United Kingdom

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

Individuals seeking to register in the UK have typically undertaken the following ARB-prescribed and RIBA-validated qualifications:

BSc/BA – undergraduate level
(“Part 1”)
3 years, full-time (or part-time equivalent)
Diploma/Masters* (“Part 2”) – postgraduate level2 years, full-time (or part-time equivalent)

The Part 1 and Part 2 qualifications collectively meet the requirements set out in Article 46 of the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive. An individual holding Part 1 and Part 2 will hold 2 of the 3 qualifications required for registration in the UK. In addition, individuals are required to hold the following Certificate:

Architects Registration Board Part 3 Certificate in Architectural Education A minimum of 24 months practical experience, followed by a Part 3 qualification (part-time/distance learning)Requirement for registration in UK (Access to Market)

Accordingly, in order to register with the ARB and practice using the title ‘architect’, an individual must additionally gain a Part 3 qualification which is prescribed by ARB and, typically, validated by the RIBA.  To be eligible to undertake a Part 3 qualification an individual must have gained a minimum of 24 months practical experience.  A Part 3 qualification typically involves the assessment of the practical experience gained by an individual, as well as the assessment of written submissions and examinations, and an oral examination to determine whether the individual has met the UK’s Part 3 Criteria.

Practical experience is usually recorded on the RIBA’s Professional Experience Development Record (PEDR) found at www.pedr.co.uk

An individual who, in addition to a Part 1 and Part 2 qualification, successfully gains the Part 3 qualification will be eligible for registration in the UK.  Where ARB is satisfied that the appropriate qualifications have been gained, an individual will be issued with a Part 3 Certificate in Architectural Education, which will also confirm that the individual holds a Part 1 qualification and a Part 2 qualification. 

Obtaining the ARB Part 3 Certificate in Architectural Education is an administrative process and only those who hold a Part 1, a Part 2 and a Part 3, which have been prescribed by ARB, will be eligible for such a Certificate.

The typical pattern that a student will follow to registration is as follows:

(Part 1)
3 years, full-time
(or part-time equivalent)
12 months professional practical experience 12 months professional practical experience
Diploma/Masters* (Part 2) 2 years, full-time
(or part-time equivalent)
12 months professional practical experience12 months professional practical experience
Part 3 qualificationPart-time/Distance Learning

- Institutions set their own entry requirements for entry to their qualifications. Typically institutions require individuals to hold three A levels (often, AAA; AAB; ABB but these will vary from school to school) to gain entry to a Part 1 level qualification but other routes are available for mature students and/or individuals with relevant experience
- There are currently in excess of 40 schools of architecture and examination centres in the UK; are typically (but not exclusively) based in universities or similar organisations across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland
- The duration of full time academic study is normally 5 years, with part time modes taking up to 3 years longer
- In addition to mainstream university-located programmes, the RIBA offers its own distance learning programme at parts 1 and 2; this is the RIBA Office-Based Examination found at http://www.architecture.com/EducationAndCareers/RIBAOffice-basedExamination/RIBAOfficebasedExamination.aspx
- The completion of at least 2 years of appropriate professional practical experience is mandatory before registration in the UK.  Further advice about the professional practical experience requirements can be found at the following link: http://www.arb.org.uk/practical-training-requirements and http://www.pedr.co.uk/
- It is compulsory to register with the ARB in order to use the title ‘architect’ but not to practise the profession (membership of the RIBA is voluntary, although the majority of registered architects elect to join the RIBA.)

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