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Architectural Practice (RIBA Part 3 Exemption) - PgDip

  • Level: Postgraduate Taught
  • Starting: February 2021
  • Study mode: Part Time
  • Location: City Centre

Studying with us in 2020/21

While the majority of our teaching will be carried out face-to-face this year, you will be taught as part of a blended learning approach. This means that you will have a mix of on-campus and online learning. Find out more about learning and teaching in 2020/21.

Successful completion of the programme gives you recognition for RIBA Part 3, registration with the Architects Registration Board, direct access to title as an architect and therefore gain membership of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

There are two separate entry and completion points per year, providing a flexible approach to obtaining the final professional qualification. Intensive two-day lecture and workshop sessions are supported by weekend revision and study groups, which allow the programme to be delivered harmoniously alongside your existing work commitments. 

What's covered in the course?

Aimed at students engaged in architectural practice, this postgraduate course gives you the skills and knowledge to gain your qualification. It can also form the basis of your ongoing professional architectural development.

You’ll gain a critical understanding of legal requirements, practice management and construction procurement in the architecture industry, and the fundamentals of good architectural practice.

You’ll receive the support of outstanding professional staff whose extensive connections with architectural practices offer you exceptional opportunities. Lectures are delivered in four two-day intensive courses by a number of leading practitioners and experts in their field. They cover the legal framework, clients and building procurement, as well as practice and management.

Based on your own experience in architectural practice, you’ll be required to prepare a case study in two parts, one around a pre-contract issue and one around an issue arising during the construction phase of a contract. You’ll also use records of experience to develop a critical career appraisal.

You’ll be based in our multi-million pound City Centre Campus Parkside Building with access to advanced digital studios for rapid prototyping and digital production, as well as drawing, CAD and digital visual communication skills workshops.

Why Choose Us?

  • We are the only Royal Institute of British Architects-accredited School of Architecture for the Part 3 course in the region.
  • The course meets and exceeds the joint criteria set out by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and RIBA. Its scope corresponds with the guidelines for RIBA validation and ARB prescription.
  • The course also meets the requirements of Article 46 of the European Directive on the recognition of Professional Qualifications.
  • Birmingham School of Architecture and Design is highly respected and has a rich history of providing education and opportunities. It celebrated its centenary in 2009.
  • Many students have degrees from other UK academic institutions for architecture, resulting in a dynamic body of high-calibre students.
  • Visiting tutors come from local practice and we involve other high profile practitioners, such as Eminent Architects, visiting professors and world-renowned consultants.

Choose your modules and study via CPD

Selected modules on this course are available through Continuing Professional Development (CPD). This route allows you to select individual modules around your area of interest and study alongside current students.

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our Open Day for this course will take place in Spring 2021. Register now and we will contact you when the booking form goes live.

Register your interest

This course is open to International students

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Discover Birmingham School of Architecture and Design

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

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Study via CPD

Modules from this course can be studied via continuing professional development. Keep up-to-date with new skills and choose modules to meet your area of interest.

Book your place today 

New £11,222 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £11,222 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Course Accreditations

This course is accredited by:


Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements

RIBA Part 1 and RIBA Part 2 or an equivalent qualification that the ARB has formally recognised.

And including one of the following, or equivalent:

  • GCSE (grade C or above) in English Language
  • IELTS: overall score of 6.5 or above
  • TOEFL: overall score of 550 or above
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: grade C or above
  • IGCSE English Language: grade C or above
  • Hong Kong Use of English test: grade C or above

At the final examination a minimum of 24 months' practical experience, 12 months of which may have been obtained after passing Part 1.

Entry to the final examination is based on advice by the Course Director that the candidate has sufficient and adequate experience of project management in excess of 24 months, all of which should have been recorded on the Professional Education and Development Resource (PEDR).

Extra information for EU/International students

RIBA Part 1 and RIBA Part 2 or an equivalent qualification that the ARB has formally recognised.

And including one of the following, or equivalent:

  • GCSE (grade C or above) in English Language
  • IELTS: overall score of 6.5 or above
  • TOEFL: overall score of 550 or above
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: grade C or above
  • IGCSE English Language: grade C or above
  • Hong Kong Use of English test: grade C or above

All non-UK students will be required to take the Birmingham City University English Language Diagnostic Assessment on arrival at the University.

International Students

Entry requirements here

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

  • UK/EU students
  • International students

Award: PgDip

Starting: Feb 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Part Time
  • 10 to 24 months
  • £2,600 per year

Award: PgDip

Starting: Feb 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Part Time
  • 10-24 months
  • £4,170 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Portfolio Guidance

Your portfolio will form the basis of the interview discussion and should include the following:

  • Examples of the range of projects that you have been involved with in practice sufficient to demonstrate the breadth of you experience to date.
  • Examples of the potential projects that could form the basis of the Case Study, including the programme and details of your personal involvement.
  • Evidence of a minimum of 18 months relevant practical experience in accordance with the ARB/ RIBA guidelines prior to starting the programme.
  • Evidence of previous academic achievements in higher education including exemption RIBA Parts 1 and 2.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

View additional costs for this course

On receipt of your application form, your application will be considered and you may be called for interview. After interview, if you are considered suitable for the course you will receive an offer of a place.

What's included in your course fees?

The fee quoted is for the whole programme irrespective of whether you complete within ten months or take up to two years and includes all first attempt examination fees. Additional fees are payable if you are required to re-take a module assessment.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £11,222 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans


In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

20 credits

The purpose of this module is to develop your existing professional attributes and skills gained through work-based experiential learning in the areas of professional legal framework and practice management. This includes critical analysis of the architect’s responsibility to society and the profession, the legal and legislative context for practice and the business and management processes involved in running and developing a successful business.

20 credits

The purpose of this module is to develop your existing professional attributes and skills gained through work-based experiential learning in the areas of building procurement and contract administration. This includes critical analysis of the architect’s responsibility to society and the profession, the legal and legislative context for practice and the business and management processes involved in running and developing a successful business.

40 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to record and develop your professional experience in practice and to critically reflect on your learning within that context. You will be expected to map your work-based learning to the professional criteria in order to demonstrate your direct experience and to enable you to develop an approach to your future learning needs and career development. As a minimum you are required to record 24 months professional experience, 12 months of which must be recent and post Part 2.

40 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional judgement and critical analysis gained through your practical experience through a live project case study. The case study will be a current or recent project where you have had a reasonable level of involvement and that has an appropriate level of complexity to facilitate in depth analysis. The case study will provide the vehicle for critical analysis through the investigation of an issue or issues during the pre-contract and construction stages of a project. Your experience and research of these issues should be compared to best practice. You should also make comparisons with other forms of contract in order to reinforce your understanding of the different processes, risks and responsibilities involved in dealing with the issued raised. The case study will cover most of the professional criteria for Part 3 and will bring together the material covered in the academic taught sessions with your practical experience and work-based learning.

You’ll be assessed in four parts: Your professional, practical experience is a key part of your studies and helps form the basis of case studies and career appraisal.

Producing an open scenario-based Professional Practice and Management paper will be part of your assessment. Following on from this, you will sit an open book written examination on building procurement and contract administration. The final Viva (professional interview) is embedded within the Professional Experience and Development and Case Study modules.

Reflecting on professional experience and development is an important part of the process, which includes professional experience record sheets - PEDR, CV and critical career evaluation.

You will also evaluate your own experiences in architectural practice through producing a detailed case study.  

Lectures are delivered in four, two-day intensive courses by a number of leading practitioners and experts in the field. Modules are preceded by recommended reading and office-based preparation.

The course is studied part-time and completion is flexible over a period between ten months and two years. There are two course entry points and two opportunities to complete the oral examination per year.

This course is accredited by:

Our course is accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects, allowing you to achieve RIBA Part 3 exemption. This allows you join the ARB’s register of architects and use the title ‘architect’ and optionally to join the RIBA as a full member affording the title ‘chartered architect’.

Royal Institute of British Architects

RIBA is a global member organisation, with 44,000 members. It champions better buildings, communities and the environment and provides the standards, training, support and recognition to put members at the peak of their profession.

Our accreditation shows employers that students graduating from our course have the levels of knowledge and skills they need.

Further study

Graduates of this course may like to go on to study a MPhil or PhD research degree. There are also a wide range of other postgraduate courses, all of which involve innovative research and provide vocationally valuable experience.

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Cumming Anderton Architects
  • Mott Macdonald

And in jobs such as:

  • Landscape Architecture
  • Graduate Landscape Architect

Enhancing employability skills

The final exam with the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Architectural Practice gives exemption from the RIBA Part III examination and enables you to become a registered architect and chartered member of RIBA.

You’ll have demonstrated the professional and practical skills needed to be a successful architect, with the knowledge of the necessary business frameworks and legal issues.

A sound knowledge of UK construction and contract law, construction procurement processes and the roles of built environment professionals will enhance your professional understanding.

You’ll also be able to demonstrate understanding of the business priorities, required management processes and risks of running an architectural practice.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

Employment in an architectural or related practice is a pre-requisite to entry to the course. Our graduates become qualified architects working for respected practices, or even set up their own business.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

£1500 Scholarship

Start in January and receive a £1500 scholarship on eligible courses.

Find out more

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

You’ll be based in the multi-million pound Parkside building – part of our City Centre Campus – with technology and facilities that reflect advanced professional practice. We offer facilities which will accurately reflect the work environment you will enter after graduating. These include Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and a computer-generated Virtual Building Site, creating real life scenarios for you to work on.

While based in The Parkside Building, you will get sharpen your CAD and digital visual communication skills, prototyping and digital production, while also having access to a range of specialist software, workshops, computer and project learning laboratories, and a social learning space.

You’ll also benefit from:

  • Design studios
  • Computer and project laboratories
  • Social learning space
  • Café
  • Meeting point

From industry-standard software, to our workshops and studio spaces, everything you need will be at your fingertips from day one. Working with our expert technicians, you'll be supported from concept through to completion. 

Ian Shepherd

Director of Professional Studies

Ian Shepherd is the course leader within the School of Architecture. He integrates teaching with practice through live projects, design, research and consultancy. Prior to joining the university, Ian was a partner in a local architectural practice for more than 20 years, with experience in design and delivery of community, education and leisure projects.