Diploma/ MA in Professional Studies

Scholarships available

50% fee scholarships are currently available to home and EU residents applying to study on PGT programmes. The 21st Anniversary Scholarship Fund is designed to attract and reward the brightest students from across the UK and the European Union to study at the WSA, Cardiff University.

Our PGT programmes are open to candidates from architectural and built environment backgrounds and draw on established and widely recognised research strengths within the School. If you are a UK or EU resident with a good academic and /or work experience record we would like to hear from you. We expect a high level of competition for these scholarships and so we would encourage you to submit your application for the course of your choice together with your application for the scholarship by 1st August 2014 at the latest. For further information: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/archi/pgt-financial-support


This programme enables students to acquire an in-depth understanding of the legal and economic aspects of architectural practice and construction procurement, and the related skills necessary to practice effectively. The Diploma is approved by the ARB and RIBA (Part 3), thus providing a route to registration as an architect in the UK. The second stage (the MA) can be taken separately by those already qualified, together with any of the individual modules, in order to develop expertise or undertake research.

The course has an excellent reputation, and has received a Commendation from the RIBA Visiting Board. The feedback from the students is also very positive, as is that from external examiners, who have indicated that they consider the standard of teaching and achievement to be very high.

The programme is directed by Professor Sarah Lupton, who is well know for her expertise in this field, having published many books used widely by practising architects and on postgraduate courses throughout the UK. The programme emphasises course-work, workshop sessions and group working (made possible through having a small cohort). A key feature is the general thoroughness and care given to supporting the individual student, with tutoring provided by wsa staff, Distinguished Visiting Fellows and alumni. For example, students receive written feedback on all interim course work submissions, and the programme director visits all students in their placements at least once. The programme also has unusual features such as an adjudication writing exercise, and a module that focuses on international practice.

Special features:

  • small size of cohort,
  • individual tutoring, regular feedback
  • course run by leading author and expert in the field
  • wide variety of expert speakers and topics covered
  • module on international practice
  • students encouraged to develop individual research interests
  • taught on short residential courses and by distance learning
  • emphasis on workshops and group working
  • undertaken while in employment
  • all students visited in their work placement

Course structure

Diploma/MA in Professional Studies (Part 3)

Stage 1 of the scheme leads to the qualification of Postgraduate Diploma and comprises six 20-credit modules. All modules are compulsory and have been designed to promote progression through levels of difficulty and complexity of skills, knowledge and concepts in an enabling sequence. The Diploma may be pursued on a full-time (one year) or part-time (two years) basis. Stage 2 (optional) leads to a Masters degree. Students who proceed to the MA undertake a dissertation (60 credits) on a topic related to the taught modules and agreed by the programme director.

Suitable for:

The programme is intended for students who are graduates from an architectural degree course, either UK or overseas, and may be taken by architects who are already registered (for example architects from other EU countries). The modules may be taken individually by any graduate or professional as CPD. The MA may also be taken separately.

Applicants for the Dip/MA should have obtained degrees which have been validated at RIBA/ARB Parts 1 and 2 levels, or have obtained qualifications which have been assessed by the ARB as equivalent. They should also have completed a specified period of Professional Experience complying with RIBA/ARB regulations (normally 12 months for part time and 24 months for full time enrolment). Those wishing to take the MA separately should normally be registered architects.

Teaching Methods

The Diploma is taught through a combination of short courses and distance learning. The student is required to attend three short residential courses held normally in October, January and April. The emphasis of the courses is on interactive learning, and they include seminars with invited experts, group work assignments, role-playing exercises, and face to face feedback sessions on course-work.

The course employs distance learning methods, using Blackboard, a web-based virtual learning environment. Activities carried out in the work placement contribute to the student's learning experience, and are monitored by the School. The student undertakes a wide variety of coursework tasks, designed to develop professional and academic skills. During the scheme the students are given opportunity to explore topics of interest to them in the form of essays, case studies or by dissertation.

The teaching on courses and by distance learning is supported by a team of WSA staff and external experts, with an important and growing contribution from visiting tutors who are alumni of the programme. A prize is awarded by Austin Smith Lord for the best Diploma graduate, and by the Society of Construction Law for the best adjudicator decision.

The Diploma Modules

The Construction Industry in the UK
Construction Contract Law
Project Management
Professional Services
Practice Management
International Construction Procurement

Further details of the modules and knowledge and skills acquired can be found here

Books by Sarah Lupton:
Guide to SBC05 Guide to IC05 Guide to DB05 Guide to MW05 Which Contract?

Diploma/ MA in Professional Studies

Provisional date for residential courses session 2014-2015:

October 13th - 17th
January 12th - 16th
March 23rd - 27th


A prize is awarded by Austin Smith Lord for the best Diploma Graduate, and by the Society of Construction Law for the best adjudicator decision. Prize-winners over the last few years have been as follows:


Best Diploma Graduate

Best Adjudicator Decision

2008 Tim Browne Robert Stiles
2009 Elizabeth Smith Samantha Pinn
2010 Samantha Pinn Diana Rashkova
2011 David Roberts Aimée Turner
2012 Sam Organ Natasha Smiljkovic
2013 Rachel Witham Rob Thomas

Diploma/MA in Professional Studies (Part 3)

Course Director

Sarah Lupton MA, DipArch, LLM, RIBA , FCIArb (programme director)

Distinguished Visiting Fellows

Robert Firth BSc(Hons) MArch(Dist) MSc(Project Management), FRSA, FFB, RIBA; partner, RDMF Consultancy.

Manos Stellakis BSc, DipArch, MSc(Econ) RIBA; Partner, Lupton Stellakis (www.luptonstellakis.com)

Link to details of other contributing WSA staff and visiting speakers

Application Information

For a pdf brochure about the Diploma/MA in Architecture: Professional Studies click here. If you would like to apply for this scheme download the electronic postgraduate application form.

Current students enrolled on the scheme should refer to their Blackboard Account and may find some useful links available from the Schools Support Pages

For further details please contact:

Post-graduate officer: Christine Heywood
Telephone: +(44) 029 2087 9332
Facsmile: +)44 029 2087 4623
Email: HeywoodC@cardiff.ac.uk

click here to download latest pdf brochure

Examples of student feedback:

Gave an insight into all areas (relevant/current) of the construction industry

small group sizes and high standards of teaching staff

case study is very helpful; hands on  learning

Thoroughly enjoyed the breadth of essays and discussions amongst the cohort and the level of feedback was very good

v. useful notes issued .overall very impressed with course structure and invited speakers

Good to review essay proposal with peers so they can input info/contact

Workshop and interactive stuff very useful and a change from just listening

Psychometric test v. interesting; the task/exercise was useful and helped look at the module from a different angle

speakers interaction with audience and audience participation in resolving real problems

to have in actual practitioners and people from relevant industries


It appears as though we are in safe hands