We were astonished to read that 'the UK's first degree in both architecture and planning' may soon be given approval by ARB and RIBA (AJ 26.10.00). A dual degree in architecture and town planning has been running at the University Sheffield for many years with the full approval of the RIBA, ARCUK and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). This course takes students right through RIBA Parts 1 and 2 and has RTPI exemption.Students study for the normal five years but continue over the final summer.
In addition Sheffield offers a dual degree over four years in structural engineering and architecture fully recognised by the Institute of Structural Engineers and by RIBA and ARB to Part 1. A new degree has begun this year in Architecture and Landscape with recognition being sought from RIBA/ARB and the Landscape Institute.
Dual professional degrees suit some but not all students and inevitably make considerable demands. They are thus probably only suitable for the most dedicated and able.
For this reason it also seems very important that they are hosted jointly by existing experienced departments specialising in the subjects offered for study in order to maintain the highest quality in each subject. In such a situation we also find the added benefit of the dual students working with the cohorts of single honours students to further spread the interdisciplinary message.
Professor Bryan Lawson, dean, Faculty of Architectural Studies, University of Sheffield