Architect Degree Apprenticeship (Master of Architecture and Professional Practice) MArch

Architecture student building a model
Mode of Study
Part-time
Duration
4 years
Start Date
September 2022

Overview

Earn a salary and get the qualifications needed to become a professional architect

On this integrated three-year Master's and one-year Part 3 qualification, you'll build on your undergraduate degree and RIBA Part 1 exemption and become an ARB-registered architect at the end.

You'll gain valuable on-the-job experience during this four-year degree apprenticeship, which will help you develop the professional and creative skills needed to succeed in architecture. You’ll cover topics such as urbanism, landscape, sustainability and culture in a studio environment. 

During term time, you'll spend one day a week on day release at the University and the other four days applying your skills and getting practical experience in your workplace. The government or your employer pay your tuition fees – so your architecture degree apprenticeship doesn’t cost you anything.

Eligibility

This course only accepts UK and EU students.

Unfortunately, we can't accept international students on this course.

Course highlights

  • Develop the creative and professional abilities needed to become a registered architect with the ARB
  • Get a MArch degree while you earn a salary
  • Learn how to come up with creative and strategic solutions to a variety of architectural challenges
  • Benefit from top-class facilities in this studio-based course, including our Centre for Creative and Immersive Extended Reality (CCIXR) – the UK’s first integrated facility for virtual, augmented, and extended realities
  • Put what you learn into practice in the workplace, preparing yourself for Part 3 studies in your final year
  • Gain further professional knowledge from our network of visiting lecturers – past ones include Pamela Cole, Alastair Lewis, and architects from Tibbalds
  • Get practical work experience in your job, giving you an advantage over students who go to University full-time
Apprenticeships logo
Architects Registration Board (ARB)
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Recognition and validation

This course is prescribed and recognised by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The Royal Institute of British Architects has accredited this course for parts 2 and 3 of exemptions.

Once you have completed this course, you'll be eligible to join the register of architects held by the ARB.

What you'll study

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4

All modules on this MArch Master of Architecture and Professional Practice Degree Apprenticeship are core.

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Develop an understanding of architecture in relation to its theoretical, historical and cultural context.
  • Execute research exercises in order to acquire critical and reflective knowledge on architectural history and theory.
  • Communicate clearly and effectively complex issues through analytical investigation and critical and synthetic presentations.

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The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Appraise, reflect on and enhance the understanding of architectural professional practice.
  • Apply professional, legal and management procedures and processes for the procurement of a building.
  • Examine, analyse and evaluate procedures and processes for the procurement of a project from inception to completion.

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The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Expand the awareness and knowledge of how architectural theory and praxis interact with wider intellectual and socio-political systems.
  • Execute research exercises in order to acquire critical and reflective knowledge and formulate an independent and original theoretical position.
  • Organise, collate, edit and present fully referenced research in a clear and rigorous manner.

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The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Demonstrate critical methods for examining, analysing and evaluating structural systems, environmental strategies, materiality and the precepts of sustainable design.
  • Test and apply practical understanding of structural and environmental strategies and construction methods to an integrated design process.
  • Appraise, reflect on and enhance understanding of environmental/structural/construction: qualities integration in architectural design work and the impact of buildings on the environment.

Explore this module

All modules on this MArch Master of Architecture and Professional Practice Degree Apprenticeship are core.

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Analyse, record and critically evaluate the content and meaning of a complex and broad set of cultural, environmental and social contexts of a given built and/or natural environment.
  • Develop critical narratives for given locations and demonstrate their capacity for translation into design propositions that exhibit depth and breadth at a wide-scale strategy.
  • Synthesise relevant information and resource material with which to develop and substantiate design principles and ideas, through the proposal of an outline brief for a specific architectural proposal.
  • Demonstrate and communicate a synthesis of design process and resolution with the creative use of appropriate representation and media techniques.

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The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Develop, record and critically evaluate a particular building design proposal, in response to social, cultural, technical, economic, political, regulatory and professional influences.
  • Analyse and utilise information and creative tools to establish a continuous briefing that can determine function, organisation, and capacity and to synthesise a consistent architectural narrative.
  • Systematically test, evaluate and integrate design ideas that demonstrate climate literacy and an understanding of structural and environmental principles and systems, as well as constructional techniques and building fabric.
  • Demonstrate and communicate a synthesis of design process and resolution with the skilled selection and use of appropriate representation and media techniques.

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The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Ability to identify, critically appraise, and research an appropriate subject with which to drive a written thesis to test new hypotheses and speculations.
  • Demonstrate, through a written thesis, a critical understanding of how knowledge is advanced through research to produce clear, logically argued and original written work relating to architectural culture, theory and/or design.

Explore this module

All modules on this MArch Master of Architecture and Professional Practice Degree Apprenticeship are core.

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Synthesize the research and creative process to establish the theoretical and contextual (environmental, social and spatial issues) position and translate the hypothesis into a design proposition.
  • Engage with the iterative process of design from brief development through to an appropriate level of design resolution engaging in rigorous and critical interrogation and systematic testing and evaluation of alternative solutions that leads to a coherent and well-argued design synthesis.
  • Creatively apply knowledge and skills to the design resolution of the thesis project, demonstrating a consideration of aesthetic, compositional, and spatial principles, in the synthesis of ethical, social, technical and sustainable environmental issues.
  • Synthesize and communicate the design process and thesis resolution creatively, clearly and effectively.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Identify, critically appraise, and research theoretical positions and design concepts with which to develop a hypothesis to drive a thesis design project.
  • Engage with the iterative process of design, through rigorous and critical interrogation and systematic testing and evaluation of alternatives that leads to a coherent and well-argued hypothesis.
  • Synthesize the research and creative process, and establish the theoretical and contextual (environmental, social and spatial issues) basis to translate the hypothesis into a design proposition.
  • Communicate clearly and effectively the development of a hypothesis in response to research and creative processes.

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The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Access, plan and implement principles for legal, management and financial set-up of an architectural practice, utilising professional judgement.
  • Convincingly present business proposals and projects within a professional and competitive context.
  • Manage personal development planning.

Explore this module

All modules on this MArch Master of Architecture and Professional Practice Degree Apprenticeship are core.

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of advanced processes and techniques to develop architectural designs in accordance with K1. Demonstrate capability to apply design skills in accordance with S1. Utilise references and demonstrate understanding of historic, theoretical, artistic, architectural, technological or human science context in accordance with K2, K3, S2, S3 and B5.
  • Provide evidence and demonstrate understanding of the range of services and roles of the architect in the processes of procurement and building production, including making appropriate decisions in complex circumstances, and good communication in accordance with K6, S6, K12, S12, K13, S13, K16, S16, B2, B5 and B6. Provide evidence and understanding of construction phase responsibilities in accordance with K8 and S8.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the briefing process, the architect's appointment, and design and construction programming in accordance with K7 and S7. Demonstrate understanding of the financial and regulatory constraints on building design and delivery in accordance with K10 and S10. Clearly explain principles, systems and strategies for providing conditions of comfort and protection against the environment, evaluating and integrating solutions and considering lifestyle impacts using appropriate professional and technical language in accordance with K9 and S9.
  • Provide evidence of understanding the legal and professional context within which an architect must operate, and what is required to ensure compliance with legal requirements or standards including examples of interaction with statutory bodies in accordance with K14, S11, S14 and B1. Demonstrate evidence of understanding managment of priorities and risks in running an architectural practice in accordance with K15 and S15.
  • Demonstrate beviour in accordance with B3, B4 and B7. Provide evidence to demonstrate understanding or awareness of the physical and planning context in accordance with K4 and S4.
  • Provide evidence and is able to demonstrate understanding or awareness of impact of the built environment and diverse user needs in accordance with K5 and S5. Demonstrate an understanding of the construction industry, architectural industry regulations and the financial control process in accordance with K10, K11, S10, S11, B2 and B4. Relate the idea of personal and professional development to a personal strategy and to the on-going requirements of the professional bodies.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Apply the principles underlying the law relevant to architectural practice.
  • Critically evaluate the relationship between client, architect and other parties throughout a building project, within an appropriate legal and business context.
  • Contextualise the social and ethical framework for practice within the architectural profession, the construction industry and society in general.
  • Explain key concepts in relation to provision of architectural services, resources and financial management.
  • Evaluate how practice can operate effectively through appropriate management processes, including how risk is managed.
  • Develop personal critical thinking and critical reflection relevant to architectural practice and project management issues.
  • Demonstrate appropriate written communication skills for professional practice
  • Apply the principles underlying the law relevant to architectural practice.
  • Critically evaluate the relationship between client, architect and other parties throughout a building project, within an appropriate legal and business context.
  • Contextualise the social and ethical framework for practice within the architectural profession, the construction industry and society in general.
  • Explain key concepts in relation to provision of architectural services, resources and financial management.
  • Evaluate how practice can operate effectively through appropriate management processes, including how risk is managed.
  • Develop personal critical thinking and critical reflection relevant to architectural practice and project management issues.
  • Demonstrate appropriate written communication skills for professional practice

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Demonstrate the potential capability of discharging the duties and responsibilities of an architect/design professional in the UK.
  • Contextualise and appraise the professional and ethical framework for practice through the management of a building/design project.
  • Relate the idea of personal and professional development to a personal strategy and to the ongoing requirements of the professional bodies.
  • Critically appraise, in a systematic way, their understanding of architectural/design practice, the nature of team working proactively to formulate solutions, and assess processes and procedures, organisations and regulations, in order to deliver a professional service.
  • Assess and critique how office organisational systems and the use of appropriate communication systems aid architects/design professionals in their role of administering the building/design process.
  • Critically appraise a project, which they have personally been involved with, in a rigorous, critical and objective way, demonstrating self-direction, originality in problem solving, application of theoretical knowledge from the lecture course to the realities of architectural/design practice and drawing conclusions.
  • Demonstrate the potential capability of discharging the duties and responsibilities of an architect/design professional in the UK.
  • Contextualise and appraise the professional and ethical framework for practice through the management of a building/design project.
  • Relate the idea of personal and professional development to a personal strategy and to the ongoing requirements of the professional bodies.
  • Critically appraise, in a systematic way, their understanding of architectural/design practice, the nature of team working proactively to formulate solutions, and assess processes and procedures, organisations and regulations, in order to deliver a professional service.
  • Assess and critique how office organisational systems and the use of appropriate communication systems aid architects/design professionals in their role of administering the building/design process.
  • Critically appraise a project, which they have personally been involved with, in a rigorous, critical and objective way, demonstrating self-direction, originality in problem solving, application of theoretical knowledge from the lecture course to the realities of architectural/design practice and drawing conclusions.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:

  • Demonstrate a systematic and conceptual understanding of a specific area of study.
  • Undertake independent evaluation of research to draw appropriate conclusions and recommendations, supported by relevant evidence and arguments.
  • Communicate the aims, review of previous research, critical analysis of research methodology, arguments, conclusions and recommendation of the research project in a clearly written and structured document.
  • Work effectively with a group as leader or member, able to identify a task and make appropriate use of the capacities of the group members
  • Work as a group, represent and appropriately structure information, and communicate findings, arguments, conclusions and recommendations of the group research project to others in concise verbal and written presentation at a professional or equivalent level.

Explore this module

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Facilities

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3D printing workshop

Test concepts, build prototypes and bring your designs to life in our 3D printing workshop.

Explore workshop

Female architecture student works on model in studios

Architecture Studios

Our open-plan learning spaces encourage a studio culture of collaboration, creativity and dialogue – preparing you for the ways of working you'll experience in your career.

Explore the Studios

Television broadcasting hub

CCIXR

Create stunning works for film, TV, music, gaming and immersive reality in the UK's first integrated facility of its kind.

Explore CCIXR

Careers and opportunities

Whether you're working for an organisation or a practice or even if you're self-employed, this architecture degree apprenticeship prepares you to become an ARB-registered architect. This will expand your professional knowledge, skills, and reputation at work.

Besides being able to legally call yourself an architect, having an ARB registration ensures you:

  • Are a qualified, fully trained professional, which highlights your integrity amongst clients and members of public
  • Maintain your professional obligations by following the 'Architects Code: Standards of Conduct and Practice'
  • Can work in virtually any practice or organisation, as some contracts or employers require you to be registered before you work with them
  • Continuously update your professional skills, knowledge and abilities through Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
  • Can work internationally, subject to individual country requirements

Career planning

During your course, you'll have expert career support from your tutors and from our Careers and Employability Centre, which you can access for 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • 1-to-1 appointments
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

Course structure

This part-time course runs over 4 years. You can expect: 

  • 1 day of teaching per week, in your first three years
  • Up to 300 hours of independent study work each semester

You'll also be expected to be on campus for a day each week.

Teaching

Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree, but the majority of your teaching time will be in-person and face-to-face.

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • computer-based tutorials
  • studios
  • workshops
  • online learning

You'll be in regular contact with your mentor, especially during your work-based learning project in the final year.

Assessment

You'll be assessed through coursework and exams.

Teaching staff

These are some of the expert staff who'll teach you on this course:

A woman with safety hat, viz jacket and goggles

Rebecca Galbraith

Course leader

I am Course leader for both the undergrad and postgrad Degree Apprenticeship courses. My role with the Degree Apprenticeship students and their employers brings me closer to practice and industry. Having been in practice as an architect, I joined the University of Portsmouth, believing that an architectural education not only leads students to becoming architects, but also gives them a broader understanding of the environment around us.

View Rebecca's profile

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Guido Robazza

Senior Lecturer

As a Senior Lecturer, I teach urban planning, architectural design, and architectural representation. I also serve as coordinator of the Architecture Project Office, am a researcher and currently a co-investigator on the Interreg project, Plasticity: Resourcing Plastics from the City, and the Global Challenges Research Project, Building Resilient Coastal Communities.

View Guido's profile

Term dates

September start

The Master's academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you'll be writing your project/dissertation.

See key dates

Supporting your learning

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

You'll have regular contact with your personal tutor in learning activities or scheduled meetings. You can also make an appointment with them if you need extra support.

In addition to the support you get from your personal tutor, you'll also have access to a Faculty student support advisor. They can give you confidential, impartial advice on anything to do with your studies and personal wellbeing and refer you to specialist support services.

If you need support with software and equipment or you want to learn additional skills (including skills not covered on your course), our creative skills tutors provide free workshops, activities and one-on-one tutorials. Skills you can learn include life drawing, film camera operation and video production.

You'll have help from a team of faculty academic skills tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

Computing support staff are always available to give technical support in the Faculty's computer suites during normal working hours. There's also some support available from 5.00pm to midnight at busy times of the year.

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1-2-1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University's library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

​Course costs and funding

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

If you're a UK student who achieved a first in your undergraduate degree you may be eligible for a £3,000 University of Portsmouth scholarship.

Additional costs

These course-related costs aren't included in the tuition fees so you'll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. Additional costs could include:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages.
  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: such photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Entry requirements​

Eligibility

This course only accepts UK and EU students.

Unfortunately, we can't accept international students on this course.

September 2022 start

  • An upper second class honours degree with RIBA Part 1 exemption. Applicants who do not hold a recognised UK Part 1 qualification will need to undertake and pass the ARB prescribed exam for Part 1 prior to joining the Apprenticeship course.
  • All applicants to the Degree Apprenticeship courses must have an acceptable Level 2 qualification in English and Mathematics. Acceptable qualifications include GCSE with grade C/4 or above and Functional Skills with Pass – please note that we are not able to accept all kinds of Level 2 qualifications, so if you are unsure whether you have a suitable qualification please get in touch. If you do not have an acceptable qualification you may be required to take an additional assessment during the application process.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an EU student with a non-UK degree, view the equivalent entry requirements we accept for your country.

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.0.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

  • An online portfolio submission and/or interview may be required as part of the selection process.

For more information on how to put together a portfolio, read our Master of Architecture portfolio guide.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September to apply, you may find that the course is full.

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.

Ready to apply?

  • I'm applying with my current employer

    If you're already in full-time work, and your employer is interested in you studying this course, get them to contact us and we'll work out how to work together. 

    If your employer isn't interested yet, you might find it useful to share our information for employers page with them.

    Employer contact form Information for employers

  • I'm looking for a job with a Degree Apprenticeship role

    If you're not in full-time employment, or your current employer is not interested in degree apprenticeships, you'll need to find a role that does offer a degree apprenticeship. You can search the gov.uk list of open degree apprenticeship vacancies, or contact us with your details and we'll let you know when degree apprenticeship vacancies come up.

    When you apply for a role that includes one of our degree apprenticeships, you'll follow the company's standard recruitment process for the job, while we assess your academic suitability for the course.

    Search degree apprenticeship roles (gov.uk) Contact us 

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.