Details of the process to apply for prescription of a new qualification (not currently or previously prescribed) can be found in Sections 1 to 8 of the Procedures for the Prescription of Qualifications (the Procedures), along with a flow chart in Appendix 1.
The following guidance is not exhaustive. Please refer to the associated pages and documents linked to below for more details.
Institutions must request a planning meeting with ARB prior to submission of an application. During the meeting, we will talk through the prescription process and objectives, and provide guidance on expected evidence and what the institution will need to demonstrate in its application.
Request a planning meeting by emailing the Accreditation Team at Qualifications@arb.org.uk.
Planning meetings are typically with one or more of ARB’s Accreditation Team; and should be attended by representatives of the institution who will be involved in the compilation and submission of the application. This normally includes the Head of School/Architecture and a representative from the Quality Assurance Department. You may also wish to invite course leaders and other colleagues who will be involved in the application process.
N.B. It is recommended that institutions that are new to ARB (i.e. that do not offer any prescribed qualifications) request a meeting at an earlier stage; so the Accreditation Team can offer guidance on the Board’s requirements when the institution is considering or developing a new qualification.
Institutions must submit to ARB written notification of intention to apply for prescription at least 12 months before the institution would like prescription to start (e.g. if the institution would like prescription to begin on 1 September 2024, the institution’s notification must be submitted by 1 September 2023). Prescription must be in place at the point of graduation.
Details of the information and documents required as part of the notification can be found in Section 1 of the Procedures.
Institutions must submit their application and accompanying documentation within two months of the date of the notification.
The objectives, factors and questions against which applications are scrutinised can be found in the New Application Form – these relate to qualification content, quality assurance and review processes, and resources. Institutions should use these objectives, factors and questions as an explicit guide as to the information that should be submitted as part of an application for prescription.
The New Application Form also includes guidance on the documentary evidence that ARB would normally expect to see as part of an application for prescription.
All applications must be submitted digitally to Qualifications@arb.org.uk. Each document submitted must be under 20MB in size and clearly labelled.
Institutions must demonstrate that the learning outcomes and associated assessments of each qualification will ensure that all successful graduates have met all of ARB’s Criteria at the relevant level (Part 1, 2 or 3). Applications must include module descriptors and a mapping document for each qualification to evidence this.
- Institutions should use the relevant Part 1 mapping template and Part 2 mapping template to show how the General Criteria, sub-Criteria and Graduate Attributes are met.
- For Part 3 qualifications, institutions must provide a mapping document that shows how the Professional Criteria within the five overarching paragraphs are satisfied (the numbered subsections are indicative guidance, and do not form part of the Part 3 Professional Criteria). Due to the extent of variability of these qualifications, there is no Part 3 mapping template.
Learning outcomes that clearly reflect the wording of the Criteria provides greater assurance that graduates will have met all of the Criteria at the relevant level.
Institutions are additionally asked to provide information on how ARB’s guidance on fire and life safety design, and sustainability is being/will be incorporated into the qualification(s).
Parts 1 and 2 qualifications must also comply with the requirements of the Professional Qualifications Directive (PQD) relating to duration of study, and proportion of architecture content and assessed design. Although the UK has left the EU, it is still the Board’s policy that qualifications should continue to meet the requirements of the Professional Qualifications Directive.
Quality assurance and review processes
Institutions must demonstrate that quality assurance processes and procedures are (or will be) in place to ensure that all successful graduates have met all of ARB’s Criteria at the relevant level. For instance:
- Second marking or moderation should be in place;
- It is normally expected that compensation is not permitted for modules or assessments within modules that are mapped to ARB’s Criteria;
- Where direct entry and/or a period of study abroad is available, that there are robust mechanisms in place to ensure that any learning outcomes from missed modules are still fully met.
ARB expects that the qualification(s) and institution are subject to regular internal and external review and audit – e.g. internal annual monitoring, external examination, periodic review/revalidation – details and recent reports should be supplied as part of the application.
In respect of external examiners, applications should include CVs, external examiner handbook(s), and criteria and process for their appointment. While there are no explicit requisites, it is expected that external examiners have knowledge of ARB’s Criteria and requirements, and have experience relevant to their making academic judgements in relation to student attainment of the Criteria. In (or accompanying) their annual reports, it is expected that each external examiner will explicitly confirm (based on the sample seen, where appropriate) whether or not all students that received that qualification had met ARB’s Criteria at the relevant level.
Each institution must also provide evidence of the policies and mechanisms (applicable to staff and students) in place to ensure compliance with equality and diversity legislation and responsibilities.
Institutions must demonstrate that it has (or will have) resources in place that will ensure that all students undertaking the qualification(s) will meet all of ARB’s Criteria at the relevant level.
Information expected as part of an application includes:
- Staffing – CVs of core staff delivering the qualification(s), a summary of all staff involved with the qualification(s) (core, administrative, hourly paid/visiting lecturers – use the Staff List Template), staff review and development mechanisms;
- A summary of the teaching and studio space, physical resources and IT;
- Projected student numbers for each year of the period of prescription being sought.
Staff:student ratios are also a helpful indicator of staffing provision.
Where an application is submitted before all anticipated student cohorts, staff and resources are in place, the institution should clearly set out its future recruitment and physical resourcing plans. The institution will be expected to report on progress against these plans as part of annual monitoring submissions (should the Board prescribe).
Institutions should note that ARB is required to consult – typically for a period of three months – before prescribing any new qualification for the first time (regardless of whether the institution already delivers prescribed qualifications). The consultation process is set out in Section 5 of the Procedures.