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

Why choose this course?

This course is the last stage of the formal education leading to qualification and registration as an architect in the UK.

It focuses on the legal, procedural, professional and managerial competencies needed to engage in architectural practice as a critical and reflective practitioner.

You will be taught by professionals, established practitioners and experts. We also provide additional value with Professional Practice Podcasts. The course covers the RIBA criteria for Part 3 prescribed by the ARB.

The Part 3 assignments mean that there are no exams. At the end of your course, you will present Professional Experience Development Records (PEDRs), Case Study Volumes, a Scenario-Based report, and then sit the viva voce.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Part time 12 months 1 afternoon and evening per month usually Wednesdays, mid - month September 2024
Main location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • RIBA have described this course as 'rigorous, thorough and offering a high level of detail'.
  • You will be evaluated on scenario-based coursework – no examinations.
  • Teaching takes place on one afternoon per month.

The Art School Experience

As part of Kingston School of Art, students on this course benefit from joining a creative community where collaborative working and critical practice are encouraged.

Our workshops and studios are open to all disciplines, enabling students and staff to work together, share ideas and explore multi-disciplinary making.

Two students collaborate on a design project.


Architects Registration Board (ARB)

Architects Registration Board (ARB)

Architects Registration Board (ARB)

Prescribed by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) at Part 3 level for the purpose of registration in the UK.

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at Part 3 level for the purpose of eligibility for membership of the RIBA.

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. This module will 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

This module will 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.

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.


All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. 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 recognised majority English-speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country-specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

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 (self-managed time)

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 learning and teaching activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of learning and teaching

Type of learning and teaching
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 70 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 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

2024/25 fees for this course

Home 2024/25

  • PGDip part time £3,690

International 2024/25

  • PGDip part time £8,850

2023/24 fees for this course

Home 2023/24

  • PGDip part time £3,600

International 2023/24

  • PGDip part time £8,590

Funding and bursaries

A £580 bursary is automatically applied to the fee for this course (stated in the fee section). No application for this reduction is required.

Resulting costs are:

  • £3,600 for Home Students for 2022/23
  • £8590 for International Students for 2022/23

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:

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.


Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free WiFi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.


Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.

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. 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 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.


Course changes and regulations

The information on this page reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. To improve your student experience and the quality of your degree, we may review and change the material information of this course. Course changes explained.

Programme Specifications for the course are published ahead of each academic year.

Regulations governing this course can be found on our website.