At the core of the AA is our five-year ARB/RIBA-accredited Undergraduate School, leading to the AA Intermediate Examination (ARB/RIBA Part 1) and AA Final Examination (ARB/RIBA Part 2) and the awarding of the AA Diploma. The Undergraduate School also includes a one-year fulltime Foundation course for those contemplating studies in architecture or associated creative fields. The focus of our undergraduates’ academic lives is our famed ‘unit system’ of study, in which students pursue year-long design projects in intensive and agenda-driven design units while also attending complementary courses in History & Theory, Media and Technical Studies.

AA's Unit System

At the AA, Students learn architecture and address the broad spectrum of associated professional and political issues by embedding these realities within the scope of a resolved design portfolio. The AA’s unit system of teaching and learning includes collective assessment and enquiry across all parts of the school. In addition to the innovative team and group based studio work of the Graduate School, individual undergraduate student projects and portfolios are collectively assessed at the end of each academic year by a panel of unit tutors, who discuss and debate the strengths, weaknesses and results of each and every project and portfolio within the school.

In each of the unit courses and programmes on offer across the Undergraduate, Complementary and Graduate Schools, you’ll find philosophical and revisionist histories– significant re-readings of cultural, counter-cultural and counter-factual ideas – references to literature, film and music, and to politics with a capital P and without. Alongside an array of ideologies, approaches and interests, practical insights will be portrayed and theoretical afterthoughts will be given a platform, so that new design typologies, fed through a myriad of experimentation in technological and disciplinary demand, can manifest.

Unit Methodology

  1. AA learning is project- and portfolio- driven. Our students study architecture by addressing a broad spectrum of associated professional and political issues by embedding these realities within the scope of a single, resolved, design portfolio – giving students a single focus, vision and direction.
  2. The AA remains deeply committed to the pursuit of architectural learning by doing. Engaging either the physical and material demands of design projects – or negotiating the intellectual and analytical demands of a dissertation (as in the case of some specialised graduate programmes) – our dedication to an active learning can be best witnessed first-hand. At any one time, our studios are filled with countless live spaces or projects in the various stages of testing, prototyping, interrogation or presentation.
  3. Students learn best by working in small, highly focused groups centred around a single tutor or team for an entire year. At the AA, our students assume a great part of the responsibility for defining their own curriculum through their selection of a specific unit (in the Undergraduate school) or programme (in the Graduate school). Students not only understand the unit system as a learning methodology but simultaneously as a means with which to acquire the necessary skills to develop independent research practices of their own.
  4. The AA’s unit system of year-long teaching and learning is unique not only in its emphasis on the close collaboration of small groups of students and tutors but also in the way student projects are assessed at the end of the academic year. A panel of tutors collectively determine the relative success of any given project and portfolio in the AA Undergraduate end-of-year review and, in the Graduate school, design studio results and written work are both twice marked by tutors before final assessment. These modes of assessment ensure that our students’ work is seen, socialised and engaged across the school and initiates debate and discussion at each and every step of its development.

AA Legacies

From Denise Scott Brown and Richard Rogers in the 1950s; to Peter Cook and Elia Zenghelis in the 1960s; and Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid and many others in the 1970s, AA graduates are responsible for many of the most important, iconic architectural projects and visions of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Today’s students work hard to live up to, and surpass, the legacy of open experimentation, critical enquiry and professional accomplishment of those who have come before them.

AA graduates and former teachers are also amongst the world’s leading architectural educators – serving as deans, directors, chairs and professors at architectural schools across the world. Many have taken lessons and ideas from their time at the AA back to other countries and distant settings.


The Undergraduate School actively seeks candidates who share our view that architecture is both a professional and cultural form of human activity, enquiry and knowledge. Applicants should demonstrate relevant prior experience, background, knowledge and skills, as well as a genuine willingness to want to work, learn and grow in a setting that demands constant levels of engagement, exchange and communication with the world’s most diverse, active and intelligent architectural community.

Below are our Unistats results on student satisfactory across different aspects of studying at the AA, including school life, employment accreditation, degree results and entry information. To find out more please click on the image.

Intermediate Units

Diploma Units


Undergraduate Admissions Team
AA School of Architecture
36 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3ES

T: 020 7887 4051 / 4094

Links & Downloads


Prospectus 2018-19
AA Prospectus

Special Programmes Course Booklet
Special Programmes Course Booklet

Undergraduate Course Booklet
Undergraduate Course Booklet


Unit Travel Insurance

The Architectural Association, Inc. is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee (No.171402) and registered as a charity (No. 311083). Registered office: 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES, 020 7887 4000

Click here to read the AA’s latest review report.

Click here to read the AA’s latest action plan.