Part 3 Examination in Practice and Management

1. Welcome

  • 1.1.1. Welcome to the School of Architecture in the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment, Oxford Brookes University.
  • 1.1.2. Founded in 1927, the School of Architecture is one of the largest in the UK and a highly regarded centre of education for architecture and the built environment. Design, practicality and social purpose are central to the Department’s tradition.
  • 1.1.3. The School is at the forefront of thinking about how professionals and the industry can work together in the public interest both in the EU and worldwide.
  • 1.1.4. It has over 1,000 students, supported by some 200 academic and support staff. Many students are from overseas, many in postgraduate programmes including taught Masters programmes and research degrees.
  • 1.1.5. The School has extensive academic links with over 120 universities and organisations across the world, which provide opportunities for collaboration and study abroad. There are also strong links with industry worldwide and it has a highly rated research portfolio.
  • 1.1.6. The School runs architecture programmes that are accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB) for Parts 1, 2, and 3 and has strong links with architectural practices. For further information about the School’s activities please have a look at our website at:
  • 1.1.7. This guide is intended to help you to prepare for the Part 3 Examination in Practice and Management, that allows you entry into the architectural profession, and we hope that you will find it informative. If you have any suggestions that might improve the guide please the contact Adam Najak:

Good luck with your preparations for the examination.

Matt Gaskin
Head of the School of Architecture

2. Summary

  • 2.1.1 The Part 3 Examination in Practice and Management is the final stage in an architect’s education and training – and the foundation for life-long learning and development as a member of the architectural profession.
  • 2.1.2 Candidates who successfully pass the Part 3 examination are entitled to register as an architect in the UK with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and to apply for worldwide corporate membership of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The term ‘architect’ is a protected title and can only be used by ARB registered architects. Once you have registered with the ARB you can practice as an architect. However, concomitant with full professional status is the requirement to pay an annual registration fee to the ARB and to comply with the profession’s code of conduct and to maintain and develop professional skills (CPD). See for further details.
  • 2.1.3 This guide aims to give you advice on a range of issues that face you when you are contemplating taking the Part 3 examination. Answers to frequently asked questions such as, am I eligible? When and where can I take the examination? What does the examination consist of? Do I have all the necessary material ready for submission and to a satisfactory standard? may be found in the appropriate sections.
  • 2.1.4 The guide also makes some suggestions on how you might work with your fellow Part 3 candidates to further your understanding and test your knowledge of important topics that you will encounter in the examination.
  • 2.1.5 Reading around the subject is important to establish basic knowledge. Solving problems in architectural practice very often has no right and wrong answer so it is also important to read widely, keep abreast of current trends and form your own opinions. Appendix 3 provides you with an indicative reading list.

3. Your Candidate Status

  • 3.1.1. Schools that offer exemption from Part 3 do so in two distinctly different ways and it is crucial that you understand the difference between the two.
  • 3.1.2. Some schools may offer a taught course, in which case your status would be ‘student’. In addition to exemption from Part 3 the school usually makes an academic award on successful completion of the course and in this case there is a teaching responsibility on the part of staff who deliver the course.
  • 3.1.3. When you apply to do the Part 3 at Oxford Brookes your status is that of ‘candidate’.
  • 3.1.4. It is very important to understand the implications of candidate status.
  • 3.1.5. Candidate status means that it is a self-taught course and there is no teaching or advisory responsibility taken by the staff at the School of Architecture.
  • 3.1.6. Preparation for the entire examination, which consists of Case Study, Personal Statement, CV, PEDR sheets, written and oral exams, is the complete responsibility of the candidate.
  • 3.1.7. The School offers support in terms of Winter, Spring and Summer Seminars but any guidance given at any stage should not be taken as an indication of ultimate success. Passing or failing depends entirely on your own performance in front of the examiners in all sections of the
  • examination.
  • 3.1.8. Oxford Brookes University does not provide an academic award; candidates who successfully pass the Part 3 examination are then entitled to register as an architect in the UK (ARB Registration) and to apply for worldwide corporate membership of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

4. Part 3 at a Glance

JanuaryAcceptance of proposed Case Study
One-day Winter Seminar
MarchThree-day Spring Seminar
JuneThree-day Summer Seminar
Autumn submission dayOne-day Documentary submission and meet your examiners submit:
  • Case Study
  • Personal Statement
  • CV
  • PEDR sheets
Written ExaminationsTwo days: Paper A and Paper B
Oral ExaminationOne-day: held three weeks after written examinations
ResultIssued five working days after Oral Examination


  • 4.1. Eligibility, readiness and application
  • 4.1.1. Have you already achieved recognised academic and/or professional qualifications at RIBA/ARB Part 1 and Part 2?
  • 4.1.2 If you have not yet achieved Part 1 and Part 2, what action are you taking to achieve them?
    Note: A candidate who passes Part 3, cannot register as an architect in the UK until verification of passing Parts 1,2 and 3 has been registered by the ARB.
  • 4.1.3. Are your Professional Experience Development Record (PEDR) sheets up to date and signed on time?
  • 4.1.4. Will you have a minimum of 24 months practical experience?
  • 4.1.5. Will you have completed at least 12 months of the above experience during the 24 months leading up to taking the Part 3?
  • 4.1.7. Is your application form correct and does it demonstrate the breadth and depth of your experience?
  • 4.2. Preparation of submission material
  • 4.2.1 As soon as you have applied to take the Part 3 examination and been accepted you should begin to prepare your Case Study, and your Personal Statement and continue to complete and submit your PEDR sheets on time.
  • 4.3. The Winter Seminar
  • 4.3.1 The Winter Seminar, held over one day will introduce you to all areas and subject required to meet the part 3 criteria. You will be introduced to the Professional Studies Advisor who will be able help you assess whether your case study proposal is progressing satisfactorily.
  • 4.4. The Spring Seminar
  • 4.4.1 The Spring Seminar, held over three days, will build on your professional practice experience gained so far and cover for example: minimising professional risk, the financial management of practice and handling disputes. There is an opportunity for candidates to meet with the Professional Studies Advisor to help you assess whether your case study is progressing satisfactorily.
  • 4.5. The Summer Seminar
  • 4.5.1. The summer seminar series held over three days is delivered by a group of industry experts on construction law, contract, Health & Safety, planning issues, Architects Appointment and Code of Conduct. There is a further opportunity for candidates to develop with the Professional Studies Advisor further help assessing whether your case study is progressing satisfactorily or identifying any difficulties you may be behaving with progressing your case study.
  • 4.6. Winter Seminar Topics.
  • 4.6.1. The Winter Seminars will usually cover the following topics:-
    • Introduction to Part 3 at Brookes
    • The guide to the syllabus and regulations
    • How to form study groups and
    • The Case study broken down
    • How to develop good professional personal statement documents
    • How to write good PEDRs
    • How to prepare for the Interview and Exams
    • Discussion forum (experience to date)
    • Guest Speaker (RIBA President elect 2013-15)
  • 4.7 Spring and Summer Seminar Topics.
  • 4.7.1. The Spring and Summer Seminars will usually cover the following topics:-
    • Report Writing
    • A Debate on Procurement
    • Architects’ Appointment and Code of Conduct
    • The Financial Management of Practices
    • Contract Administration
    • Party Wall Act and Rights of Light
    • Contract Law
    • CDM Regulations
    • Professional Indemnity Insurance
    • Planning Law & Procedures
    • Building Regulations
    • Intellectual Property Rights
    • Current Changes within the Profession BIM and RIBA workstages
  • 4.8 Autumn Submission Day
  • 4.8.1. You will be required to submit two paper copies of your Case Study, Personal Statement – including CV and PEDR sheets on the day, plus one electronic copy.
    You will also have the opportunity to meet with one or both of your professional examiners. These examiners mark your documentary submission and your written examinations and conduct your oral examination.

    Candidates, who cannot attend the submission day, may submit the documentary submission by post to arrive by first post on the autumn submission day. Electronic copies can be submitted by e-mail to:
  • 4.9. The Formal Examinations
  • 4.9.1. The examination consists of two written papers and an oral examination.
  • 4.9.2. The two written papers are held on consecutive days. The first written paper is a question and answer paper and the second require the interpretation of a particular scenario that you might experience in practice.
  • 4.9.3. The oral interview, which takes about 45 minutes, is held approximately three weeks after the written papers are taken.
  • 4.9.4. Results will normally be sent to all candidates within five working days of the oral exam.

5. Eligibility

  • 5.1. The Basics
  • 5.1.1 You are eligible to Register as an Architect in the UK, only if you have gained ARB and RIBA Parts 1, 2 and 3.
  • 5.1.2. In order to register, you must be able to provide documentary evidence that you have gained RIBA and ARB Parts 1, 2 and 3 from a prescribed school of architecture or directly from the ARB.
  • 5.1.3. If you obtained your Part 2 overseas through a CAA or an RIBA recognised school abroad you will not be eligible to register in the UK. You will need an individual assessment by the ARB to gain ARB Part 1 and/or Part 2, and evidence of passing the Part 3 examination.
  • 5.1.4. For further clarification of these requirements click on the following websites: and
  • 5.1.5. To be eligible to take the Professional Practice Examination you must have gained the prescribed period of practical experience, a minimum of 24 months practical experience, by the time you sit the exam). RIBA and ARB 2011 guidance states:
    “candidates should have recently completed a minimum of 24 months' practical experience under the direct supervision of a professional working in the construction industry, which should include at least 12 months working in the EEA, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, under the direct supervision of an architect”.
  • Definitions:

    months: these will be calendar months of full time working (at least 20 hours a week). Reasonable time off for holidays and illness may be included in this period. (Where the work is less than 20 hours per week, applicants will be expected to complete a commensurately longer period of experience)

    practical experience: experience which consists of activities which would typically be undertaken by an architect in practice. (The Part 3 Criteria are helpful in setting out in broad terms, some of the activities which are likely to be required to be undertaken).

    recently: at least 12 of the 24 months' experience should have been undertaken in the two years immediately before taking the Part 3 exam.

    direct supervision: the person supervising should have responsibility for and control over the work being undertaken.

    professional working in the construction industry: will be an architect registered in the territory where the experience is being undertaken or a chartered or similarly qualified member of an appropriate professional body. The ‘construction industry' will include qualified professionals typically involved in the procurement, design and management of the built environment.

  • 5.1.6. Any period of full time employment less than 3 months will not be recognised. Any interval between employments exceeding 3 months in any one year may lead to the candidate being suspended from the Programme until new employment is secured.
  • 5.1.7. If you are currently working abroad and not working under the supervision of an EEA registered architect (e.g. in the USA) the above rule will not apply retrospectively, as long as you have 12 months UK experience and you were working under the supervision of someone established as an architect within the country you were working (e.g. registered by a state licensing authority).
  • 5.1.8. If you are in any doubt about experience obtained outside the EEA, please contact ARB and the RIBA direct who will advise you accordingly.
  • 5.1.9. As far as ARB is concerned, freelance work is acceptable so long as arrangements are in place for the work to be supervised by a registered architect. Provided that the Professional Studies Adviser is satisfied that the supervisory arrangements are sufficient, then ARB is generally willing to agree with the decisions of the individual PSAs on this matter.
  • 5.1.10. ARB will accept evidence of Professional Studies experience other than the PEDR in exceptional cases.
  • 5.2. The Certificate of Professional Experience.
  • 5.2.1. The Certificate of Professional Experience is only used by those with substantial experience or training, in lieu of the Professional Experience and Development Record sheets. Candidates using the Certificate of Professional Experience will be at least 30 years of age and will have had at least 6 years' experience in an architect's office.
  • 5.3 Advice on applying for Exemption from the use of the Professional Experience and Development Record
  • 5.3.1. Candidates with lengthy experience who have reached a degree of responsibility in their offices which gives them supervisory functions may apply to their Professional Studies Advisor for permission to use the RIBA Certificate of Professional Experience in lieu of the Professional Experience and Development Record Sheets, provided that they satisfy the following conditions:
    • they are over the age of thirty at the time of application;
    • they have at least six years of experience in architects' offices;
    • they are working at a sufficient level to be capable of taking responsibility for small jobs or of acting as a team leader in charge of a number of assistants engaged on either a large project or a series of smaller projects.
  • 5.3.2. Immediately after passing Part 2 of the RIBA Examination in Architecture, or the equivalent recognised examination in a school of architecture, such candidates should send to their Professional Studies Adviser the following:
    • a statement of the length of their experience;
    • a description of the kind of work they are currently undertaking, with the character and size of projects;
    • a statement from their office about their work and the level of responsibility.
  • 5.3.3. Because a Certificate of Professional Experience is of limited value to the Professional Practice Examiners in assessing the quality of experience, it must be accompanied by a report (of approximately 2000 words) and supplementary evidence, giving a critical analysis of each employment to date.
  • 5.4. How to complete a Certificate of Professional Experience
  • 5.4.1. To complete a Certificate of Professional Experience online, your first step is to register on the website: Once registered, click on ‘Your certificates’ under the ‘Certificates of professional Experience’ menu. Click on ‘New Certificate’ and follow the links.
  • 5.4.2. The best way to complete your certificate, especially when starting a new record, is to fill in the details on each page and then click on 'Save and proceed to the next step'. This will take you through all the sections you need to complete. Most sections can be left blank and you can return to them at any time using the menu options on the left.
  • 5.5. Viewing and printing draft copies of your record
  • 5.5.1. Partial or completed record sheets can be viewed by clicking on the 'View Record' menu item. Draft copies can be viewed and printed at any time. They will appear in a pop-up window in the printer friendly format. Use the print button on your web browser to print the record.
  • 5.6. Submitting a Certificate of Professional Experience
  • 5.6.1. The Certificate of Professional Experience must be signed by an employer (a principal in private practice or the chief architect in a public commercial or industrial practice) to confirm the candidate has undertaken the activities recorded overleaf whilst in their employment. A letter of support from the employer to accompany the Certificate would also assist the Examiners.
  • 5.6.2. A separate Certificate must be submitted in respect of each employment in which the candidate has obtained professional experience.
  • 5.6.3. Before completing the Certificate of Professional Experience the candidate should read the Advice Note on the Regulations on the PEDR website regarding their use.
  • 5.7. Shadowing
  • 5.7.1. The Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have both confirmed that it is not necessary to be in employment whilst undertaking the Part 3 Examination.
  • 5.7.2. However you must still satisfy the following conditions:
    You must have completed the minimum 24 months professional experience, see paragraph 5.1.5 above. You must have identified and be able to write about one or more projects you have been involved in that cover all the RIBA work stages. This will be the Case Study section of your documentary submission.
  • 5.7.3. If you find yourself in the position of being made redundant, you should ask your office mentor if there would be an opportunity to ‘shadow’ your chosen project to completion. This means that you have the opportunity to see the process at first-hand, be present at site meetings and site visits, and act as if you had been a part of the team. In other words, you are not permitted to submit a desk-based study.
  • 5.7.4. From paragraph 5.7.2 above it can be seen that shadowing cannot be a substitute for professional experience but it can be a means of continuing to acquire professional knowledge in difficult circumstances.
  • 5.7.5. Shadowing should only be considered in emergency circumstances, for example if a project stops because of client difficulties or if you are made redundant. It should only be used as a temporary measure between periods of gaining professional experience through direct involvement in projects.
  • 5.7.6. Shadowing should keep you as close to the direct experience as possible, for example you should be able to attend as many meetings as possible with clients, consultants, statutory agencies and on site.
  • 5.7.7. A senior member of staff should be nominated as the person for you to shadow thus ensuring the widest range of exposure to situations and therefore knowledge.
  • 5.7.8. Your office mentor should ensure your shadowing experience meets the requirements set out above and they should also provide a statement of confirmation to that effect.
  • 5.7.9. You should also remember that 1,250 hours/year which is about 24-25 hours/week, is the equivalent of full-time work; if you have the chance to negotiate part-time work in your practice, this would count towards your 24 months. See paragraph 5.1.5 above.

6. Readiness

  • 6.1. The Part 3 examination presents a series of challenging assessments and examinations, devised to test your professional knowledge, skill and judgement and your understanding of the requirements of professional conduct.
  • 6.2. The experience that you record in your PEDR sheets should show a gradual accumulation of knowledge and understanding of architectural practice and management issues.
  • 6.3. The case study should illustrate your ability to handle the many complex situations that occur in practice in a professional way.
  • 6.4. Preparation for the examination is paramount and adequate time should be set aside to investigate thoroughly topics that are likely to occur in the exam. Time spent at this stage is a worthwhile investment now and in your future career.
  • 6.5. But perhaps the most important factor is your own confidence and conviction that you are ready to take the Part 3 examination. Only you will know when that time has arrived.
  • 6.6. Examiners will allow for a certain amount of nervousness but they must be convinced that you have the self-assurance to act properly under pressure and in the best interests of all the parties involved.

7. Application

  • 7.1. Your Application Form must be completed and sent in no later than 31st December of the year preceding the Examination year. The Professional Studies Advisor will look at this carefully to determine your readiness to take the Examination and may accept or reject your application.
  • 7.2 If the Professional Studies Advisor has any concerns or requires clarification regarding your application then a telephone interview may be arranged.
  • 7.3. An annual fee is charged for the examination which covers:-
    • the signing of your PEDR Sheets,
    • advice on request from the Professional Studies Advisor,
    • attendance at the Winter Seminar
    • attendance at the Spring Seminar,
    • attendance at the Summer Seminar
    • attendance at the Autumn Submission day
    • the Written and Oral Examinations.
  • 7.4. Please note that the Oxford Brookes Part 3 Examination is not a taught programme and does not provide you with an academic award.


School of Architecture
Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, UK

Tel: +44 (0)1865 483224