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Guidance on Prescription Renewal Applications

Details of the process to renew prescription can be found in Sections 9 to 13 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.

Planning meeting

Institutions are strongly advised to have a planning meeting with ARB prior to submission of the 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.

Feedback received indicates that institutions find planning meetings extremely valuable when preparing applications for submission to ARB.

Request a planning meeting by emailing the Accreditation Team at

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.


Institutions must submit to ARB written notification of intention to renew prescription at least 12 months before the current period of prescription expires (e.g. if a qualification is prescribed until 30 September 2024, the institution’s notification of renewal must be submitted by 30 September 2023).

Details of the information and documents required as part of the notification can be found in Section 9 of the Procedures.

Application submission

Institutions must submit their renewal application and accompanying documentation within two months of the date of the notification.

The objectives, factors and questions against which renewal applications are scrutinised can be found in the Renewal 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 Renewal Application Form also includes guidance on the documentary evidence that ARB would normally expect to see as part of an application to renew prescription.

All applications must be submitted digitally to Each document submitted must be under 20MB in size and clearly labelled.

Qualification content

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 asked to provide information on how ARB’s guidance on fire and life safety design, and environmental sustainability is being implemented into the qualification(s). From September 2022 onwards, all prescription applications and annual monitoring submissions must include the appropriate Part 1 mapping / Part 2 mapping / Part 3 form completed for each qualification. This is in addition to the mapping of the Criteria mentioned above.

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.

In addition to the above, current Board policy requires that part-time qualifications should be at least one academic year longer than the full-time equivalent.

Quality assurance and review processes

Institutions must demonstrate that quality assurance processes and procedures are 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 report on its response to and any adjustments for the coronavirus pandemic; and 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 and will continue to 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 new prescription period being sought.

Staff:student ratios are also a helpful indicator of staffing provision.

Where student intake will change during the new period of prescription, the institution should clearly set out how it will staff and resource any change in student numbers. Progress should then be reported through subsequent annual monitoring submissions.