France

Access to the profession: How to become an architect in this country ?




Show the legend

Before 1969 (the Fine Arts system):
- Preparation for competitive entrance examination: 4 to 5 years (The novice learning drawing techniques from the “veterans”)
- Competitive entrance examination
- 4 to 5 years of studies (working by agency of lecturers)
- Qualification
- Possible ‘Prix de Rome’ (for the best student)

Until 2007:
- 2x2 years
- 2 years supplementary for those wanting to become DPLG
- Government qualified (Diplômé Par Le Gouvernement, DPLG)
- Two-year internship (?)

Today:
- Numerus clausus (fixed by the schools)
- Licence of 3 years (= Bachelor, of 180 ECTS)
- Master’s degree of 2 years (of 120 ECTS)
- State Diploma in Architecture (Diplôme d’Etat d’Architecte, DEA) evaluated at Master’s level.
- To be able to practise under one’s own name: + 1 year comprising:
- Compulsory professional experience of 6 months,
- Professional course of 150 hours (on the basis of the syllabus)
- Compulsory professional examination: Authorisation of Command of Work under Own Name (Habilitation à la Maîtrise d’Oeuvre en Nom Propre, HMONP). An academic jury accords this licence (but with a representative of the Order)
- Compulsory professional registration with CNOA.
- Continued training: not compulsory but strongly advised.

Notes:
- The 1977 Law on Architecture imposes the intervention of an architect for houses of more than 170 m2, for agricultural hangars of more than 800 m2 or for greenhouses of more than 2000 m2.
- 20 schools, which are under the control of the Ministry of Culture, number at 20+1 private school recognized by the French State (ESA), 1 public recognized by French State (INSA), both under the control of the Ministry of "Enseignement supérieur". The schools’ curriculum must be endorsed by the CCST, a committee of experts (composed of university lecturers in architecture) but there is no control in the schools to see how this curriculum is applied: notable differences are thus observed between training programmes.
- Professional authorities deem that a two-year period of professional experience is necessary (in order, notably, to be able to follow an entire project) but, following protests by students, the state reduced this to one year, with only 6 months of practical work (normally carried out under the status of “employee”. This led to a reaction by professional associations). The UNSFA drafted a “Professional Booklet” which received the backing of the Syndicat des Architectes and the CNOA and which constitutes a kind of contract. This Professional Booklet that ties into practical internships and courses continues, however, to be the subject of debate over its content, between the profession and the DAPA, while the school continue to resist.

Back to top