance of simple buildings. Develop the ability to define a topic and write a well-structured, appropriately referenced academic essay.


ARCH204      Design Theory


This module introduces students to foundational concepts of theoretical notions as well as historical thinking that have been relevant throughout Design’s history, such as form, technology, program, benefaction, and site. This module presents a selected range of concepts developed by philosopher, historians and theorists to explain the production and experience of Design discipline ranging from product design right through the design of an urban space (City). The module will begin with the theoretical thoughts of design, and then it presents uses and critiques of Design systems and methodologies in the formation of critical theory. A typical study week pairs a theoretical text with a text that uses related theoretical concepts in design case. During lectures, selected design cases will provide instances of interpretive practice.

This module aims to enrich the knowledge base by on-going research, giving an understanding of the theory and purpose of best practice and the self-confidence to participate in it. Develop knowledge and critical awareness of disciplines related to architecture, and enrich the knowledge base by on-going research, giving an understanding of the theory and purpose of best practice and the self-confidence to participate in it.

ARCH205 Islamic Architecture

This module offers a comprehensive coverage of Islamic building typologies, their influences, and the context (historical and geographic) within which these types can be found. Also covers the cultural context as both determinants and modifiers of the built form. Scope includes Islamic Art and Architecture since 650AD which surveys works from Spain, Northern Africa, Eastern Europe, Indian subcontinent and the Middle East.

ARCH206 Western Architecture

This module follows on from the History of Architectural module. Through it students will develop their knowledge of the architectural history of Europe and North America from the early nineteenth century up to 1939. In the course of the module students will investigate the relationship between architecture and ideology and will develop their ability in critical analysis.

ARCH207 Communication and Management 1

The module aims to clearly and effectively represent and convey design ideas and proposals. It will teach students how to combine architectural representation and contextual knowledge. It will provide further opportunities for students to develop practical skills in architectural representation and communication. It will build on knowledge of appropriate communication and management skills employed within a professional context.



Year 3 Modules

ARCH301 Architectural Design Two

This is a studio based module that runs over three terms and builds on previous design modules, in particular ARCH201 Architectural Design One, which introduces the articulation of private and communal spaces. This design program will focus on the theme of Housing and Society by exploring the relationship between living, working, and other programs which architecture organizes in its construction of social contexts.

The program will investigate a unit of the city exploring the relationship between the structure of built space and the creation of social environments. Through a total of three segments of structured projects within this three academic term module, students learning experience will gradually move from simple scale design explored in ARCH201 to multi-spatial public buildings of modest scale set within an urban context, with appropriate structure and construction strategies.

ARCH302 Architectural Technology 2

This module introduces students to the architectural technologies and techniques necessary to create medium-span buildings; multi-storey housing and library/school scale buildings. It extends the concepts of designing for technical performance whilst maintaining and improving the connections between design creativity and technique in architectural design.


ARCH303 Modern Architecture

The module aims to excite students about the study of architecture by introducing key concepts in the study of architecture as a discipline and as a form of cultural expression. Provide a broad introduction to the major figures, movements, ideas and changes in architecture since 1940, and to situate these in a broader cultural context. Establish a standard for the writing and presentation of reports and papers expected in the School. Acquaint students with the conventions for acknowledging and referencing sources of information. Introduce the School’s library and other information resources.

ARCH304 Communication and Management 2

This module builds on the Communication and Management 1 Module. It focuses on the use of building information modelling (BIM) tools in construction industry.  It continues to address and add to the core skills that underpin architectural activity. The activities contained within the module are designed to reflect, draw on and where possible support the experience of the design studio


ARCH305      Issues in Cultural Architecture


Architects must be able to take account of social, cultural, contextual and functional kinds of knowledge and be prepared to discuss them and apply critical thought to them in the workplace. They need to explore ways in which social interaction and cultural mediation affects what architects do and the way in which buildings are appreciated. Being offered in the UAE, students will be implemented those learning outcomes within the UAE social, cultural, and functional context. This module will increase the students ability to describe, name, outline and explain social and cultural issues and issues that are referred to as ‘theoretical’, particularly when participating in design modules and visits relating to design module requirements. The module aims: -To develop a basic understanding of the relationships between people and buildings and the world we live in and of the need to relate buildings to the people who make and use them and the mediation of those uses and needs by culture. -To make each student familiar with the skills and challenges of ‘thinking differently’ relative to social, contextual and functional influences in architecture so that they can enter the action space of design -To identify cultural and social influences in architecture and a focus on UAE as a local context

ARCH306 Professional Context 1

To act effectively within professional life, an understanding of the constraints and opportunities within which we must function, creatively and professionally, must be acquired. This module looks initially at two areas of constraint/ opportunity. The first is ourselves, what characteristics and expectations we bring to the employment market; how our skills, knowledge and values match against our chosen career paths; whether it be architecture or an aligned profession and how we might increase our levels of employability.

The second area, covered by the module, begins to look some of the most important issues that shape and form the built environment – that of legislation and regulation. An understanding of the legislative framework within which architecture and the built environment must operate is vital if architectural concepts are to be successfully fulfilled.

The module also includes further CAD workshops to enhance skills developed in Communication and Management 2 (ARCH304).



Year 4 Modules

ARCH401 Architectural Design Three

This module is the final studio based module in the programme and aims to develop architectural design ability to an advanced level. Through this module a couple of design projects in term one will prepare the student for a major piece of design work that starts in the second term and is finalized in the third term.

ARCH402 Architectural Technology 3

This module aims to introduce students to the application of building technology to the design of medium rise skeletal complex buildings and complex internal systems. It intends to extend the concepts of design for technical performance and provides understand on how to maintain the connections between design creativity and technique in architectural design. Thus, facilitating further understanding of how to integrate technical requirements into designs. It aims to introduce students to the management of the estate and its resources in addition to introducing students to the technology involved in the refurbishment, care and maintenance and conservation of existing buildings. It will provide awareness of the management of technology in the design office. Current research issues in the built environment will also be considered


ARCH403      Cities and Landscapes


This module focuses on City Urban Design and its landscape, introducing students to elements of designing within an urban context and its landscape. The course concentrates on the analytical methods, representational techniques, and speculative approaches that lie at the foundation of urban design and physical planning. A series of small design exercises introduce tools for interpreting, envisioning, and implementing city and landscape plans including its surface, material and elements. This includes the mapping of social, geographic, and historical phenomena, the development of strategies for the provision of infrastructure and site parcelization, landscape, hardscapes, and the generation of use, massing, and defining public open spaces relevant to the city plan. The course puts particular emphasis on various scales and cultural lenses including the ecological, domestic, civic, greening and transportation through which the city can be understood and projected. Highly structured design exercises expose students to a broad range of urban and landscape situations

ARCH404 Professional Context 2

Architectural practice and the construction industry are intrinsically linked to national and global issues. To act effectively within professional life, a critical understanding of this broader context and the constraints and opportunities within which we must function, creatively and professionally, must be acquired. Early understanding of this wider context will allow the student to start directing their educational and professional careers to fulfil their individual aims.

This module will build upon the knowledge and skills developed in Professional Context I by introducing the student to key issues which they will encounter in their professional lives, developing an understanding of the context in which the architect operates. In parallel with this professional awareness, the student will also be equipped with key professional skills (Project Programming and Computer Aided Design/Drawing) in preparation for their first employment.

The module will enhance the students understanding of the broader context within which a building project is realised, develop their ability to determine their personal professional direction and enhance their ability to play an effective role in the development process.

ARCH405 Professional Context 3

Building on the critical understanding of the broader context within which the architectural profession operates and on the awareness of the need for a personal professional direction acquired in Professional Context 2. This module will develop the students’ knowledge and understanding of the systems and processes of control, planning and co-ordination and of the contractual frameworks which they will need to initiate and direct, and also be subject to, during their professional life.

The basic principals of initiation, team working, management and control can be also be transferred to other related professional activities which the student may wish to explore. Knowledge of these principals and acquisition of the associated skills, along with advanced preparation for employment, including an introduction to formal recording of professional development and advanced CADD skills, form the content of this module and prepare the student for professional life.


ARCH406      Technical Studies


This module is set to deliver a wrapping architectural learning experience at the final year. Students will obtain knowledge and gain experience related to a wide range of architectural learning, thus approaching architecture from its multi-disciplinary themes and learning how to come together in a common complete architectural setting. The module tutor will collaborate with specialists from practice (governmental and private) to provide a complete architectural professional experience from the real world. This includes exposing student to different Architectural education trends both undergraduate and graduate to aid their future decision making. This will act as an Architects diary commenting on everyday’s professional experience.

Credit Transfer

  • BUiD does not normally award credit for experiential learning.
  • BUiD does consider credit transfer arrangements towards their undergraduate programmes from other higher education institutions subject to the following conditions.
  • The applicant meets BUiD’s formal entry requirements.
  • The relevant Faculty is able to determine that the coursework was taken at undergraduate level and is at least equivalent to the credit rating available for one module of the programme for which the credit transfer is being considered.
  • The student attained a minimum GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale or equivalent for the credit of a module to be transferred.
  • The institution at which the programme was taken is recognised by the MOHESR or licensed or officially recognised by the Department/Ministry of Education in the home country (and so attestable by MOHESR)
  • The Faculty only allows exemptions from modules with content equivalent to that qualification providing the transferable points.
  • Credit points can only be transferred where the work done for the previous qualification would allow the student to successfully perform the assessment exercise for the exempted module.
  • The decision as to whether a previously taken qualification or credit accumulation serves to exempt a student from a current module rests with the Board of Examiners on the recommendation of the Dean of the Faculty.
  • Credits which have already formed part of an award are not acceptable for transfer.
  • Credit transfer will not be awarded for study completed as part of a credit-bearing programme of continuing education. 

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