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Professional Practice Exam

The best way to qualify as an architect eligible for admission to the Register for Architects and to Membership of the RIAI is to

  • get a degree from a recognised school of architecture, followed by
  • two years of approved post-graduate professional training, and
  • an examination in professional practice.

For further information on under-graduate qualifications in Architecture see Becoming an Architect

The quality of a graduate’s post-graduate professional training is the single most important factor contributing to successful completion of the final stage of professional formation. The RIAI Policy on Post-Graduate Professional Training is intended to provide information and guidance on graduate’s professional training to students and graduates, RIAI members and practices, Schools of Architecture and of Architectural Technology, and State agencies with roles in education, training and employment.

Graduates and employers alike should be aware of the RIAI Advice Note on Employment and Social Welfare Rights first published in July 2011. Members and practices are reminded that under employment law, except in defined circumstances outlined in the Advice Note, employees must be paid at least the national minimum wage.


Professional Practice Examination Options

  • UCD Professional Diploma (Architecture)

The Professional Diploma (Architecture) is the final professional examination for architectural graduates leading to entry to the Register for Architects in Ireland.  This part-time programme is available through attendance at lectures or online (a self-directed flexible programme). Graduates can take the five modules over minimum of 1 year, or longer, on a flexible basis and examinations are available in either January or May.

The programme is flexible to allow graduates to complete the programme over a number of years, while completing min. 24 months professional practical experience. This can be undertaken either in paid employment (min. 21 hours/week) or in an approved internship scheme, in Ireland or in any other country.

Applications can be made online at www.ucd.ie/apply

Further information on the UCD Professional Diploma (Architecture)


  • DT119 Professional Diploma in Architectural Practice (PDAP)

The DIT Professional Diploma in Architectural Practice - PDAP prepares candidates for the DIT examination that provides exemption to the RIAI examinations and allows candidates to register as an Architect in Ireland. The programme is run by the Dublin School of Architecture. It aims to equip the candidate with the knowledge, ability and judgement expected of a registered Architect in offering services to a client and successfully managing a business. Enrolment opens in October, lectures begin in the following January and this normally leads to submission of written material and final oral examination in early September. The programme is delivered through a series of 40 plus lectures, 12 half-day seminars and one-to-one tutorials.

Further information on DT119 Professional Diploma in Architectural Practice (PDAP)


PLEASE NOTE: The RIAI Examination in Professional Practice has been in suspension since 1 March 2012. No further applications will be accepted after this date.

Candidates wishing to apply to complete a Professional Practice Examination after 1 March 2012 should contact UCD or DIT following the weblinks above.


Information for candidates who registered for the RIAI Examination in Professional Practice before 1 March 2012

The purpose of the RIAI Examination in Professional Practice is to establish whether the candidate:

  • fully understands the nature and responsibilities of professional practice,
  • has sufficient knowledge of Irish law and contract procedures, and
  • has had enough practical experience of all the stages of a building project for independent practice as an architect in Ireland.

A candidate for the Examination in Professional Practice must have:

  • a recognised qualification in architecture


  • a minimum period of post-qualification supervised practical experience

Recognised qualifications in architecture include:

  • a prescribed qualification in architecture
  • the RIAI Final Examination;
  • a qualification recognised by the Competent Authority in another EU Member State;
  • a qualification recognised by the professional or registration body in a non-EU state and assessed by the RIAI as equivalent to a prescribed qualification.

Post-qualification supervised practical experience must have been acquired under the supervision of an RIAI Member or equivalent, i.e. a Registered Architect or Registered Member of a UIA Member Section (see Practical Experience Information Sheet).

The Examination Cycle

The Professional Practice Examination Cycle starts on 1 March (closing date for receipt of applications) and finishes with the publication of Examination Results in March of the following year. The Cycle includes four Sections:

  • Lecture Series
  • Written Examination
  • Case Study
  • Oral Examination

A candidate must have accumulated at least 1 year of supervised practical experience before taking the Written Examination and at least 2 years of supervised practical experience before submitting a Case Study and taking the Oral Examination.

Information Package

The information package contains all files listed below.


  1. Examination Calendar 2011 / 2012
  2. Examination Regulations
  3. Practical Experience Information Sheet
  4. Case Study Information Sheet
  5. Syllabus
  6. Syllabus Appendix
  7. Reading List
  8. Past Examination Papers
  9. Guidelines for Employers & Mentors


Contents Examination Application Pack:

00_Examination Calendar 2011/2012 and Examination Calender 2012/2013
02_Guidance for Applicants
03_Application Form
04_Verification of Qualification in Architecture
05_Certificate of Practical Architectural Experience
06_Curriculum Vitae Format
07_Case Study Proposal
08_Involvement in Case Study Project & Nomination of Mentor and 08b_Confirmation of Mentor_May2011
09_Confirmation of Involvement in Case Study Project
10_Declaration of Authorship
11_Disability Notification
12_Payment Form

Examination Fee

The Application Fee must be included with your Application to the RIAI. This fee covers the Written Examination, Case Study and Oral Examination and can be paid either by cheque or credit card. The fee is non-refundable. There is a fee of €100 for repeat attempts of any section of the Examination.

Transcript Evaluation Fee

Candidates who are required to submit an Academic Transcript with their Application must include an additional Transcript Evaluation Fee, see Fee Schedule.

Appeals Procedure

RIAI Non Statutory Appeals Guidance and Application Form

Lecture Series

The joint RIAI/UCD Lecture Series is administered by the School of Architecture at University College Dublin (UCD). It covers the prescribed Syllabus for the RIAI Examination in Professional Practice. The course is not mandatory, but candidates are strongly advised to attend.

Application Procedure

  1. Confirm your eligibility to take the Professional Practice Examination with the RIAI
  2. Access the UCD website at: www.ucd.ie/arcel/architecture/postgraduate/index.htm and apply to attend the Lecture Series

Enquiries for the Lecture Series should be made to:

Ms. Orla Hegarty
Course Director
Email: orla.hegarty@ucd.ie
General: professionalpractice@ucd.ie