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The MA in Professional Studies is a route to registration as an architect in the UK, approved by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at Part 3 level. On the course, students 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.

The course has an outstanding reputation. This is reflected in the Commendations it has received from successive RIBA Visiting Boards including from the latest, in July 2016, when the Commendation was for its ‘breadth, depth and rigour’.

On the course students explore the professional aspects of practice as an architect, including the construction industry and role of the profession, development controls, construction law, and project and practice management. We aim to inspire our students with a keen interest in current issues relating to the profession. Students are encouraged to explore their own relevant areas of interest, and to develop critical and independent judgement, and the ability to manage complex processes. Research skills are developed through means of a dissertation.

The MA Professional Studies is a part-time qualification which is a route to registration as an architect that also includes a research element in the form of a dissertation.

Distinctive features

• Accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB) at Part 3 level.

• 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.

• Benefit from a small cohort size, individual tutoring (normally including a workplace visit), and the wide variety of expert speakers and topics covered.

• Includes a module on international practice, unique for an ARB approved course.

• Supported by an active alumni network.


The course is taught by distance learning and supplemented by short courses, normally three one-week courses held in October, January and March. We also hold final assessment days in May or June. The activities you carry out on your work placement contribute to your learning experience and are monitored by the School.

Please visit the website to see the modules taught on this course:


On this course you will be taught mainly through distance learning using the University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central. We’ll post course notes, assignments and support materials there and you can also use the forum facility to ask questions and engage with fellow students. Your coursework will be submitted electronically through digital dropboxes.

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.


Taught and project-based modules are assessed in a variety of different ways depending on the module content and learning outcomes (found in the module descriptions). We use class tests, course work (both written assignments and oral presentations or critical assessments/crits), and project work, or a combination of these to assess your progress on the module.

In the dissertation stage, your dissertation is the sole object of assessment. The dissertation is a written report on a piece of research which you have carried out in an agreed subject area under supervision. You may choose a topic relating to cutting edge professional practice, or a current issue or problem of concern to the profession. Your dissertation may involve collection and analysis of original data, or placing an original interpretation on existing data.

Career prospects

After completing the MA in Professional Studies, you will be able to register with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and therefore use the title ‘architect’ in the UK. The profession of architecture is covered by the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive 2005/36/EC. Therefore, registration also gives you the right to register in other EU member states on successful completion of the course. A UK architectural qualification is generally valued worldwide.

Past graduates have gone on to found their own architectural practice and lead teams within large global architecture firms. MA students have also gone into research posts or academia. Tutors on this course have established links with architectural practice which can help students to network and make connections in the field. There is also a strong alumni network with international links that you may benefit from.


You will be based in a suitable work placement as part of this distance learning course. You are required to find your own placement location before the course begins, such as an architects practice, or an approved construction industry firm.

Visit the Architecture: Professional Studies MA page on the Cardiff University website for more details!




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