The Design Tripos teaches a new way of approaching the global problems of sustainability in design and the built environment. The course, combines scientific literacy and creativity to help you produce and test new ideas and solutions that address today's challenges. The four-year integrated Master of Design course combines architecture, engineering and materials science, preparing students for a wide range of possible careers in the creative industries. Being a Designer at St John's requires a creative mindset and competence in both arts and sciences. 

The Design Tripos is founded on the four primary strands of Create, Critique, Analyse and Explain. The programme aims to provide opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the context of creative interdisciplinary design. The course is principally taught through design studios, developing a wide range of your skills in representation and communication, computer-aided design and research. Students are also given a range of options for lecture courses in technical, integrated and history/theory subjects. The pathway a student chooses will lead to different routes of design or professional accreditation. Further information about the course can be found here

St John’s provides its students with a wide range of resources, support and opportunities to thrive in all aspects of their lives. To foster creativity and community, our Design and Architecture students have exclusive access to a well-equipped, co-working Art Room, as well as opportunities to design and build in the College, and win annual prizes for academic and artistic merit. A number of on-site staff support student wellbeing, including a Tutor and a Health & Wellbeing Centre. Students are offered guaranteed accommodation – equipped with a College loaned drawing board – for the duration of their studies. 

Entry Details

UCAS Code: KH11
This is a new course for 2024 entry

Typical Minimum Entry Requirements 

A Level: A*AA

International Baccalaureate: 42 points, with 776 at Higher Level

Essential Subjects: A Level/IB Higher Level Mathematics 

Desirable Subjects: A combination of science/art/essay-based subjects and sciences at GCSE. 

Submitted Work: All applicants invited for interview are required to submit a portfolio both for submission and for interview. We want to see a range of subject matter that illustrates your personal interests, experience, imagination, and ability in the visual and material arts. We are keen to see your informal and preparatory work, as well as more formal work, so we can better understand how you observe the world around you, and test and develop ideas.  We want to see a range of media and we want you to produce a portfolio that can demonstrate this. We like to see a portfolio which demonstrates your ability to work in a range of media and in 2D and 3D.  Full information can be found here

Admissions Assessment (Cambridge College registered): All applicants invited for interview are required to take two University assessments each lasting about 30 minutes: an essay response to a specified question, and a sketching assignment.  Neither assessment requires any preparation in a specific topic. More information can be found on the University’s At-Interview Assessment page

We are seeking creative, highly motivated and committed individuals with outstanding artistic ability and some science background, a strong three-dimensional sense, excellent writing skills, and a solid grounding in mathematics. 

Admissions Interviews

Further information regarding interview dates and arrangements can be found here.


Director of Studies
Dr Darshil Shah 

Dr Darshil U. Shah


Architecture Fellow
Dr Sofia Singler 

History of Architecture Fellows
Professor Deborah Howard

Professor Deborah Howard
Dr Frank Salmon

Dr Frank Salmon