Syllabus
An accessible alternative

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Syllabus Program Described

What is the RAIC Syllabus Program?

How many graduates are there?

Things to consider before you applying for admission into the Syllabus Program

How long does it take to complete the Syllabus Diploma program?

How can I talk to current students in the program?

Do I need to be working for an Architect?

How much does it cost?

Is there any financial assistance available?

Where is the RAIC Syllabus Program?

Do I need to live in Canada?

Where is the Syllabus located?

Are there any classrooms?

I don't live near a Chapter. Can I attend the studios via Skype or other online method?

Admission Requirements

What kind of post-secondary education do I need before starting the Syllabus?

The admission application asks for a portfolio. What is required? What is expected?

What entry (advanced standing) credits can I get from my previous education?

Can I find out what entry (advanced standing) credits I will get before I apply?

Why do I need an ESL (English as a Second Language) test?

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Syllabus Program and Athabasca University

What is the relationship between the RAIC Syllabus Program and Athabasca University?

What is the difference between the Syllabus Program and Athabasca University's program?

Can I obtain the RAIC Professional Diploma in Architecture, the Athabasca University Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree and the Post-baccalaureate Diploma in Architecture at the same time?

Can I become a licensed architect by completing the Athabasca University Bachelor of Science in Architecture program?

Can I take the Athabasca University Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree then receive advanced standing in design studios in the RAIC Syllabus Program?

Syllabus Program General Information

Are Syllabus credits transferable to a University?

When can I start?

Does the Syllabus assist with job placement?

Where are the exams written?

Course Sequence

Can I take all the academic courses first, and then do the design courses later?

Can I get through faster by taking three or four courses per term?

What courses are available at Athabasca University for Syllabus Diploma students?

Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) referrals

I have a referral letter from the CACB instructing me to take a course(s) in professional practice in Canada. What in my next step?

 


Syllabus Program Described

 

What is the RAIC Syllabus Program?

The RAIC Syllabus Program is owned and operated by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. It is the only alternate path to architectural licensure in Canada. An "alternate path" means obtaining the educational and work experience requirements for licensure through practitioner-led design studios, self-study, and apprenticeship/internship. The "typical path" involves obtaining a professional degree in architecture from an accredited university school of architecture followed by internship. The RAIC Syllabus Program is not an accredited school of architecture. Graduates receive the RAIC Professional Diploma in Architecture which is accepted by the Canadian Architecture Certification Board (CACB) for individual certification. 

 

How many graduates are there?  

Since the program began in 1978, we have had 118 graduates.  This averages to about 3 graduates per year.  For more information on the Alumni Association, please visit our dedicated page: Alumni.

 

Things to consider before you applying for admission into the Syllabus Program

How long does it take to complete the Syllabus Diploma Program?  

On average, it takes a Syllabus Diploma student about 10-12 years to complete the program. However, students who are able to obtain transfer credits from an accredited Canadian School of Architecture or from a recognized Architectural Technology program could complete the Syllabus requirements within a shorter amount of time. (see: Program Orientation)

It is important to understand the work experience requirements of the Syllabus program. Students must complete a minimum of 9,800 hours within Part II (2,800 hours) and Part III (7,000). These are based on a minimum average of 20 hrs/week.

 

Although the Syllabus Program may seem to take an extraordinarily long time to complete, the university-based pathway is not much different. Obtaining a pre-professional undergraduate degree, then a professional masters degree, then accumulate the minimum number of experience hours required in each of 15 categories also take about 12 years.

There is no quick path to architectural licensure. 

 

How can I talk to current students in the program?

To communicate with students in your region, please do so by contacting the Student Rep nearest you. Due to new Privacy laws passed in July 2014, we are not able to release any personal student contact information without their consent. The list can be access under Contacts.

 

Do I need to be working for an Architect?

A major component of the RAIC Syllabus Program is the Work Experience requirement. As part of this requirement, students must complete a minimum of 9,800 hours within Part II (2,800 hours) and Part III (7,000). These are based on a minimum average of 20 hrs/week.  For hours to qualify toward the Canadian Experience Record Book (CERB), students must be employed under the supervision of a Canadian licensed architect at the beginning of Part II of the program.  We recommend you commence your employment search as soon as you have completed 3 design studio courses and half of the theory courses to Part I. For more details on work experience, please consult the Work Experience policy Manual.

 

How much does it cost?  

The cost from Application to Graduation depends greatly on individual student progress and course load.  Please refer to the fee schedule for further details on the current fee structure for the program from start to finish.  (see:  Fee Schedule)

 

Is there any financial assistance available?

As part of its mission, the RAIC Foundation has established the new Kiyoshi Matsuzaki Scholarship to provide financial assistance to a deserving student based on academic performance and financial need. 

Athabasca University also has a series of awards available to Syllabus Students. To see a full list of scholarship/bursaries, visit the Athabasca website.

 

Where is the RAIC Syllabus Program?

Do I need to live in Canada?

Key program requirements are to attend regularly scheduled design studio sessions at one of the 12 design studios and gain work experience under the supervision of a Canadian licensed architect. Therefore students must be eligible to live, study and work legally in Canada. Academic courses are offered online and can be taken from any location. 

 

Where is the Syllabus located?

The RAIC Syllabus is a national program, with offices based out of Ottawa. There are also student chapters located in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Halifax. To access the names of Student Reps in each region, please access the Contacts page.

 

Are there any classrooms?

Academic courses are offered online by the RAIC Syllabus Program's education service provider Athabasca University. Online courses are self-study, and offered via the internet.  There are no physical classrooms or designated meeting schedules.

Design studios are offered by volunteer practitioners in 12 cities across Canada. Regular classes are usually weekly and convene on week nights and/or weekends depending on the city. At regular design studio classes students will meet with the studio coordinator(s), instructors and other students. (see: Program Orientation)

 

I don't live near a Chapter.  How do I attend the studios?  Are they online?

Currently, all students who take design studios must meet in person at one of 12 local chapter across Canada during scheduled sessions.  These sessions take place over a 12 week period during each term, usually once a week on a weeknight or weekend (varies from each chapter).

Virtual design studios are not available. 

 

Admission Requirements

What kind of post-secondary education do I need before I start the Syllabus?  

We have an open admission policy.  The only academic requirement to begin with the Syllabus is high-school matriculation.  However, the responsibility for learning rests with the student.  To be successful, students must possess a good command of English; university-level 100 math to apply in calculations; and drawing skills for adequate graphic communication.  (see:  Student Performance and Academic Review

 

The admission application asks for a portfolio. What is required? What are you expecting?

The purpose of the admission portfolio is to provide studio coordinators with an understanding of an incoming student's capabilities. A portfolio is intended to demonstrates a range of drawing and modeling techniques, showing both hand and computer work. Demonstrating your understanding and applicant of colour, texture, materiality and form is useful. The use of multiple media is appreciated. Some students may have advanced building science knowledge and can demonstrate that in building plans, sections, elevations and details. The portfolio is to include past work. It is not the intent that students create work exclusively for the portfolio submission.

In future, the portfolio will be used to establish advanced standing in Syllabus design studios.

 

What entry credits can I get from my previous education?  

The assessment process for advanced standing in academic courses is now provided by the RAIC Syllabus Program's education service provider Athabasca University. Based on relationships developed with various Technology schools, students could get up to 30 transfer credits toward the 117-credit Syllabus Program requirements. However, assessments are done on an individual basis in order to guarantee the student has successfully completed each course minimum requirement. (see:  Advanced Standing and Appeal Policy)

 

Can I find out what credits I will get before I apply?  

Transfer credits are assessed once a student submits their application and pay the required fee for Advanced Standing. We are not in the position to offer pre-assessments or interviews in advance of the submission of the advanced standing application. Once again, assessments are done on an individual basis and marks will be reviewed to ensure minimum requirements are achieved.

 

Why do I need an ESL (English as a Second Language) test? 

The Syllabus is currently only offered in English only. Students are expected to perform at a post-graduate level and must have proficient oral and written English skills at that level.  If English is not your first language, an ESL test is required.

 

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Syllabus Program and Athabasca University

What is the relationship between the RAIC Syllabus Program and Athabasca University? 

The theory and history courses of the Syllabus Program are developed by the RAIC in collaboration with our education service provider Athabasca University (AU), and delivered online by AU. Those same theory and history course comprise part of AU's Bachelor of Science in Architecture pre-professional degree and their Post-baccalaureate Diploma in Architecture.

 

What is the difference between the Syllabus Program and Athabasca University's program in architecture?

The Syllabus Program comprises a combination of work and study. Design courses are offered in a face-to-face studios. The graduate of the Syllabus Program receives an RAIC Professional Diploma in Architecture that is accepted by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) as meeting the education requirements for architectural licensure.

Athabasca University offers an academic program. The design studios are offered virtually using communication technology. The graduate of Athabasca University's programs receive a pre-professional Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Architecture. Neither of these credentials qualify as meeting the educational requirements for certification by the CACB.

 

Can I obtain the RAIC Professional Diploma in Architecture, the Athabasca University Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree and the Post-baccalaureate Diploma in Architecture at the same time?

Yes you can. By taking the face-to-face design studios and theory courses of the Syllabus Program, and additional theory, history and general science courses from AU, you can graduate with all three credentials.

 

Can I become a licensed architect by completing the Athabasca University Bachelor of Science in Architecture program?

Athabasca University (AU) offers a pre-professional bachelor of science in architecture degree followed by a post-baccalaureate diploma in architecture (PBDA). AU does not offer a professional degree in architecture and does not have an accredited school of architecture. Accredited schools of architecture in Canada may or may not accept the AU BSc or PBDA as a prerequisite to enter their professional degree programs. Each university conducts their assessments on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the desired University to obtain more information.

 

Can I take the Athabasca University Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree then receive advanced standing in design studios in the RAIC Syllabus Program?

No you cannot. AU's virtual design studios are not transferable and cannot be substituted for the Syllabus Program face-to-face design studios.

 

Syllabus Program General Information

Are Syllabus credits transferable to a University?  

The RAIC Syllabus Program is an alternative path to licensure to become an architect in Canada. Program graduates receive the RAIC Professional Diploma in Architecture, accepted by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board. The Syllabus Program is not an accredited university in Canada. Each university conducts their assessments on a case-by-case basis, and may choose to consider advanced standing for education previously earned through the Syllabus. Please contact the desired University to obtain more information.

 

When can I start?  

Applications are accepted year-round.  To register for academic courses, we ask that you submit your Syllabus application before the 1st of the month so that we can process it prior to the 10th. Our education service provider, Athabasca University, accepts registrations by the 10th of each month, with a start date of the 1st of the following month.

Design studio course, are offered twice a year; Term One, March to June, and Term Two, September to December. Registration deadlines for each term are February 1st for Term One and August 1st for Term Two. Therefore, your program entrance application needs to be received by the RAIC Syllabus Office by December 15th for Term One and June 15th for Term Two. 

 

Does the Syllabus assist with job placement?

The Syllabus Program does not offer employment assistance services, although the RAIC and provincial associations of architecture do host employment notices on their web sites. To access, click here to view current available opportunities: Job Board

Students often find work through contacts made during design studios.  

Students can also contact their student rep for more assistance if needed. Visit our Contacts page for more information.

 

Where are the exams written?  

Academic courses are offered by the RAIC Syllabus Program's education service provider Athabasca University. Course exams are no longer organized and provided by the Syllabus Office. For more information on how to complete your exams through Athabasca University, please visit their Exams page.

 

Course Sequence

Can I take all the academic courses first, and then do the design courses later?  

Courses must be completed following the Curriculum Sequence Chart. Many courses have pre-requisites, therefore it is important to review the Curriculum Sequence Chart prior to contacting the Syllabus Office for guidance on which courses to take next. 

Some students do not have the skills needed to support an entry level position in an architect's office. They would prefer to keep their current employment as long as they can, keep taking courses, anticipating that additional Part II and III theory courses will provide them with sufficient knowledge to obtain that entry level position. Unfortunately for these students, like all architectural education, the Syllabus program is designed to provide the acquisition and application of knowledge concurrently, not sequentially. At the beginning of Part II, the student is required to be working under the supervision of an architect.

 

Can I get through faster by taking three or four courses per term?

If you enroll in a studio during either Term 1 or Term 2, it is highly recommended you only enroll in that studio. The average involvement for each studio is between 20-30 hours per week, therefore it might be challenging to handle a higher course load by enrolling in one or two academic course.

Since Athabasca University offers the online courses at the beginning of each month, students have the option of taking 1-2 or 3 courses within any six-month period. Courses can also be completed within a shorter time-frame, which can expedite the completion of the academic portion of the Syllabus requirements.

 

What courses are available at Athabasca University for Syllabus Diploma students?  

All academic courses are now open and available from Athabasca University. Please visit then AU web site first before contacting the Syllabus on course outlines and information.

 

Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) referrals

I have a referral letter from the CACB instructing me to take a course(s) in professional practice in Canada. What in my next step?

Please review our CACB Referrals wepage with instructions on how to apply as a CACB Referral.

If you have any questions, please email the RAIC Syllabus Registrar at info@raic-syllabus.ca.

 

Last updated: 2017-11-23