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How to become an architect

Architecture is a highly competitive profession which requires several years study to gain registered status. The process to become a registered Architect combines three qualifications and 2 years’ experience in practice:

Part 1. BA (Hons) Architecture followed by first year of experience in practice 

Part 2. Master of Architecture (MArch) followed by second year of experience in practice 

Part 3. Postgraduate Diploma in Architectural Professional Practice 

The Leeds School of Architecture is accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and offers these three qualifications prescribed by the Architects’ Registration Board (ARB) which would lead you to registered status. 

How to become an architect part 1

Part 1 - BA (Hons) Architecture

The first step to becoming an architect is three years of full-time study at undergraduate level, during which you will develop a broad range of skills and architectural understanding. If you are studying with us you will have the opportunity to take part in exchange programmes with universities abroad for up to a year of study in the Erasmus+ programme.

After completing this stage of studies, you can continue your studies in architecture, or gain further qualifications in specialist related fields such as design, planning, urban design, conservation, or pursue a career in an architecture related field.

To continue to the next stage, you will need a period of practical experience in an Architectural office, typically for one year (called Year Out). During this period you are supervised and monitored by a Professional Studies Advisor (PSA) from your university and by an employment mentor from your practice. You will record your experience in the RIBA Professional Experience and Development Record (PEDR) on the PEDR website. 

BA (Hons) Architecture
How to become an architect part 2

Part 2 - Master of Architecture (MArch)

Your next step to becoming an architect is two years of full-time postgraduate study towards a Master of Architecture (MArch) degree. Studying for a MArch provides students with enhanced architectural knowledge and skills, an understanding of project complexity, and offers opportunities for students to carry out specialist study and research, which may include site visits and study trips abroad. Students learn in specialist design studios working in complex urban contexts with a strong commitment to design research in architecture. Within this context students develop their personal interests and an individual approach to architecture. 

After Part 2, you will require a second stage of practical experience in architecture. A total of 24 months’ experience (first stage after Part 1 and second stage after Part 2) is required to then sit the Part 3 examination, of which 12 months minimum should be undertaken in the EEA under the direct supervision of an architect.  At this stage graduates begin studying aspects of practice, management and law while studying on a Part 3 programme.

MArch Architecture
How to become an architect part 3

Part 3 - Postgraduate Diploma in Architectural Professional Practice

The Post Graduate Diploma Architectural Professional Practice, generally called Part 3, is the final step in an architect’s education and training and is a necessary qualification for anyone wishing to be an architect. Students are required to be working in architectural practice whilst undertaking this course. 

This course offers a combination of academic content with work experience during the final 12 month period of practical training experience (Stage 2). A minimum of 24 months experience is required in total prior to taking this examination.

The course meets the ARB and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Part 3 requirements for final qualification and registration as an architect. On passing the Part 3 examination students are entitled to register as an architect in the UK with the Architects Registration Board (ARB). The term ‘architect’ is a protected title and can only be used by ARB registered architects.

Students attend a series of lectures and workshops on the various topics delivered by specialists from the construction industry.

At the Part 3 final examination candidates are assessed on the following components: their 24 months of practical experience recorded through the PEDR website; professional CV and career evaluation; a case study; two office based written examinations in professional practice and contract administration; and a final oral examination.

PG Dip Architectural Professional Practice

Leeds School of Architecture in pictures

Leeds Beckett Architecture student presenting
Student using printer in Leeds Beckett Architecture Studio
Student in Leeds Beckett Architecture Studios using architecture software
Student in Leeds Beckett Architecture Studio
Student in Leeds Beckett Architecture Studios