UK validation

The RIBA validates programmes of architecture at over 40 UK schools. 

RIBA Validation is a peer review process that monitors compliance with internationally recognised minimum standards in architectural education and encourages excellence and diversity in student achievement. 

The RIBA has had a long-standing involvement in promoting high quality and innovative architectural education throughout the world. Through validation, the RIBA identifies courses and examinations which achieve the standards necessary to prepare students for the professional practice of architecture. 

Visiting Boards visit schools of architecture to assess the output standard of courses for exemption from the RIBA's examinations in architecture. The boards are composed of practising architects, academics, architecture students, and construction team co-professionals. Until 1 September 2011 courses in architecture were validated on a four-year cycle. Schools validated from 1 September 2011 onwards will revert to a five-year cycle.  

Validation procedures and criteria

The RIBA validation procedures and validation criteria were revised on 1 September 2011. With effect from 1 September 2012, as approved by the RIBA Education Committee, section 10.2 of the validation procedures relating to recognition of part 3 courses has undergone a further revision. The current procedures can be viewed in the pdf below.

The validation criteria are jointly held by the RIBA and Architects Registration Board (ARB).



Validated courses of architecture

A list of international courses in architecture currently recognised by the RIBA is available at Validated Courses.

RIBA Education Review

The RIBA has recently launched a review of the structure of architectural education in the UK.

Through the Education Review group, representing stakeholders from academia and practice, the RIBA is keen to act as a catalyst for the development of new models for architectural education, which can be taken forward and established by schools of architecture and other course providers.  The structure and format of these models is still under discussion, and timescales for change have not yet been agreed. Several other reviews are taking place concurrently, and the outcome of these will also need to be considered diligently. 

The RIBA recognises that students, course providers and other stakeholders will have many questions at this stage, and emphasises that more information will be disseminated once further progress has been made.  However, it is anticipated that schools will operate transitional arrangements with different models and courses running in parallel, so no current student should be disadvantaged.   Dialogues with relevant organisations such as student funding bodies will also be held in due course, to make them aware of future changes.

Although the anticipated changes are extremely significant and there remains a great deal of work to do before they can happen, it should be noted that architectural education is already subject to continuous change and improvement; as are all academic disciplines, particularly those leading to a professional qualification.  These changes relate to criteria and subject content revisions; university internal audit; practical experience requirements etc.  Therefore, providers will have the appropriate experience of this to be well placed to respond enthusiastically and creatively to the models which are proposed, whilst continuing to support students at all stages of their education.

Validating new programmes of architecture

The procedures for seeking validation for an existing or projected programme of architecture are described in full in the Validation Procedures document.

UK validation charging
With effect from 16 September 2010, the costs associated with this process are as follows:

  • Consideration of a new course through an RIBA Exploratory Board: £7,500.
    This will be invoiced immediately after a decision to convene an Exploratory Board has been made by the RIBA New Courses and Course Changes Group, and must be paid before the visit takes place. Exemptions may apply - for further information please contact the validation team using the details below.
  • UK educational consultancy (per person): £500 per person, per day.
  • Full cost recovery of members' (and consultants') expenses at cost. 

In all cases, schools will be encouraged to make the necessary travel and accommodation arrangements for the visiting board in advance of the visit.

VAT will be applied where appropriate at the prevailing rate. 

If you wish to discuss the process with us, please contact

International validation

The RIBA also validates courses outside the UK. Find out more about our International Validation service


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