Professional Development


Jane Tankard (Module leader)

Preparing for Practice: Third Year Work Experience

PROFESSIONAL STUDIES FORMS an integral part of all courses in the School of Architecture and Cities. ‘Preparing for Practice’ is a third year undergraduate module designed to enable students from all undergraduate disciplines to gain some of the skills necessary to gain a Part 1 Year Out placement whilst getting the most from professional opportunities. Much loved by our students and highly valued by the profession and practices, the module builds both on the RIBA mentorship scheme which runs in the autumn term, as well as the opportunities offered across first and second year to enable experience in practice. The module is organised around guiding students through the steps necessary to successfully gain Year Out employment and culminates in a two-week placement in a London (usually RIBA Chartered) practice. We aim to tailor the student and practice pairing as carefully as possible and have a wide range of offices that take part including this year’s Stirling prize winning Mikhail Riches, Foster + Partners, Adjaye Associates, Burrell Foley Fischer, Morris and Co., Michaelis Boyd, and dRMM as well as smaller, younger practices including Studio Bark, Amos Goldreich Architecture, and Sophie Nguyen Architects. The experience informs a number of learning outcomes, including a detailed analytical report, which encourages the knowledge and breadth of understanding necessary for targeted career decisions and strategies.

Working closely with the profession, many of whom contribute to the module, Preparing for Practice delivers practical and focused lectures on key aspects of the profession, as well as encouraging debate on issues of ethics, morality and the role of the architect against a context of climate crisis and persistent patriarchal colonial hegemony. The University’s Employability Team also offers a Skills Academy to support the transition between academia and practice. Working with the Stephen Lawrence Trust, the scheme offers students profession-led workshops and practical help with job seeking.
Despite the course focusing on students gaining experience in architect run practices, we continue to support students gaining experience in some unusual, but architecturally relevant, contexts. In the past students have worked with the BBC, English Heritage, Developers and Contractors.


Alastair Blyth (course leader), Wilfred Achille, Samir Pandya, Susanne Bauer

Part 3: Professional Mentoring

THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER Part 3 course has over 450 students working in a broad range of architectural practices – more than 230 practices based in London and the south-east.
The students come from a wide variety of backgrounds including overseas schools of architecture. Architects who trained outside the UK also attend the course to gain an in-depth understanding of the complexities of UK practice.
Following the requirements of the ARB/RIBA Professional Criteria, Part 3 is structured as a series of building blocks with clear assessment points throughout the year.
The lectures, delivered by industry experts, are repeated twice a week to allow students to balance attendance with work commitments. They are delivered online as well as in our large lecture theatre, and are recorded for easy future access.

Students’ professional development in the workplace is supported by a team of 41 professional tutors – all architects in practice – who provide one-to-one tutorial guidance on project-based coursework. Professional examiners consistently comment on the high, critical standard of the coursework which we attribute to the structured tutoring system where students are challenged to think about practice differently.
The different student backgrounds, as well as the types and number of practices represented on the course, alongside the tutors and examiners, gives an unprecedented reach into the architectural profession. This enables the course to both draw from the breadth of practice experience as well as contribute to it.

The Part 3 Course was validated by the RIBA for a further five years in November 2017 and the Visiting Board gave it a Commendation citing its scope and delivery, dedicated Chair of Professional Practice and dedicated administrative support. It was revalidated by the University in 2018.
Despite the course focusing on students gaining experience in architect-run practices, we have had students gaining experience in some unusual, but architecturally relevant contexts. In the past students have worked with the BBC, English Heritage, Developers and Contractors.