Professional Practice Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 3 exemption) PgDip

Why choose this course?

This course is the last stage of the formal education you will need to register as an architect in the UK. It focuses on the legal, procedural, professional and managerial competencies needed to engage in architectural practice as an independent and reflective practitioner. The course covers the criteria specified by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for Part 3. The award offers a qualification prescribed by the ARB.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Part time 12 months 1 afternoon and evening per month usually Wednesdays, mid - month September 2021
Location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

2020/21 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.


Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2020/21. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • The course consolidates your existing skills and learning. You will gain core legal, procedural, professional, business and managerial competencies. There is an emphasis is on developing the professional knowledge and judgement required for reflective practice.
  • The course is one of continuous assessment over an extended period and gives you opportunities to critically evaluate your professional experience. You will be assessed solely by coursework, there are no exams.
  • This is a qualification prescribed by the ARB. The course is validated by RIBA and covers the ARB and RIBA criteria for Part 3. It represents the attainment of the general competence expected of a newly-qualified architect registered in the UK.


Architects Registration Board (ARB)

Architects Registration Board (ARB)

Architects Registration Board (ARB)

This course is a prescribed qualification by the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

This course covers Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) criteria Part 3.

What you will study

The curriculum has been devised to support and inform your work-based professional experience, providing modules in law, professional practice and relevant management issues. You will undertake a variety of individual assignments throughout each module, however, you must supplement this learning with your work-based experience in practice. You will be provided with scenarios and taken through the progress of several projects. These will extend and test your knowledge base and its application. You will build on and further develop the knowledge, understanding and skills acquired during your first degree, subsequent graduate education and periods of work-based learning.

You are expected to complete four compulsory modules, valued at 30 credits each.


The course consolidates your existing skills and learning: you gain core legal, procedural, professional and managerial competencies throughout the year. The course is one of continuous assessment and offers opportunities for you to critically evaluate your professional experience.

Core modules

Law and the Professional

30 credits

Architecture is a profession as well as a discipline. The aim of this module is to develop the candidate's critical awareness of the concepts of professionalism and of a profession.It will analyse the institutional structures and processes involved in establishing and maintaining a profession, with particular reference to the architectural profession and the development of other professions within the construction and development sectors.It will relate theoretical concepts, techniques and operational methodologies to the current complex social, legal and economic environment. Areas for consideration will include the development of statutory frameworks in the construction and development industries, the development of public and private sector initiatives for regeneration and new build projects and the potential conflicts and synergies in the current systems and anticipated future. Assessment is through a series of scenario-based assignments and a critical review of learning gained.

Professional Services and Business Management

30 credits

The aim of this module is to develop the candidate's critical awareness of the processes involved in delivering architectural designs. These will include the economic, social, organisational, regulatory and ethical context. It will explore and critically evaluate the techniques and criteria for creating, managing and maintaining quality, within a design project, from inception to completion. Assessment is through a series of scenario-based assignments.

Building Procurement and the Management of Projects

30 credits

The aim of this module is to develop the candidate's critical awareness of the processes involved in delivering architectural projects from design, through to fabrication and completion. Students will explore the relationship between the design process and the construction process and the techniques and criteria for creating, managing and maintaining quality. Students will analyse how different procurement routes and methodologies are evidenced in contract forms and current and future trends for construction as an industry. Students will compare and critically evaluate current procurement systems and how these modify the role and responsibilities of the architect. Students will look at how time, cost and quality are balanced and how risk is appropriately apportioned. Assessment is through a series of scenario-based assignments.

Critical Practice

30 credits

This module brings together the work based learning and professional experience which underpins the programme and the academic skills and acquisition of knowledge which have developed in the earlier modules. The module is the capstone module and constitutes the culmination and summation of the programme. Candidates are required to demonstrate their knowledge, skill and ability to critically appraise professional practice as well as an ability to determine and manage their professional development.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

Applicants should have:

  • ARB/RIBA Parts 1 and 2 or exemptions;
  • a minimum of 13 months of approved, logged experience, preferably in the UK;
  • a high level of commitment to the course and support from your employer; and
  • a good level of written and spoken English.

You may wish to discuss the above criteria. If you have completed your architectural education outside the UK, you will need to satisfy the Architects Registration Board (ARB) that your academic qualifications are the equivalent of ARB Parts 1 and 2, so that you will gain Part 3 registration upon successful completion of the course. It is the applicant's responsibility to check and ensure this compliance.

Additional requirements

Please ensure you include all key information (failure to provide the following may result in delay to your offer):

  • complete the application in your full official name (as on your passport);
  • attach a copy of your passport;
  • attach a copy of your CV;
  • attach copies of all relevant academic qualifications;
  • attach a reference letter or statement from your current employer to confirm that they will mentor you and support your entry onto the Part 3 course;
  • attach information about the current state of your PEDRs*;
  • complete the personal statement section in your online application; and
  • international students: include any English language qualifications (IELTS/TOEFL) or details of any future English courses/exams. Find out more about our English language requirements.

* Note: You should have all previous PEDRs signed off by your Part 2 Professional Studies Adviser (PSA). However, it is feasible that we might sign off outstanding PEDRs. The key thing is that at the time of your application, you need to confirm (i.e. submit a signed statement) that you have the requisite amount and standard of work experience, and will have 24 months of relevant, documented and signed off PEDR sheets by, at least, 6 weeks prior to the final viva). In other words, you should have 13 or 14 months of PEDR sheets signed off or ready to sign off, prior to commencing the course in September. If in doubt, please check thoroughly the PEDR guidelines.


We do not invite applicants for an interview prior to selection, although we may make appropriate arrangements for international students based overseas.

English language requirements

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each element. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

You'll be assessed through coursework, enabling you to get a thorough grounding in the issues throughout the year.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

9% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 70 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1095 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment comprises coursework (eg essays, reports) Volumes of professional development and case studies, as well as the final viva. The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose.

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 100%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

This course normally enrols 30 to 40 Part 3 candidates. However this may vary.

Who teaches this course?

This course is taught by Austin Williams and Ray Dudman.

Part 3 assessors are drawn from representatives of inter alia: Dixon Jones, DFN+DC architects, Ian Adam-Smith Architects, MJP Architects, Bartlett School of Architecture, University of Greenwich, Architectural Association, London Metropolitan University, HSK, PriceGore, Arup.

Guest lectures have been provided by inter alia: Orms, JTP, Foster Lomas, BDP, Hawkins\Brown, Amin Taha, Edwin Heathcote, Wilkinson Construction Consultants, ARB, Sense Studio, Bow Arts Trust, Allies & Morrison, DMH Stallard LLP, John Robertson Architects, Robin Lee Architecture.

Fees for this course

2021/22 fees for this course

Home 2021/22

  • PGDip part time £4,080

International 2021/22

  • PGDip part time £8,900

2020/21 fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • PGDip part time £3,980

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • PGDip part time £8,650

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

What our students and graduates say

Extremely enjoyable! The course is second to none as it places the future professional in case scenarios similar to what is experienced in practice. The teaching structure instigates research and discussion with added support from experienced tutors leaving the student well prepared for the final professional interview.

Former student

Excellent course that combines practical guidance, experienced speakers, and detailed feedback... and no examination!

Learning in real time really helps retain information.

Former student

Delivered through a combination of well-structured lectures, events and practical workshops, this course has greatly expanded my knowledge and understanding of the professional aspects of the architectural practice, fully preparing me to enter the industry as a qualified architect.

Former student

It's been a great experience. The course is well structured, with coursework helping to cover and prepare you towards the final exam and your own professional experience. The tutors and external professionals have been engaging and extremely helpful throughout.

Former student

A comprehensive course that runs parallel to work in practice, allows the application of fictional scenarios on real life practice events. Although intense at times, it enables learning in real time with the added bonus of no exams!

Former student


You'll be able to make use of the wide range of facilities at Kingston School of Art, including its library, online construction information service, cafes and bars.

Knights Park campus

Although not integral to the Part 3 course, there is a range of specialist facilities at Knights Park campus, including:

  • 3D workshops, with ceramics, concrete, resin-casting, plastics, metalwork, woodwork and a bronze-casting foundry, as well as a Big Build space for architecture, set design and large scale model making
  • animation and post production studios
  • digital media workshop
  • knitting and sewing workshops, with digital and analogue facilities, plus a working dress archive which includes pieces from 1750 to the present day
  • HackSpace (for collaborative, creative, solutions-focused projects)
  • letterpress and printmaking workshop, with digital and analogue facilities, to experiment creatively
  • moving Image workshop, with studios, editing suite, and industry-standard equipment
  • photography workshop, including studios, colour, and black and white darkrooms, processing facilities

All our facilities are open access, meaning you can use them whenever you want, irrespective of the degree you're studying.

The University's museum and galleries

The University has its own on-site galleries, including:

  • Dorich House – the former studio home of the sculptor Dora Gordine and her husband the Hon. Richard Hare, a scholar of Russian art and literature. Now Grade II listed, the building was completed in 1936, to Gordine's design, and is an exceptional example of a modern studio house created by and for a female artist.
  • Stanley Picker Gallery – one of the leading examples of a university gallery in the UK. Its public activities are dedicated to the research, commissioning and presentation of innovative new practice across the fields of art, design and architecture for general, academic and specialist audiences.
  • project spaces at Knights Park campus, which you can book for the exhibition of large-scale work.

Resources in London

London, with its world-famous museums and galleries, is just a 30-minute train journey from Kingston.

Links with business and industry

This course is a part-time course designed for candidates who are working in practice. Your professional relationship to the industry and contemporary work experience is an important element of this.

Course leaders and tutors are experienced architects and expert guest speakers present lectures on a regular basis, ensuring your learning is relevant to the real world.

Events and lectures

There is an additional range of events and lectures in Kingston School of Art to enhance your studies and add an extra perspective to your learning.

Professional practice podcasts

This course has a series of Professional Practice Podcasts – interviews with leading practitioners to discuss practical, technical, ethical business matters that will supplement your learning. Discover on Soundcloud or iTunes.

Experts Day

In the second semester, we host a one-day Experts Day where guest speakers provide an intense series of presentations and Q&A sessions to enhance your leaning experience. We also hold end-of-course tutorial sessions, mock vivas and group feedback sessions on coursework assignments.

Looking out

We will host a couple of days in the second semester entitled 'Looking Out' that may be of assistance in regard to careers and employability opportunities.

English language skills

We host English language skills workshops together with advice on standards of writing.

Our Department of Architecture and Landscape has its own podcast titled REGISTER, which you can discover on iTunes.


Public events

There may be additional public events throughout the year, which you may wish to attend.

The on-site Stanley Picker Gallery also hosts a lively programme of exhibitions and mixed media events.

Research areas

The course leader – Austin Williams – has written two books of technical guidance described by the RIBA as 'quick, reliable, and incisive clarification of the welter of diverse technical guidance.' He is a noted expert and commentator; as well as writing books he has coordinated public debates and academic conferences, and helped to found a brand new architecture department in China. His research covers environmental critique, urban analysis and approaches to pedagogy.

For students too, research is an important part of the course. There is the opportunity to develop your research interests by taking a PhD.


Changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19

Changes detailed here are for students joining this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021).

Course information (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Composition of the course

We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. the number of modules or credits in a year for part-time postgraduate courses, as a result of the pandemic.

In order to safeguard our students' health and safety and to minimise the risk of disruption to their studies, the University has postponed all Study Abroad programmes for outgoing students in the first teaching block of 2020/21 (from September 2020 to December 2020). The University will review this decision before the second teaching block and will take into account relevant government advice at that time.

Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.


We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Length of course

We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.

In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.

Entry requirements (changes for 2020/21 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.

Teaching (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.

While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open to you.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the current pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.

In the event that a further lockdown is enforced the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised significantly, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for Year 1

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.

Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.


Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Class sizes

On campus classes, class sizes will be smaller, in line with social distancing measures. Online (synchronous) activities will be delivered via videoconferencing apps that will enable a full range of class sizes to be used as appropriate.

Assessment (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.

Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Staff (changes for 2020/21 entry)

No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.

As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.

The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.


There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2020/21.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.

In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are made before students are sent on a placement.

Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.

Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2020/21 entry)


No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Additional (changes for 2020/21 entry)

International students

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.

Students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities

The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.