School of Architecture

  • The RIBA Foundation in Architecture

    Image credit: Ani Markova (2020)

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  • The 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.


    The RIBA Foundation in Architecture course is designed to develop your skills in creative and conceptual thinking and help you build a portfolio of work that will enable you to pursue further study in the field of architecture.

    The course will help you to:

    • Develop your skills in creative and conceptual thinking for architects
    • Build a portfolio of work that will enable you to pursue further study
    • Build skills, knowledge, and confidence required to begin pursuing a career in the field
    • Find your first salaried experience in practice.

    On this part-time course, you will study while working in a design practice for a minimum of 200 hours. If you do not already have a job in practice, the RIBA Foundation team will partner with you in finding the minimum salaried practice hours which are required to complete the course and can be undertaken any time during the course.

    The first steps in the application process involve submitting an eligibility form, and preparing a portfolio for the interview. Eligible applicants will then be invited for an online interview. Portfolio submissions are due by mid-August at the latest and interviews take place in September. Being online, this course allows you to remain in your current employment where you are earning a living and you can be based in any geographical location in the world.

    For the purposes of defining work in practice, we define a design practice as either:

    • an architecture firm
    • interior design practice
    • landscape or urban design firm
    • other closely related design fields.

    A professional in the practice will act as a mentor to ensure your range of experience helps prepare you for further studies in architecture.

    Upon completion of the course, you will graduate with a portfolio of work key to advancing your career. You will have the skills required to progress onto a Part 1 Architecture qualification. Students who complete the RIBA Foundation course with merit or distinction are offered automatic entry to the RIBA Studio Certificate (Part 1) course. Those with a passing grade will be invited for an interview when applying.

    This is the perfect course for someone with an interest in architecture but who has not had the chance to develop specific skills and who may not have a link into the network of practice. It will provide you with the skills, knowledge, and confidence required to begin pursuing a career in the field.

    The course is modelled on the RIBA Studio and directly prepares students for the Certificate Part 1 course. There are joint events including a student-led conference and student representative roles that network between the RIBA Foundation, Certificate (Part 1) and Diploma (Part 2) cohorts.

    Entry Requirements

    Applicants will be supported in finding the minimum of 200 hours of local work in practice within the creative industries which they will undertake while studying. Eligible applicants will also be supported in developing their first portfolio for entry to the Foundation course.

    You are also required to have:

    • Maths and English GCSE Grade C or level 5 or above
    • or Functional Skills, Key Skills or Skills for Life certificates in number and communication at level 2

    For the RIBA Foundation, students do not have to be British citizens and they do not need to be based in the UK. You can be of any nationality and be based in any country. We will work with you to find a suitable tutor and partner with you on your search for 200 hours of work in practice wherever you are living during the course.

    (Note that in the next stage of study on the RIBA Certificate (Part 1), you also do not need to be a British citizen but on the Certificate you do need to be working in practice somewhere in the European Economic Area)


    You will study 6 modules on the course. Each one will cover a different area of thinking within architecture and will help prepare you for studying at Part 1 level. These modules include:

    • conceptual design
    • establishing expectations in academia and practice
    • gaining the awareness of an architect
    • learning to represent ideas like an architect

    You will work on these modules in your own time with the supervision of your chosen tutor. We support you in the selection of a personal tutor from a diverse group of exceptional Part 1 and Part 2 graduates. All of the work is developed in conjunction with your personal tutor who you will meet with on a one-to-one basis very regularly. When it comes to submitting your work for assessment, you will use Oxford Brookes University’s platform to do so. This is an online platform that you will be given access to when you register on the course.

    Your design module is the only exception however. Your design work will be submitted and presented online where two or more examiners (from academia and from practice) will be present. This is a great opportunity to get feedback on your work from both academics and professionals in the industry in order to further your personal and professional development.

    How to apply

    Applications for January 2022 are now closed. Applications for January 2023 will open in March 2022.

    In order to apply, you will need to:

    1. Fill in and submit the eligibility form - available from March 2022
    2. If eligible, you will be invited to a portfolio surgery to help you prepare your first portfolio for interview to apply to the course
    3. Submit your portfolio, your CV, Vision Statement and skills for practice
    4. Your application will be reviewed and you may be selected for an interview.

    We encourage you to include in your portfolio any examples you may have of relevant, creative work. We will share a portfolio guide with eligible applicants to help you put this together but in general it can include:

    • photography
    • collages
    • music
    • videos
    • art in any medium
    • your favourite keepsake and the story behind it.

    If you are in a career transition, we welcome a portfolio that includes aspects of your current career work.

    Information for practices

    If you work for a practice we can help you to:

    • offer the RIBA Foundation in Architecture to your employees
    • hire a student who will be undertaking the Foundation.

    Please get in touch with the programme lead: Maria Faraone,

    Information for schools and colleges

    Find out how the RIBA Foundation in Architecture could be an access route to Architecture for your students. The RIBA Foundation team is available to run an architecture workshop session in schools. They will deliver the same learning but with a focus on the subjects used in architecture at GCSE and A level or earlier. This would includes classes in:

    • Maths
    • History
    • Technology
    • Geography

    We would also be happy to attend an assembly or career days.

    For more information, contact the programme lead, Dr. Maria Faraone: