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Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Practice in Architecture - ARB/ RIBA Pt3

The Cambridge Part 3 course and examination has validation from the ARB and the RIBA: successful candidates are eligible to apply to both institutions for registration and membership. It is the final qualification in architecture education and represents entry into the profession.


The aim of the course is to enable candidates to successfully present themselves to the examiners through the various required submissions and to receive an endorsement of competency to practice as an architect.

In so doing the course also hopes to act as a forum for a wider discussion of issues affecting the profession and the construction industry in the UK and further afield.

Structure of the Course:

The Cambridge Part 3 course is run jointly by the Department of Architecture and the Institute of Continuing Education. It has a quite specific structure, running from September to September. The taught element of the course is contained within three intensive workshops held in September (2 day), March (3 day) and June (3 day). The assessment process is carried out in the following September. This hopefully involves the student in minimal disruption from their workplace.

Owing to the particular structure of the Cambridge course it is well suited to those students who are used to self-directed learning. They need to be well motivated, well organised, and able to concentrate through full days of intensive teaching.

The course normally comprises about 22-25 students in any one cohort so the class sizes are relatively small and enable a good level of discussion and student participation to complement the lecture programme. At the outset of the course students are arranged into student-led study groups to sustain their learning in between the workshops. This has proved particularly popular with students in the past.

Cambridge is a very enjoyable pace to study and feedback from previous students suggest that the workshops provide an agreeable counterpoint to the office environment and that, contrary to their expectations, they actually enjoyed the course very much.

The dates for the 2016-17 session are:

Thursday 22nd/Friday 23rd September 2016

Wednesday 15th/Thursday 16th/ Friday 17th March 2017

Wednesday 21st/Thursday 22nd/Friday 23rd June 2017

The postgraduate certificate is NOT a distance learning course and attendance in Cambridge for the teaching sessions is compulsory. It is therefore essential that all applicants are available to attend all the teaching events.

Content of the Course:

The content of the course is based upon the professional criteria, which a student needs to satisfy, as laid out jointly by the RIBA/ARB.

Before they apply, applicants are advised to review these criteria. This will help them assess whether they are at an appropriate stage to present themselves for the Part 3 examination

We are fortunate in having an exceptional pool of very experienced contributors to the Part 3 course. The taught element will cover many aspects of professionalism, delivery of services, legal framework and processes, practice and management and building procurement.

FOR GUIDANCE ONLY the workshop programmes for 2014-15 are contained here:

Workshop timetable September 2014

Workshop timetable March 2015

Workshop timetable June 2015


The assessment process is carried out in September and comprises written submissions of case study, personal statement CV and PEDR. This is followed two weeks later by two written examinations (Paper 1 and Paper 2) and two weeks after that by the oral examination.

A pair of professional examiners will assess each candidate. The Cambridge course is supported by an extremely experienced body of examiners, many of whom examine on other Part 3 courses elsewhere.

Further Information:

Further information can be found on the Institute for Continuing Education website.

Further details of the course procedures can also be found in the Course Specification. The Course specification for 2015-16 is contained here FOR GUIDANCE PURPOSES ONLY. Applicants should be aware that procedures may be altered or refined for the year 2016-17.















At a Glance

Course Length and Date

One part-time year course from September to September. This course is run jointly by the Department of Architecture and the Institute of Continuing Education.

Students are required to attend three 2/3 day workshops in September, March and June and to submit work and attend written and oral examinations in the following September.


The assessment comprises several elements to successfully complete the course the candidate will need to pass all elements:

Case Study

Professional Experience Development Record

Personal Statement and CV

Written Examination (Paper 1+2)

Oral Examination

 Entry Requirements

The course is open to all graduates who have obtained RIBA/ARB Parts 1 and 2 (or confirmation equivalence) and who will have recently completed the appropriate practical training experience.

English Language Requirement

For students for whom English is not their first language, we will require evidence of having met the required level in a recognised test. Further information regarding the required level can be found on the Institute of Continuing Education website.

Applications Accepted From

1st Feb 2016

Applications Deadline

1st June 2016

Course Fees

Course Fees for 2016-17 will be £2,750 (including a registration fee of £250). The full fees will be payable by 31st July 2016.

Tours of the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art 2016-17

The tour dates for the next academic year are:

  • Tuesday 11th October - 2:00pm
  • Thursday 13th October - 11:00am (postgraduate only)
  • Tuesday 25th October - 2:00pm
  • Tuesday 8th November - 2:00 pm
  • Thursday 10th November - 11:00am (postgraduate only)
  • Thursday 17th November - 1:30pm (postgraduate only)
  • Tuesday 22nd November - 2:00pm
  • Tuesday 6th December -2:00pm
  • Tuesday 24th January - 2:00pm
  • Tuesday 14th February - 2:00pm
  • Tuesday 28th February - 2:00pm
  • Tuesday 14th March - 2:00pm 
  • Tuesday 2nd May - 2:00pm
  • Tuesday 20th June - 2:00pm
  • Tuesday 4th July - 2:00pm


Please note these times are subject to change at the department's discretion

To book a place email Reception (

These are informal tours of the Faculty. Please note that these are not open days, and there will not be an opportunity to meet members of staff. This is a busy working department so it is not guaranteed that all facilities will be available to visit on every tour.

Prospective students are encouraged to take advantage of the activities offered by the department in the July University Open Day to gain the best understanding of the course.