The economic downturn is not deterring prospective students from applying to architecture courses, the latest university figures have shown
University application service UCAS has reported a 6.7 per cent increase in applications for places in schools of architecture to 24,126. This is part of a wider rise with total applications for all courses up 7.8 per cent.
Tom Jefferies, head of Birmingham School of Architecture, said applications had been rising for some time: ‘We’re still seeing the benefit of architecture becoming more high profile. As a profession, architecture is quite attractive, cool even.
‘The recent widening in access to higher education also allows school kids that wouldn’t consider the professional avenue a chance to think about it.’
The education sector has traditionally worked on different cycles to the job market, with plenty of architects studying during the recession in the early 1990s. The main problem, as then, is finding year-out placements.
Jefferies said his department, and the RIBA more widely, are reconsidering their recommendations on work experience. But he said students starting their undergraduate degrees were not unduly worried by recent job losses in the profession. ‘The undergraduate degree allows people to go into all sorts of areas,’ he said. ‘It’s also very portable – I’ve got ex-students working on every continent.’
The courses seeing the biggest growth in applications include engineering, biological sciences, journalism and social studies. Less popular are non-European foreign language courses, planning and communications.