Department of
Architecture and Built Environment

Architect Degree Apprenticeship Level 7

This programme offers employers the opportunity to attract, support and enable talented employees to work towards registering as qualified architects in the UK. 

The Architect Degree Apprenticeship combines the best of practice experience and research-led education. It gives your apprentices the opportunity to use their academic studies to enrich their real-world experience, which exponentially enhances their learning and confidence, and enables them to make significant contributions to your practice’s research, projects and networks.



Qualification MArch Architecture with Collaborative Practice Research (ARB/RIBA Part 2) and Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Practice in Architecture (Part 3)
Duration 50 months
Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 degree and have completed Part 1 in a UK-based recognised School of Architecture

Level 2 (equivalent to GCSE grades 4 - 9) or above in English and maths. If you have not provided a suitable Level 2 English certificate, and you do not hold an appropriate English language equivalent qualification from this list, you will also need to provide an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) result that is dated within the last two years. The minimum requirement for this programme is an overall score of 6.5, with no less than a 6.0 in each of the individual elements. The university’s policy around this can be found here

Other requirements

Students from other HEIs must achieve a 2:1 standard in their final year design studio modules.

Typically applicants are required to have six months work experience in a relevant role.

IELTS 6.5 minimum
Start dates

September 2024

Application deadline Mid-July 2024
Programme cost

Programme costs are paid by the employer who may be eligible for funding, there is no cost to the apprentice. 

Campus University Park, Nottingham, with local teaching based in Central London for SE delivery
School / department Department of Architecture and the Built Environment
Accreditation ARB accredited


Find out more about our Level 7 Architect Degree Apprenticeship with our on-demand information webinar.


Why choose the University of Nottingham?

As a founder member of the prestigious Russell Group, we are celebrated for our academic excellence, leading research and world-class facilities. Teaching takes place at our Nottingham campus or our central London base, and we place a strong emphasis on face-to-face engagement and interaction with tutors and practitioners.

Training your talent at the University of Nottingham demonstrates a strong commitment to a rigorous yet sustainable career development pathway. 

Features of the course:

  • The programme structure and skills of our research led staff offer a unique opportunity to gain real life research and innovation skills at your host practice as part of your studies.
  • Accredited by ARB.
  • We offer a comprehensive teaching programme delivered close to where you work, so you don’t have to travel back to Nottingham each week if you work in London.
  • You have the opportunity to obtain four years of practice experience in parallel with gaining the knowledge and skills required to qualify as an Architect.
  • Our modules are specifically designed to interrogate and explore aspects of the curriculum through exploration of the practice and projects your practice is working on.
  • Our programme is streamed alongside our MArch with Collaborative Practice Research and main MArch Part 2 programmes ensuring you are part of a wider collegiate group of students.
Full course details

The Level 7 Architect ARB accredited degree apprenticeship programme encompasses the Part 2 and Part 3 professional practice qualifications.

The Part 2 MArch component of the programme is based upon our practice-based MArch Architecture with Collaborative Practice Research programme, with its 240 credits being spread over three years. This is followed by our  PG Diploma in Professional Practice (Part 3) which leads to the final component of the programme, the End Point Assessment (EPA) required for Part 3 graduation and confirmation of meeting the Apprenticeship standard.

Successful completion of the programme offers apprentices the opportunity to enter the register of qualified architects.

The apprenticeship features

Initial needs assessment

As part of the application and enrolment process, we will carry out an individual needs assessment. This will enable us to determine their existing levels of skill and knowledge, and build a personal plan which will set out all the learning, tutorial support, and resources provided by the University.

Tripartite reviews

As part of our continued support for each apprentice and the degree apprenticeship, we offer tripartite reviews between the employer, apprentice and the University to formally assess progress in the academic programme and work-based learning. 


Apprentices are assessed through a mixture of exams, coursework and a portfolio of work. The degree apprenticeship also includes an end-point assessment, which comprises of design challenge and report, followed by a career apraisal and professional interview. 

Support team

Each of our degree apprenticeship programmes are designed to include full support for the apprentice and the sponsoring employer. We provide:

  • an account manager to look after the employer relationship
  • a degree apprenticeship officer to support each apprentice throughout the end-to-end programme
  • an assigned academic work-based mentor for each apprentice
  • workplace visits during the apprenticeship
  • a dedicated academic management project supervisor
This is a long-term relationship that we only see strengthening over the years as students at the University of Nottingham will be able to undertake practice-based research that benefits both Leonard Design and the wider sector. By working directly with our clients, apprentices will have the opportunity to produce innovative industry-led research as demand for more R&D in the sector grows. 
Leonard Design, Nottingham. 

Careers and professional development

Successful completion of the programme offers apprentices the opportunity to enter the register of qualified architects via the ARB. 

Year 1 - practice research and development of skillset

The first year of the programme includes a foundation of specialist practice research modules, which give apprentices the opportunity to carry out research and development work in the practice as part of their studies. It offers guidance from research staff to help develop real life research skills, which Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has recognised is increasingly important for the profession. This is accompanied by core environmental and technology knowledge and skills that can, in later years, be explored and expanded in studio.


Architectural research study (30 credits)

The research study is at the heart of the course and offers a unique opportunity for apprentices to lead on live practice research, and the space for practice to explore research topics that may be inaccessible in a commercial operating environment.

The apprentice and practice define the topic of the study, to be agreed with the University to ensure it is deliverable within the given expertise and timeframe. The University teaching and research team will provide a firm grounding in a range of architectural research methods, before guiding apprentices through the preparation of their research study.

Our aim is to form wider peer review dialogue with likeminded and interested practice partners, and that the outputs from the reports will be publishable to a wider audience.


Building case study (10 credits)

This module enables apprentices to develop their understanding of the nature and context of architectural practice, focusing on how environmental principles, strategies and technologies inform the design and development of buildings. During their time in practice, apprentices will be more aware of the range of skills and knowledge that inform the design and construction of buildings, and of the different professions that contribute to this process.

Apprentices must apply this knowledge in the critical appraisal of a building case study of their choice that draws upon the experience gained from practical experience, and the knowledge obtained from distance-based learning via the Moodle platform.


Live design studio (30 credits)

The module brief is flexibly set to allow apprentices the opportunity to develop a relevant research outcome into a comprehensive project, provided it meets given criteria for complexity and scale of project. This option enables apprentices to explore outcomes of a practice research study with a live client. An alternative comprehensive design studio will be offered to all students for whom a research led design is not feasible/possible.

Apprentices will identify a site, brief and typology emerging from their research study, with the aim of continuing live practice investigative work, drawing learning from continued practice and client engagement as the design develops.


Applied architectural technology (10 credits)

This lecture-based module aims to develop the practical knowledge and understanding of the environmental, construction, structural and technological dimensions of architectural design. It is designed to support practical applications in the studio, reinforcing skills in the integrative nature of architectural design. Formal teaching will be complemented by regular workshop sessions on specialist areas of expertise, such as façade engineering, parametric design and fabric architecture. 

Year 2 - Exploration, theory, design and profession

The second year of the programme explore aspects of urbanism and place making in studio, accompanied by the introduction of exploration of architectural theory and an investigation of practice and project operations in professional studies. This enables apprentices to identify a theme for the major Year 3 written thesis and following design project.

Culture and context in practice (10 credits)

This seminar module aims to support the development of architectural thinking to an advanced level through a critical examination of architectural culture. The programme focusses on phenomenology and offers the opportunity to generate a piece of theoretical work in line with the on-campus version of this module.


Architectural urbanism in practice (30 credits)

A design studio module that aims to develop academic research and architectural design skills to an advanced level. The studio is project-based, and its activities follow a design process that serves as a precursor to the individual Practice Research by Design module in the spring semester. Apprentices apply analytical investigations and research explorations into a particular theme to inform the development of architectural proposals.

Apprentices participate in one of the studio units on offer, which will set a design project brief around a distinct theme, building type or specialism.


Practice research by design (30 credits)

This design studio will develop the apprentice’s core research-led design skills, critical thinking and application skills prescribed by the ARB/RIBA for Part II students.

Each apprentice will have the opportunity to identify a research theme with their practice to test and explore their research conclusions through an architectural solution in a chosen host city. The aim is to continue live practice investigative work, drawing learning from continued practice and client engagement as the design develops.


Professional studies in practice (10 credits)

The course will give an overview of architectural practice, with particular emphasis on legal frameworks, forms of contract, and the structure of an architect’s services (RIBA Work Stages). It will focus on more complex client relationships, project partnering and joint-venture working.

Lectures and workshops will cover:

  • construction law
  • building regulations
  • planning law
  • professionalism
  • business management
  • project financing
  • risk management
  • the building team

The scope also includes the financial implications of construction costs as related to decisions about procurement routes, contract and design decisions, CDM Legislation and the implications of the Equalities Act. The module will aim to complement the development of the associated live studio project.

Year 3 - Design thesis and reflective portfolio

Live thesis research (30 credits)

This studio module aims to develop architectural skills to an advanced level. We encourage apprentices to work alongside their employer to arrive at a joint research theme where commercial interests or specialisms can be explored in an academic setting.

Within the year, there is the opportunity to select from a range of different design research themes that each have a distinct focus and research problem. Apprentices are expected to follow a self-directed plan of independent study, working to a fixed brief and initial testing of ideas that will lead into the subsequent thesis portfolio module. 


Live thesis portfolio (30 credits)

The portfolio component is a continuation of the research and brief development activities from the co-requisite module K14AF3. Here, the teaching focus shifts towards the production of a portfolio as a comprehensive representation of the apprentice’s full thesis project, which will be presented for examination during the second semester’s exam period.

This module also includes an essay assignment that enables apprentices to explore professionalism in the context of issues affecting the industry, the role of the architect and the practice.


Reflective practice portfolio (20 credits)

This module focuses on reflective evaluation of the first three years in practice, including the development of both professional and design skills, and the impact of the research study on their employer.

This work is complemented by two short focus studies that offer deeper investigation of specific aspects of practice including marketing, impact of research and development, and elements of practice operation and business strategy. 

Year 4 - Professional practice

The final year of the programme encompasses the PG Diploma in Professional Practice (Part 3) studies, and leads to apprentices being readied for entry to the final Apprenticeship End Point Assessment. Apprentices who pass this final examination are eligible to apply to enter the register as an architect via the ARB. 


The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may be changed, renamed, reorganised or or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the programme due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments, or staffing changes or changing demands of industry. The university shall ensure that modules and programme continue to adhere to the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSB) required of the applicable Apprenticeship Standard, which are fundamental to any programme of delivery.

This content was last updated on Friday 8 September 2023.

I've learned so much from each module and tutor, furthered my experience in practice and, most importantly, had such an enjoyable year that's presented so many new opportunities. I have no doubts that I chose the right Part 2 course.
Carly - SNC Lavalin (Atkins), London.


Department of Architecture and Built Environment

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 95 14184