Education Route to becoming a Professional Architect in Malaysia
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Students after SPM, O-Levels, UEC, STPM or A-Levels interested in Architecture should be prepared for a long road ahead to achieve the status of obtaining the title “Ar.” as a professional architect. Students interested to study architecture must have a lot of determination, motivation, passion and persistence as the education pathway will take more than 9 years to complete.
Architecture is a combination of creativity, history, sciences, and design. You will learn how to conceptualise and design buildings in relation to the economic, technical, environmental and social needs. Architecture strongly relates to built environment and urban planning disciplines such as civil and structural engineering, quantity surveying, and property economics and management.
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Who should study Architecture in Malaysia?
If you are interested in creating things, buildings and spaces, technology, art and design, a career in architecture may be for you.
Basically, an architect is a person who creates the designs of buildings. They don’t actually build them, that’s the job of the Civil Engineer. Architects role is like a project leader who works with different people to coordinate and get the building up on time within budget.
The architecture profession in Malaysia is protected by law and is regulated by the Lembaga Akitek Negara (LAM). They govern the entire profession starting from the definition of an architect under the Malaysian Constitution, licensing, practice, acts and enactments as well as education.
Another important body concerning architects is the Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM) who takes care of the well being of the architects including professional development from the lowest to the highest qualifications. They also organise functions and activities for their members.
Shortage of Professional Architects in Malaysia
At the 2014 Persatuan Arkitek Malaysia -Tan Sri Ar Chan Sau Lai Architecture Award prize-giving ceremony today, Kuala Lumpur Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said that the current ratio of architects in Malaysia is one to 17,257 people.
There is a shortage of architects in Malaysia due to the low passing rate in the final test which would enable them to become professional architects, which carries the title of Ar.
There are only 1700 Registered Architects in Malaysia. The Average pass rate is 9%~20%
How to Become a Professional Architect in Malaysia?
Students after SPM or O-Levels will go for the architecture Foundation program for one year. Upon successful completion, they will then enter into the LAM Part 1 accredited architecture degree for another 3 years.
Studying at top private universities in Malaysia for architecture will expose you to more opportunities, learn in a global environment and enhance your English as well as communication skills.
The next step is to go into an accredited Masters equivalent to LAM Part 2 for another 2 years.
Graduates will then work for 2 years and then sit for the LAM Part 3 exams and then to finally become an architect. The whole process after SPM or O-Levels will take you about 9 years.
However, note that the passing rate is quite low for Part 3 so it would probably take you longer than 9 years to become a professional architecture in Malaysia.
Pathway to Become a Professional Architect (Ar.) in Malaysia
The architecture profession in Malaysia is protected by law. The regulating and governing body of the architecture profession in Malaysia is known as Lembaga Akitek Negara (LAM). They govern the entire profession starting from the definition of an architect under the Malaysian Constitution, licensing, practice, acts and enactments as well as education.
The other body that concerns the well being of architects themselves is Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia.
It functions as an association that takes care of its members, organize functions and manages the professional development of an architect from the lowest to highest qualification. Just like Bar exams for lawyers, architects also require certain level of qualification that is a standard worldwide.
The qualifications are known as LAM Part 1, 2 and 3. The equivalent of this is RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), AIA (American Institute of Architects) and RAIA (Royal Australian Institute of Architects).
The diagram above shows the career path of an architect. After graduating with Part 2, a person is known as an architect, and will be able to practice according to the job specification of an architect. This should be the minimum target of anyone pursuing this profession. Anything less is a waste of time.
These qualifications can be obtained in two ways:
- Obtaining a fully accredited degree (or equivalent) that carries Part 1 or 2 equivalent.
- Sitting for individual exams after obtaining a non-accredited degree for Part or 2.
Part 3 can only be obtained after practicing as an architect for a minimum of 2 years and fulfilling all the project requirements set by LAM.
Fulfilling these needs, the architect will then submit themselves to a series of interviews and exams to determine that they are capable and absolutely qualified. These exams are conducted by Persatuan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM).
Entry Requirements for the Architecture Degree Course in Malaysia
After SPM or O-Levels, students must possess a credit in Maths & any one Science subject in order to enter into the Architecture Foundation. For entry into the Architecture degree students need to have the following qualifications:
- Foundation in Arts or Science Entry Requirement for Architecture degree -Minimum CGPA 2.0 including credit in Maths
- STPM Arts or Science Stream Entry Requirement for Architecture degree -Pass with minimum CGPA of 2.00 (or equivalent) Minimum Gred C for 2 subjects INCLUDING Maths
- A-Levels Entry Requirement for Architecture degree -Minimum Gred C for 2 subjects INCLUDING Maths
- UEC Commerce or Science Stream Entry Requirement for Architecture degree -5 Credits (‘B’ grade) inclusive of Maths
- South Australian Matriculation (SAM) Entry Requirement for Architecture degree – Minimum average of 65% in 5 subjects inclusive of Maths
- Canadian Pre-U (CPU) Entry Requirement for Architecture degree – Minimum average of 65% in 6 subjects inclusive of Maths