[ Hong Kong ● 22 July 2020 ] To become a Registered Architect in Hong Kong, the normal route is to pass the Professional Assessment jointly organised by The Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
To be qualified to sit for the HKIA/ARB Professional Assessment, a candidate should have the required educational qualifications, together with a minimum of two years professional practical experience.
[For details of the current routes to become Registered Architect, and the HKIA/ARB Professional Assessment System, please refer to Annex I]
Architectural Education Programmes recognised by HKIA/ARB
In order to ensure the standard of candidates sitting for our HKIA/ARB Professional Assessment, only those graduates from the professional architectural education programmes accepted by HKIA/ARB will be admitted.
Besides the local educational programmes directly accredited by HKIA/ARB, HKIA/ARB also recognise non-local professional architectural education programmes in China, USA, Australia and New Zealand which are accredited by the corresponding national authorities.
Moreover, the professional architectural programmes recognised by the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA) are also accepted by HKIA/ARB as the required education qualifications for taking the HKIA/ARB Professional Assessment.
The current list of the professional architectural education programmes accredited or recognised by HKIA/ARB are as follows: -https://www.hkia.net/en/doc/PA/Accredited_Professional_Programme_Lists_2019.pdf
Changes in CAA recognition lists
Starting 1 February 2020, CAA revised its list of architectural educational qualifications recommended for recognition.
The revised list includes architectural programmes validated directly by CAA only, while those architectural programmes recognised by national validation procedures previously recognised by CAA, such as the programmes in United Kingdom (UK), New Zealand and Australia, have been removed from the list.
As HKIA currently has mutual recognition arrangement with the accreditation authorities of Australia and New Zealand, HKIA/ARB will continue to recognise the national accredited architectural programmes in these two countries.
However, there is no such mutual recognition arrangement for academic credentials with UK. Hence those architectural education programmes in UK will no longer be on the list recognised by HKIA/ARB.
Special Transitional Arrangement concerning UK Architectural Education Programmes
After due consideration for the interest of Hong Kong students, HKIA and ARB have decided to make special transitional arrangement. As such, those students who commence their architectural education programmes in the UK in the academic year of 2021/22 or before would NOT be affected, provided that the UK programmes concerned are on the 2019 list of the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA) [i.e. “Qualifications in Architecture Recommended for Recognition (by national validation procedures recognised by CAA)” http://www.comarchitect.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/CAA-list-of-Qualifications-Recommended-for-recognition1-1.pdf ].
Upon graduation from the professional architectural programmes, this cohort will be deemed as having attained the recognised educational qualifications for applying for HKIA/ARB Professional Assessment – same as the current admission process.
However, HKIA/ARB would like to alert students who desire to enroll for, and start their architectural studies in the UK in the academic year of 2022/23 or after. Upon graduation, they will be required to apply for the HKIA Academic Qualifying Assessment (AQA) for individual assessment, same as other graduates with educational qualifications not on the list recognised by HKIA/ARB, before they could sit for the HKIA/ARB Professional Assessment. [Please refer to Annex II for details of the current AQA practice].
HKIA is a signatory under the Canberra Accord on Architectural Education, which means that the professional architectural degree accredited by HKIA/ARB are recognised as significantly comparable to the degrees accredited by other national signatory agencies, including USA, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, Mexico, as well as CAA.
Currently HKIA already has mutual recognition arrangement on the accredited academic qualifications with Mainland China, Australia and New Zealand. HKIA shall continuously explore opportunities of entering into mutual recognition for academic credentials with other overseas counterparts.
HKIA will proactively disseminate the information to secondary schools, international schools and educational bodies in Hong Kong, as well as the public, so as to facilitate students to make informed choices when considering their future overseas studies. The HKIA Secretariat will also help address any queries from students or parents in this regard (Tel: 2511-6323 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
The table below summarises the key points of the transitional measures for a period of two years for students of UK architectural programmes in the 2019 CAA list of Qualifications in Architecture Recommended for Recognition (http://www.comarchitect.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/CAA-list-of-Qualifications-Recommended-for-recognition1-1.pdf):-
|Same as the non-local professional architectural programmes currently recognised by HKIA/ARB||Graduates would be recognised as having attained the educational qualifications for applying for HKIA/ARB Professional Assessment|
|2022/23 or After||Programme no longer on the list recognised by HKIA/ARB||Graduates need to go through the individual assessment (Academic Qualifying Assessment) on the eligibility for Professional Assessment|
For details of eligibility for HKIA/ARB Professional Assessment, please refer to: https://www.hkia.net/en/pdf/PA/PA_Handbook_revised_2017.pdf
For public (including students and parents) enquiry, please contact HKIA Secretariat: Tel: 2511-6323 / Email : email@example.com.
The Hong Kong Institute of Architect (HKIA) has issued the press release on “Transitional Arrangement for Recognising UK Architectural Educational Qualifications as Eligibility for Taking Professional Assessment in Hong Kong” on 22 July 2020. Following the issuance, we notice that many students are concerned about whether they can sit for the Professional Assessment jointly organised by HKIA and the Architects Registration Board (ARB) of the HKSAR upon their graduation from architectural programmes in the United Kingdom (UK) in the future. In this regard, HKIA would like to elaborate further.
Firstly, it is not HKIA taking the initiative to “de-recognise” UK architectural programmes.
After the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, HKIA had been liaising with the Architects Registration Board of the UK (ARB(UK)) for mutual recognition arrangement of architectural education. Unfortunately, there has been no positive response from ARB(UK). Since HKIA is a member of the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA), all along, basing on the CAA list of architectural educational qualifications recommended for recognition, HKIA can indirectly recognise UK architectural programmes unilaterally.
However, starting 1 February 2020, CAA revised its list of architectural educational qualifications recommended for recognition, with UK programmes being officially removed from the list. Consequentially, there is now no ground to continue including UK programmes in the list of professional architectural education programmes recognised by HKIA/ARB.
After due consideration, HKIA and ARB have decided to make special transitional arrangement for a period of two years. The transitional arrangement would apply to both pre-professional architectural degrees (Part 1) and professional architectural degrees (Part 2). HKIA/ARB would like to alert students who desire to enroll for Part 1 programmes in the UK within the two-year transitional period to pay special attention. The transitional measures for Part 2 UK programmes (or programmes equivalent to professional architectural degrees) would also not be applicable from the academic year of 2022/23 or after.
Despite the above arrangement, architectural graduates from the UK in future would still be able to sit for HKIA/ARB Professional Assessment through another route.
Students enrolled for UK programmes in the academic year of 2022/23 or thereafter can apply for, upon their graduation, the Academic Qualifying Assessment (AQA) for assessing their eligibility for sitting for the HKIA/ARB Professional Assessment. It is the same route having been taken by other graduates with educational qualifications not on the list of programmes accredited or recognised by HKIA/ARB, such as graduates from Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Peru, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, etc.
AQA has been HKIA’s well established mechanism for many years. Applicants are required to submit their school transcripts and portfolio for HKIA to assess the educational standard. There are a number of precedents of graduates from non-HKIA/ARB recognised programmes being able to go through the AQA and be allowed to take the Professional Assessment. According to the expert views of educators and HKIA veteran members who are experienced in qualification assessment, the UK programmes which were in the CAA list prior to February this year had been accredited by ARB(UK) (note: not by The Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA). Based on the established standard of these programmes, it is believed that their graduates would perform no worse than those graduated from other overseas programmes not on the HKIA/ARB list of recognition in passing the AQA to sit for the Professional Assessment.
As a summary, students who desire to pursue their architectural studies in the UK can still be eligible for taking the Professional Assessment through the AQA route.
In its latest revision, apart from UK programmes, CAA has also removed architectural programmes accredited by Australia and New Zealand from its list. HKIA has signed mutual recognition arrangement with the accreditation authorities of Australia and New Zealand since 2010 and 2012 respectively. Under the agreement, graduates from Hong Kong’s professional architectural programmes accredited by HKIA/ARB are being accepted by the Australia and New Zealand authorities of having standard equivalent to graduates of their recognised programmes, and can therefore sit for the architectural professional assessment in the two nations, and vice versa. As such, the changes in CAA recognition list would not affect graduates of HKIA/ARB recognised professional architectural programmes from Australia and New Zealand.