For those interested in pursuing a career in Architecture, I have set out below the conventional route of achieving this qualification.
RIBA Part I
3 years studying an undergraduate degree
An undergraduate degree is a full-time, 3-year course at the university of your choice, during this period you will learn the basics of Architecture and graduate with a BA or BSc in Architecture.
1 year of Professional work as a Part I Architectural Assistant
Now you will be able to pursue a full time role as a Part I Architectural Assistant at an Architecture practice, usually it is assumed to be a 1-year contract before you move onto your postgraduate studies.
This year of experience provides a valuable insight into the career path you have chosen and begins developing your skills as an architect, equipping you for your next step of studies.
RIBA Part II
2 years studying a postgraduate degree
This postgraduate degree is a full-time, 2-year course at the university of your choice, you do not have to continue at the same university as your Part I studies. During this period, you will build on what you have learnt during your degree and professional experience and then graduate with a BArch, Diploma or MArch in Architecture.
1 year of Professional work as a Part II Architectural Assistant
Now you will be able to pursue a role as a Part II Architectural Assistant at an Architecture practice, practices would likely understand and expect that you will pursue your Part 3 to qualify whilst working with them, and this is something you should discuss the possibility of when you start this role.
RIBA Part III
Professional work as a Part II Architectural Assistant, alongside 1 year studying the Part III course
The Part III course is a part-time, 1 year course at the university of your choice, again it does not need to be any university you have already studied at, which you complete alongside full-time professional work as a Part II Architectural Assistant. You can complete this during your 2nd year of professional experience as, by the time you finish, you should have the minimum 24 months required to qualify.
The key consideration for this year of work will be the projects you are working on at your Practice. You will need one or two main projects covering all or most RIBA stages to feed into the case study you will be developing during your Part III course to qualify. The university you apply to will be the best point of research to know what the requirements of this project will be and something you will need to discuss with your practice to ensure you are placed on projects that you can then apply to your case study.
Once you complete this course, you are eligible to register as an Architect with ARB (Architect's Registration Board).
Although the above shows the typical 7-year route to qualify as an Architect, it does not mean your experience will be exactly as above. Many decide to allow for additional years of experience before qualifying, either between their Part I & Part II and/or between Part II and Part III to develop their experience, skill, and confidence before completing the Part III course and qualifying as an Architect.