Course specification and structure
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APMAAEPP - Architecture Apprenticeship (RIBA 2 and 3) - MArch (RIBA 2), PG Cert (RIBA 3)

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Master of Architecture Level Masters
Possible interim awards Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate
Total credits for course 300
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Subject Area Architecture
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Part-time 4 YEARS 6 YEARS
Course leader  

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

The Architecture Apprenticeship is fully integrated with our long established and highly regarded RIBA 2 and RIBA 3 courses. Successful completion of the Architecture Apprenticeship will lead to the award of a MArch Architecture (RIBA 2) and the Postgraduate Certificate in in Professional Practice in Architecture (RIBA 3).
The course comprises three years of teaching as part of our RIBA Part 2 MArch programme followed by an intensive Part 3 lecture series prior to taking the End Point Assessment in the fourth year.

As a London-based institution with a strong track record of enabling access into the profession and close working relationships with London based architectural practices, the school of Art architecture and Design is well placed to offer students the Apprenticeship Standard. In fact, we have already established numerous architecture practices who have expressed commitment to support students as apprentices.

Our existing provision is mapped to the same professional criteria as the Apprenticeship Standard i.e. Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) validation, Architects’ Registration Board (ARB) prescription and our model of teaching based on practitioner-led units is popular with post graduate students. Many of these students already work part-time in London-based practices whilst on our RIBA 2 course and those on our RIBA 3 course are required to be in full-time employment. Indeed, a number of our RIBA 2 students are funded already by the employers so the funding available through the apprenticeship route may make studying through this route more attractive than our full-time or part-time offer. The close mapping of the Apprenticeship Standard to our existing provision means that the apprentices are a part of our regular course cohorts and thus benefit from many years of experience in architectural education. Our location in Aldgate, where many architectural practices are already based, is close to central and east London locations, the home of the majority of London-based practices.

Alignment with University Strategy
A considerable benefit of the apprenticeship model is its potential to significantly widen access and participation to the profession of architecture by reducing the financial burden on students whilst complimenting their academic education with applied industry-based experience.

Meeting Industry Demand
The advantages of the Architecture Apprenticeship to industry and to the students concerned are many. By supporting the professional development of their graduate staff, sponsor practices have the benefit of influencing and shaping their apprentice’s skills and professional experience such that their education match directly, the needs and expectations of the practice. For the student, it means that they learn in both practice and academic environments, with the potential of participating in a greater alignment of both.

Course aims

The course aims of the Architecture Apprenticeship are to offer an alternative route to professional accreditation that combine curriculum incorporating RIBA part 2 and RIBA part 3 syllabi with elements of practice employment-based learning.

Architecture Apprentices won’t have to pay tuition fees and will earn a salary from their practice employer for the duration, widening access and participation in field of architecture. Studying part-time over four years and culminating in an intensive period of lectures and an end point assessment, students will receive specialist training and skills required to achieve RIBA Part 2 and Part 3 accreditation and ARB registration as professional architect.

The course will offer a uniquely rich cultural experience being taught in our central London location, in Aldgate. This will include access to all our art and design facilities including textiles, ceramics, furniture making, printing, digital reproduction, film-making/photography equipment, workshops and technicians as well as close proximity to the majority of London-based architectural practices, many of whom seek to employ apprentices.

Students will qualify with RIBA Part 2 and RIBA Part 3 professional architectural training and registration as an architect with ARB by combining academic study with practice-based employment.
The learning pathway will deliver;
Design Education
A high quality design-based education which allows a student to:
1. understand the requirements of, and develop methods of engagement with, building users and procurers, in order to develop an appropriate and relevant brief which takes into account social, political, economic, ethical and cultural issues;
2. develop a sophisticated design process, which answers the requirements of the brief and generates a clear and precise conceptual rationale, against which design proposals can be tested;
3. develop a complex design scheme which is clear about how it can be realised technically, politically, economically and over time, and which integrates knowledge gained in the other key areas of the curriculum below.

Design, Technology and Environment
Demonstrated within a design proposal, an ability to integrate knowledge of:
1. structural, constructional and material strategies within the design and the construction techniques and processes necessary to realise the design;
2. principles of visual, acoustic and thermal environments, and relationship to climate;
3. relationship between the design and the wider environment in terms of energy consumption, sustainability and ethical development issues;
4. provision and integration of building services.

Practice, Profession and Context
Demonstrating the full range of responsibilities, within the remit of the professional architect, in terms of:
1. legal, statutory, economic, management ethical, social and political obligations;
2. understanding of methods of procurement and delivery of architectural projects;
3. development of methods of negotiation and team working with all individuals encountered within the practice of architecture; from members of the user group, to client, to specialist consultant, to contractor;
4. understanding of the histories and theories of architecture, and urbanism that guide and support the design;
5. development of an attitude toward these many and various obligations within project design work and integrate this knowledge into the design proposals.

Deliver a learning context that sustains and develops an intellectual culture of debate, linking wider issues to design decisions:
1. to provide a lively and energetic environment which encourages students to get involved with and contribute to their subject through events, exhibitions, visiting individuals and groups, action research and international links;
2. to emphasise socially committed design practices in design project work and to encourage students to engage with the ethical dimensions of architecture, through the School’s strong links with the local area and community.

Professional Ability, Awareness, Understanding and Knowledge
Building on the significant ability and competence in their earlier education and their work in practice, the course seeks to promote the development of professional ‘Architect’ as defined by the ARB in the UK and in line with EU directives on member states’ professional recognition. Ability 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.

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 professional experience development record (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.

Course learning outcomes

The course learning pathway combines part-time study of existing modules taught on our RIBA 2 and RIBA 3 courses but delivered through a combination of learning with the University and in industry.
As a professional course, learning outcomes for the Architecture Apprenticeship course reflect and combine the learning requirements of the RIBA 2 and RIBA 3 courses stipulated by Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and prescribed by the Architects Registration Board (ARB).
The course learning outcomes also incorporate all key knowledge skills and behaviours (KSBs) set out in the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) framework for Architecture. These KSBs are mapped in the AQD040-Apprenticeships-Mapping-Sheet.

Upon completion of this course, graduate apprentices will be able to:
1. generate complex design proposals showing understanding of current architectural issues, originality in the application of subject knowledge and, where appropriate, to test new hypotheses and speculations;

2. evaluate and apply a comprehensive range of visual, oral and written media to test, analyse, critically appraise and explain design proposals;

3. evaluate materials, processes, technologies and techniques that apply to complex architectural designs and building construction, and to integrate these into practicable design proposals;

4. demonstrate a critical understanding of how knowledge is advanced through research to produce clear, logically argued and original written work relating to architectural culture, theory and design;

5. demonstrate an understanding of the context of the architect and the construction industry, including the architect’s role in the processes of procurement and building production, and under legislation;

6. demonstrate problem solving skills, professional judgment, and ability to take the initiative and make appropriate decisions in complex and unpredictable circumstances;

7. demonstrate an ability to identify individual learning needs and understand the personal responsibility required to prepare for qualification as an architect;

8. demonstrate 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;

9. be qualified to practice as a registered architect in the EU without bringing the profession into disrepute;

10. demonstrate ability to produce drawings and 3D models using relevant software including Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Building Information Modelling (BIM).

Principle QAA benchmark statements

QAA Architecture Benchmark Statement – Architecture (2020)

Assessment strategy

The Architecture Apprenticeship learning pathway is an amalgamation of the three-year, part-time 240-credit Masters (M) level course and the part-time 60-credit Part 3 professional course with a unique assessment pathway specific to the Architecture Apprenticeship:
● The Gateway for the final Architecture Apprenticeship award is passed once two of the coursework elements for the Part 3 have been submitted; the Professional Experience Development Record (PEDR) and professional CV. This triggers the 6 month window prior to the End Point Assessment gateway (EPA). No credits are awarded for this submission but the coursework pass marks trigger the second set of submissions and the submission of the PEDR ensures that the correct amount of work experience will have been undertaken prior to the viva voce.
● The full 60 credits of the Part 3 qualification are awarded upon successful completion of the end-point assessment (EPA). Apprentices cannot be awarded their Part 3 qualification without passing their EPA.

Assessment methods include:
● portfolio assessment and presentation;
● coursework including reflective diaries and technical reports;
● dissertation;
● End Point Assessment (EPA) gateway comprising:
1. case study report supported by a design challenge;
2. professional interview / viva voce supported by a career appraisal.

The assessment of each stage of the course breaks down as follows:


Module assessments normally take place on completion of the module. The timetable of assessments is published at the beginning of each academic year, allowing students to plan their time and set their priorities. The subject studies modules and design studies modules have different forms of assessment.
The design studies modules (AR7030, AR7021, AR7P24 and AR7P25) are assessed through the portfolio of design work, completed within the studio unit teaching group. The portfolio is a graphically-based academic document, which contains a variety of different types of work arranged in projects. The portfolio is organised by the student, to demonstrate their learning processes and their achievements. Submissions are made up of drawings, models, photographic work, reproductions, CAD work, video, written text, reports and other media or techniques as appropriate.
All subject studies modules (technology, history and theory, and option modules) and components of modules are assessed in the first instance by the module tutors. Subject studies modules and their components are second marked by one of the subject team and the assessments are made available, to the External Examiners, following University procedures.
All taught modules are marked on a percentage scale. Masters level modules (Level 7) have a pass/ fail threshold of 50%. Based on the final aggregate of average percentage results, the MArch Architecture (RIBA 2) awards are classified as: Pass (50 – 59.9%), Pass with Merit (60 –69.9%), or Pass with Distinction (70% plus).
The course also offers an exit awards of Postgraduate Certificate in Architecture, for students who achieve 60 M level credits and Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture for students who achieve 120 M level credits but do not wish to continue the course.


This professional component is split into two assessment points within the existing 60-credit module:
Once the Part 2 award has been made and PEDR and extended CV assessment has been undertaken, this triggers the Gateway to the start of the 6 months prior to the EPA. The EPA represents the final stage of assessment on the apprentice’s learning journey and is comprised of two forms of assessment totalling the full 60 credits:
● Professional Interview supported by a Career Appraisal;
● Case Study Report supported by a Design Challenge.

Career Appraisal: 4000 word report (excl. appendices) submitted to the university 6 months prior to the EPA and before the professional interview as both PDF and hard copies. The report is a written text with each chapter or section populated with relevant drawings, photographs, graphics and visuals setting out how the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) stipulated in the learning outcomes have been met. This can be updated with any new relevant information and re-submitted with the Case Study prior to the Viva Voce.
Professional Interview: 1 hour (+/-10%) interview with 2 external independent assessors designed to test an apprentice’s ability to evaluate, communicate and reflect how the KSBs have been achieved, applied and how the student has learnt from experience during practice-employment. This takes place within the final 2 weeks of the EPA.
Design Challenge: the challenge is set within the workplace and begins after the EPA gateway start date and must be agreed within 4 weeks of the start date jointly between the apprentice, employer and the university. The design challenge must meet the following criteria:
● be achievable in the time scale of the EPA (6 months / 26 weeks) and of an appropriate scale and complexity to facilitate demonstration of the KSB set out in the course learning outcomes;
● enable sufficient application of CAD, BIM and 3D model-making skills;
● the apprentice must demonstrate sufficient integration of core requirements such as accessibility, structural integration and application of local/national planning requirements;
● the challenge must enable an apprentice to analyse, prioritise and respond creatively to a brief, selecting appropriate materials and technologies to facilitate the project;
● demonstrate compliance with legal, contractual, regulatory, financial aspects of the profession:
● demonstrate application of problem solving, professional management and project management skills that respond to project complexities and challenges appropriate to the level of study.

Case Study Report: 10,000 word text (excl. appendices) designed to test an apprentice’s ability to explain how relevant KSBs have been met through the ‘Design Challenge’ process. This can also include more than one case study to highlight different where experience on different projects have helped meet the criteria.

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

Integral to the Architecture Apprenticeship programme is the combination of practical experience in an architectural practice and academic training. For the weeks in which there is no scheduled teaching the students will be engaged in self-directed learning activities coordinated by agreement with the university and the employer. This might involve the compiling of documents related to design research or in research activities undertaken in our learning centre in preparation for written modules. Apprentices will spend a minimum of 20% of their time, or 1 day per week in formal ‘off-the-job’ training, studying at the University supported by architectural practice based experience for the remaining 3 - 3.5 days per week and any time outside of the academic calendar.
The Architecture Apprenticeship programme runs for a duration of 4 years consisting of part-time study on the MArch Architecture (RIBA 2) and Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice in Architecture Part 3 courses and practice based working hours beyond this academic component.
Upon award of the MArch Architecture (RIBA 2) and having met the academic and experiential requirements of the Part 3 award, a 6-month period of practice-based preparation for an end point assessment (EPA) represents the final stage of work-based learning (see course structure diagram).

Course specific regulations

The Apprenticeship route only offers Part-time mode of study.

The course is designed to address the regulatory structures of London Metropolitan University alongside the Revised Criteria for Validation issued jointly by the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architects Registration Board in 2016.
Following a 3-year undergraduate degree, it makes a distinction between the first year of postgraduate study (year 1), and the second (year 2) of the 240-credit Master of Architecture course.

In order to progress from the first to the second year of the course the student must pass previous year’s design modules: i.e. modules AR7021 and AR7030 are pre-requisite for progression to modules AR7P24 and AR7P25.
Student apprentices without English and Maths at Level 2 on entry will need to achieve that level before taking their end-point assessment (EPA).

Course Completion
Level 7: in order to qualify for the award of MArch Architecture (RIBA 2) and exemption from RIBA Part 2, students must have completed and passed each Level 7 module at 50% or above. Exemption from RIBA Part 2 is also a pre-requisite apprentices progressing to the End Point Assessment Gateway (EPA).

Modules required for interim awards

Postgraduate Certificate in Architecture (60 credits):
AR7021 Design Level 4: Process and Proposal (20) and AR7030 Design Level 4: Subject and Concept (20) plus either AR7023 Advocacy (20) or a spring semester Option Module (AR7077, AR7049, AR7071, AR7051, AR7004) (20).
Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture (120 credits):
AR7021 Design Level 4: Process and Proposal (20) and AR7030 Design Level 4: Subject and Concept (20), at least one of either AR7023 Advocacy (20), AR7022 Applied Technology in Architecture (40) or a spring semester Option Module (AR7077, AR7049, AR7071, AR7051, AR7004) (20), plus any other modules adding up to 120 credits in total.
MArch Architecture (RIBA 2) (240 credits):
AR7021 Design Level 4: Process and Proposal (20) and AR7030 Design Level 4: Subject and Concept (20), AR7023 Advocacy (20), AR7022 Applied Technology in Architecture (40), a spring semester option module (AR7077, AR7049, AR7071, AR7051, AR7004) (20), AR7P24 Design Thesis Project: Specialisation and Proposition (40), AR7P25 Design Thesis Project: Resolution (40), AR7026 Integrated Design Study (20) plus one module autumn semester option module (AR7001, AR7002, AR7070, AR7044, AR7003, AR7043, AR7047) (20).

Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice in Architecture (Part 3):
60 credits on completion of EPA (60 credits total) Module AR7P47

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

Personal Development Planning (PDP) and periods of self-reflective study are integral to the Architecture Apprenticeship course and are implemented initially at RIBA part 2 through a wide range of coursework including reflective diaries and technical reports (IDS AR7026), studio/unit based tutorials and seminars (AR7P24), and individual choice of option modules that allow students to develop critically reflective research tailored to their interests.

These experiences are then extended in the RIBA 3 module of the course through:

• engaging and interactive evening lectures by experts in developing and making explicit the knowledge, judgement, skill, care and diligence necessary to pass RIBA part 3 by viva voce examination including ad-hoc revision lectures on subjects of the cohort’s choosing;

• self-selected study groups focussed on diversity of experience in practice.

As an holistic single module, the coursework and assessment for RIBA 3 are seen as an integrated process designed to interrelate the many abilities and broad knowledge required of successful apprentices. Students are expected to continuously re-evaluate their coursework and experience in practice and in relation to the assessment criteria and assessment modes. Lectures, seminars and email tutorials are all concurrent and continuous.

Other external links providing expertise and experience

Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Architect (2018)

Career, employability and opportunities for continuing professional development

The Architecture Apprenticeship is validated by RIBA and prescribed by ARB. As such this course offers a route to exemption from RIBA Parts 2 and 3 that is primarily work-placement based, offering excellent continued employment prospects upon graduation.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an embedded component of the course, with students maintaining a Professional Experience and Development Record (PEDR) as a core part of demonstrating their competence at the career appraisal and professional interview. Demonstration of competence also extends into practice after graduation, with on-going competency a pre-requisite for annual re-registration to the ARB register and RIBA chartered membership. CPD and annual professional competency as a registered architect is a requirement of professional status associated with the protected title of ‘Architect’.
As an ARB registered architect, graduates may use the protected title ‘Architect’, in accordance with The Architects Act 1997, which enables them to set up their own architectural practice.

Career opportunities

Completion of the Architect Apprenticeship Standard and subsequent registration with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) allows the graduate to practise with the title of Architect in the United Kingdom and European community.

Entry requirements

The apprentice will be required to have:

  • a good degree in architecture
  • passed RIBA / ARB Part 1
  • GCSE Maths and English at grade C/4, or equivalent Level 2 qualification (you'll be asked to evidence your grade with a certificate)
  • the ability to demonstrate talent as a designer and the motivation to complete the course successfully
  • already be employed as an apprentice at an architectural practice
  • agreed the terms of this apprenticeship with their employer prior to applying

For those with an Education Health and Care plan (EHC) or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and Maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. For those for whom British Sign Language is their primary language, British Sign Language qualifications are accepted as an alternative to English qualifications.

Selected candidates are asked to attend an interview with their portfolio, which should include a wide range of work and demonstrate a wide range of skills.

Accelerated Learning option

Relevant prior qualifications or experience will be considered individually for each apprentice applicant. Where these exist, the course will be adapted so that this work does not need to be repeated. This may result in the duration and price of the course being reduced.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2020/21 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 25 Nov 2020 Last validation date 25 Nov 2020  
Sources of funding
JACS codes 100122 (architecture): 100%
Route code MAAEPP

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR7021 Design Level 4 Process and Proposal Core 20 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
AR7022 Applied Technology in Architecture Core 40 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
AR7030 Design Level 4 Subject and Context Core 20 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM

Stage 2 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR7P24 Design Thesis Project: Specialisation and Propo... Core 40 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
AR7P25 Design Thesis Project: Resolution Core 40 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM

Stage 3 Level 07 Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR7023 Advocacy: Practice Beyond Aesthetics Core 20        
AR7026 Integrated Design Study Core 20        
AR7P24 Design Thesis Project: Specialisation and Propo... Core 40        
AR7P25 Design Thesis Project: Resolution Core 40        
AR7001 Histories Option 20        
AR7002 Theories Option 20        
AR7003 Interpretation  Option 20        
AR7004 Cinema and the City Option 20        
AR7006 Forgetting of Air Option 20        
AR7007 Poetry and Architecture Option 20        
AR7008 The Question of Technology  Option 20        
AR7043 Advanced Digital Design Techniques Option 20        
AR7044 Critical Transformations Option 20        
AR7045 Concepts of Space Option 20        
AR7047 Digital Design Techniques Option 20        
AR7049 The Problem of Irony Option 20        
AR7051 Writing About Architecture Option 20        
AR7061 The Soundscape of Modernity Option 20        
AR7070 Planning and Urban Theory Option 20        
AR7071 Economics of Place Option 20        

Stage 4 Level 07 Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
AR7P47 RIBA 3 For Apprentices Core 60