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Planning on the agenda for first ever joint degree

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The UK's first degree in both architecture and planning is to be given the thumbs up by the profession's education watchdog before the end of the year.

Academics at the University of the West of England (UWE) this week revealed that assessors have given a clean bill of health to its innovative four-year undergraduate course which spans both disciplines. In the next two months it is expected to receive the full backing of the Architects Registration Board and the RIBA.

The move will herald the creation of the UK's 36th school of architecture.Around 35 students are expected to complete the UWE course each year.

The course qualifies graduates for RIBA Part 1 status and provides the academic qualifications to be a planner.

To extend the idea, course leaders are also planning a joint Part 2 course.

'I think this will put pressure on architects to consider their role more carefully, ' said the UWE's h e ad o f school, Richard Parnaby. 'The architecture and planning professions have moved apart since the '60s and the notion of the architect-planner had virtually disappeared.' He said that the course will improve planners' 'lack of confidence' in their design skills.

Other multidisciplinary courses are also in the pipeline. The University of Northumbria in Newcastle and the University of Leeds are piloting undergraduate degrees in architecture and management, and architecture and engineering respectively. Both courses are expected to be validated in 2001.

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