School of Architecture

  • RIBA Studio

    Courses in Architecture for students working in practice.

    Image credit: Ioli Belezini (2020)

    Register for one of our live information sessions about the RIBA Studio programme »

  • Courses

    Find out more information about the courses available in the RIBA Studio programme, such as the entry requirements for each course and how to apply.

    RIBA Studio

    RIBA Certificate (Part 1) and RIBA Diploma (Part 2)

    The RIBA Studio programme is for students in practice, who would like to work towards qualifying as an architect whilst remaining in employment. Unlike any studio and lecture based programme in architecture, you will work towards either your, Part 1 or Part 2 qualification whilst working full-time, under the direct supervision of an architect in your office, the office mentor and with a personal tutor who has current experience of design in a School of Architecture.

    If you’re already working in an architectural practice, or in the architectural department of a multi-disciplinary practice, and wish to complete your Part 1 or Part 2, the RIBA Studio programme will allow you to work at your own pace whilst investing your time in practice, earning a salary.

    This is a truly unique programme and the original route to registration in the UK for students working full time (24+ hours/week in practice) living and working anywhere within the EEA / UK. Architecture is a professional practice and the courses on this route bring the value of practice-based learning and academic learning together. Supported by your office mentor in practice and in conjunction with your self-chosen personal tutor, you will investigate chosen themes and curate your design briefs in academia which have a direct influence on your capabilities in practice. This is a very affordable route into the profession and incorporates flexibility for the timing and planning of studies, with the main contact mechanism being virtual.

    You’ll benefit from choosing your own personal tutor (subject to approval) to fit your learning style who will help guide you to get the most out of the course. Upon completing your studies you will graduate with an RIBA Certificate in Architecture (Part 1) or an RIBA Diploma in Architecture (Part 2) that is certified by the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architects Registration Board.

    RIBA Foundation in Architecture

    If you are new to the field of architecture and don’t currently have the experience or portfolio to progress onto a Part 1 or undergraduate level course, the RIBA Foundation in Architecture programme will help you develop the skills and portfolio required for further study, while gaining your first salaried experience in practice.

  • Practice-based study

    The RIBA Studio is a unique system in which formally assessed academic work is supported by learning through experience in the student's place of employment, with the syllabus sequence mirroring the development and realisation of design projects in architectural practice from both an academic and conceptual perspective.

    Online Learning

    Any coursework submissions or examinations whilst studying the course take place online, meaning you will not need to travel to Oxford Brookes University whilst studying this programme.

    Flexibly operated

    The RIBA Studio is offered as an alternative route to qualification for those that may not be looking for traditional full-time or part-time degree courses and for those who learn best while practicing. Operated flexibly to accommodate fluctuations in students' circumstances, the programme is managed through a system of annual learning contracts and formal deferrals.

    Office Mentors

    Individual study for both courses must be supported by day-to-day learning and experience of architectural practice. To facilitate this, each student appoints a registered architect from their practice to be their office mentor (the practice itself does not need to be RIBA Chartered).The mentor ensures that the practice experience is wide ranging and contributes to your learning.

    Personal Tutors

    Tutors are appointed by students for the duration of the course and must be completely independent of the student’s office. They should have at least 3-years’ recent experience tutoring design in a school of architecture, and ideally be an architect registered in the country where the student is working.

    Professional qualification

    Students who qualify to Diploma through this route are then eligible to take the UK Part 3 which leads to:

    • Full chartered membership of the RIBA.
    • Recognition by the Architects' Registration Board (ARB) for UK architects' registration.
    • Recognition throughout Europe under the European Union (EU) Professional Qualifications Directive.


    Students on the RIBA Studio programme also participate in the Oxford School of Architecture Digital Exhibition. Architecture is a professional practice and the courses on this route bring the value of practice-based learning and academic learning together. RIBA Studio students are self-directed, committed and deeply inspired. Supported by their mentors in practice and in conjunction with their self-chosen tutor, students investigate chosen themes and curate their design briefs in academia which have a direct influence on their capabilities in practice.

    RIBA Studio final projects have been strong contenders for the RIBA President’s Medals. Explore our students’ work and visit the digital galleries created from their projects by visiting our online exhibition.

    Explore Digital Exhibition »


    Feedback from students

    "Completing the RIBA Studio qualifications had a considerable influence in my approach to the design of my practice projects.

    Taking the course has vastly improved my skill base, knowledge, attitude and confidence, allowed me to grow as a person and given me a route to qualification not offered anywhere else.

    The course has broadened my perspective on architectural thinking and set about widening my understanding of architecture as a whole.

    I have found that engaging in practice work and academic studies simultaneously has allowed me to improve in both areas, with each informing the other.

    Chris Rogers, RIBA Studio graduate

    Feedback from practices

    "We have long been advocates of RIBA Studio (formerly known as the RIBA Office Based Examination) – beginning when our Founding-Partner undertook the process in the 1960s. Our practice has since encouraged and supported a further six members of staff in the completion of their architectural qualifications through RIBA Studio over the past two decades.

    We have found that RIBA Studio enables those who may not have had the financial or geographical availability of educational support to undertake their full architectural studies in the first instance, a chance to fulfil their academic aspirations.

    While the course is indeed challenging - particularly when undertaken in the context of full time employment - we feel the process leads to well-rounded architects, with an understanding of both the theory and practice of architecture.

    The practice would have no hesitation in recommending the examination, or indeed encouraging further members of staff to undertake the same in the future."

    Juneanne Falconer RIBA ARB MRIAI, Partner at C.J. Falconer & Associates

  • Contact us

    Sam Hughes

    School of Architecture
    Oxford Brookes University
    Headington Campus
    Gipsy Lane
    Oxford UK
    OX3 0BP

    Tel: +44 (0)1865 483413