BA (Hons) Architecture

The course

Delivery type
4 years (full-time)
Intake date



The B.A(Hons) Architecture programme at the Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus was launched in 2015. Since then, the programme has rapidly grown to a community of more than 100 students, creating a unique niche within the vibrant design community of Dubai and the UAE. Strategically placed within the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS), the programme draws expertise from multiple disciplines associated with the built environment. 

The programme aims to educate students in addressing current challenges faced worldwide, including climate change, resource depletion, sustainability and energy efficiency. Students will work on authoring projects to create a positive impact through diverse design practices and innovative solutions that resonate with the industry during their undergraduate studies.

Graduates from the B.A Architecture(Hons) programme will be:

  • Creative Critical Thinkers with a research-informed, process-driven design enabling adaptability and innovative architecture.
  • Advocates of Contextually Driven Architecture, contributing towards building a regionally and culturally sustainable future.
  • Adept with Contemporary Challenges and Advanced Technologies, keeping them current and design forward.
  • Confident in the subject area and embrace a Collaborative and Multi-disciplinary Design Approach.
  • Industry linked, including national and international practitioners and relevant professional bodies.


The B.A(Hons) Architecture course curriculum aligns with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) graduate criteria, providing students with a well-rounded and internationally recognized curriculum. The core spine of the curriculum is the architectural design courses taught across the four years of undergraduate studies. In the larger context of UAE and Dubai, each independent studio led by year leads undertakes the design of various building typologies at varying scales and levels of complexity. The synergy of courses with supporting dedicated studio facilities offers architecture students a rich architectural education experience at our state of art Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus at Knowledge Park. The core design studios are supported by additional streams of courses in Histories and Theories, Environment and Technology, Professional Practice and Design Representation.


The BA (Hons) Architecture programme at Heriot-Watt University Dubai is accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). RIBA is an international professional body for architects based in the United Kingdom. In addition to promoting and making architecture accessible to everyone, RIBA has undertaken the development of various international architectural programmes. The RIBA Part 1 accreditation gives Heriot-Watt University, Dubai students the opportunity to join RIBA Part 2 Masters programmes in the UK and internationally. The programme accreditation reinforces our vision of contextually driven architecture that addresses global challenges.

Read more about the UAE Federal Accreditation.


We have research-active faculty leading the programme. Ongoing research themes include the phenomenological experience of space, redefining public spaces and social infrastructure,  intelligent facades and net-zero buildings, and smart and sustainable cities. The research themes are integrated into the curriculum through core design studios and architecture dissertations. Some of the key programme research initiatives are:

  • Architectural Dissertation:  The dissertation module introduced in the fourth year of the undergraduate programme encourages students to develop and position their research interest in architecture through research and academic writing. 
  • ORA House: In 2018, a multi-disciplinary team of staff and students from Heriot-Watt University participated in the first-ever Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME) competition organized by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) in partnership with the US Department of Energy. The house received commendations for innovation in 'Architecture' and 'Engineering and Construction' and did well in the 'Sustainability' contest. Upon the success of the ORA house, Heriot Watt's Team ESTEEM recently participated in the second SDME contest held in 2021. Read more about the contest and ORA House.
  • Centre of Excellence in Smart Construction: Our architecture programme is part of the Heriot-Watt University's Centre of Excellence in Smart Construction (CESC). CESC is a global hub for innovation, industry-led research and solutions development. Students have a great opportunity to connect with current research and industry partners through CESC's frequent conferences and panel discussions. Read more about CESC and its initiatives.

Meet the faculty

Community outreach

The D6 architecture programme has several platforms that the team uses to engage with the community. Community interaction is essential to the ethos of the programme:

  • D6 Architecture Micro Website: The D6 Architecture micro-website is an extensive active repository of key student projects and achievements of the D6 programme. The website also publishes details of upcoming workshops and public lecture events being hosted by the programme.
  • CMYK: CMYK is the D6 Architecture's annual end of year show. The exhibition celebrates the programme's achievement in the past year. CMYK is about students' creativity, conversations, journey and experience.
  • D6 Open Series: Every year, the D6 Architecture team invites renowned regional and international architects, designers and academicians to share their current projects and research. The Open Series is a public platform that brings the design community, regional and international partners, and collaborators to a common knowledge exchange platform.

Why study Architecture at Heriot-Watt University's Dubai Campus?

  • The BA (Hons) Architecture programme is accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The programme is the first and only four-year RIBA – Part One undergraduate programme in the UAE. RIBA has commended our programme for programme leadership and engagement.
  • RIBA Part One accreditation gives Heriot-Watt University, Dubai students the opportunity to join RIBA Part Two Masters programmes in the UK and internationally. 
  • Heriot-Watt University has a wealth of specialist expertise in the built environment and is internationally recognized as one of only four Centres of excellence in sustainable building design.
  • The course covers both technical and theoretical aspects, providing an excellent foundation for future practice or study at the postgraduate level.
  • The combination of lectures and studio delivery encourages excellent self-motivation and the development of transferable skills that are valuable across the built environment industry.
  • Our programme is designed to help shape the built environment for the 21st century, not only in terms of architecture but also to support a sustainable, energy-efficient and green society.
  • Excellent linkup with regional and international architecture practice.
  • Excellent facilities at our new digital campus, with dedicated design studios for each cohort of the architecture programme.

Student profile

student testmonial

Being a graduate of Heriot Watt University has laid down the framework to further my career aspirations and given me the opportunity to study at postgraduate level to achieve RIBA Part 2.

Radhika Kumar, BA (Hons) Architecture

Course content

Year 1

Students studying for the BA (Hons)course are introduced to foundational knowledge and skills that influence the production of architecture. Initial short design projects in the first year introduce students to drawing and making projects. A suite of lectures and workshops introduces critical thinking in key subject areas such as Construction Technology, Shaping Tomorrow Together and History of the Built Environment. These enrich students' knowledge of architecture and help them conceptualize space and realize design proposals using drawings and models. Students undertake the conceptional design development using the medium of fine arts in their first semester. In the second semester, small-scale architectonic explorations in residential architecture are explored. In addition to the core design studio, students are introduced to courses in Histories and Theory, Construction and Environment.

Year 2

Year two builds on the foundational knowledge of design and architectural vocabulary introduced in the first year. Critical thinking, reasoning, research-informed design, structures and materials are themes explored within the development process in the design studio. Students are introduced to digital packages as design and representation tools. Extensive digital prototyping is used for design exploration and to understand the relationship between digital and analogue processes. Taught courses expand knowledge in Construction and Histories and Theories, Environmental studies, and Building Services Technology.

Year 3

Year Three advances knowledge, critical thinking and design skills working in various complex local-regional urban and social settings. Core design projects consist of medium-scale public buildings and design intervention within the public realm. The design projects undertaken have the urban and landscape context that ranges from the dense traditional neighbourhoods to the more contemporary fragmented parts of the city. Taught courses in Histories and Theories, Energy and Environment, and Professional Practice further bridge between theory and practice in the design studio. Students will participate in a Collaborative Design Project with Architectural Engineers and Civil Engineers where they work in multi-disciplinary teams.

Year 4

Year 4 is designed to consolidate the previous three years of learning with complex and critical challenges in design, technology, and writing. The year also aids students' transitions into the industry. Students complete a capstone design project where they develop a detailed and rigorous design project linked over two semesters allowing the student to develop a comprehensive body of work that can meet RIBA Criteria and the RIBA Graduate Attributes for Part One. In developing these projects, students are required to conceive in parallel and integrate technology in their design, demonstrating their knowledge of environmental design, structural innovation, constructional and material choices, and legislative requirements. Students in Year 4 also develop a History and Theory-based dissertation, take a course in Innovation in Construction Practice.


Graduates from the Architecture BA(Hons) programme can expect to find jobs as architectural assistants in multinational architecture and engineering companies, government organisations and small to medium-sized private sector firms (architecture, urban design and interior design).

The BA (Hons) Architecture degree offered by Heriot-Watt provides an excellent first step in an architectural education that can lead towards becoming a professionally qualified Architect with further studies, examinations and experience.

*Students who wish to join the UK Register of architects (a pre-requisite of becoming a Chartered Architect in the UK with the RIBA) should consult the Architects Registration Board’s website for further information about its routes to registration.

Entry requirements

Our entry criteria are listed below. However, please note that the final decision remains at the discretion of the course director after evaluating scores of individual relevant subjects.

Students who are eligible to be admitted directly into second year can choose to join the first year, where available.

First year entry

  • GCE A-Level - CCC (or AABB at AS-Level) 
  • CBSE/Other Indian Boards - 65%. 
  • American High School Diploma/SABIS - 70% + SAT I - 1000 (500 English and 500 Math) 
  • Tawjihiyya - 80% or Elite/Advance - 75% + EmSAT (English 1400 and Math 1200) 
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme - 24 points (3 HL and 3 SL). 
  • BTEC Level 3 Ext Diploma - MMM 
  • FBISE grade 12 or equivalent – 70% 
  • Russian/Kazakhstan (Attestat) - Grades of 5 in every subject + IELTS 6.0 
  • French Baccalaureate - 13/20 + IELTS 6.0 
  • Lebanese Baccalaureate - 80% or 13/20 + IELTS 6.0 
  • Foundation year Successful completion of Heriot-Watt University Degree Entry Programme (Engineering/Design) with a CCCC. 
  • Compulsory subjects to include English.

Second year entry

Consideration is subject to:

  • A design portfolio
  • An interview with the programme director
  • The completion of Year 1 of a design programme in which the learning outcomes and progression are similar to Heriot-Watt University, Dubai. Applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

We also welcome Year 2 and Year 3 students from other universities with architectural educational qualifications, provided they meet our evaluation process.

To find out more about the specific entry requirements for your country, please refer to our International Entry Requirements.

To find out about the entry requirements for this programme, please send an email to

English language requirements

As our degrees are taught and assessed in English, applicants must be able to prove their level of English language ability. To know more, please refer to our English language requirements.

Fees and funding

  • AED 82178 per year*

* All tuition fees inclusive of VAT

To know about the fees for this programme, please send an email to

Scholarships and bursaries

See our range of degree entry, undergraduate, postgraduate taught and PhD scholarships and discounts.