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Becoming an Architect in the UK: A Blueprint for Students at British Boarding Schools

University preparation 12 April 2017

From the tallest office building to the homes we live in, architects play a major role in shaping the world around us. Working on a variety of interesting projects, they have the opportunity to create something truly lasting, and it is no surprise that many students dream of this exciting and rewarding career.

Architecture requires a unique mix of both creative and technical skills, as well as a lot of practical knowledge about things like building codes, property development costs, and planning laws. In order to learn everything they need to know, students in the UK must spend many years studying and gaining practical experience before becoming fully qualified.

Read on to find out more about what boarding school students interested in pursuing architecture careers can expect.

Finding the Right Architecture Degree for British Boarding School Students

To become an architect in the UK, the first step is to complete an undergraduate BA (Bachelor of Arts) degree in the subject. Architecture degrees can take either three or four years, and need to be certified by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Fortunately, a number of British universities offer these programmes, so students at UK boarding schools have plenty of options. At CATS, dedicated higher education advisors also provide expert guidance throughout the process, helping students to find the right universities and prepare their applications and portfolios.

Architecture Students Complete Work Experience and Postgraduate Study

Once architecture students complete their degree, they need to spend 12 months gaining practical experience. This usually involves either working directly under the supervision of a qualified architect or in another area of the construction sector.

Students record their experience on the Professional Experience Development Record (PEDR) website, and are monitored by a Professional Studies Advisor from the university where they completed their degree.

Young architects need to spend time gaining practical experience

Next, students need to enrol in a postgraduate programme. This can be a diploma, a B.Arch (Bachelor of Architecture) or M. Arch (Master of Architecture) degree. These programmes offer more advanced training than a BA degree, and will usually take around two years to complete. Postgraduate architecture courses often include opportunities to study abroad, or explore specialised subject areas such as sustainable architecture.

Once again, dedicated advisors at boarding schools like CATS can provide valuable guidance for students in this area, helping them to develop a long-term plan for where they might like to study at postgraduate level.

Becoming an Architect: The Final Steps for British Boarding School Students

To be fully recognised by the RIBA, aspiring architects must then complete another 12 months of work experience, and one final qualification known as the Advanced Diploma in Professional Practice in Architecture (ADPPA).

This is an online course which includes a comprehensive three day final exam, and also requires students to submit a CV, self evaluation, a case study, and PEDR logs of their work experience. While it is a rigorous process, successful candidates will be invited to become members of the RIBA, and finally be recognised as a fully qualified architect.

While becoming an architect is a long and challenging process, attending a top quality British boarding school is a great place to start.  

At CATS, for example, aspiring architects have the opportunity to participate in a range of academic and extracurricular activities that will help them prepare for their future career, including life drawing clubs, work placements, and even trips to famous architectural cities like Paris, Florence, and Barcelona. After all, architecture is all about planning, so why not start today?

CATS students explore famous architectural cities like Florence

Looking for a quality international boarding school in England?

Contact us to speak to an adviser.  

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