Professional Qualifications Directive - Architects Registration Board
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Guidance to be provided to develop and deliver architecture qualifications which comply with the Professional Qualifications Directive

The Board’s policy is that it should have reasonable assurance that prescribed qualifications will be accepted for listing under the PQD for the purpose of the automatic recognition of the qualifications of architects wishing to work in the EU.*

In order for the Board to have assurance that qualifications will meet the requirements of the Professional Qualifications Directive, institutions will generally need to clearly demonstrate that such qualifications meet the following:

Qualifications that are delivered over the timescale typically expected at Part 1 level and Part 2 level – i.e. three years at Part 1, and two years at Part 2 – must be demonstrated to have architecture as their principal component or in other words be principally in architecture. EU guidance and established practice is that this requires the architectural content of the relevant years of study to be at least 80 per cent, and approximately half of the total course time should be devoted to design. It is not necessary that each of the individual years are principally in architecture, as long as it can be evidenced that when all relevant years are taken together they can be shown to be principally in architecture.

Architecture qualifications that include an element of specialisation or related study can be delivered over a longer period than that normally expected of a typical Part 1 level or Part 2 level qualification, e.g. four years at Part 1 level or three years at Part 2 level. However, the Directive requires a minimum number of years of study principally in architecture. Therefore, where a Part 1 level qualification is delivered over four years, at least three of those years must be principally in architecture. It is not necessary that these years be consecutive and it is not necessary that each of the three years must individually be principally in architecture. It is only necessary that any three years – e.g. years 1, 2 and 4 – if taken together can be demonstrated to be principally in architecture. Similarly, where a Part 2 qualification is delivered over three years then any two years, if taken together, must be demonstrated to be principally in architecture. Again, it is not necessary that the years are consecutive or that each year individually is principally in architecture.

Those years being included to demonstrate years of study principally in architecture must also be used to demonstrate compliance with the relevant design requirements. For example in a four-year Part 1 dual award qualification, where years 1, 2 and 4 are used to demonstrate three years of study principally in architecture, years 1, 2 and 4 must also meet the requirement that design constitutes at least half of assessed work at Part 1 level. Similarly, where years 1 and 3 of a three-year Part 2 qualification are used to demonstrate two years of study principally in architecture, years 1 and 3 must also meet the 50 per cent design requirement.

All of the Board’s existing requirements will still apply, including the requirement that design is to constitute at least half of assessed work at Part 1 level and also at Part 2 level.

This guidance applies to new qualifications for which prescription is sought from 21 June 2018. Where institutions are considering making significant changes to existing qualifications – especially where there is an element of specialisation – institutions will be expected to demonstrate that the qualifications comply with the above guidance. ARB staff will provide further guidance on a case-by-case basis where changes to existing qualifications are proposed. Institutions are advised to contact ARB staff at the earliest opportunity where changes to existing qualifications are being considered.

*As with all policies, exceptional cases will be considered on their particular merits, but the reasons for an exception would likely need to be compelling. Additional conditions of prescription are likely to be required to ensure that students are properly informed as to any limits to the effect of prescription.