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Technical Note on Accreditation

There are three elements required in order to use the protected title and activity of the 'Architect' in France.  An undergraduate degree in architecture of at least 3 years, a post-graduate degree of at least two years, and a period of work experience and study called the HMONP.  Passing the HMNOP exams allows the candidate the opportunity of contacting the national registration body l'ordre des architectes for registration (this also requires the candidate to obtain either a job with a practice, or indemnity insurance to practice in their own name as a liberal).  The ordre des architects will then invite successful candidates to a ceremony at which they swear an oath to uphold the standards of practice mandated by the order.  At this point the use of both the title 'Architecte' and the protected activity; planning permission applications with any building over 150 square metres owned by an individual, or any building owned by a company require the recourse to an architect.


The Paris School of Architecture is a post-graduate only course, accepting students who already hold an undergraduate degree (3 years) in any related subject.  The ordre des architectes governs which schools are able to exempt candidates from each part of the three elements, schools of architecture in France are therefore in some sense beholden to them in terms of receiving an 'accreditation'.  You are likely to be aware from our online presence that the school is in its first year in 2019/20.  During the development of the school we have been in contact with the Ministry of Culture who govern ordre des architectes to discuss potential validation options for the school.  One of the requirements of validation is that the course is taught in the French language, and as the core tenet of the school is teaching in the English-language, this element was unacceptable to us.  We have discussed validation with other EU registration boards, notably the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom (due to their de facto use of the English language) however, the way in which the European Union directive on the equivalence of qualifications works requires the national registration body to first validate the course, which then becomes subject to the 2005 EC directive on equivalence of professional qualifications.  Each of the 3 parts is subject to this requirement. 


To give an illustrative example, say that one had obtained their undergraduate degree in Architecture from a university in the US, then moved to Ireland to study their post-graduate degree at an accredited institution, finally moving to Paris to complete their HMONP at a reputable French practice.  They would receive accreditation for their post-graduate degree under the 2005 directive, and would have undertaken the national HMONP exams in France, but would not satisfy the criteria to register automatically as an architect due to their American undergraduate degree.  We have candidates from around the world, notably from North America, Australia, New Zealand, India, and the EU, and as such even in the case that we received accreditation for our post-graduate course, most of our students would not fulfil the undergraduate requirements to register as architects, due to having non-EU qualifications.


Due to this, we have taken the view that it would be preferable not to seek exemption from the 3 requirements, but to assist our graduates with the alternative route towards registration. 


In France it is possible to gain access to the architectural profession by providing evidence that one's skills, abilities, and training are aligned with that of a French/EU applicant.  Further information of this can be found here:éalisation-d’un-projet-déterminé-par-les-architectes-ressortissants-detats-non-membres-de-lunion but broadly, this requires the applicant to submit a portfolio of information that maps to the undergraduate, post-graduate, and HMONP parts of the French system to the Minister of Culture for a decision.  Should any graduates of the PSA wish to undertake this route, we would assist in the production of the portfolio information required to satisfy the undergraduate and post-graduate elements, as well as the necessary work experience.  We would then suggest that the candidate sits the HMONP component (so that they have some 'French' element to their submission), followed by making the submission to the Ministry of Culture.  This would be likely to require demonstration of French language ability.  We would provisionally suggest the test required for the acquisition of French nationality although we will review this when we have our first cohort of candidates wishing to undertake this part.

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