NAAB Accredited vs. RIBA Accredited University


I am a recent undergraduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and plan to go back to grad school after I have some experience in the profession.I recently accepted a job offer in Olympia, WA. While working some of my coworkers suggested I look into schools around the area like Evergreen State College or the University of Washington so the firm can reimburse me for continuing education. While I would love to be reimbursed, I also considered going to school out of the country, specifically AA in London. I would like to go to AA because I am interested in its program and would love to learn from some of its professors. But, its degree may not be recognized in the states. I am not sure if I would work and settle in the states, but it's an option I still consider since my family is based here. Would it be worth it to gain AXP hours in the state and move across the country to go to grad school? If not, what are people's opinions on GSD and Cornell? Also, I am open to other graduate programs that are interdisciplinary and focused on urban planning, and sustainability.

Nov 4, 21 3:56 pm
Non Sequitur

Architecture degrees are not worth a decade (or more) of debt.  This is as much a financial decision as it is an education one.

Take the cheapest option with the most flexibility post graduation.

Nov 4, 21 4:09 pm  · 

@Lauren Unless you plan to live long term in the UK it may not be worth your effort - so finalize your profession educational qualifications in the US. I am a U of Ill Chicago grad (when they had a 5 year program), completed NCARB exams and went on to AA. I live now permanently in the UK and never looked back.

At the AA the RIBA Part II requires you to have a Part I in order to enter the 2 year program - so they will offer you a place at the last year of the Part I and then will go on to the Part II (so 3 year path).  Other UK programs(such as Bartlett) allow you to enter directly into the 2 year program.  This is due to the way the validated programs were designed.  The AA is validated as a 5 year program with 2 award points.  Five year programs tend to be more experimental and clearly between the Bartlett and AA, the AA ticks the ‘more experimental’ box. 

You can consider one of the AA’s non-RIBA programmes which are great.  I am bias but do love the ambition of the AA. Getting any Masters qualification in the UK would allow you to apply for a 2-year visa (non-sponsored so can work anywhere). That path may get you where you want to go - work experience in UK.

Neither country recognizes the others degrees so you have to go through costly process to have the qualification validated as part of the registration process. There is movement in the UK (since Brexit) to have easily paths to license reciprocity (after you pass your NCARB or ARB professional exams). 

Nov 10, 21 2:39 am  · 

If the degree is not recognized in the US and you plan on practicing in the US then the degree is worthless. 

Understand that only 12 or so states even allow you to become an architect without an accredited degree.  The states that do allow it require you to intern for 10 plus years before you can take exams.  In addition the license you'll get is only good for that state.  To become licensed in another state that allows is you'll need to intern for ANOTHER 10 years and take the exam AGAIN.  

Nov 10, 21 10:58 am  · 

@Chad..a bit harsh! Let’s agree on a few things. Buildings and the practice of architecture in the UK and US have more in common than not. And having worked in both worlds professional the professional standards and regulatory requirements are again pretty similar. Having taught in both worlds again, we are splitting hairs. There IS a pathway for those with foreign degrees to become US licensed architects. NCARB has

Nov 10, 21 3:50 pm  · 

Sorry got cut off.

Nov 10, 21 3:58 pm  · 

TED - It's not harsh. It's the truth. Yes, there is a pathway form someone with a degree from the UK to become licensed in the US. It's a long, cumbersome process that depending on the state, requires you to test out / have your credentials reviewed AND / OR do about a decade of IDP That's IF the state you want a license in allows it.

That or you get an accredited degree in the US and have reciprocity for all 50 states and 3-5 year of IDP.  Also, it's easier for a US architect to get licensed in the UK than vice versa. Don't get me wrong, it's still a pain, just a wee bit less.  :)

Nov 10, 21 6:28 pm  · 
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@Chad I agree. Harsh was not right term, Frustration is better - in both countries the processes are too onerous and long even with the proper professional qualifications in their on counties. 

Foreign degrees add time only if you're not doing it while working. In the EU professional qualifications are generally 4 years and often you licensing exams come within the course shoo when you graduate, you are licensed. RIBA has been trying to address the length of courses/practical experience/Part III (exam) which often ends up being 5(Part I-II) + 2 + 3 (10 years). ARB is the rock in the road here. RIBA surveyed and found out how few are becoming qualified due to the length of the process. Women are more or less 50% in Unis but drop out of this process because of starting families. 

In some ways, US states that have less onerous licensing pathways are ahead of the game compared to NCARB. And yes a architect licensed in Calif should be able to design a project in New Orleans without going through the NCARB BS.

Nov 11, 21 1:25 am  · 

NCARB’s Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA) allows you to submit foreign qualifications to be evaluated to sit for the NCARB Exam.  UK’s ARB has a similar process here. 

@Lauren would have no prob passing EESA with RIBA Part II + her BA. I have worked with UK foreign students going into ARB for Part I qualification after they received their Part II with no problems.

Let’s face it - its national protectionism at its best. And in the US, insane protectionism between states. 

Nov 10, 21 4:07 pm  · 

I think it also depends on what state(s) the OP wants to be licensed in. For example, California accepts foreign education but requires you to have it evaluated by a 3rd party evaluation service. It's not the same as EESA (and way cheaper). I think where you can get hung up isn't on education but experience requirements as both AXP and most states require your experience to be under the supervision of an architect licensed in the US or Canada. In California, you need a total of 5 years (education and experience combined) to take the AREs but 8 years to then take the CSE and they don't allow the AXP hours to overlap those they give you credit for.

Nov 10, 21 4:15 pm  · 
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