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Course content

On this Diploma programme, students will acquire an in-depth understanding of the legal and economic aspects of architectural practice and construction procurement, and the related skills necessary to practice effectively on entry into the architectural profession.

The programme is designed to be undertaken whilst in full-time employment within an architectural practice or related construction industry organisation.  It is taught by blended learning methods using the internet, and supplemented by short on-site courses.

The Diploma is prescribed by the ARB in relation to entry on the register of architects, and validated by the RIBA as equivalent to the RIBA Examination in Professional Practice (the Part 3). The previous incarnation of this Diploma  course, which ran in 2016/17  received commendations from successive RIBA Visiting Boards including from the latest, in July 2016, where it was  commended for its ‘breadth, depth and rigour’.

Distinctive features

• Study in one of the top schools of architecture in the UK
• Based on acclaimed research expertise within the Welsh School of Architecture and run by a leading author and expert in the field
• Study while you work in practice; this course is taught by distance learning and short courses, where the emphasis is on workshops and group working
• Available as a two year part-time qualification.
• Benefit from a small cohort size, individual tutoring and the wide variety of expert speakers and topics covered.
• Assessment methods via a wide variety of written assignments, no examinations
• Supported by an active alumni network


The course can be completed in one year with full-time distance learning or in two years distance learning while students are in an approved employment setting.

There are three 20 credit modules and one 60 credit module that make up this course.

The course is taught by distance learning and supplemented by short courses, normally two days per module.  We also hold final assessment days in May or June. The activities you carry out during your employment contribute to your learning experience and are monitored by the School.

Core modules:

Industry Context
Construction Contracts
Professional Services
Professional Practice


On this course you will be taught through blended learning: a combination of distance learning methods and on-site courses.

The distance learning methods will mainly be delivered through detailed course notes and guided reading. We will also send you regular written feedback on your work. There will be one half-day on-line seminar event for each module. Recordings of lectures and seminars will also be available on-line through the University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central.

The distance learning element is supplemented by on-site courses, normally two days per module, where the aim is to build on the base knowledge established through course notes and advanced seminars given by leading experts. These will normally be interactive and involve group workshops, which are designed to encourage you to share experience and knowledge gained in practice.. These short courses play an important role in our teaching, as they offer you an opportunity to interact with fellow students.

Due to the nature of this course, you are responsible for reading any emails sent by module tutors or announcements made through Learning Central on a frequent basis.


You will be assessed through a range of course work, including structured assignments, case studies, reports and essays (see module descriptions for more details). There are no examinations or class tests.

Career Prospects

Students who undertake this course are required to already be in employment. However, this course is designed to enhance their professional development, and aid in career progression.

Our track record with this type of professional course is excellent. All students who graduated from the previous incarnation of this course (which required students to undertake a work placement, rather than being in employment) were all employed by their summer graduation ceremonies.

Once approved by RIBA and the ARB, successful completion of this course will enable students to register with the ARB and subsequently practice as an architect in the UK.

Visit the Architecture: Professional Practice PgDip page on the Cardiff University website for more details!




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