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Northumbria’s Architect Degree Apprenticeship represents a remarkable opportunity to qualify as Chartered Architect without leaving full-time paid employment, and with no tuition fees payable by the student. As the only university in the North of England to offer this course, Northumbria is pioneering this new route into the profession for the next generation of talent.

You will study part-time over four years, working alongside our full-time MArch students in a collaborative studio-based environment. The Architect Degree Apprenticeship includes both your Part 2 and Part 3 qualifications, which is unique to this pathway. Your design projects will be based on real challenges from your working life, allowing you to develop your own authentic professional practice as well as making a valuable impact on your workplace.

Delivered by an acclaimed, award-winning teaching team, the MArch with the addition of the Apprenticeship is designed to equip you with the attributes you need to thrive in your career. Critical thinking, independent learning, imaginative solutions and the rigorous justification of design decisions are at the heart of our course.


Prescribed by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) at Part 2 level for the purpose of registration in the UK.

Validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at Part 2 and 3 level for the purpose of eligibility for membership of the RIBA.

Please note: Admission to the programme requires that you are employed and that your employer has signed an agreement with the University. If an agreement needs to be established please ask your employer to contact An offer to join the course can only be made once the agreement is in place.

Course Information

Level of Study

Mode of Study
4 years part-time

Architecture and Built Environment

City Campus, Northumbria University


September 2019

The Architect Degree Apprenticeships Standard has been developed in collaboration with practitioners and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). 

The apprenticeship combines MArch Architecture (RIBA parts 2 and 3 combined) and successful completion of which will lead to the apprentice qualifying as a Chartered Architect. The programme seeks to:

  • Offer an alternative route into the profession for the next generation of future talent.
  • Address skills gaps by combining training and relevant knowledge and experience practiced in the workplace with the academic journey and rigour of research-rich learning and teaching provided by Northumbria University.
  • Provide an authentic opportunity for the academy, profession and Institute to work more closely aligned for the benefit of the architectural profession.

How does it work

In partnership with Northumbria University, your organisation will support the learner at work to achieve their apprenticeship. Whilst studying the apprentice will be required to work full-time (for at least 30 hours a week) in your workplace, and will be supported through learning at work, training and study to achieve the requirements of the apprenticeship standard.

The programme will be delivered over four years with the end-point assessment typically being undertaken in the last six months. The apprenticeship incorporates on-programme academic workplace learning and assessment with an end-point assessment to test the knowledge, skills and behaviours to become either a Chartered Architect. The complete route is designed to cover Part 1, 2 and 3 of the architectural education pathway.



Fees and Funding

An apprentice has full-time employment status rather than student status.  Apprentices do not pay for training costs as these are covered by the employer, however please note apprentices are not entitled to apply for any Student Finance. 

Employers Funding 

Levy Payers:

Since April 2017 all employers with a payroll of over £3 million automatically pay an Apprenticeship Levy. The levy is set at a rate of 0.5% of the total pay bill minus a £15K allowance. Levy payments may be used by the employer within a 24-month period to cover apprenticeship training costs.

As a business paying the levy you will report to HMRC through the PAYE process. Once you have declared the levy to HMRC, you will be able to access funding for apprenticeships through a new apprenticeship service account. The online service account will give you the opportunity to select the apprenticeship programme, choose the training provider and advertise apprenticeship vacancies.

The Government will apply a 10% top‑up to the levy funds on apprenticeship training in England. The top-up monthly amount will be paid at the same time the funds enter your apprenticeship service account. That means for every £1 that enters your account to spend in England on apprenticeship training, you receive £1.10 in return.

Non‑levy Payers:

Employers with a salary bill of under £3m (such as many SMEs) are not subject to the levy and will be able to access funding to cover 90% (and in some cases 100%) of the cost of apprenticeship training and assessment. Northumbria University is pleased to announce that we have been awarded this government funding and so are able to offer places on all our programmes to non-levy paying employers, although these places may be limited in number.



To discuss the fees for this apprenticeship or to explore signing an agreement with the university please contact our Business Development team who will be happy to discuss options further with you. 


Tel: 0191 227 3251

Recruitment Process

You will have complete control over whom you choose to support on the apprenticeship programme, assuming the candidates meet the academic entry requirements. Full details on the entry requirements for the Architect Degree Apprenticeship can be found below. 

We can support your recruitment process and we also understand that you may have employees currently working within your organisation with relevant experience and potential and the Architect Degree Apprenticeship can be a great way of developing and retaining this talent. Therefore, we also offer a non-standard entry route for people who do not meet the standard qualification requirements, but who have relevant, sufficient work experience.

Contact Us

If you would like to discuss our Architect Degree Apprenticeship further please contact our Business Development team who will be happy to help.


Tel: 0191 227 3251

Learners on our MArch Architect Degree Apprenticeship programme will be challenged and stretched. You will be encouraged to draw on your own professional experiences throughout.

During your on-campus teaching you will be part of a supportive studio design culture, learning as part of an educational community, sharing knowledge, precedents and techniques. Architecture is a design-led discipline, and at least half of your study time will be focused on the development of key architectural design skills through your real-life studio design projects.

The design modules are supported by taught modules, including history and theory, technology and environment, manual and digital communications, and practice, management and law. This contextual study will build alongside your design practice, informing your design decisions and allowing you to tackle increasingly complex and challenging architectural design projects.

Our assessment methods have been designed to contribute to your professional development, by reflecting authentic architectural practice. Design modules are assessed through portfolios of 2D (plans, sections, elevations) and 3D (analogue and digital models) work, supported by reflective journals to evidence your critical scholarship. Technology, environmental, and management modules are assessed by means of reports that replicate those undertaken in professional practice.

You can communicate your Student Selected Investigation in a medium of your choice, to suit your academic strengths. Examples could include traditional written methods, podcasts, film, etc.

You will undertake your Part III exam and end point assessment within six months of completing your fourth year, to complete your journey through architectural training.

An acclaimed, award-winning teaching team of outstanding architects and academics will offer guidance, support and expertise throughout your course. Collectively, this team has designed and built award-winning buildings, both nationally and internationally, as well as publishing world-leading research.

Our practice-based teaching approach has been recognised as outstanding by national and international authorities, external examiners and professional bodies, and has led to unmatched levels of student satisfaction and employability.

You will have opportunities to engage with an extensive architecture and arts network locally, nationally and internationally, encouraged by staff members who maintain links with practices, NGOs and similar bodies.

As an apprentice, you will be allocated an academic coach who will provide support for your academic development. This coach will have relevant experience and will appreciate the demands of your ongoing professional practice. You will also be supported by a work-based mentor, typically your current line manager, who will in turn receive support from the University to carry out their mentor role.



You will be joining Northumbria at an exciting time, as a new, world-class home for our flagship Architecture degrees is due for completion in 2019. A modern addition to our historic Sutherland Building, designed by Page\Park Architects, will house over 1400m2 of studio space, a new student hub, and academic staff offices.

You will study in some of the best studio and workshop facilities in the country, including state-of-the-art 2&3D rapid prototyping machines. You will be taught a comprehensive set of industry-standard software packages, particularly those 3D packages that enable spatial and formal acuity.

We understand the demands of combining study with a busy professional life, and our blended learning approach provides you with continuous access to our eLearning Portal. The portal offers extra learning resources aligned to both the taught and studio modules, as well as assessment submission and feedback, and a way of staying in contact with your fellow students and staff.

As an MArch Architecture Degree Apprenticeship student you will develop strong research skills and critically apply theory to your own practice, in order to enhance your professional development.

Your learning, teaching and assessment will be underpinned by a ‘research-rich’ approach. You will build on research-based knowledge to develop your critical curiosity, informed judgement and ability to evaluate proposals.

Throughout your course, you will be an active participant in the ongoing research agenda that is at the heart of Architecture and Built Environment at Northumbria. With conferences and research events regularly taking place, and with staff discussing their own multidisciplinary research as it relates to the topics you’ll study, there’s a strong emphasis on engaging in up-to-date inquiry-based learning.

Assessment methods encourage critical and deep approaches to learning, including your use of focused research inquiries specific to design processes.

The high employability rates of Northumbria architecture graduates are a testament to our authentic and professional approach. Studying via the apprenticeship route will allow you to gain both your qualifying MArch, a first sit at your Part 3, and four valuable years of professional work experience.

We align the course with the General Criteria and the Desired Graduate Attributes of the professional bodies, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB). This means that the skills and knowledge expected of Part II graduates are intrinsic to the teaching, learning and assessment strategies. Consequently, you will be fully equipped to practice at the required levels expected on completion of the course.

Our department functions within an expansive network of alumni, employers and contacts at local, national and international level. They are all aware of the course’s reputation for academic and professional excellence and eager to connect and collaborate with you on graduation. The contacts you’ll form during your studies will extend your professional network, and open up future career opportunities.

Many of the skills developed through the programme are transferrable, including autonomous learning, authentic and analytical methods of inquiry, critical curiosity, social responsibility and both manual and digital communication skills. This has allowed previous graduates to diversity into fields including construction, BIM, visualisation, property development, urban design, set design, project management and housing, as well as to continue into doctoral studies.

Entry Requirements 2019/20

Standard Entry

Applicants should normally have:

A minimum of a 2:1 honours degree from a Part 1 accredited Architectural course, and a minimum of three months relevant postgraduate work experience.

International qualifications

If you have studied a non UK qualification, you can see how your qualifications compare to the standard entry criteria, by selecting the country that you received the qualification in, from our country pages. Visit

English Language requirements

International applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*).

*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit

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* By submitting your information you are consenting to your data being processed by Northumbria University (as Data Controller) and Campus Management Corp. (acting as Data Processor). To see the University's privacy policy please click here

Modules Overview


Module information is indicative and is reviewed annually therefore may be subject to change. Applicants will be informed if there are any changes.

KA6007 -

Authentic Design Inquiry (60 Credits)

You will engage with authentic real life architectural projects for a variety of stakeholders, including: charities, public bodies, quangos and commercial clients (although the latter depends on the ethical validity of the project). You will not only explore the discipline as a practical and theoretical subject, but be exposed to the social function of architecture, and in some case the financial constraints that architects have to operate within. Creativity in this module is expressed as a social phenomenon as well as an artistic one. You will also develop your skills in being able to: critically appraise and develop design briefs; make assessments of and respond to, the project’s contingencies and complexities; to communicate your work to an audience other than your peers and your tutor; and develop design strategies that result in sophisticated and appropriate design solutions that embrace the full criteria of a real live architectural project.

This module will be supported by relevant and timely workshops and tutorials, and regular reviews, also including members of the client group that we are working with.
Verbal feedback is provided via tutorials, through verbal, written and drawn formats throughout the semester. This ongoing guidance will provide you with opportunities for reflection and independent learning.

More information

KA6016 -

Architectural Research Methods (20 Credits)

You will learn through lectures, seminars and independent learning. The lectures will cover research principles and concepts that will enable you to tackle guided exercises and assignments. You will work on these during seminars, which will allow you to develop and demonstrate understanding of these research principles and concepts through discussion and debate. You will propose a relevant research question as the basis for assignments.

More information

KA7011 -

Design Project 3: Analysis and Proposal (40 Credits)

You will improve your skills and creativity in design; the ability critically to appraise, understand the nature of, and develop design briefs; to analyse and make an assessment of the complexities of the project’s context; and propose and justify a design strategy. You will learn to engage with critical reflection on the cultural and social context of your area of study. Through independent and supported inquiry you will develop the design proposal up to sketch scheme (equivalent of RIBA Workstage 2) in response to your exploration. This learning will be evidenced in a capstone Design Report that demonstrates your theoretical position, programme context, brief development and the early stages of your design proposal.

This module will be supported by workshops and tutorials, and regular reviews, where you are expected to be critical engaged in the process.
Verbal, written and drawn feedback is provided formatively at tutorials and strategic reviews throughout the semester, to provide ongoing guidance and to establish opportunities for reflection and independent learning. Summative assessment will be provided at the end of the semester providing guidance to be taken into DP4.

More information

KA7013 -

Student Selected Investigation (30 Credits)

You will learn skills that enable independent learning through research and advanced scholarship, applied to the discipline of architecture. More specifically you will acquire the knowledge and skills to identify an area of research interest and to be able to use appropriate methodologies to collect data addressing the research imperative. You will learn how to employ analytical skills to systematically evaluate data and to draw conclusions from this data and ultimately be able to communicate the findings through appropriate means.

More information

KA6006 -

Cultural Context (20 Credits)

In this module, you will learn how to review, reflect upon, consolidate and extend your knowledge and understanding of cultural topics; and apply them to inform approaches to studio design projects. You will be able to critically evaluate concepts and data from cultural topics, analyse them and frame appropriate questions to identify a range of solutions in various contexts. You will be able to practice communicating ideas and applications of cultural issues in terms that may be appropriate to diverse audiences. On completion of this module, the knowledge and understanding acquired will form part of the broader contextual framework for the study of your professional pathway. You will be encouraged to take increased ownership of your own learning.

More information

KA7012 -

Design Project 4 - Realisation (50 Credits)

This is the capstone design project for the M.Arch that will engage you as an independent learner in the development of a complex and integrated design proposal, based on the inquiry undertaken in dp3. During this phase of the year-long thesis project you will engage in a rigorous design process, developing your concept (established in dp3) into a coherent and complex design solution. With support from your design tutors you will utilise the skills and knowledge learnt during your education to date, and you will be expected to engage with an increased level of complexity and criticality that involves, amongst other exploration: an engagement with context (physical, poetic, theoretical); research into precedents and building typologies (spatial, and organisational); development of building programme, building form, spatial sophistication, materiality and appropriate detail, working together in an integrated and holistic way; consideration of regulatory and legal constraints; technological choices and comparisons and coherently communicated through verbal, written and graphical (both 2 and 3D formats)- all commensurate with level 7 scholarship.

More information

KA6008 -

Practice Management and Law (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn about the procurement and administration of a construction project; the contractual, legal and statutory framework; and information on an Architect’s professional duties and responsibilities. You will learn about enterprise; formulation of a business plan and how to prepare a financial forecast.

More information

KA6015 -

Work Based Practice Management and Law (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn about the procurement and administration of a construction project; the contractual, legal and statutory framework; and information on an Architect’s professional duties and responsibilities.

More information

Any Questions?

Our admissions team will be happy to help. They can be contacted on 0191 406 0901.

Contact Details for Applicants:

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We continuously review and improve course content in consultation with our students and employers. To make sure we can inform you of any changes to your course register for updates on the course page.

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