MArch / PGDip

Level 7 Architect Degree Apprenticeship

MArch Architecture student work exhibited at the NTU Degree Show
  • Level(s) of study: Postgraduate taught
  • Study mode(s): Part-time
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: September 2019
  • Course duration: Four years part-time

This course is designed to be the next step for professionals aiming to achieve postgraduate qualifications equivalent to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Parts 2 and 3, whilst continuing to gain relevant experience in practice.

Who is this route suitable for?

  • RIBA Part 1 qualified architectural assistants looking to obtain their RIBA Parts 2 and 3 qualifications.
  • Those whose employers have undertaken to support them as apprentices over the four years required to complete the Degree Apprenticeship course.

Why choose a Degree Apprenticeship at NTU?

  • Through new government funding, your employer will be responsible for apprenticeship course fees, meaning that you will not pay University tuition fees.
  • As well as gaining a degree, you'll also benefit from on-the-job training, provided by your employer, opening up early opportunities for career development and progression.
  • You'll have the added advantage of years of relevant work experience, while making industry connections along the way. This could enhance your future employability and boost your career progression.

Find out more information about Degree Apprenticeships at NTU, including advice for both apprentices and employers.

Course details

Students will be completing a part-time version of our MArch Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2) degree for the first three years of study to achieve the RIBA Part 2 qualification. Year four will then be spent undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma in Architectural Practice, which equates to the RIBA Part 3 qualification and completes your eligibility to register as an architect in the UK.

*This Level 7 Architect Degree Apprenticeship is subject to validation.

What you'll study

This first part of our Level 7 Architect Degree Apprenticeship course content is focused on four core strands:

  • developing your design and communication skills
  • extending your awareness and knowledge of the theory and socio-economic, historic and cultural factors affecting architectural design
  • advancing your appreciation of technology and construction methods
  • developing your knowledge of management, practise and law.

Together, this framework will build upon the skills and knowledge you'll have already gained, extending their ability to research, analyse, self-appraise, think critically, work in a team and provide constructive feedback.

Course structure

The first three years of this Degree Apprenticeship are operated as a part-time version of our existing RIBA Part 2 programme (leading to the award of a MArch degree qualification).

The required RIBA Part 3 learning is then developed via two modules taught and formally examined by NTU. Evidence of successful achievement of these elements (gathered in a portfolio) will qualify you to proceed to the ‘End-Point Assessment’ (EPA), in which independently appointed Professional Examiners will interview you about a) a career appraisal based upon your CV, portfolio and plans for the future, and b) a Case Study related to a design project in which you have been involved.

Upon successful completion of the EPA, NTU will award a Postgraduate Diploma in Architectural Practice and will notify a) the Architects Registration Board of your eligibility to register as an architect, and b) the RIBA to confirm your eligibility for election as a chartered member of the institute.

Throughout the programme, you'lll be required to maintain records of, and reflections upon, work-based experience – using forms devised by NTU as an equivalent to PEDR sheets (see www.pedr.co.uk).

The modules’ credit points are weighted based on the total time you can expect to spend studying the module content, both in terms of contact hours and non-contact hours.

Course overview

Module titleCredit pointsType of moduleYear

Architectural Technology and Construction Methods

20 creditsCoreYear 1

Vertical Studio I

20 creditsCoreYear 1

Intervening in the City

40 creditsCoreYear 1

Architectural Theory and Research Methods

20 creditsCoreYear 2

Management, Practice and Law

20 creditsCoreYear 2

Dissertation / Research Project

20 creditsCoreYear 2

Research Implementation*

20 creditsCoreYear 2

Vertical Studio II

20 creditsCoreYear 3

Design Thesis

60 creditsCoreYear 3

RIBA Part 3 Exam 1: Practice Management**

30 creditsCoreYear 4

RIBA Part 3 Exam 2: Project Management**

30 creditsCoreYear 4

Record of Practical Experience (RPE) sheets*

30 creditsCoreYear 4

EPA Preparation - Case Study: Design Challenge Report*

15 creditsCoreYear 4
EPA Preparation - Professional Interview: Career Appraisal*15 creditsCoreYear 4


*Work-based learning credits (80 total)

**Assessed via office-based exam

  • Year One

    Architectural Technology and Construction Methods

    20 credit points
    Total contact hours: 60
    Total non-contact hours: 160

    • Studied over the course of Year One, this module will equip you with wide-ranging knowledge of technological and constructional aspects of architectural practice and thinking. It addresses issues of construction, technology, environmental science, materials, components and systems, and the environmental strategies for, and impact of, specification choices and procurement.
    • You’ll be introduced to innovative and emergent technologies in architecture , and their relevance to design and thinking. You’ll consider issues relating to innovative structures and structural form, energy use in buildings and sustainable and low-carbon construction procurement and appropriate materials.
    • Where possible, you’ll visit live projects and sites to gain first-hand experience of the issues involved.

    Vertical Studio I

    20 credit points
    Total contact hours: 40
    Total non-contact hours: 160

    • The Vertical Studio module is shared with Year Two MArch Architecture students, creating a cohesive studio environment and encouraging peer-to-peer mentorship and support.
    • Working individually or as part of a small group, you will explore a complex technical condition with a focus on the relationship between context, structure, material, environment and users. You’ll apply relevant constructional, material and technological strategies, with knowledge supported and extended through other non-design modules studied, to develop a considered architectural response of appropriate complexity, producing visual, graphic and physical representations of your proposals.
    • You’ll communicate your concepts creatively, and learn to interrogate and critically appraise your own proposals, to a professional level.

    Intervening in the City

    40 credit points
    Total contact hours: 180
    Total non-contact hours: 220

    • This design studio module is the key design project of Year One and is based on the principle of ‘thinking and making.’
    • The project links interrelated elements relevant to architectural study and practice, and draws from across your first year of study. It introduces the complexity of architecture and its operation within the urban context.
    • The project will be based on a thorough analysis of a chosen urban area. Working both individually and in small groups, you’ll develop a network of infrastructure (urban strategy), establishing your own brief, and developing scheme and detailed designs. You’ll consistency address relevant theoretical issues in your design and explore technology and materiality through detailed tectonic resolution.
  • Year Two

    Architectural Theory and Research Methods

    20 credit points
    Total contact hours: 40
    Total non-contact hours: 160

    • Supported by lectures and student-led seminars, this module will introduce you to a variety of current research in architecture and related areas, and discuss their relevance in relation to design and present day architectural thinking.
    • You’ll look at key issues including the influence of history and theory in spatial, social, cultural and technological aspects of architecture; theories of urban design, cities past and present and the influence of fine art; epistemological and philosophical trajectories underpinning architectural research; and, humanities-based inquiry and the role of technology.
    • By considering relevant methodologies, conducting literature reviews and establishing research questions, you’ll develop and extend your methods of analysis and interpretation in architectural thinking an design.

    Management, Practice and Law

    20 credit points
    Total contact hours: 42
    Total non-contact hours: 158

    • This module addresses professional issues relating to the architectural and construction industry, including the architect’s role in the process of procurement, building production and compliance with legislation.
    • The purpose of the module is to strengthen your experience from your Part 1 qualification and from your time in industry.
    • You’ll explore issues of ethics, health and safety, codes of conduct, legal rights and responsibilities, as well as looking at areas of business strategy, marketing and practice. You’ll also consider legal responsibilities including briefing, contracts, negotiation, time and fee management, procurement options, warranties and post-occupancy evaluation.

    Dissertation/Research Project

    20 credit points
    Total contact hours: 20
    Total non-contact hours: 180

    • This module serves as the culmination of the research methods module in Year One, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your advanced research methodology, analytical and interpretation skills.
    • You’ll produce an extended piece of academic research in an appropriate area related to your field of study; the format can either be a written dissertation, or a research project combining both written content and empirical work, such as laboratory-based experimentation or field work.
    • Student-led research is at the heart of this module, which will be supported by group and individual tutorials with allocated supervisors.

    Research Implementation

    • Building upon the foundations of good practice established in your Architectural Theory and Research Methods module, this module takes the findings or recommendations developed in your concurrent Dissertation / Research Project module and applies them to a practice-based project in order to test their external validity and relevance.
    • This module requires you to apply your findings to a situation encountered in your own workplace. It will test your ability to interpret and critically evaluate research findings, develop complex design ideas underpinned by research and analyse how design ideas reflect social, political, economic and professional issues in architectural practice, the construction industry and related professions.
    • You'll work closely with your Employment Mentor on an approved coursework brief that explores the applicability of your research findings in context and in different situations.

    This will be a work-based learning module in the form of an applied research project or similar.

  • Year Three

    Vertical Studio II

    20 credit points
    Total contact hours: 40
    Total non-contact hours: 160

    • The Vertical Studio module in Year Two will be delivered alongside Year One students, however you will now be expected to take a mentor and leadership role, supervised by a visiting practitioner or academic.
    • You will have grown and matured in your design approaches, therefore this module offers the opportunity to demonstrate your ability and widen your understanding of the scope and challenge of current and emerging architectural issues.
    • As in the Vertical Studio module in Year One, you will explore a complex technical condition, with a focus on the relationship between context, structure, material, environment and users. You will develop your own personal leadership and design mentorship skills in your work with Year One MArch Architecture students.

    Design Thesis

    60 credit points
    Total contact hours: 180
    Total non-contact hours: 220

    • This studio project module forms the key design module in Year Two. Your design thesis is the culmination of design work in your MArch course, and is a demonstration of your advanced architectural design ability, your ability to apply technological, material and environmental knowledge, and show a clear understanding of contemporary architectural debates.
    • You will develop and execute an extensive, complex design project, showing originality in the application of subject knowledge, exploring themes including architecture, urban design and technology.
  • Final year

    RIBA Part 3 Exam 1: Practice Management

    This module is studied in conjunction with the Project Management module and assessed via office based exam.

    • The module is designed to enable you to demonstrate you have met the ARB/RIBA Part 3 criteria, qualifying you to pass through the apprenticeship gateway and to present yourself for the EPA process.
    • Your learning will require you to draw on experiences from your workplace – especially those captured in your RPE sheet reflections – as well as your broader understanding of architectural practice and management, including professional ethics, regulations, conduct and discipline, external factors affecting national and international construction, practice structures, legal status, business styles, personnel management, business planning, finances, quality management, planning and leadership.
    • The module places a strong emphasis on group learning, reinforcing your teamwork skills alongside promoting the role of workplace teamwork as a learning situation for all stakeholders, considering the interests of the UK construction industry as a whole.
    • You'll compare your experience to those of your course mates, which will provide you with insights into a broader range of practice situations.

    RIBA Part 3 Exam 2: Project Management

    This module is studied in conjunction with the Practice Management module and assessed via office based exam.

    • The module is designed to enable you to demonstrate you have met the ARB/RIBA Part 3 criteria, qualifying you to pass through the apprenticeship gateway and to present yourself for the EPA process.
    • Your learning will require you to draw on experiences from your workplace – especially those captured in your RPE sheet reflections – as well as your broader understanding of areas including client management, organising and programming services, Architects' contracts, budget and financial awareness and cost monitoring, coordination and integration of design teams, intellectual property rights, copyright law, professional liability, external factors affecting national and international construction, practice structures, legal status, business styles, personnel management, business planning, finances, quality management, planning and leadership.
    • The module places a strong emphasis on group learning, reinforcing your teamwork skills alongside promoting the role of workplace teamwork as a learning situation for all stakeholders, considering the interests of the UK construction industry as a whole.
    • You'll compare your experience to those of your course mates, which will provide you with insights into a broader range of practice situations.

    Record of Practical Experience (RPE) sheets

    • This module provides the framework for demonstrating how you meet the qualification requirements to have completed the equivalent of at least 24 months of supervised professional practice experience before undertaking your Part 3 examination.
    • Throughout the Degree Apprenticeship you'll be required to record your work-based experience using RPE sheets, including provision (signed and dated) by your Employment Mentor based upon quarterly appraisal meetings in which the information recorded has been reviewed and discussed.
    • Your completed RPE sheets are then to be submitted to your Professional Studies Advisor (PSA), who will provide written feedback (signed and dated) intended to assist you in your progression towards Part 3 qualification. You are expected to respond to your PSA’s feedback in your reflections within the RPE sheets related to the next 3 months’ experience in practice.

    Case Study: Design Challenge Report

    • The Case Study is an integral part of the EPA process associated with the Degree Apprenticeship.
    • This module centres around your development and production of an illustrated report related to a challenging design project that you have recently completed in the workplace. You will be required to identify critical issues and incidents, and to discuss how they were addressed – or how they should have been addressed – in evidence of your command of the professional knowledge, skills and behaviours demanded of an Architect in practice.
    • The exact nature of the project described and analysed in your Case Study will vary according to your particular employment situation. The subject and content of your study, together with the approach to be adopted, will be negotiated and agreed with your Professional Studies Advisor (PSA) in advance.

    Professional Interview: Career Appraisal

    • The Career Appraisal is an integral part of the EPA process associated with the Degree Apprenticeship and marks the final stage in an Architect's education and training.
    • This module provides a framework for you to develop and produce the documentation that will provide the basis of your EPA interview. You will prepare your submission to the standard of a professional job application by critically analysing your own work experiences.

Work in our inspiring RIBA award-winning buildings, offering industry-standard facilities and studios

How you’re taught

How will I learn?

You'll study for two days per week during term-time.

  • The course is delivered predominantly through project-based learning, supported by lectures, seminars, workshops, one-to-one and group tutorials, seminars, field trips and site visits, along with regular critiques or reviews, replicating a professional architectural practice. Review sessions usually include an exhibition of your work, accompanied by a presentation, and followed by a panel discussion.
  • In addition to the design studio, you’ll also utilise our model making workshop to produce large and small scale prototypes, to test your design concepts.
  • Each term-time week, you'll have one day at university without timetabled teaching sessions, to enable you to undertake research and design activities, to discuss current issues with your course colleagues, and to meet your Academic Tutor to discuss portfolio contents.

This course uses ‘PebblePad’ software as a means of documenting your progression through the course. The software provides a digital portfolio where your coursework and reflections on how this work demonstrates attainment of the specified knowledge, skills and behaviours can be gathered and collated in a variety of patterns, making it available for review by your Academic Tutor, your Employment Mentor, and by Professional Examiners at the end of the course.

Throughout the course, you'll also be required to maintain a detailed log of the time spent on academic activities (which will be formally reviewed by your Academic Tutor every four weeks, enabling your progress to be discussed with a meetings four time per year with your Employment Mentor).

Assessment methods

Assessment methods vary by module but in the first three years (leading to the MArch qualification) all modules will be assessed via coursework submissions, comprising a mixture of design projects and written work amounting to 80 credits per year. Year four begins with two exam-based modules (30 credits each), followed by the 60-credit EPA in which Professional Examiners will interview you in respect of your portfolio contents and Career Appraisal, Record Sheets, and Case Study.

Year OneCoursework100%
Year TwoCoursework100%
Year ThreeCoursework100%
Year FourCoursework50%Exams50%

Careers and employability

Careers and employability

OurArchitecture courses are designed to maximise your employability prospects following graduation, equipping you with professional skills as well as enhancing and developing your design skills, technical knowledge and ability to communicate your ideas.

Graduates have gone on to hold various architectural roles in some of the most well-known practices in the world, including David Chipperfield, Richard Rogers and Glenn Howells, whilst working towards higher qualifications.

MArch Architecture students working on a kinetic structure as part of a project with the SMiA research group.

Our Employability team

Our expert Employability team will work closely with you at every stage of your career planning, providing personal support and advice. You can benefit from this service at any time during your studies, and for up to three years after completing your course.

Hear from visiting experts; recent industry speakers to NTU have included a number of RIBA Stirling Awards prize winners

Entry requirements

Applying with prior qualifications

  • For entry onto this course you need to have achieved a good qualification equivalent to a RIBA Part 1 accredited course (for example, a BArch award with minimum 2.2. Honours).
  • You'll need to be in current employment and have secured your employer's agreement to support you through the degree apprenticeship course and have been allocated an architecturally qualified Employment Mentor from your place of work.
  • You'll also need to have at least one year experience working in practice, evidenced by at least four properly completed and endorsed Professional Development and Experience Record (PEDR) sheets or an equivalent certificate of work-based experience.

Route to becoming a Registered Architect in the UK

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is the independent statutory regulator of architects in the UK, and is also the UK’s Competent Authority for Architects. In order to call yourself an ‘architect’ in the UK you must be registered with the ARB.

In order to register in the UK, you typically need to hold the following:

  • An ARB prescribed UK qualification at Part 1;
  • An ARB prescribed UK qualification at Part 2; and
  • An ARB prescribed UK qualification at Part 3, including 24 months practical training experience.

This means that even if you complete and pass the prescribed Part 2 qualification that you are embarking on, you will still need to hold an ARB prescribed qualification at Part 1 level (together with the evidence of having undertaken required period of practical training), before you can be admitted to the ARB Register.

If you already hold a first degree which covers the same subjects as a UK Part 1 qualification but which is not prescribed by the ARB, you may be eligible for ARB’s Prescribed Examination, through which you can gain equivalence to the UK Part 1, which can then be used for the purposes of UK Registration. If you successfully pass the Prescribed Examination at Part 1 level, you can use this for the purposes of UK Registration.

You can check whether any qualifications you may already hold are recognised by ARB and at which level, and you can find more information about the ARB’s Prescribed Examinations and its requirements for registration via ARB’s website.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Apprenticeships team or call +44 (0)115 848 2589.

How to apply

To apply for this course you must have secured your employer's agreement to support you through the degree apprenticeship course and have been allocated an architecturally qualified Employment Mentor from your place of work.

Firstly, your employer should contact our Apprenticeships team to discuss next steps in the applications process, and support available.

When the course is approved, you'll be able to submit your application through our NTU Applicant Portal.

Keep an eye on this page for more information about when applications open.

Writing your application

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. Make sure you include as much information as possible, including uploading evidence of results already achieved, as well as a personal statement.

Keeping up to date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Getting in touch

If you need more help or support, you can call our Apprenticeship team on +44 (0)115 848 2589, or email apprenticeships@ntu.ac.uk.

Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

How is an apprenticeship funded?

As an Apprentice, you're not required to pay tuition fees to the University – your employer will sponsor you instead. As of April 2017, there is allocated funding accessible for many UK employers, and depending on the size of the organisation, certain co-investment or full funding is also available from the government.

All this means that Apprentices are not entitled to student finance and do not acquire student debt. Instead, Apprentices will earn a full-time wage from their employer alongside their learning.

For further details about how an Apprenticeship is funded, please visit our Employer Fees and Funding page.

Find out more

We can guide you through the complexities of applying, employer commitments, and fees and funding. Contact our Apprenticeship team via email.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418