How to become an architect


Are you creative with a passion for design? Then a career in architecture might be for you. In this article you'll discover everything you need to know about how to become an architect.

Key facts

  • Architecture is a regulated industry. If you want to work as an architect in the UK, you’ll have to be registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB).
  • There are three routes you could take to qualify as an architect.
  • A qualified architect can expect a starting salary of around £30,000, rising to £45,000 with further experience.

What is an architect?

Architects use creativity and technical expertise to create places that inspire everyday life. An architect gets involved in projects that range in size from entire cities to something you can hold in the palm of your hand. Whether you're designing new buildings for people to live or work in, or restoring existing buildings, you'll be at the forefront of creating a more sustainable and healthy society.

Routes into architecture

There are three routes to becoming an architect:

  • University degree
  • RIBA Studio Qualification

Most architects enter the profession through studying a degree at university. Time studying at university is combined with time spent in practice gaining professional experience. The three ‘Parts’ of the journey towards professional registration are:

Part 1
Completion of an undergraduate degree prescribed by the ARB

Part 2
Completion of a post-graduate qualification prescribed by the ARB

Part 3
This part is completed in the workplace and happens between and after completion of the above degrees. When you have completed a minimum of 24 months of professional experience you will submit evidence of the experience, a case study, a written exam and a verbal interview.

The usual route to completion of all 3 parts is:

  • Undergraduate degree (3 years)
  • A year of professional experience in practice
  • Postgraduate qualification (2 years)
  • A year (or more) of professional experience in practice

Take a look at our timeline for more information on how long it takes to become an architect through the degree route.

Timeline to becoming an architect

If you choose to study a degree to become an architect, we're outlined the steps you'll need to take. From degree to registered chartered architect, all the essential steps are broken down for you below.

Study BSc Architecture 

Your first step is to study a BSc Architecture degree, some courses to consider include: 

You'll also want to get the most out of your uni experience by taking advantage of all that your choden  university has to offer for example: placement opportunities; Study abroad opportunities; Work placements; Careers and employment support; Real world experience including projects, internships and building your portfolio.

Upon graduation

Congratulate yourself on your first big step towards becoming professionally registered as you will have gained ARB / RIBA recognised Part 1, this is part 1 of 3. For part 2 students will undertake further studies in year 5.

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The Grenfell Baines Institute of Architecture explains what to expect on your way to becoming an architect01 / 01

How much does it cost to become an architect?

The cost of becoming an accredited architect in the UK can vary based on several factors. These factors include:

  • The university you choose
  • The location of the university
  • The specific accreditation body requirements

Fees may also change, so it's important to check with the relevant institutions for the most up-to-date information.

Breakdown of potential costs:

Course fees for home students in the UK can range from £9,000 to £15,000 per year. Course fees may vary depending on the institution you choose to study at. The typical duration of a BSc in Architecture is three years.

Frequently asked questions about becoming an architect

Becoming an architect in the UK requires drive, dedication, creativity, and a strong educational background. By following these steps and embracing the challenges alongside the rewards, you can embark on a fulfilling career that makes a real and positive impact in the world.

Find out why the hard work is worth it from our graduates

Explore Architecture subjects

As a UCLan architecture student you get the chance to go on a range of trips and visits. These provide real-life experience and exposure to different architectural styles, designs and practices from across the world.

Explore our subjects