Students and staff at an event

Architectural Practice / Cleachtas Ailtireachta

Course Title: Professional Diploma in Architectural Practice

The Professional Diploma in Architectural Practice programme is open to the following categories of applicants:

  • Graduates of a recognised course in architecture, equivalent to the TU Dublin BArch 
  • Other building professional who wish to take the course of study as CPD

The Professional Diploma in Architectural Practice (PDAP) is a 30 Credit postgraduate qualification, which is recognised by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI). The course is accredited by the RIAI for the purposes of registration. Successful candidates, who also have the requisite undergraduate qualification, will be permitted to join the Statutory Register of Architects with the RIAI to practice as an Architect in Ireland.

Under the terms of the Building Control Act 2007 and the underlying European Legislation, EU Directive 2005/36/EC, the passing of the RIAI recognised qualification allows for the establishment as an architect (subject to statutory provisions) in a member state of the European Union.

The course aims to equip each student with the Knowledge, Ability and Judgement needed by an architect to perform his or her professional duties and to understand how an office organisation is managed for this purpose. The examination is measured against the scope and professional requirements of the RIAI and current practice, its requirements as well as its anticipated future developments.

The purpose of the examination is to ensure that those who practice architecture have achieved a threshold of competence - in terms of awareness, knowledge, understanding and ability that is consistent, relevant, and will safeguard clients, building users and society at large. The assessment (which is continuous through the course) tests the students against the relevant RIAI professional competencies.

Learning outcomes:

  • On successful completion of the PDAP programme the student will be able to:
  • Describe contemporary issues relevant to the practice of architecture in Ireland
  • Recognise the requirement to act ethically within the RIAI Code of Conduct
  • Evaluate personal performance against good practice
  • Explain the importance of collaborative practice in the field of architecture.
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the global, societal and legislative context of sustainable design.
  • Describe the general principles of management
  • Outline the specific issues arising from architectural practice
  • Describe his/her obligations and responsibilities to employers, clients, other professionals and to a society at large
  • Integrate the principles of project management
  • Examine the principles of team management
  • Debate the general legal context & explain how aspects of it impact on the management of architecture.
  • Evaluate the effects of Planning & Development & Heritage legislation on the realization of architecture.
  • Predict the effects of Safety Health & Welfare legislation on the realisation of architecture.
  • Appraise the effects of Building Control legislation on the realization of architecture.
  • Outline the legislative context of fire safety design and certification.
  • Characterise the societal and legislative context of inclusive design.
  • Conclude the duties and obligations placed upon the architect when appointed as contract administrator
  • Differentiate approaches to cost planning with and without the input of a quantity surveyor
  • Examine roles, responsibilities and relationships of sub-consultants during the Pre-Tender
  • Design Process and the Post Tender Project process.
  • Evaluate the selection process for main contractor(s) and sub-contractors.
  • Assess a resource plan and information issue programme addressing pre-tender procurement activities
  • Reflect on and critically evaluate the management of a real-life project
  • Reflect on and critically evaluate the management of real-life practice
  • Appraise the key methods by which the government controls and regulates the construction industry, including current consumer protection issues and related legislation.
  • Judge the legislative and economic controls of development including fiscal measures, planning legislation, environmental law, building regulation, health and safety regulation, and identify associated codes of practice and sources of technical information
  • Predict how the legislative and economic control of the built environment and the construction industry affects development and the procurement of projects in Ireland
  • Appraise sources of information available to architects in Ireland
  • Plan and negotiate future appropriate professional experience accordingly

Successful graduates will be eligible to register as a professional who is entitled to call themselves an Architect.

Taught Modules Semester 1 and 2:

The classroom element is delivered through a series of six professional components, which are four weeks in duration:

  • ARCH 6101 – Professionalism (fee bidding and office management),
  • ARCH 6101 – Planning.
  • ARCH 6102 – Building Control,
  • ARCH 6102 – Construction Procurement.
  • ARCH 6103 – Design Management,
  • ARCH 6103 – Construction Management.
  • Case Study Module Semester 1 and 2

The Case Study Module runs in parallel to the taught classroom components (it may also be taken with a one or two semester break). It is to a large degree undertaken through self-directed study. There will however be six individual tutorials arranged with the Programme Chair, which will provide feedback and support for both the Case Study and the Janus Report. There will in addition be a mock interview, held after the final submission and before the final viva. Students will be required to submit a case study, career evaluation (Janus) report and sit an oral examination at the end of the semester.

This element is delivered through one 15 credit module, which is:

  • ARCH 6201 - Case Study and Career Evaluation

The PDAP programme has run 5.30 – 20.00 each Monday, with six seminar days which start at 14.00, over 24 contact weeks across two 15-week semesters from September to May. All of the course content is recorded and available to students through Google Classroom and is designed to facilitate students travelling from outside the Dublin area.

The case study tutorials are arranged individually with the assigned tutor. Students should allow for around 20 learning hours per week over 2 x 15-week semesters. This comprises 2-5 (depending on the day) hours in college each Monday and 15 hours self-directed learning over 24 weeks in each semester, and 20 hours self-directed learning per week for the remaining 3 weeks.

EU Applications will open in mid-December 2023.

You can express your interest for the course by filling in this form:

TU411 - Expression of Interest 2024/25

TU Code



Level 9


Special purpose award of Professional Diploma in Architectural Practice


1 Year

Course Type


Mode of Study

Part Time

Method of Delivery

On-Campus, Online

Commencement Date

September 2024


City Centre: Bolton Street

Virtual Tour

Bolton Street


€3,250 Total Fee

Contact Us

Stephen Best - Programme Chair