ProfDip Architecture

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 30)

The Professional Diploma (Architecture) is the final professional examination for architectural graduates leading to entry to the Register for Architects in Ireland. The programme is offered on a part-time flexible basis over two semesters, at the time that an architectural graduate is undertaking minimum 2 years professional practical experience under supervision. Graduates arrange their own placements in architectural practice, which may be in Ireland or abroad, and the programme is structured to provide a context and support to graduates during their professional training.

The programme is delivered by UCD academic staff, practicing architects and other professionals with expertise in critical subject areas. Since 2013, the programme is also available online. The course is flexible , it will be delivered online in 2020/21 in the Autumn Trimester. Lecture recordings, learning material and readings will be available to students for flexible learning, supported by weekly group tutorials. Assessments are available in both Autumn Semester (January) and Spring Semester (May).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

This course is only available to graduates of B.Arch/ M.Arch or equivalent approved 5-year qualification in architecture. Further information is available here

The focus of the Professional Diploma is to ensure that the course is current, relevant and useful to architectural graduates beginning their professional careers.  This means equipping graduates with an understanding of the ethical and professional obligations arising in practice, within the context of their own personal careers and the broader construction industry. Preparing for independent practice as a professional requires a graduate to develop key skills in research, critical analysis, objectivity and communication. In order to achieve this a graduate must become fully conversant in industry-specific practices, procedures and statutory requirements.

The Professional Diploma (Architecture) is available under two codes: (part time) Major T290 and Online (part time) Major T291. The same Learning Material is available to all students.

  • Appreciate and understand the historical, social, environmental, legislative and economic context in which the built environment is procured, and show critical awareness of current problems/ new insights.
  • Communicate with clients, professionals, industry and community stakeholders, organise projects and lead teams, including an ability to provide disinterested advice and to produce professional reports and surveys.
  • Demonstrate adequate knowledge of the industries, organisations, regulations and procedures involved in translating design concepts into buildings.
  • Demonstrate the knowledge, skills, competence and professionalism required for independent practice as an architect in Ireland.
  • Research a broad range of professional, legal, regulatory and contractual topics using a range of research skills and have an ability to acquire and apply the relevant ‘body of knowledge’ in the profession of architecture.
  • Self-evaluate, to identify personal and professional limitations and to take responsibility for continuing academic/ professional development.
  • Synthesize information, to formulate professional advice, and to apply knowledge to specific problems often in unpredictable and ill-defined contexts.

View All Modules Here

The first module of the course, Architectural Practice, is an introduction to practice, the profession and current issues. The Construction Legislation and Procurement & Contracts modules include the full ‘body of knowledge’ necessary for practice and project delivery. The modules in Case Study and Practical Experience are the final professional examinations, founded on the student’s knowledge base, their personal professional experience and their analysis of a construction project.

ProfDip Architecture (T290) Part Time
EU/NONEU    fee per credit - € 173.3

ProfDip Architecture (T291) Part Time
EU/NONEU    fee per credit - € 173.3

***Fees are subject to change

The Professional Diploma (Architecture) is accredited by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) as Registration Body (Ireland) and Competent Authority (European Union) for direct admission to the ‘Register for Architects’ in Ireland.

This course is only available to graduates of B.Arch/ M.Arch or equivalent approved 5-year qualification in architecture. Further information is available here

The following entry routes are available:

Professional Diploma Architecture PT (T290)
1 Years
Part Time

What should I discuss with my Employer?

You should ask your employer to support you in your preparation for the Exam. This course is a critical part of the training of an architect and is of benefit both to you and to your practice. It is important that you allow adequate time to study/ prepare for exams and that you are involved (or have been involved) in a suitable Case Study project - this includes attending meetings, visiting site, having access to files and seeking opportunities to be involved in as many aspects of practice as possible. You should give your employer a copy of the Case Study requirements and take a pro-active role in discussing this at the outset. Students need time off to attend the lecture series/ work online, prepare their Case Studies and to study for the examinations. Employers should be aware of their professional obligations to support your education and the benefits of your contribution to the practice through your participation in the course.

How much time do I need to prepare for the Exam?

Students should start to work on their Case Study once the subject has been approved. The production of a comprehensive, well considered Case Study requires research and reflection, which is best achieved during the course of the project. In addition to attending lecture/ studying online, you will also need time to prepare your essay assignment and many students take one week or more study leave for revision in advance of the written and oral examinations.

How do I select a project for my Case Study?

Ideally, you should consider this and discuss with prospective employers before you undertake your two years practical training. You can submit one or more Case Study proposals for discussion/ approval/ advice at any stage (refer to submission dates). The Case Study Advice Notes are available by email from the Course Administrator if you are not yet registered.

Do I need to be involved in every stage of the project?

It is not always possible for a student to be involved in every stage of a project. In this case, it is preferable to be involved in the later stages of a project (procurement, on-site, completion, post-completion) rather than the early stages of a project (inception, design, statutory approvals). Generally graduates have more experience at the early stages of several projects and the Case Study may be their first experience of on-site operations and contract administration. This is the critical stage of every project. 

If my Case Study is delayed, can I continue with the Course?

As the course is modular, you can continue with the course and be assessed in the first three modules (Architectural Practice, Construction Legislation and Procurement & Contracts). Students can take the Case Study and Practical Experience modules in the Semester 2 OR in Semester 1 or Semester 2 of a later year (so you will not have to wait a year to complete the course). Alternatively, you may seek to have a new Case Study approved. (The Practical Experience (Oral Examination) module cannot be taken until all other parts of the examination have been attempted).

I was previously registered for another professional practice exam; can I apply for the Diploma course in UCD?

If you were previously registered or another completed part(s) of an equivalent approved examination in Professional Practice (e.g. RIAI Professional Practice Examination, UK Part 3 course etc) you can apply for an exemption from examinations in some modules. Students should register for the programme and apply in writing, with supporting evidence, to the Architecture Programme Board by mid- August. For further information please contact the Course Director. Exemptions are granted at the discretion of the Architecture Programme Board.  

I am currently working abroad, can I count my practical experience outside Ireland and use a Case Study from another country?

Yes. You can now take the course online and schedule your exams to suit your travel arrangements. Case Studies in other countries are generally acceptable, but you must submit a proposal for approval. Oral Examinations can be arranged online in certain circumstances. 

I am working on my own/ freelance/ as a practice principal, is my experience acceptable?

No. You must be in employment under the direct supervision of an architect. In the rare cases where a student is a junior partner, supervision by a suitably qualified senior partner may be acceptable, subject to prior approval. 

I am not sure of my plans for next year, should I register for the lecture based course (Major T290) or the online course (Major T291)?

Students registered to the online course are welcome to attend lectures whenever it suits you to do so. Students registered to the lecture based programme will also have full access to all of the online information in Blackboard.