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Goodbye Parts 1,2 and 3: RIBA endorses shorter route to qualification

RIBA Council has backed plans to abandon Parts 1 to 3 and develop a new streamlined route to qualification which could take only five years

The institute’s elected council has signed up to a radical reform agenda as part of a two-year review of architectural education.

Key principles include abandoning the Part 1 to 3 system in favour of an ‘integrated award’ leading to registration.

The reform would mean upon completing university graduates would be immediately able to register as an architect.

The review follows major changes in the EU’s Professional Qualifications Directive which set the minimum requirement for qualification at either five years of university-level training or four years of study supplemented by a supervised professional traineeship of a minimum of two years.

It is understood the RIBA’s ‘integrated award’ could last five years although the required standards for qualification would be even higher than those now.

Other reforms endorsed by RIBA council today (5 December) include enhancing relationships between practice and academia and creating conversion courses allowing non-architect undergraduates degree holders to join the profession.

RIBA president Stephen Hodder said: ‘The principles for architectural education reform have been designed to encourage flexibility and address the reality that not all graduates wish to become registered architects.

‘We are working closely with members, RIBA accredited schools, government, the EU and all interested parties on the Education Review to ensure that the process of qualifying provides the best and most appropriate education, in the shortest possible time whilst maintaining quality.’

Roz Barr, RIBA vice president of education said: ‘Considering which framework will best suit the need of future generations of architecture students is a complex and sensitive issue that we are determined to resolve.

‘The RIBA Education Review will now seek a rigorous understanding of the details of this new legislation. A broader understanding of which framework offers the greatest flexibility for students, academics, and professional practice will emerge in the next six months, subject to clarifications currently being sought in Europe.’

Readers' comments (6)

  • Great and about time too!
    In the 30 years since I qualified I have seen a number of talented students and graduates 'crushed' by the weight of academic study.

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  • [logging-in via Construction Information Service]

    Any system that allows one to develop a practice in architecture based upon one's own merits rather than constrained by the available employment and 'in practice' learning opportunities is potentially fairer and more open to much needed innovation in the field.
    - Gordon Hulley

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  • One of the key future developments which this excellent move heralds is the ability for a broader potential range of routes into the profession. This is a clear statement of intent, and starts to enable a wider and more diverse pool of talent to gain access. This will without doubt slow the current backwards slide towards a white, male, well off practioner standard which has sadly developed throughout the recession. Our profession can only improve as a result.
    Jane Duncan RIBA Equality and Diversity Champion

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  • Congratulations to Stephen Hodder for getting this far. Hopefully he will be able to complete the exercise, including implementation, during his term as president. The proposals have the potential to (1) raise the status of an architecture degree beyond being purely vocational and graduates being seen by many as having failed if they do go into practice and (2) encourage a wider range of people into the profession and wider industry.
    Has the makings of the most significant presidency for decades, good luck !
    Mark Thompson, Ryder Architecture

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  • It is clear that there is no loss of Part 3 proposed after all. The opportunity for the four plus two model exists right now. It's just that schools of architecture like to do five plus two, and they are probably not going to change, because the good students don’t go to the shorter courses across the EU.

    In the five plus zero version, the proposal is apparently to bring the Part 3 into the end of the five years. There are two problems with that. One is that Part 3 is only relevant and valuable in the context of having the practical experience under your belt, which makes it materially different to the teaching of the same subjects at Parts 1 and 2. Surprisingly enough, students don't learn the valuable lessons about communication, context and professional engagement just by being talked at. The second problem is that all schools of architecture in the UK see Professional Studies as occupying a rather janitorial role, well away from what academic architecture is supposed to be. Therefore the five plus zero with the emphasis on Professional Studies would just produce what would be seen as the underclass architect, and that poor old prole wouldn't even have the street-wisdom and experience (that you can only develop outside of academia) necessary to defend his or her corner.

    With the pecking order of RIBA validation continuing to prioritise way above all else the concept and the drawn idea, as it will always do to satisfy the profession's ego, any school pushing the more professionally-based course will slide down the rankings into obscurity.

    Finally, and rather importantly, its all going to have to be agreed with ARB and the schools, both of whom have a vastly greater role in architectural education than RIBA Council.

    There is actually only one body that RIBA council really needs to consult to get all the answers from the horse's mouth, and that is APSAA. If this is all happening, we need to be at the head of the table because we are the only body with the real information. Every other version of consultation will be just so much nonsense.

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  • It's a shame this hasn't been put in place sooner as I hope to begin the course this year.....Frustrating!

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