How To Become An Architect

ilovelearningThinking about choosing Architecture as a career and need to know more? Architects work within the broad umbrella of the construction industry, taking on the task of designing buildings for public use and private homes as well as alterations for existing buildings. Architecture can be a rewarding career encompassing a wide range of skills.

Students looking to enter the industry tend to have an interest in the arts, good communication skills and a good grounding in science and mathematics.

What Does An Architect Do?

Architects design and sometimes oversee the construction process of buildings for public and private use. Consulting with their clients to determine the build requirements, Architects will then create drafts of the building and all its components (including material used and costs involved) using specially developed computer software (CAD).

Once approval is received from the client, the Architect will submit the plans to local council to apply for building and resource consents and can then be required to oversee the construction project to ensure plans, budgets and time constraints are complied with.

Over the course of their training architects will become familiar with a wide range of building materials, local building regulations, different types of structures and design principles.

Becoming An Architect In New Zealand

What are the study requirements to become an architect in New Zealand? There are actually a number of institutions that provide the required Master of Architecture (Professional) needed to qualify as a registered architect in New Zealand. Typically this involves five years of university level study followed by 140 hours of experience in the industry.

In order to gain entry to the university level study programmes Secondary School leavers will need NCEA Level 3. Although a range of subjects are important suggested subject choices are physics, art, graphics, computer studies, environmental studies, history, geography, calculus and maths.

Entry Requirements

Entry to the Master programmes will require completion of a Bachelor of Architectural Studies with a 4.0 grade point average. The Bachelor is a total of three years full time study. The Masters is two years full time.

Where To Study

There are currently three universities in New Zealand offering the Master of Architecture (Professional) these include:

The University of Auckland. Course entry requires completion of the Bachelor of Architectural Studies with a 4.0 grade point average. The Masters programme allows three areas of specialisation these include Heritage and Conservation, Urban Design and Urban Planning.

Victoria University of Wellington. Course entry requires completion of the Bachelor of Architectural Studies (choose from Architecture, Architecture History and Theory, Interior Architecture and Landscape Architecture majors) with a B average.

Unitec. Course entry requires the completion of a Bachelor of Architectural Studies with a grade point average of 4.0 or higher. It is possible to focus on three main areas at Unitec; Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Interior Design.

It is possible to complete the Bachelor of Architectural Studies at other tertiary institutions around New Zealand before joining one of the three Masters programmes above. The Ara Institute of Canterbury and the Otago Polytechnic both provide NZQA registered degrees.

Fees and Course Costs

While there is sometimes slight variations in fees between training institutions, generally speaking the Bachelor of Architecture will cost around $8,000 per year, so a total of approximately $24,000.

The Masters of Architecture (Professional) costs between $7,000 and $9,000 total for the two year course.


After the completion of the Master of Architecture Professional, in order to become a registered Architect in New Zealand you must complete the requirements to register with the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB).

This will include completing a minimum of 140 weeks of practical experience and to pass the NZRAB practical experience assessment. Once registered, architects will also need to take part in continuing professional development to maintain registration status.

For more information on becoming an architect contact the universities above or talk to a professional architect company.