Architect Masters Apprenticeship

for Employers

The Architect Masters Apprenticeship guides apprentices through the development of the knowledge, skills and behaviours to become registered Architects, trained to the requirements defined by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

As with other Master of Architecture programmes offered by the Manchester School of Architecture, apprentices will study in an environment where peer-to-peer learning, practice-based research, live events and projects connect apprentices, expert academics, design professionals and wider communities.

The Apprenticeship programme is fully approved by the ARB and the Part 2 MArch degree awarded through the programme is fully aligned with those of other MArch programmes offered by the Manchester School of Architecture.

Our first cohort will be starting in 2020; please contact us to find out how to get involved.

Programme Content

Year 1 Units  

  • Professional Studies 1

Professional Studies 1 and 2 engages apprentices in building design in a contemporary societal setting and the associated expectations for the operational competence of 'the architect' in a professional context. Structured design activities connect with a broad range of parameters related to the construction, use and operation of buildings and the function of 'the architect' as a professional within this setting.

  • Professional Studies 2

Professional Studies 1 and 2 are designed to complement each other in respect of the design challenge set for apprentices. This could typically contrast "new build" design in one unit with "adaptive re use" of existing buildings in another and/or focussing on different typologies (e.g. housing and public buildings).

  • Research 1: Methods

Methods is an opportunity for apprentices to explore techniques and processes that inform design as a spatial practice. The Research Methods unit introduces techniques that directly inform design as a spatial practice.

  • Research 2: Dissertation

Research 1 & 2 encourage apprentices to develop the subject of their enquiry in dissertations in parallel with their interests, career aspirations and the content of studio units. The subject chosen will reflect the symbiosis between design practice and theory, and allow for scholarship within individual specialisms to be placed within a deeper understanding of architecture as a whole.

Year 2 Units

  • Studio 1

Studios 1, 2 and 3 engage with problem-based learning in their approach. This unit is the first in a series that form a design thesis project. It typically establishes the programme or content of the final design thesis and may include an investigation of the setting or context of the project. Research led teaching is undertaken in MArch ateliers where apprentices critically engage with the development of programme in real world settings that reflect contemporary discourse in academic and professional practice.

  • Studio 2

This unit is the second in a series that form a design thesis project. It typically establishes formal and operational aspects of the proposition and includes an investigation of significant technological strategies that are critical to the thesis.

  • Studio 3

This unit is the third and final in a series that form a design thesis project. It typically communicates final resolution to professional presentation standards and includes a critical study in a significant aspect of the realisation for the project.

  • Professional Studies 3

This unit prepares apprentices for employment in respect of the knowledge and understanding of the profession and related procedures, industries and organisations in the contemporary setting of architectural design.

The unit consists of an extensive series of lectures delivered by experts and authoritative figures who are engaged in contemporary design, development and construction practice. The course is coordinated by the School of Architecture in conjunction with the northwest regional office of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA NW) who additionally deliver the final part (part 3) of the recognised qualification leading to the use of title 'architect'.

Delivery Model

Apprentices will study through a combination of short blocks and single day attendance, during University term time, and undertake supported independent learning.

They will be assigned a Skills Coach who will guide each apprentice to effectively embed their learning in the workplace and to ensure their learning aligns with the live projects they are undertaking in practice.

Apprentices are required to be employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week for the full duration of the Apprenticeship and to be released to complete their University studies during working time.

Final Degree Award

At the end of the apprenticeship, apprentices will receive:

  • A postgraduate level qualification in architecture (Part 2) that must be prescribed by the ARB
  • A postgraduate level qualification in architecture (Part 3) that must be prescribed by the ARB

Entry Requirements & Eligibility

Candidates for the Masters Degree Apprenticeship should normally have at least an upper second class undergraduate UK honours degree in architecture and ARB Part 1. Candidates will also need to submit a portfolio of work alongside their application that should include the projects worked on during their Part 1 study, as well as a selection of work from their time in practice. In some instances, candidates may also be invited to attend an interview.

All applicants must have Level 2 Maths and English at grades A* - C or equivalent, or must commit to completing this alongside the programme.


Employers with a payroll in excess of £3 million will be subject to the Apprenticeship Levy and any funds paid out can be used to fund participation in apprenticeship programmes. Employers with a payroll below £3 million are eligible for funding, which will cover at least 95% of the cost of apprenticeship programmes.

Find out more about funding

Get Involved

We will support you every step of the way to implement the Architect Masters Degree Apprenticeship at your organisation, whether you intend to upskill existing employees or attract new recruits.

Please get in touch with us by emailing or calling our Apprenticeships Team on 0161 247 3720.