So Architecture at RMIT sounds like something you’d love, but you aren’t sure if it’s for you?
This helpful guide will introduce you to the core subjects, university culture, career pathways and what a day in your future life at uni could look like… as well as much more!
Read on to learn more about studying a Bachelor of Architectural Design!
What is a Bachelor of Architectural Design at RMIT?
A Bachelor of Architectural Design at RMIT is a 3-year degree that will equip you to work in the professional, cutting-edge world of architecture.
It incorporates both speculative and experimental design for practical projects, with opportunities to engage in the industry and be immersed in an innovative, problem-solving environment.
What can you expect from studying a Bachelor of Architectural Design?
A Bachelor of Architectural Design is undoubtedly hard work, but it is also highly rewarding if you are passionate about the content.
Primarily, you can expect to be taught by experts in state of the art facilities; studios are located across the city campus and within the multi award-winning RMIT Design Hub designed by RMIT Architecture alumnus, Sean Godsell. Computers, printers, laser cutters, and workshops are all provided, most of which with 24 hour access.
Further, RMIT is renowned for its industry connections, which we will delve into later.
Finally, you will work alongside like-minded creatives and build a diverse skill set for your career!
Students must complete the Master of Architecture (a further 2 years of study) to be eligible to apply for accreditation as an architect. However, if students only wish to complete a Bachelor’s degree, they will still have access to a range of career paths such as urban designer or working in an architectural practice.
A Bachelor of Architectural Design at RMIT will also develop your skills in graphic/visual communication, which can be easily transferred to other design disciplines such as industrial design and animation. Some of the careers an RMIT Architecture graduate could consider are:
- Urban designer
- Graphic Designer
- Industrial Designer
Some of these careers may require further study depending on your work environment.
Core Units for this Degree
There are no ‘majors’ or specialisations like in, for example, an Arts degree, if you choose to complete a Bachelor of Architectural Design at RMIT.
However, design studio units are taught in small groups focusing on a particular theme and project each semester. These make up half of a full time load of your university work, making them inherently more important and time consuming.
You are provided a list of studios and their tutors each semester and you ballot for the studio you would like to do, which acts as a sort of specialisation in itself!
What are the Core Units?
In general, a Bachelor of Architectural Design at RMIT is a highly structured course. The course consists of 4 core ‘types’ of subjects:
- Design studio — which is the main design subject
- Communications — teaches 3D modelling software and the creation of drawings from these softwares
- Technology — looking at the technical side of architecture; structures and systems
- History — of local and international architecture
Each year of your degree you will be required to complete 6 core subjects involving various levels of these areas. For example, in first year you must complete Architecture Technology 1 and 2, which provide you with knowledge about structural, constructional, environmental, and servicing requirements for buildings, as well as an appreciation of the associated design implications of these technologies.
You must also complete Architecture History Introduction which introduces you to the diverse developments of western architecture from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century, further built upon in second and third year units like Australian Architecture and History Western Architecture 20th Century.
Design and Communications units in first year establish your understanding of architecture as the “spatial construction of relationships”, and provide foundations for practical architectural skills (e.g. building proposals, communicating these ideas).
Second and Third Year
Second and third year units build upon your first year knowledge and skills. Some of these include understanding the various approaches to constructing and manipulating geometry, using specific software tools and techniques, and communicating complex design ideas through digital tools in Architecture Communications 3.
You will also develop your architectural drawing skills, apply design knowledge to a range of problems, and demonstrate and articulate design skills from concept formation through to design development in Architecture Design Studio 4, 5 and 6, among other skills.
Internships and Work Placement
The university itself does not provide specific opportunities for internships for Bachelor of Architectural Design students. Students will usually have to seek out their own work experience.
However, you can expect to learn from internationally-recognised and award-winning architects alongside visiting national and international experts, consultants and specialists. These connections provide the leaping-off points for many internship opportunities!
How to Get into Architecture at RMIT
For this degree, ATAR is not the main selection method to be eligible for this course — however, there are additional selection tasks required (i.e. test, interview, and folio).
Assumed Knowledge and Prerequisite Subjects
There is no assumed knowledge or prerequisites for this course other than the completion of an Australian Year 12 or equivalent qualification. This includes a study score of at least 30 in English (EAL) or at least 25 in English other than EAL, or equivalent studies.
Students considering a Bachelor of Architectural Design at RMIT must undertake a selection task and interview. If you have applied directly to RMIT, you will receive further instructions on how to submit these documents.
RMIT states that the selection task requires:
“An applicant statement outlining your motivations and aspirations for studying architecture including details of any relevant experience such as employment, voluntary work, etc and how this strengthens your application to this program.”
It also includes a design ideas exercise:
“For this exercise you are required to identify an issue or major site and respond to it by presenting bold ideas and visions for its future. Your site can be a building, a street or a public space that you wish to reconsider through design. Your design vision may be informed by opportunities you identify within the site. Alternatively, you can engage with current or recurring issues facing society or the built environment as a way of expressing your ideas about design.”
If you aren’t successful in your application to a Bachelor of Architectural Design at RMIT, an alternative is completing a Bachelor of Landscape Architectural Design!
If you don’t meet the course admission requirements it’s okay! Undertaking a certificate, diploma, advanced diploma or associate degree can help you.
Students who complete an Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural) at RMIT, with a duration of 2 years, are guaranteed an interview/selection test for a Bachelor of Architectural Design.
RMIT offers only one architectural design specific scholarship, the Irana Turynska Scholarship. This is for female students in their third year of the Bachelor of Architectural Design or first year of the Master of Architecture, and is worth up to $10,000.
RMIT also offers a long list of scholarships for undergraduate students in general. These include those which support the needs of low socio-economic background students, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
A full list can be found here!
What’s the Teaching Format?
At RMIT, the academic calendar year is broken up into semesters, so you can expect to have two study sessions per year.
While undertaking the Bachelor of Architectural Design, a full-time student can expect to attend four days of classes on-campus per week for twelve weeks. Additionally, students should allow approximately 29 hours of independent study per week. All-nighters are unfortunately not uncommon!
The teaching format is divided into 2 kinds of classes: lectures and tutorials/studios.
These classes are informative presentations by experts in the field on a certain topic relevant to the degree. They vary from semester to semester, but generally consist of one three-hour lecture a week for each subject (not including design studio).
You’ll have approximately six hours of lectures a week. There are usually 50 to 100 students in attendance.
Generally two three-hour tutorials a week for design studio and one three-hour tutorial a week for the other subjects, so twelve hours of tutorials a week.
In tutorials, you will be taught in the mode of ‘practising and doing’. This mode is characterised by the experience of regularly verbally presenting, discussing and explaining your project work in a formal critique process communicated through different types of drawings and models.
You will have the opportunity to work intensively on one project throughout the semester, undergoing a continuous cycle of reviewing, verbal feedback and reflection between staff, peers and students. You will also have the chance to develop skills in drawing, 2D and 3D design in an environment that follows the best practice of a local or international design firm.
How much time do you spend at uni?
Students can be expected to spend around 15 hours on campus per week to attend tutes and lectures.
Though it is dependent on the subject, assessments in a Bachelor of Architectural Design at RMIT usually consist of an architectural drawing set of your project/proposal presented to a panel of critics. This is followed by conversation around your presentation/project/proposal.
In addition, you will be required to complete research essays for some of your classes, such as Architecture History.
Skills that You Develop
This degree truly provides students with the opportunity to develop professional, highly practical skills that they can take with them into their careers. These skills are developed over the course of the degree through the four different core subject categories.
They primarily include:
- Basic design thinking skills/strategies
- Architectural software (specifically Rhino 3D)
- 3D and 2D drawing
- Collaboration in small groups (which is important in architecture)
- Presentation skills
- Geometry/spatial intelligence
- Visual and verbal communication
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?
The culture within architecture is strong and amicable, thanks to the fact that all the students in the cohort spent so many hours working together at university.
The Architecture Student Collective, an academic club at RMIT, is an excellent platform for students studying a Bachelor of Architectural Design, Masters of Architecture, and Masters of Urban Design to connect with each other socially, with free annual membership.
You can find out more information, including the sign-up link and Facebook page here!
There are also opportunities to engage with others in your course via the Architectural Design’s Facebook page, which offers many opportunities to make friends. These include trivia nights and a general space to post questions and comments.
RMIT Architecture is well known for its outstanding tutors and its long-standing links with industry. The course is taught by leading prominent professionals within the architecture and design industry.
Some of RMIT’s studio partners have included:
Zara Zadro is a Content Writer for Art of Smart and a current undergraduate student at the University of Sydney. She studies a Bachelor of Arts/Advanced Studies majoring in Media & Communications and English. In her free time, she enjoys reading, listening to music and discovering new parts of Sydney. She has also written for the student publications Honi Soit and Vertigo. After she graduates, Zara hopes to do a Masters in creative writing and live overseas, which she cannot wait for!