Course specification and structure
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PCPSARC3 - Examination in Professional Practice in Architecture (RIBA 3)

Course Specification


Validation status Validated
Highest award Postgraduate Certificate Level Masters
Possible interim awards
Total credits for course 60
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Subject Area Architecture
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Part-time Evening 17 WEEKS  
Course leader Gordon MacLaren

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

This course is designed to enable a student to fulfil the criteria established by the RIBA/ ARB at Part 3 level, and to achieve the required threshold level of competence to enable them to be accepted onto the Register of Architects, administered by the Architects Registration Board.

The majority of the assessment coursework is text. Drafts of coursework text are continuously received and commented on by teaching staff and self-selecting study groups are encouraged. Previous exam papers and high-scoring exam paper answers are made available to students on the course.

The course allows students to work at their own pace and does not force submission too early from those who need longer to reflect upon and write-up their coursework, or who are aware of the critical value of their current experience in practice and do not wish to foreshorten it arbitrarily before committing to a viva voce examination.

Course aims

The course seeks to promote the development of professional ability as an ‘Architect’ as defined by the ARB in the UK and in line with EU directives on member states’ professional recognition. Ability can be, and is, defined contractually as a ‘duty of care’ - specifically ‘skill’ and ‘care’ and ‘diligence’ in conformity with the normal standards of the architect's profession. Architects also advertise a “Duty to Advise’ in the standard RIBA appointment documentation. Such skill and care and diligence and circumspection is required of a student passing the course, alongside the demonstration of a propensity to avoid serious professional incompetence and misconduct - the primary grounds for reprimand or de-registration by the ARB.

At the beginning of a course a student should have developed significant ability and competence in their earlier education and their work in practice. This ability and competence, alongside related professional skills will be extended through the varied methods of delivery and examination, utilised in relation to the curriculum.

These are:

• the development of documentary coursework including the retrospective evaluation of work experience via the PEDR;

• the development of documentary coursework including the prospective evaluation of work and educational experience via the Statement of Experience and Intent;

• the development of documentary coursework including a comprehensive Case Study of an actualised project;

• two written, scenario-based examination papers;

• a viva voce examination by peers that is designed to test written and oral communication skills under interrogation which also provides the examiners with an opportunity to explore the student's formal and experiential knowledge in depth.

The course is therefore conceived as a retrospective check on the functional ability, knowledge and aims of the examination students, and prospectively, as an opportunity for the acquisition of additional skills and greater formal and experiential knowledge and understanding.

The course structure is based on the assumption that the professional knowledge employed by good architects is not necessarily reducible to 'added value', that it can be developed and shared through action and interaction and that this knowledge can also be demonstrated and assessed discursively and in the forms of both written and graphic evidence. This evidence is seen as both retrospective and prospective.

The RIBA/ ARB jointly published the criteria for the course in 2011. These five criteria are set out in the module specification and cannot sensibly be paraphrased. It may nevertheless be helpful to affirm that, on this course, ‘care’ is conceived as an imaginative ability to perceive the likelihood of unwanted outcomes and to take action, and not merely to issue caveats, to prevent the occurrence of unwanted outcomes. In this sense ‘care’, like design ‘skill’, requires a capacity to view outcomes and processes holistically. Diligence is conceived of as the capacity to meet external time constraints and to seek solutions to problems in preference to seeking excuses for failure.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course the student will:

1. be qualified to practice as a registered architect in the EU without bringing the profession into disrepute (LO1);

2. have mastered the joint RIBA/ ARB criteria (LO2);

3. have a set of skills that are developed and made manifest throughout the course and that are transferable since they are communicative, managerial, legal, political, ethical, philosophical, epistemological and numerical (LO3).

Course learning outcomes / Module cross reference

Module Title Module Code

RIBA 3 AR7P46 Learning Outcomes LO1 LO2 LO3

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Architecture 2010

Assessment strategy

Examinations begin with the formal submission of the three coursework elements and the issue of the scenario for the two, written scenario-based papers. Following the two written examinations, the documentary submissions are assessed internally by the course team. These documentary submissions including the two exam papers are also read and subsequently assessed through viva voce examination by independent examiners. Each student is seen by two independent examiners, at least one of whom will be from a list approved by the RIBA. The viva voce examination is understood as an assessment by one’s peers and is seen as the final gateway to registration. It delivers a mark in relation to each of the four documentary assessment components. The viva voce element of each assessment component must achieve a minimum mark of 50% from the viva voce examiners for that component to be passed, regardless of the internal mark. In addition, the aggregate internal and viva voce mark for a documentary submission must be 50% or more to achieve a pass overall. Coursework or written exam elements that are passed in an initial overall fail may be carried unaltered to a subsequent reassessment.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

All students on this course are employed in professional practice

Course specific regulations

Course registration time 6-24 months

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

Upon successful completion of this course and following subsequent registration by the Architects Registration Board, graduates may use the protected title ‘Architect’, in accordance with The Architects Act 1997, which also enables them to set up their own architectural practice.

Career opportunities

RIBA Part 3 and subsequent registration with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) allow you to practice with the title of architect in the United Kingdom and European community.

Entry requirements

You will be required to have:

  • RIBA Part 1 and Part 2 exemption by examination at a recognised UK or Eire school, or obtained RIBA or ARB Part 1 and Part 2 exemption by interview.
  • documentary evidence of practical experience to conform with the RIBA Practical Training Scheme - 24 months of experience in total is required to sit the part 3 examination, of which 12 months minimum should be undertaken in the EEA, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man under the direct supervision of an architect. Further guidance is available on the RIBA website

Applicants who have completed their qualifications outside of the UK or Eire should contact the ARB to obtain confirmation of their eligibility to take the Part 3 Exam.

In cases where exemption from the full year of post-part 2 training is required, evidence of protracted experience at high levels of responsibility must be submitted, sufficient to allow the course tutor to endorse an application for exemption to the RIBA's Co-ordinator for Practical Training.

Applicants are requested to include a personal statement as part of the initial application form and to upload a copy of the award certificate/transcripts for both their Part 1 and Part 2 qualifications. Also, a current CV and employer reference.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2013/14 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 03 Sep 2013 Last validation date 03 Sep 2013  
Sources of funding HE FUNDING COUNCIL FOR ENGLAND
JACS codes K100 (Architecture): 100%
Route code PSARC3

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR7P46 RIBA 3 Core 60        

Stage 1 Level 07 February start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR7P46 RIBA 3 Core 60 CITY SPR WED EV