About the course
Yes. The programme at SAUL has full accreditation by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI).
It is the same. The course at UL is a five-year undergraduate course, with successful students achieving a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at Level 8 in the National Framework of Qualifications. Thus the UL course is exactly the same level as all other Level 8 undergraduate Architecture degrees in Ireland.
SAUL is currently seeking accreditation for its masters programme. This will allow a student who has successfully completed a fourth year to transfer into the final year of the Masters.
Design Studio is at the heart of architecture education at UL. As well as the physical place where all subjects are taught, 'Design Studio' is a creative laboratory where learning is developed through experimentation and reflection. Woven into the design studio are courses in structures and construction, history and theory, environmental science, cultural studies and professional practice.
Training as an architect engages the student in a process of 'learning by doing' and problem-based learning. All of this work in design studio is further supported by site visits, field trips, visiting lecturers and study trips abroad.
The teaching day in Design Studio runs continuously from 9 to 6, five days a week.
Architecture is a challenging and very endeavour, as it requires a student to be creative as well as achieving a high academic standing. The study of architecture is demanding and very exciting. Students report high levels of engagement with a compelling and broad course. Live projects, community engagement, international lecturers and more are on offer at SAUL.
Yes. To achieve a Bachelor (Honours) Level 8 degree in architecture the student must stay and successfully complete the full five years of study.
However, after the third year of study, taking a ‘year-out’ from formal study is encouraged, where the student has an opportunity to gain professional experience and to travel, i.e. to deepen their architectural studies in a self-directed year away from the university. – At this juncture at the end of third year, studying abroad in a linked recommended university is also possible, as is transferring into another comparable architecture programme to complete the degree.
Design Studio work is reviewed on a periodical basis throughout the semester. Students are expected to synthesise all material produced over the course of the semester into a portfolio for formal assessment at the end of each semester. All other classes are graded through coursework (presentations, essays, tests, drawings, study assignments etc.). Thus, instead of having one exam at the end of the semester, continuous feedback on module work throughout the semester is the norm.
Class sizes average 20-40 students.
We encourage students to work in the profession – with architects, engineers, builders – and with many faculty members well-rooted in the profession in Ireland we offer help and advice in finding suitable employment. Work experience prior to studying might be useful, yet is not required. The academic schedule allows for extended periods of work experience over the summer. A year-out after third year is another option to gain the desired professional exposure, possibly through a combination of work and travel abroad.
Applicants are required to hold at the time of enrolment the established Leaving Certificate (or an approved equivalent) with a minimum of six subjects which must include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four 06 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English.
Foundation Maths is acceptable to meet the Minimum Maths requirements.
Please note a portfolio is not required by CAO applicants.
In 2022 the points for LM099 were 532* (*Not all on this points score were offered places). Architecture remains an attractive subject for study. The points in a given year are to be used as a guideline only, due to various factors these can go up or down each year. Applicants who meet the minimum entry requirements, and have the required number of points, are eligible applicants and will be admitted to the programme.
Applications are particularly welcome from mature candidates (at least 23 years of age on 1st January of the year of enrolment). Each mature application is considered on an individual basis. Academic qualifications, work and life experience, motivation and overall potential for the programme of study are evaluated.
All mature candidates must apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) – www.cao.ie. The closing date for CAO applications is the 1st of February each year.
Mature applicants are required to attend for interview and to bring material to support their application to the interview.
No, Art is not a required subject.
Apart from the minimum Maths requirement, there are no additonal specific requirements for Maths, and Physics is not a required subject. An intuitive understanding of Art, Maths and some science subjects is undeniably helpful and area a valuavle preparation in logical reasoning and clarity of thought.
Structures classes as taught to architecture students at UL but do not include extensive calculations, rather require a clear understanding of the structural logic in a building.
Sketching, architectural drawing and technical drafting is taught immediately in first year, and CAD will be introduced later in the course. Architectural drawing is a specific skill, and is neither ‘tech drawing’ nor CAD.
About career and profession
The Building Control Act 2007 introduced registration for architects in the Republic of Ireland, The RIAI maintains the professional register – “The best way to qualify as an architect eligible for RIAI Membership and admission to the Register for Architects is to
- get a degree from a recognized school of architecture, followed by
- two years of approved practical experience, and
- an examination in professional practice.
Recognised degree courses in architecture take five years of full-time study. Many students take a year out for practical experience between the third and fourth years. So the whole process, from start to full professional qualification, generally takes seven to nine years.” – Refer to the RIAI website for further details.
Architecture is more than an industry-driven profession. The architectural education at SAUL equips students with knowledge and abilities widely recognised. This enables students to practice in the profession of architecture or even in related fields nationally and internationally as many architects have done successfully in the past. SAUL graduates are currently employed nationally and internationally (in Limerick, Dublin, Cork, UK, Berlin, NEw York, London, Canada, France).
A SAUL graduate will of course will be in a position to start working in an architect’s office. This is the path followed by most graduates. An architect’s office in private practice can vary in size from a sole practitioner to an office of over 100 employees. Equally an architect’s office in a local authority context can mean that a young graduate is exposed to working across many local authority departments such as planning, transport or policy. A number of recent SAUL graduates have sought out alternate paths to practice, i.e. some have chosen to work solely on self-generated projects and design-build projects. Others have chosen to work directly with communities. Others have been employed as teaching assistants at SAUL. In fact, there is a growing and healthy architectural culture of SAUL graduates choosing to stay and find work in both Limerick City and in the Limerick Region. SAUL's Fab Lab in Rutland Street is such a case in point.
Architecture studies are broad, encompassing technical skills, design, art, history, and presentation skills. Some graduates move into other areas such as teaching, mentoring at university, policy making or public administration, business or urban design, history, journalism, photography or other arts, furniture or model making, research and writing, or pursue further studies.