How to become an architect

Thinking of becoming an architect? Find out more about the steps you'll need to take, and how our Architecture course could fit into your journey.

Last reviewed and updated: 23 January 2024

Anyone wanting to become an architect in the UK is required to hold qualifications specified by the Architects Registration Board (ARB), referred to as Parts 1, 2 and 3. Holding these qualifications also allows you to enter the Register of Architects held by the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

  • Part 1 is usually a BSc or BA in Architecture
  • Part 2 is usually a Master’s in Architecture
  • Part 3 is usually a Postgraduate Certificate and qualifying exam

In addition to these three qualifications, you’ll need to complete a minimum of two years professional experience.

Part 1: BA (Hons) Architecture

The first step towards becoming an architect is to complete a three year degree before undertaking a year of professional experience. Our BA (Hons) Architecture is prescribed by the ARB and can form your Part 1.

While the optional placement year available on our course does not count towards the professional experience requirement, it does provide you with the opportunity to identify, apply for and secure professional experience. It could also be a great way to find somewhere you’d like to complete your additional professional experience to meet the Part 1 requirement.

RIBA encourages students to gain experience either under the supervision of an architect or another qualified construction industry professional.

Part 2: Master’s in Architecture

The purpose of Part 2 is to provide you with enhanced architectural knowledge and project complexity, and is often met by completing a two-year full-time university degree. The name of the award varies across providers, such as BArch, Diploma, MArch.

You don’t have to complete this degree at the same institution where you completed Part One (your undergraduate degree), so you could choose to study Architecture at Bath Spa before applying to a Master’s course elsewhere.

During this time there may also be opportunities for you to carry out specialist study and research, either here in the UK or abroad.

Additional practical experience

24 months' experience in total is required to sit the Part 3 examination, with a minimum of 12 months undertaken in the European Economic Area (EEA), Channel Islands or the Isle of Man under the direct supervision of an architect.

Part 3: Professional Diploma and qualifying exam

This final stage in the process of qualifying as an architect in the UK is the formal qualifying exam. To qualify, you'll be assessed on the following elements:

  • 24 months of practical experience entered on the Professional Experience and Development Record (PEDR)
  • Professional CV and career evaluation
  • Case study
  • Written examination
  • Final oral examination.

After you’ve completed all three parts, you can apply to register as an architect with the ARB. The title 'architect' is protected by law, so people working with them can always be sure they’re dealing with a properly qualified architect. 

At this point, you can also choose to become a Chartered Member of the RIBA. Want to know more? Visit the RIBA website.

Tomorrow's architects

The ARB are proposing to change routes to becoming an architect; this is something that's under development. For more information, please visit the ARB website

Image: Thermae Bath Spa building by Kristin Doern

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.



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