Overseas Qualifications Assessment – New Applicants

Assessment for New Applicants

The AACA Overseas Qualifications Assessment process determines whether an individual overseas academic qualification compares with a current Australian accredited qualification in Architecture. 

OQA was previously conducted in two (2) stages, but it has now become a one-step comprehensive assessment of tertiary qualifications and competency. Applicants who apply for the first time will complete both components in one application.

Qualification Assessment

The Qualifications Assessment is an assessment of tertiary qualifications in Architecture that have been awarded outside of Australia and permits a graduate to proceed to registration as an Architect in the country of the awarding institution.

Competency Assessment Interview

A Competency Assessment that includes the submission of a Portfolio of between 3 to 4 Architectural projects, written summary statements that address the 2021 National Standard of Competency for Architects in Australia (NSCA), and an Assessment Interview.

If you have previously completed a Stage 1 – OQA with the AACA, please apply for Stage 2 only.

2022 Program Update

New submission requirements based on the 2021 National Standard of Competency for Architects (NSCA) are effective from 1 March 2022.  All applications submitted must follow the new requirements. Please refer to the guide and templates on this page before submitting your application.

Key Documents

Video Guide for Applicant

Please watch this video in preparation for your submission and the competency interview.


  • Applicants must have completed a tertiary Architectural course that permits a graduate to register as an Architect in the country of the awarding institution. A 5-year qualification is the expected standard (a minimum of 4 years may be accepted if providing evidence from the university, e.g. a Diploma Supplement or from the registration authority).
  • 6 months of paid architectural work experience (excluding course integrated experience if replacing coursework time within a 5-year curriculum).
  • English language proficiency.
  • Applicants may reside in Australia or overseas.

Assessment Criteria – Qualifications

  • Education system of the country in which the qualification(s) were obtained
  • Status of the awarding institution
  • Academic duration of the qualification(s)
  • Structure of the coursework program
  • Content of the individual units of study
  • Grading system
  • Design Studies and Design Integration
  • Documentation and Technical Studies
  • History and Theory Studies
  • Practice and Project Management, Implementation and User Studies
  • Environmental Studies
  • Communication Studies

Assessment Criteria – Portfolio and Work Experience

Refer to AACA website for OQA Applicants Guide

Portfolio Requirements – NSCA Criteria
A Portfolio of between 3 to 4 Architectural projects should be submitted in accordance with the Applicants Guide.

One complex project (typically a medium or larger scale project) must be included. It is recommended to include the final thesis (Architectural design) project, as it offers a good basis to discuss educational competency in the Competency Assessment Interview. 

Must be submitted to address the 13 Topic Areas as outlined and address the relevant group of Performance Criteria. These Statements must be supported with reference drawings, sketches or other documentation that relates to the Projects presented in the Portfolio (especially with emphasis on Design Development).

Applicants must provide evidence for a minimum of 6 months full time equivalent of relevant work experience, (excluding course-integrated practical experience that would replace the minimum 5 years of coursework time). A detailed reference letter must be provided.

Please refer to the Guide for Applicants for further details.

Application Fees

  • Overseas Qualifications Assessment – New Applicants: AUD $3,370

A card transaction surcharge applies to all payments (1.49% for Australian cards and 2.9% for international cards).

Application Process

AACA will review the submitted documents and provide one feedback only (via email) prior to the Competency Assessment Interview. Applicants will be required to revise and resubmit documents prior to scheduling of the Interview. Time limits apply.

Priority Processing Service for Applicants No longer available from 18 March 2024


Results & Appeals


Successful Applicants are provided with an Outcome letter that acts as an authority to apply for the Architectural Practice Examination (APE) with an Australian State or Territory Architects Registration Board, subject to eligibility criteria (including practical experience). A Skilled Migration Assessment for migration purposes is also provided if requested.


Unsuccessful Applicants are provided with written advice indicating where they are considered deficient and recommendations regarding upgrading their competency. Subsequent to addressing the deficiencies and recommendations identified by AACA, unsuccessful Applicants may then submit evidence to AACA. Time limitations apply.

If approved by AACA, an amended Outcome letter and a Skilled Migration Assessment may be issued at no additional cost to the Applicant.

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Architects Accreditation Council of Australia
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