In a new series, we ask practitioners, experts and enthusiasts for their take on Northern Ireland's built environment - where are we now, how did we get here, and where are going?
Alan Jones, Director of Education (Architecture) at Queen's University Belfast
European architectural education is regularising to a three year undergraduate degree and two year Masters degree, increasing mobility of students and sideways moves after the first degree into disciplines including Construction & Project Management, Sustainable Design and Planning. Whist many continue on the route to becoming an architect this three plus two structure has been the normal arrangement within RIBA and ARB validated courses with the first degree considered a wide undergraduate education with many transferable skills. The hope expressed by professional bodies is the more graduates that have an introductory education in architecture the more likely the discipline will benefit in the long term.
Applications to Queens architecture programmes remain plentiful, with students taking the long view that the economic climate will improve by their graduation. Parents and students are enquiring about the history and reputation of the institution and the relationship with the industry and profession - suggesting a heightened sensitivity to employablity of graduates. Recent statistics suggest more employers are shortlisting on degree result, good news for 2010 Queen’s graduates - with over 85% obtaining a first or 2-1 degree. This result reflects students’ awareness of the need to have good results and good work in their interview portfolio.
Related: Check out the Architecture Centre Network's series "What next for Architecture graduates?"