National Program of Assessment

Competency-based pathway to the Architectural Practice Examination 

The National program of Assessment (NPrA) is a competency-based assessment for those who have substantial skills and experience in the architectural profession, but do not have a recognised architectural qualification. 

Taking the form of a complex architectural project, successful completion of the National Program of Assessment is recognised by all Australian registration authorities as an alternate entry to the Architectural Practice Examination, successful completion of which is necessary before applying to a State or Territory registration board to become registered as an architect.

The National Program of Assessment is a design exercise that tests candidates’ competency in architecture on the basis of their acquired knowledge and experience. The focus of the design exercise is to design a complex building in response to a hypothetical design brief. 

The National Standard of Competency for Architects (NSCA) describes what is reasonably expected of a person who can demonstrate the standard of skill, care and diligence widely accepted in Australia as a competent and professional Architect. 

The 2021 NSCA was released in July 2021 and will be implemented across all AACA Assessment Programs in a staged roll-out from 2022.  The 2021 NSCA has been implemented across the National Program of Assessment from 2022.  

Applications for the 2024 NPrA will open in December 2023.

Stage 1 – Eligibility 

Candidates must satisfy academic, English language, work experience and residency requirements. Candidates who are successful in Stage 1, will be invited to participate in Stage 2. 

Stage 2 – Response to the Design Brief 

Candidates must respond to the Project Brief by addressing particular Performance Criteria in the context of the National Standard of Competency for Architects. 

Submissions take the form of a report and companion drawings. Candidates work alone in responding to the Project Brief and are given one opportunity to ask questions of the Assessors on the Project Brief. 

2024 Program Fees 

  • Stage 1 – Eligibility $1,260
  • Stage 2 – Response to the design brief $4,130
  • Refund Stage 2 (before census date) – $1,050
  • Appeal Fee – $1,020

All fees are GST free. AACA only accepts online credit card payments, by VISA or MASTERCARD. 1.6 – 2.9% surcharge applies to all online payments. 

2023 Timetable

Applications for the 2022 program will close at 11:59 pm (AEDT) on 31 January 2023.   

  • Stage 1 Applications Open: Wednesday 9 November 2022 
  • Stage 1 Applications Close: Tuesday 31 January 2023 
  • Candidate Offers Distributed: Wednesday 15 February 2023 
  • Closing date for acceptance of offers: Wednesday 1 March 2023
  • Stage 2 Program Brief Distributed: Thursday 9 March 2023 
  • Q & A Period: 9 March 2023- 6 April 2023 
  • Q & A’s distributed to candidates: Thursday 11 May 2023 
  • Census Date (Closing date for withdrawal of participation): Thursday 1 June 2023 
  • Candidate Initial Conceptual Design Response due: Thursday 20 July 2023 
  • Candidate Final Submissions due: Thursday 12 October 2023 
  • Results emailed to participants: Tuesday 28 November 2023 

More information: contact the AACA at [email protected]                           

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Architects Accreditation Council of Australia
Gadigal Country
Suite 3, Level 5, 75 Castlereagh Street

Located on Gadigal Country, the AACA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.