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Wentworth’s Acceptance into IPAL Program is ‘Big News’ for Budding Architects

man presenting architectural work to a group of people

Wentworth students working to become architects have been given a major boost toward that goal with the university’s recent acceptance into IPAL, or Integrated Path to Architecture Licensure.

IPAL programs at approved institutions let students earn their licenses in less time by incorporating experience and examination into their education. Acceptance into the program is a major mark of distinction, according to industry leaders and Wentworth administrators who worked on the university’s IPAL application.

“No question; this is very big news for us,” said Durga Suresh-Menonspecial assistant to the provost for graduate programs.

Launched by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) in 2015, the IPAL program allows students who are earning a degree from a NAAB-accredited program to complete the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) and Architect Registration Examination concurrently.

According to NCARB, by integrating the education, experience, and examination requirements of licensure, IPAL helps students prepare for life after college by:

  • Connecting education to current architectural practice
  • Jumpstarting their careers with work experience and networking
  • Making students eligible for licensure after graduation by completing licensure requirements
  • Opening career opportunities through licensure
  • Helping students manage the financial burden of earning a degree, both by interweaving paid employment opportunities around academic requirements and by qualifying them for higher paying positions

University officials said the IPAL program is a natural extension of the Institute’s cooperative education program, a mainstay of the overall Wentworth experience. Students earning a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture (B.S. Arch) are required to complete two semesters of co-op. With advanced standing, Wentworth’s B.S. Arch alumni normally complete the Master of Architecture coursework in one year.

Wentworth’s IPAL application was approved by NCARB in May 2020.

The effort was supported by the Boston Society of Architects, the Massachusetts Licensing Board and architecture firms, several of which wrote letters of support based on their experience in hiring Wentworth students in the past.

One of the attractions of IPAL is that it allows students to continue earning year-round income while attending school; IPAL may therefore expand the pool of candidates who are eligible to obtain licensure.

In fall 2020, the IPAL program will be offered to Wentworth architecture Bachelor of Science degree (B.S. Arch) candidates in their sophomore, junior, and senior year. Students who are enrolled in IPAL, and are accepted and enroll in Wentworth’s advanced standing 1-year master’s in architecture program (M.Arch), will complete the 1-year full-time M.Arch track as a 2-year part-time M.Arch track, while working part-time.

In the 2021-2022 academic year, Wentworth hopes to offer IPAL to students in the 2-year, full-time M.Arch track, which is comprised of graduates from other NAAB-accredited degree programs.

Students enrolled in IPAL may be able to complete the 2-year full-time M.Arch track as a 4-year part-time M.Arch track, while working part-time, and based on an evaluation of AXP hours achieved prior to enrolling at Wentworth.

Since IPAL launched in 2015, NCARB has accepted 26 NAAB-accredited programs at 21 schools to participate in the initiative.

For more information on IPAL contact Durga Suresh-Menon.

--Dennis Nealon