Important COVID-19 / Coronavirus information and FAQs

The AA Experimental and Diploma Programmes are validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and accredited by the Architects Registration Board (ARB). Students who successfully complete the Experimental Programme obtain ARB/RIBA Part 1 and students who successfully complete the Diploma Programme obtain ARB/RIBA Part 2. The AA Diploma certificate (AADipl) is awarded at the end of fifth year.

The combination of the Experimental and Diploma Programmes fully equips students with the requisite practical and theoretical tools to make informed and responsive projections into the future. Through exposure to many different cultural, geographical, material and temporal scenarios, the programme enables and empowers students to become the architects of tomorrow, meaningfully contributing to the betterment of life.

It provides a breadth of knowledge of the world we inhabit today, its history and the circumstances that have led to the present global condition, as well as looking forward to the pressing issues that the planet as a whole must confront and the evolving concerns of contemporary society. Through the identification of and reflection on the complex cultural and social contexts of architectural projects, briefs and agendas, students situate themselves within an on-going global and critical discourse. These ambitions are supported and expanded by the AA Public Programme.

Both the three-year Experimental Programme and the two-year Diploma Programme are comprised of unit work and Core Studies modules. At Diploma level, students may choose to take additional, Elective courses to pursue their personal interests and objectives. This combination of the distinct and varied briefs of the unit system with Core Studies works to support and encourage students to develop their individual voices and critical identities. All programme components operate a Pass/Fail system.

AA's Unit System

The unit system first emerged at the AA in the 1930s, during a period in which the school played a vital role in introducing modern architecture to the UK. Alongside this innovative, project-directed form of teaching, the school implemented increasingly collaborative and experimental approaches to pedagogy, refining a model of open and participatory study that has influenced architectural education worldwide. Students are encouraged to pursue their own individual paths through the broad range of design units and agendas available, defining the basis for their future development and architectural interests. Students work in close contact with unit tutors who independently set each unit’s aims and objectives.

Though each and every unit operates in a highly specific and distinct manner, they share a series of common interests that stretch across all of the academic programmes at the AA, allowing us as an intellectual community to work collectively and address the relevant and pressing issues that face contemporary societies worldwide.


The AA Experimental and Diploma actively seeks candidates who share our view that architecture is both a professional and cultural form of human activity, enquiry and knowledge. Applicants should demonstrate relevant prior experience, background, knowledge and skills, as well as a genuine willingness to want to work, learn and grow in a setting that demands constant levels of engagement, exchange and communication with the world’s most diverse, active and intelligent architectural community.

Below are our Unistats results on student satisfactory across different aspects of studying at the AA, including school life, employment accreditation, degree results and entry information. To find out more please click on the image.

Experimental Programme Units

Diploma Programme Units


Admissions Team
AA School of Architecture
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London WC1B 3ES

T: 020 7887 4051 / 4094

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Academic Programmes
AA Prospectus

Experimental Programme (BA (Hons)) Prospectus
Experimental Programme Prospectu

Diploma Programme (MArch) Prospectus
Diploma Programme Prospectus


Unit Travel Insurance

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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.