So here's the deal.
I received my bachelor and post-grad degree (both in architecture) at RIBA
accreditted universities in the UK.
Now that I work and live in the USA (Wash, DC to be exact), I'm finding the
requirements for US architecture (NAAB) accredditation to be very difficult.
Apparently there are course requirements (unrelated to architecture) which
are simply not focused on in UK curriculums. Courses such as Human Behavior
and Natural Sciences were just not offered as part of my UK curriculum.
Aside from re-taking these courses, does anyone have an idea of how I can
take the US IDP exams?
Has anyone here experienced a similar problem with the transfer of foreign
credits, and if so, what did you do to resolve this?
Looking at NCARB is where I saw the requirements for all of the general
A lot of the subjective requirements (ie. presentations, writing skills,
etc) were covered throughout my degree, but we never had specific courses
for them. We went through 6 years of school for architecture, not general
studies (not trying to be sarcastic).
That being said, would NCARB accept testimonials from my UK professors as
equivalent, or do I actually have to go back to university (in the US) and
retake all of these general (non-architecture) courses?
I thought the IDP requirements were for actual work related development
(Intern Development). Maybe your referring to the requirements to start
IDP, as in the University reuirements. Otherwise the IDP has you doing
the all of those things in a work environment, and your boss would be
filling the paperwork telling IDP that you have completed so-and-so many
hours of this related skill and so on. That's what I was led to
believe, but I really wouldn't know as I was grandfathered into the old
Exactly- Its these requirements which seem very stiff towards traditional,
non-US curriculums (at least on paper). And I was wondering if anyone knew
if I would actually have to take classes to fulfill the non-Arch classes, or
if I could have a professor vouch for my skills in those areas.
With all due respect, the only people who can answer your questions
with authority are at your local state architectural
In the US, all registration and/or licensing of architect's is done by
the individual states. There is no such thing as being an "architect
licensed in the US" ....architects are licensed by states. That is why
the only way to answer your question is to go to your state board
(Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, DC or whatever.)
NCARB requirements only relate to that organization's certification
program, which does not automatically result in being
registered/licensed in any particular state.
I suspect that the real answer to your question depends on the type of
experience you had in the UK. For instance, a professionally certified
architect from the UK, with years of experience, would probably find
the state board more friendly than someone right out of school..... but
then ....what do I know?
Thanks- the NCARB requirements I'm talking about are so that I can take the
tests which are applicable for licensure in my state (Wash DC).
It costs me $800 just to send my past curriculum to NCARB for review, and at
that it takes them 6+ months to respond. So you can imagine that I'd like
to gather as much information as possible about the experiences of others
(they will not respond to phone calls).
I'd hate to have to wait so long, and then spend hundreds of dollars more to
appeal their response with materials I could've included originally.
One of my coworkers is working on her IDP (In California), and she needs
to not complete the education and work experience requirements (5 years
of school and 3 years experience, or 8 years total experience, other
requirements for related field work), but also has to complete the
actual IDP program (which can be done within the 3 years of experience
requirement) BEFORE she can even take ANY of the tests. IDP started
this year, and is a requirement to getting your license.
Also, the curriculum you are referring to sounds like something that
would have been taken care of in your basic studies for your Bachelors
degree. Over here we call them general education, which is a part of
the curriculum of all Bachelor programs in the US. Are you saying that
General education is not a requirement in the UK, or just those specific
areas are not taught? Otherwise, there is sure to be classes that you
did take that would be equivalent to what the NAAB would require. It is
the NAAB that actually reviews the curriculum, so you might want to
contact them instead of the NCARB. If it comes down to it, and you have
not met the general ed requirements your going to have to bite the
bullet and find some Community college to complete those course, but
like I said, you might have some sort of substitute (Acceptable courses
in Natural Sciences include astronomy, astrophysics, bacteriology,
biochemistry, biology, botany, chemistry, geology, microbiology,
physical geography, physics and zoology. Courses in cultural geography
or economic geography are NOT acceptable in this subject, but they are
acceptable in the
subject of social studies.) Its all on the NAAB website under EESA.
It looks like their office is in Wash DC too:
National Architectural Accrediting Board Inc. (NAAB)
1735 New York Avenue, NW, 3rd Floor
Washington, DC 20006
www.naab.org [click on "EESA"]
Fees for this service will be billed to you directly by NAAB which
is a private organization, not affiliated with any architectural
It says here:
that appeals are free of charge, but any additional information that you
need to give them will cost $200.
One last thing:
For information regarding EESA/NCARB evaluations please email
Cassandra Pair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope that helps.
Many thanks for your response-
I mistakenly said "NCARB" when I meant "NAAB" (the alphabet soup mixes me up
I'm 2 years through the work experience right now at a firm in DC and am
beginning to get everything together to apply for my tests (just so I can
take them after my 3 year mark at work).
As for the courses- we didn't even have general courses in the UK for my
Bachelor's- everything was pure architecture and engineering. This is
where my concerns are- that I won't even be qualified to take the tests
without taking a ton of general ed courses beforehand.
It was my 'counter' experience that Italian universities viewed US high
school education as inadequate (and rightly so) and required a US
Associate of Arts degree as a rough equivalent to be able to enter
first year of Italian university. I'm not sure about UK education, but
wouldn't be surprised if the same criteria applied.
That said, the US may have a similar 'counter provision'. At:
under 'US and UK qualifications', they talk about NAAB not recognizing
general ed work done prior to unversity, (which is utter baloney, but
there you go.) In other words, the US won't officially (to the world)
recognize that the US preuniversity education system is lagging with
respect to western European.
Hence, you may have to take some night courses in Psychology 101. Or,
depending on what NAAB ultimately recommends, you may be able to get
equivalent credits for those 'required' courses by taking CLEP tests.
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