Last edited 26 May 2021

Year-out student

Year out student.jpg

Most UK architectural courses designed to lead to professional qualification follow a sandwich-style pattern which may also be common in other parts of the world.

Typically, three years will be required to attain an undergraduate degree (BA or BSc, equivalent to RIBA Part 1), and a further one or two years will be required for the masters-level post-graduate qualification (eg DipArch, BArch or MArch, equivalent to RIBA Part2).

Between these two full-time education periods, students undertake a ‘year out’ working in architectural practice, if their aim is to progress to becoming qualified architects. This 12-month period of practical training is also referred to by the RIBA as ‘stage 1 practical experience’.

The year out typically serves five functions:

  • It gives graduates a taste of what will be in store in professional architectural practice;
  • It ensures they are fit to enter the profession once they have qualified;
  • It allows students to learn new skills and consolidate the theory learnt as undergraduates;
  • It provides a break between the two blocks of intensive academic education, and
  • It allows the student the opportunity of paid employment.

The year-out period is based on the ‘learning by doing’ premise and complements academic learning. It must be spent in an architect’s office under the direct supervision and guidance of an experienced architect. The student will typically be engaged in the design of buildings or the administration of building contracts.

Practical training must usually follow a prescribed plan of activities stipulated by the RIBA which must be recorded and signed monthly by the supervising architect.

Throughout their year out, students are regarded as ‘employees’ of the architectural practice in question but will also maintain links with their school-based practical training advisor (PTA). Typically, students are required to send their practical training record to their PTA for inspection.

A further year or two of practical training is required on completion of the DipArch, BArch or MArch degrees. Once this second period of practical training has been completed successfully, students may sit for the RIBA examination in architecture (Part 3). However, the term 'year-out' is only applied to the first period that is sandwiched between the first and second blocks of academic education.

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