• 11 Sep 2020

Architecture and Architectural Technology Courses Receive Record Number of Applicants

The RIAI is delighted to see the upward trend for careers in architecture continue in the 2020 CAO Round 1 offers. 

Due to unprecedented circumstances, students were awarded calculated grades, which has resulted in average grade inflation of 4.4pc. Inevitably this has led to an increase of CAO points and thus an increase on high-end courses such as architecture and architecture technology.

RIAI CEO, Kathryn Meghen said: “The year 2020 will forever be remembered for obvious reasons. The pandemic has brought a lot of change to our lives but one thing that has not changed is the demand for careers in architecture. Every architecture and architectural technology course in Ireland has seen an increase of applicants, which is fantastic to see. Architecture is a very rewarding career and the RIAI is pleased to see a substantial increase of interest from students. A career in architecture provides graduates with a diverse and unique set of skills which will be key to delivering quality, homes, buildings, infrastructure and public space in the future.”

When selecting a programme of study to become a registered architect, it is essential to check that it is properly accredited and prescribed for access to the profession. 

There are a number of routes to registration as an architect, but the most typical is to complete a prescribed degree course in architecture, at least two years of approved postgraduate professional training and a prescribed examination in professional practice. 

Prescribed degree courses in architecture take five years of full-time study. Sometimes the five years of study are split into a three-year course followed by a two-year course, or a four-year course followed by a one-year course. Many students take a year out to gain practical experience between the third and fourth year or between fourth and fifth year. Only the final award (after five years) is formally accredited or recognised. From beginning study to full professional qualification, including postgraduate professional training, it typically takes seven to nine years to become a registered architect. Graduates of the three-year or four-year courses in Architecture are not eligible for any class of RIAI membership or for registration as an architect.

There are currently five prescribed qualifications in architecture for the purposes of registration as an architect offered in the Republic of Ireland by the following institutions: University College Dublin, University of Limerick, Technological University Dublin, Waterford Institute of Technology and University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology’s jointly run course (CCAE). 

The Institute of Technology Sligo has applied to the RIAI for the accreditation and subsequent prescription of their 5-year Bachelors of Architecture (Hons) degree - CAO Code SG347. In February 2019 this degree was awarded Provisional Approval by the RIAI. The earliest that this qualification may achieve full accreditation by the RIAI and prescription under the Building Control Act 2007 is when the first cohort of students graduate from the programme in 2023. Therefore, the Bachelors of Architecture degree (BArch) at Institute of Technology Sligo has begun the prescription process but is not currently prescribed for the purposes of registration as an architect in Ireland under the Building Control Act 2007.

Architectural Technology

The most common way to qualify as an architectural technologist is to undertake a degree through an RIAI accredited course, which generally takes three years of full-time study, followed by a two year period of supervised practical training. You are then eligible to become an Architectural Technologist member of the RIAI.

The RIAI currently accredits qualifications in Architectural Technology from five third-level educational institutions in the Republic of Ireland; Institute of Technology Carlow, Cork Institute of Technology, Dublin Institute of Technology, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology and Letterkenny Institute of Technology. 

Further information and advice about becoming an architect can be found on the RIAI website 'Becoming an Architect'.  

Further information and advice about becoming an architectural technologist can be found on the RIAI website 'Becoming an Architectural Technologist'.

For further information contact: Sandra Campbell, RIAI, 01 676 1703.

Note for Editors

Table 1: CAO Points for Prescribed Qualifications in Architecture

Note: Only the five programmes in architecture listed below are prescribed under the Building Control Act 2007.

Institution QQI Level 2020 2019 Difference
UCC & CIT (joint) 4yr BSc Arch + 1yr MArch 484 465 Up 19
TU Dublin 5yr BArch 622* 618* Up 4
UCD 3yr BSc Arch + 2yr MArch 510 486 Up 24
UL 5yr BArch 498** 418** Up 80
WIT 5yr BArch 284 AQA -

*Applicants must attend a suitability test and interview for which extra points are awarded
**Applicants must first pass a portfolio examination in April, prior to the CAO. Only those applicants who have successfully passed the portfolio examination are considered through the CAO.
AQA - All qualified applicants

Table 2: CAO Points for Qualifications in Architecture with Provisional Approval by the RIAI

Institution QQI Level 2020
IT Sligo 5yr BArch 360

Table 3: RIAI accredited programmes in Architectural Technology

Note: Only the seven programmes in architectural technology listed below are accredited by the RIAI.

Institution QQI Level 2020 2019 Difference
IT Carlow 4yr Level 8 Degree (Hons) 262 252 Up 10
TU Dublin 4yr Level 8 Degree (Hons) 410 388 Up 22
GMIT 4yr Level 8 Degree (Hons) 265 251 Up 14
IT Carlow 3yr Level 7 Degree (Ord) 188 186 Up 2
Cork IoT 3yr Level 7 Degree (Ord) 266 251 Up 15
GMIT 3yr Level 7 Degree (Ord) 226 200 Up 26
LYIT 3yr Level 7 Degree (Ord) * 182 -

*No intake for 2020