The Architecture course in UCD is currently undergoing a structural change; it will remain as a “three year – two year” programme with the first stage resulting in a BSc, while students who successfully complete the second stage will now be graduating with an MArch instead of a BArch.
Dean of Architecture, Prof. Hugh Campbell, explains the change, “all of our European partners and Erasmus networks were already offering Masters – it’s pretty much the standard now for a Masters [to be] in the part two. We were really just trying to position ourselves in line and give our students what they would be getting.”
One current UCD Architecture student stated that they were dissatisfied with the change, in part because they were apparently not aware of the change until after accepting their CAO offer, “anybody who began in 2010 or after will eventually have to graduate with a level nine instead of a level eight but they will now have to pay for the last two years of that. It would be almost unheard of for the Department of Education to waive a year of fees for a level nine, so it doesn’t seem that students who accepted level eight course places and began that course have been given any other option but to have to pay for the last two years of that.”
Prof. Campbell confirmed that the move did have fee-related implications, with the final two years now being classified as “fee-paying Masters”. However, he insists that efforts are being made to make the fee a fair one, “we are still discussing it, in terms of trying make the case that at the moment five years of professional education is wholly funded, why wouldn’t it continue to be the case? As you can imagine, people are not very receptive to that.”
“At the moment, we’re trying to set the fee for the Masters as fairly as we can. In terms of the University and the School, the shift from Bachelors to a Masters has been financially disadvantageous – the fee that we would get for the BArch from the block grant is bigger than the fee that we would intend to charge for the Masters … It would be in line with what taught Masters courses [cost], there’s a six at the start of it.”
The school is currently examining the transitional aims at allowing people the opportunity to come into the Masters or to “stick with the Bachelors as they’re entitled to do”.
University College Cork currently has a similar scheme in place, except with a “four year – one year” system instead. Both Queen’s University and the University of Ulster run the Masters programme under the British system.