January, 24, 2017

In order to streamline the often-lengthy path to architectural licensure, The Catholic University of America School of Architecture and Planning is offering a program that will enable freshmen who start in fall 2017 to become licensed architects at the end of six years of study.

Under the program guidelines, the school’s required coursework and internships as well as the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) are all part of the curriculum. This arrangement is designed to give students the opportunity to finish their studies, take the exam, and earn their architectural internship hours required by the Architectural Licensure Board — all by the time they graduate, thus shortening the time before they are licensed architects.

Presently, on average, it can take six years for architecture majors to earn their degrees and another six years to earn their internship hours and qualify to sit for the ARE before they become licensed architects, says Judith Meany, associate dean for academic affairs in architecture and planning. After passing the exams, they apply for licensure, the final step in the process to becoming an architect.

“The new program comes out of the reality that a student who decides they want to study architecture in high school, by the time they are licensed it will be 12 to 13 years later — something that is not appealing for many young aspiring architects as well as to the leadership of the profession,” said Meany.

Catholic University is among 18 schools nationwide that have adopted the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) program, which is approved by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

As part of the process that led to the new program at Catholic University, NCARB approved a plan submitted by the architecture and planning school showing how it had reworked its curriculum so students could pursue the new path.

Freshmen coming into the program in fall 2017 would spend three summer semesters taking required courses and complete three internship sessions. They would finish in the spring of their sixth year in school with a master’s degree in architecture.

Architecture majors who currently are freshman and sophomores can enter the program and complete it in seven years with varying requirements for summer courses and internships.