- Before you apply
- Assessment and interview
- Receiving the decision
- Accepting your offer
- Fees and financial assistance
- Visas and immmigration
- Joining The AA
BEFORE YOU APPLY
Who should I contact for help?
The undergraduate admissions team are available to provide advice between 10am – 6pm Monday to Friday (closed for lunch 1pm – 2pm). All email enquiries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.orgEach course/level has a dedicated coordinator as outlined below:
- Jenny Pitkin +44 (0)20 7887 4011 – Foundation Course and First Year enquiries
- Simone Rogers +44 (0)20 7887 4051 – Intermediate and Diploma School enquiries
- Kirstie Little +44 (0)20 7887 4060 – General Undergraduate or Graduate School enquiries
Can I visit the AA before applying?
Yes, prospective students are encouraged to visit the AA. Visits should be arranged in advance by contacting the undergraduate admissions team as above or via email@example.com
When are your Open Days?
- Friday 21 October 2016: Foundation and First Year
- Friday 4 November 2016: Open Jury and Undergraduate Open Evening
- Friday 13 January 2017: School Open Day
What is the difference between the AA Diploma School and the AA Graduate School?
The AA Diploma School comprises the fourth and fifth years of the five-year undergraduate course in Architecture. Successful completion of two years in the AA Diploma School, which is comparable to other higher degree courses in the UK, leads to the AA Final Examination and exempts students from the second part of the professional examination – ARB/RIBA Part 2.
The AA Graduate School includes 11 postgraduate programmes (MA, MSc, MArch, MFA, MPhil and PhD) offering advanced studies for students with prior academic and professional experience. These courses are specialist research programmes and do not lead to any professional exemptions, i.e. do not help you to become a registered architect in the UK.
Is the Diploma School part of the Graduate School?
No, the AA Diploma School, which is part of the full five-year ARB/RIBA recognised course in architecture, is classed as part of the Undergraduate School.
Who validates the Undergraduate School?
The AA has been reviewed annually by the QAA since 2012 in order to maintain Tier 4 Sponsor status with the Home Office / UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). In its 2016 Higher Education Review (Alternative Providers) carried out by the QAA, the AA was found to meet UK expectations in all four judgement areas.
The five year full-time course in architecture is officially recognised and also meets the professional criteria set out by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for the professional qualifications of AA Intermediate Examination (ARB/RIBA Part 1) and the AA Final Examination (ARB/RIBA Part 2).
Are there any age restrictions?
Yes, all applicants must be 18 years of age or older by Monday 18 September 2017 to be eligible to enter the school for the 2017/18 academic year.
What are the academic entry requirements?
You must meet the minimum academic requirements for your desired course. These can be found on the apply page of the website.
Does my international high-school leaving qualification meet the AA’s requirements?
The AA accepts A Levels, International Baccalaureate (IB), and a number of equivalent qualifications for entry to the Foundation and Undergraduate course. For a guide please see the Overseas Applicants section on the website. If your country is not listed please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the English language requirements?
You can find the English language requirements outlined on the undergraduate application page The AA reserves the right to make a place in the school conditional on gaining a further English language qualification if deemed necessary. The English language qualification requirements are subject to frequent change in line with Home Office/UKVI regulations. It is the student’s responsibility to remain up to date with changes, which can be accessed on the Home Office/UKVI website: www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-applying-for-uk-visa-approved-english-language-tests
Do I need to have the English language qualification before I apply?
No, you do not need to have your English language qualification when you apply online. However, you must submit your English language examination results by Friday 26 May 2017, prior to entry in Term 1.
Do I need to have the ARB/RIBA Part 1 Exemption before I apply to the Diploma School?
No, you can apply before you have Part 1 but you must have gained Part 1 exemption by 28 July 2017 prior to entering the Fourth Year at the AA. Under no circumstances will you be eligible to enter the Diploma School without Part 1 exemption. Therefore, we highly recommend you apply in November, to ensure you have plenty of time to undertake the Part 1 exemption once you receive your offer.
International applicants who will not complete their Bachelors degree (UK BArch 2:2 equivalent) until mid-2017 are encouraged to contact the Undergraduate Admissions Team before applying for the 2017/18 academic year.
How do I get the ARB/RIBA Part 1 Exemption?
Please visit the ARB website for full details. The fee for gaining ARB Part 1 exemption is over £1,000 and the requirements are demanding. Therefore, we recommend you contact them as early as possible to discuss your case.
Is there more than one intake a year?
No, we only have one intake of students per year in late September.
How long are the courses?
The Foundation course is 1 academic year, September until June. If you join 5 year course at First Year level, you can expect to complete the course in 6 years (5 years study, 1 year out for mandatory professional experience).
Can I study part-time or by distance learning?
No, all courses are offered on a full time basis in the UK.
Does the AA accept exchange students?
Yes, the AA offers a One Year Abroad – Visiting Student Programme (VSP) to Second and Third Year students from overseas schools of architecture who wish to participate in the activities of the AA as a year away from their home institutions. Applicants to this programme must be EU/EEA passport holders. Students are accepted into the Intermediate School depending on their previous experience and the portfolio of work they submit as part of the application process. It is the student’s responsibility to confirm arrangements with their current school before entry to the AA. Please see our One Year Abroad page for further information.
Which year should I apply for?
If you have no previous architectural education you should apply for either the Foundation Course or First Year. Applicants who have completed previous architectural study can apply to the Intermediate School at Second or Third Year level, or the Diploma School at Fourth Year level. We do not accept students directly into Fifth Year level.
You must meet the minimum academic and reference requirements for your desired course. These can be found on the apply page of the website. If you have any doubts or concerns, contact the relevant Undergraduate Admissions Coordinator, who will be able to provide additional information and support.
It is important that you apply for the level that best fits your experience. However, please note that in all instances the final decision as to the appropriate level of entry is established by the AA School admissions / interview panel.
Do I have to complete the Foundation Course before starting First Year?
No, you do not have to complete Foundation before starting in First Year. Some people prefer to do so, for example, if they are changing careers, or are unsure about studying architecture, or would like to develop a wider range of presentation/communication skills before embarking on the five-year undergraduate course.
Can I apply for more than one course at the same time?
No, you can only apply for one course at a time. Please carefully consider the entry requirements and apply for the course / year level most suited to your experience.
Can I apply to the Diploma School and the Graduate School at the same time?
No, you can only apply for one course at a time. You will need to decide which course you are most interested in and best suits your future goals.
How can I apply?
Is the application process different for UK, EU and international students?
No, the application process is the same for all students. For full details please see the apply page. However, applications to the Foundation Course and One Year Abroad (VSP) 2017-18 can only be accepted from UK (Home), EU/EEA passport holders.
Applicants wishing to join the One Year Abroad (VSP) follow the same application procedure as Intermediate (Second and Third Year) applicants, but must tick the One Year Abroad box in the online application form.
When should I apply?
Applications for the 2017/18 academic year are open. To give yourself plenty of time to undertake your interview, consider your offer, and prepare for your move to London, we highly recommend you apply by the November deadline.
- Early applications closed: Friday 18 November 2016*. Applicants wishing to be considered for a scholarship or bursary must submit their online form and portfolio by this date.
- Late applications for close: Friday 27 January 2017*.
* Applications received after 18 November 2016, but before the 27 January 2017 deadline, will be assessed for financial assistance at the discretion of the school.Both your online application, and your portfolio, must arrive by the dates listed above. Applications received after the dates above may be accepted at the discretion of the school.
Is there an application fee?
Yes, £50 for early applications,£70 for late applications. Application fees may be paid with a credit/debit card upon completion of the online application form (all cards except American Express and Diners Club). Please note that the application fee is non-refundable.
Should I send my portfolio with my application form?
- Friday 18 November 2016 for early applications; or
- Friday 27 January 2017 for late applications.
The portfolio should be clearly labelled with a completed Cover Sheet (PDF) and be addressed and sent to: Undergraduate Admissions, No 36 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3ES. It is your responsibility to ensure that the portfolio arrives by the deadline. If it has not been received in time, your application may be considered for the late application deadline; if it arrives after the late application deadline, it may be accepted at the discretion of the School.
All courier fees, including import charges, must be paid when sending your portfolio. Failure to pay these fees may result in your portfolio being returned to you. Alternatively, the AA may accept the package, but you will be required to pay the outstanding charges before your application will be processed.
What format should the submitted portfolio take?
Sample portfolios should be no larger than A3, and between 20 and 30 pages (single or double sided). Applicants who submit a portfolio larger than A3 will be asked to resubmit before their application can be processed. Please do not submit original artwork with your initial application. Successful applicants will be asked to bring original work to the interview. For further information about what to include in your portfolio please see the undergraduate portfolio guide.
Can I submit a digital portfolio?
No, the AA does not accept digital portfolios.
Will my portfolio be returned?
Portfolios will be returned / available to pick up when the AA no longer requires them for assessment purposes. Therefore, please ensure that you have copies of your work if you require them for other purposes. If you cannot collect your portfolio in person, a £50 fee will be charge to have it couriered to you. Once you have received your outcome, please contact your coordinator to organise. Portfolios brought to an interview can be taken away directly after the interview.
Can I save the online form multiple times before submitting?
Yes, after you have registered, you can use your username and password to log in as often as you wish to complete your application.
How long should my personal statement be?
For undergraduate applicants we recommend around 500 words. However, it is up to you to provide a statement that best highlights your skills and experience.
Do I need to upload my schooling / university documents?
Yes, applications cannot be processed until the online form has been completed, all required supporting documents have been provided, and the AA has received a bound portfolio. Failure to provide the information requested will delay the processing of your application. For full details please read the Certificates and Transcripts section of the application page.
What is the difference between transcripts and certificates?
Transcripts may be referred to as an end of term/end of year report by your school or university. It should detail the subjects you have undertaken and the grades gained during each term/year.
Certificates are issued on completion of studies and will state the overall qualification and level gained plus the date you completed the course.
Do my documents have to be in English?
Yes, all documents must be in English. The AA can only accept official translations bearing the stamp and signature of the translator. Please also include scanned copies of the un-translated certificates and transcripts. For further information as to how to get a certified translation please click here.
Do I need to have an academic reference?
Yes, your application will not be considered until your reference has been received.
What if I have been out of education for more than 3 years?
For mature students who have been out of education for more than three years, the reference should be from your employer or a professional (doctor, lawyer, etc.) who can give you a personal reference.
How can my reference be submitted?
References can be submitted with your online form, or sent directly to us. Please see the References section of the apply page for full details.
ASSESSMENT AND INTERVIEW
Who assesses my application?
The admissions team check that you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements. Applications that meet the entry requirements will be assessed by an admissions panel of tutors for application and portfolio review.
Do I have to come for an interview at the AA?
Yes, applicants who pass the portfolio review will be invited to attend an interview at the AA School in London. Please note that we do not conduct personal interviews anywhere other than at the AA in London.
What if I don’t get invited for an interview?
Unfortunately, we are unable to interview everyone who applies to the school. Applicants can only submit one application/portfolio per academic year. Unsuccessful applicants are eligible to apply to the school the following academic year or in the future.
Can I be interviewed by Skype?
No, the AA does not undertake Skype or telephone interviews.
Do I have to supply my original documents to prove my qualifications?
Yes, successful applicants who are invited for an interview must bring all original documents with them to the interview verification. It is a compulsory requirement to have copies checked against original documents, and failure to present original documents may delay your chances of obtaining an offer of a place at the AA. Please bring the following to your interview: Passport; Original transcripts and certificates for your secondary school qualifications and/or original transcripts and certificates for your degree (if applicable); Original reference letters (signed and on headed paper).
What format does a typical interview take?
Interviews are undertaken by two academic members of staff (i.e. tutors or unit masters related to the year you have applied to) and are approximately 25 to 30 minutes long. Their purpose is to try and assess each student’s potential and ability to benefit from the course. Interviews are a two-way process: the panel wants to see your skills and interests, so it is important to spend time preparing a portfolio. You will have the opportunity to ask questions about the AA and to have a look at our studios and facilities.
What format should the portfolio for the interview take?
The AA is looking for students with a creative imagination and plenty of motivation, so there is no single way of preparing a portfolio. You should include a variety of projects – sketches, models, photographs, paintings, sketchbooks and essays all help to build up a picture of your particular interests and skills – and you should show the thinking and development behind the work and not just final images. It is also important to read the AA Prospectus, which will give you an idea of the wide range of work carried out in the School. For further information about what to include in your portfolio please see the undergraduate portfolio guide.
RECEIVING THE DECISION
When will I receive a decision?
You can expect to receive your outcome / interview invite around 6 – 8 weeks after the application deadline. As a guide, if you submit a completed application by the November deadline we will aim to interview you between January and March. November applicants wishing to be assessed for First Round scholarships must attend an interview no later than the end of March.
If you submit a completed application by the January deadline we will aim to interview you between April and June. Applicants who submit an incomplete application will not be interviewed until all outstanding documentation is received.
Why has my application been delayed?
Applications will not be processed until the online form has been completed, all required supporting documents have been provided, and the AA has received a bound portfolio (if applicable). Failure to provide the information requested will delay the processing of your application.
Applicants who submit an incomplete application will be contacted by email to request the outstanding documentation. The AA will send applicants a maximum of 2 reminders to follow up documentation. If no response is received, the application with be automatically rejected by the AA.
Do you provide individual feedback on applications?
No, unfortunately due to the number of applications we receive we are unable to provide detailed feedback regarding your application and portfolio.
Why have I been offered a different level of entry?
The AA reserves the right to offer an applicant a lower year of entry. This information will be clearly outlined in your offer letter. In all instances the final decision as to the appropriate level of entry is established by the admissions/interview panel.
If my application is unsuccessful, can I appeal?
Decisions on the admission of applicants are final and there is generally no right of appeal against the decision. The AA will only consider a complaint if there is substantive evidence that the admissions procedure was not correctly followed. Any complaint concerning applications should be addressed to the Head of Admissions, Kirstie Little via email to email@example.com
If my application is unsuccessful, can I claim a refund for the application fee?
No, the application fee is non-refundable.
ACCEPTING YOUR OFFER
How do I accept my place at the AA?
Successful applicants will receive an offer letter within two weeks of the interview. Applicants who receive a conditional offer letter must meet all of the specified conditions prior to entering the school. In order to secure a place at the AA the Admissions Team must receive a completed signed admission form and a one-term non-refundable or transferable deposit by the due date stated on the offer letter. For full details as to how to accept your offer please see the Accepting Your Place section of the application page.
When should I pay my deposit?
Applicants holding an unconditional offer must pay their deposit and return a signed admissions form by the dates outlined on the offer letter/admissions form.
Applicants holding a conditional offer should contact the appropriate admissions coordinator prior to paying the deposit. In some instances paying the deposit will be recommended (i.e. for Foundation and First Year applicants) However, most graduate applicants will be asked to wait until all conditions are met before paying the deposit.
The AA School takes no responsibility for applicants who pay their deposit prior to obtaining an unconditional offer.
How much is the deposit?
The deposit amount for the 2016/17 academic year is £6,586.
For Foundation, the deposit counts towards the cost of the tuition fees for the final term (3rd term). For Undergraduate, the deposit counts towards the cost of the tuition fees for the last term of the final fifth year of study.
Is the deposit refundable, transferrable or deferrable?
No, the deposit is non-refundable/non-transferable. For graduate and foundation applicants, the deposit is also non-deferrable.
What happens if my circumstances change after I’ve been made an offer?
If there is any change in your circumstances after you submit your application (i.e. you will not be completing your current year of study), you must inform us as soon as possible. The AA reserves the right to withdraw an offer of a place if you fail to inform us of significant changes in your circumstances.
Can I start the course with outstanding conditions?
No, you must hold an unconditional offer in order to enter the school and receive a CAS (if applicable).
What if I don’t meet the conditions of my offer?
If you fail to meet the conditions outlined in your offer letter please inform the school immediately. The AA will review your offer and your place may be officially withdrawn or, if possible, deferred until 2018/19. Deposit refunds will be reviewed in line with the deposit policy.
Can I defer my offer?
Applicants joining the Foundation course and One Year Abroad programme cannot defer their entry into the school. All other Undergraduate applicants can defer for a maximum of one academic year. For further details please see Deferring and Offer section of the application page.
Can I change my year of entry once I’m accepted into the School?
No. If you wish to be considered for entry for a year other than the one you have been offered a place in, you will need to reject your initial offer and re-apply for your preferred year in the next application cycle.
FEES AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
What are the tuition fees?
Fees for 2016/17 can be found here on the website. Fees for 2017/18 will be announced in January 2017.
Are the fees different for UK, EU and international students?
No, the fee structure is the same for all students.
How can I fund my studies?
For full details regarding funding options available to AA Undergraduate Applicants please see our Fees and Financial Aid page
How do I apply for an AA bursary / scholarship?
When completing your online application form please indicate your interest in a bursary/scholarship on the form. Applicants whose work is considered to be of bursary/scholarship standard will be asked, after an entry interview, to complete a scholarship application form, provide financial information and submit a portfolio for the scholarship committee. Full details regarding this process will be sent with the official offer letter.
Are bursaries/scholarships awarded in cash?
No, the amount will be credited directly to your fee account.
Can I use the bursary/scholarship to pay my deposit?
No, you will still be required to pay the full deposit to secure your place.
How much will it cost to live in London?
This varies a great deal depending on how centrally you wish to live and the lifestyle you lead. Please refer to Fees and Financial Aid for an estimate of living costs.
VISAS AND IMMIGRATION
Do I need a Visa to study at the AA?
Entry conditions for international applicants from outside the EU or European Economic Area are governed by the Home Office / UKVI Tier 4 General Points Based System. To check if you need a visa please visit the UKVI website.
If you require a Visa, you must receive a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) number from the AA before making a visa application. You will be required to hold a valid visa, sponsored by the AA, by the first day of Introduction Week. Accordingly, the AA will use its discretion as to the final date we can issue you a CAS in order for you to join the course.
How do I obtain a CAS?
The AA will issue you with a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) number once you hold an unconditional offer, have formally accepted your place, and submitted the required financial evidence. Details will be sent with your offer letter, and your coordinator will be in touch in May to provide further information and advice with regards to your CAS.
When will my CAS be issued?
The earliest the AA can issue a CAS is the end of June, 3 months before the course commences.
How to I apply for my visa?
The CAS, together with other documentation, can be used by to apply for a visa. It is absolutely vital that you provide all the documentation and fulfil the exact Home Office / UKVI requirements or your visa application will be refused. For full details about what is required you should read the UKVI policy guidance.
If I am already registered with another sponsor do I need a new CAS/Visa?
Yes, you will be required to provide proof that your current sponsor has de-registered you from the course before the AA can issue you a new CAS. You will be required to hold a valid visa, sponsored by the AA, by the first day of Introduction Week.
Will I be able to bring my family?
No. Unfortunately, the Home Office / UKVI regulations stipulate that as the AA is a Private Institution our support for an application to study on a Tier 4 Student Visa does not extend to cover dependants. Arrangements for your family would need to be made separately. Please refer to the UKVI website for further information.
If I have a visa will I be able to work?
No. Unfortunately, the Home Office / UKVI regulations stipulate that as the AA is a Private Institution Undergraduate and Graduate students are not permitted to work during their studies. The only exception is students undertaking the 5 year course, where mandatory professional experience is included as part of the course. This will be marked as work placement on the visa.
JOINING THE AA
When is Introduction Week and is it compulsory?
For the 2016/17 academic year, Introduction Week is from Monday 19 September until Friday 23 September 2016. All new students, including those joining first year from foundation, must attend Introduction Week.
When does the course start and what are the term dates?
The start of the 2016/17 academic year is Monday 26 September 2016. For the academic term dates, please see the website.
Do you have an airport pick-up service?
No, unfortunately due to the number of student arriving we are unable to provide a pick-up service.
When can I get a letter for the bank / council tax exemption?
Unfortunately, the AA cannot issue letters until after official registration on Tuesday 20 September 2016. Once registration is complete, we will prepare letters for you all to collect from Thursday onwards.
How do I apply for a student oyster card?
You will need to apply via the TFL website for an oyster card. The AA will be able to verify you are a student after registration.
How do I sign up for a doctor?
If you are an international student on a course of study for six months or more, you will qualify for NHS treatment from the beginning of your stay on the same basis as anyone who is ordinarily a resident in the UK. Please see the NHS website for further details. You will be able to sign up for the NHS system with the Gray’s Inn Medical Practice, 77 Gray’s Inn Road, London, WC1X 8TS on Registration day.
Does the AA School provide accommodation?
Unfortunately, the AA School is unable to provide housing. However we have enlisted the services of the University of London Housing Services (ULHS) who run a private housing service for many students in London. The ULHS can offer advice to students on how to find accommodation, which areas to consider, what the options are, pricing and more. They produce a London Student Housing Guide which includes a vast amount of information on how to search and secure accommodation in London which is also accessible online http://housing.london.ac.uk/.
Are there assistantship jobs available at the AA?
Yes, a number of assistantships are offered to eligible full-time registered students. Students are able to work up to ten hours per week, providing assistance with certain administrative, exhibitions, or maintenance functions. Eligible students wishing to apply will be told the procedure when they register at the beginning of the academic year. For full details please see the website.