Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a sample of recent questions from prospective students...
I read recently in the AJ that CAT will be offering a professional diploma in architecture. Do you have any information you could send me please?
All the programme documents are now on our web site at http://gse.cat.org.uk
Do I have to have part 1 before I can do part 2 at CAT?
For acceptance onto the programme students need to demonstrate they have exemption from ARB/RIBA part 1. Applicants who have been educated overseas but lack ARB/RIBA part 1 exemption can gain exemption by presenting their previous work independently to the ARB as an external student. Further information can be obtained at: - www.arb.org.uk However we would not be able to accept students onto the course until they have been accepted by ARB
This all looks great. Does this mean that you have RIBA Validation?
The Professional Diploma has been prescribed by the Architects’ Registration Board (ARB), the UK Competent Authority under the EU directive, until September 2014 and we are open to discussion with the RIBA regarding candidate course status. ARB prescription and RIBA validation are two separate processes. However, please be assured that the programme is a formally recognised Part Two programme. You may find it helpful visiting the ARB web site at http://www.arb.org.uk where the course does appear on the list of prescribed courses.
Between a quarter & a third of all architects registered with the ARB are not RIBA members, so although the RIBA does represent the majority of architects in the UK it does not represent all shades of opinion within the profession. ARB is the UK’s statutory regulator of architects. ARB keeps a public register –of around 33,000 architects. Every architect in the UK has to meet the standards that it sets for education, training and practice, not to be mistaken for RIBA membership. It is the sole legislative body within the UK responsible for allowing the use of the title Architect and for allowing the bearer to be a practicing Architect within the UK.
At CAT the Part II course is prescribed by the ARB (as all UK Part I, Part II & Part III courses must be). Schools can individually decide whether to apply for additional validation by the RIBA. We have decided not to proceed with RIBA validation currently unless there is a demand from the students (or prospective students) to do so, currently the majority thought that it was a positive virtue to be independent of the RIBA. Students who have successfully completed our Part II course have gone on to sign up for Part III courses at a range of other Schools of Architecture.
The CAT Part II was one of seven schools who have recently been through the process of being recognized by the European Community. This means that our qualification will have the same status as all other Courses throughout the 27 member countries. We were assisted through this process by ARB as the recognized Competent Authority in the EU.
Your part 2 course looks very interesting and I was wondering whether it would be possible to do it on a part-time basis as I work full-time?
We are exploring the potential for a part time route through the course. We appreciate that students are under pressure to work whilst studying, it is important to be realistic about the time implications. Initially we are not intending to offer the programme in part time mode although the nature of the programme, i.e. attendance at CAT one week every month has been designed to allow students to maintain a limited amount of part time employment. Some students choose to do the support studies modules first by completing the associated MSc programme. It is then possible to credit you for the modules you complete on that programme and give you advance standing on the Professional Diploma. We are aware of proposals for the ‘learn and earn’ project and may incorporate aspects of this in the future.
I have been away from architectural education for some time and am nervous about coming back to study
We will make special efforts to help students make the transition back to studying and support them in regaining confidence in design and other aspects of their work.
Is there any possibility of doing the MSc by distance this year and then transferring credits to the part 2 next year with perhaps reduced attendance? I am assuming they share some modules.
There are some shared modules with the associated MSc Architecture programme. Students may be admitted to the Professional Diploma with advanced standing through the recognition of credit or the accreditation of experiential or certificated learning according to the University of East London Accreditation of (Experiential) Learning (A(E)L) policy. This is done on an individual basis as each case will be different.
I am interested to know how the course works with UEL and how much time will be spent in Wales/London?
You will be required to attend CAT (in Wales) one week every month from Monday evening until the following Sunday afternoon/evening. You will have to attend CAT in August, when we will run a 2 week study school. There is no formal teaching at CAT in December when we make alternative arrangements for tutorials and design reviews depending on the location of students. The course is not run by the University of East London and you do not need to attend there. However, the Diploma will be awarded by UEL and you will be UEL students for the duration of your studies.
Who will be teaching on the course?
The acting course leader is Trish Andrews, who has been affiliated with CAT since 1990 and worked as CAT’s Environmental Building Consultant since 2005 before the course began. We have Professor Pat Borer and Architect David Lea. Both have a wealth of experience in designing and constructing 'green' buildings. Both have been closely involved with the Centre for Alternative Technology in the design and development of ultra-low energy buildings, passive and active solar heating systems, photovoltaic roofs, benign building materials and technologies, co-operative ways of building and healthy internal environments. In addition to the course staff we have a list of over 20 leading architects from all over the UK who have agreed to contribute to the course as visiting lecturers, tutor and critics. Students will also have access to the many tutors who work on the related MSc programmes.
What teaching methods will be used?
The course will be run in a way that treats students as mature adults who will take responsibility for their own learning. Teaching and learning will be a collaborative process and we hope to avoid conventional crits, instead encouraging students to evaluate their own work and progress with the help of tutors. We have done this through reviews in the studio as well as community exhibitions.
Will the course focus on technology instead of design?
No! The course will be a balance of architectural design and technology in which the two will be integrated. We will ensure that students have a portfolio of project and design work that will be up to the high standards expected at Part 2 level.
What facilities are available at CAT?
Students will have access to all the facilities at CAT. The students have their own studio space where they can meet, have tutorials and review work. We also have access to other teaching facilities contained in the WISE building at CAT.
And finally…We are delighted to be embarking on our fourth year of teaching this programme at CAT… offering a new programme in architecture has been very exciting for us. If you’d like to visit us at CAT to sample the programme, then please let us know and we can arrange that for you. Prospective students often come up for a day or two during our open days to get a feel for the place and meet the other students.
Look forward to seeing you here…
or tel: (01654) 704985 for more information