Profile of the programme
The three-year Architectural Science degree combines theoretical study with a strong technical and applied approach. The different design subjects (architectural composition, restoration, urban studies and architectural and construction technology) are organized within laboratories where students, supported by their theoretical studies, carry out applied activities during lesson hours, so as to not only acquire the knowledge, but also the skills needed to draw and design. Graduates of the three-year Architectural Sciences degree can sit the State exam to become registered as an architect, junior planner and junior civil and environmental engineer. The professional skills acquired cover a very wide spectrum, involving skills in architectural design, in public works (including reinforced concrete structures), in urban regional planning, building surveying and quantity surveying, as well as in civil works with significant artistic interest and in the restoration and rehabilitation of listed buildings protected by the Cultural Heritage and Landscape Code. A planner has expertise in spatial, landscape, environment and town planning and in the carrying out and coordination of complex and specialized analysis of urban, spatial, landscape and environmental structures. His tasks can also include the coordination and management of environmental assessment and feasibility of urban and territorial plans and projects, and the handling of strategies, policies and projects about urban and territorial transformation. The possibility of sitting the state exam for engineers also involves acquiring skills in design, development, supervision of works, estimating, testing, management and evaluation of the impact of buildings, structures, infrastructures, and civil systems on the environment and the territory.
Legislation states that, as far as Architecture degree courses are concerned, each University will choose whether to keep the traditional 5-year degree or move to the 3+2 system (three-year first cycle degree plus two-year second cycle degree).
The University of Parma was the only centre in the Emilia Romagna region to choose the latter option, and accordingly established a three-year Degree Course in Architectural Science and a two-year Second Cycle Degree course in Architecture. The three-year Architectural Science Degree course has a fixed number of places, which is set at national level (150 places have been set for the 2014/2015 academic year). The Second Cycle Degree, the conclusion of the so-called 3+2 cycle, has exactly the same legal and essential value as the traditional one cycle degree. We feel satisfied with the approach adopted and the results achieved: in recent years, most students have obtained their degrees within the set three years and gone on to the second cycle degree; only a minority did not continue their studies. The latter showed foresight in choosing studies that after three years gave them a legal title useful both in the world of employment and freelancing. Currently, about 500 students are enrolled in the Architectural Science Degree Course at the University of Parma. The courses are organized in accordance with European Directive 85/384/EEC concerning the reciprocal recognition of diplomas, certificates and other qualifications in the Architecture sector. For the 2013/2014 academic year, the teaching body on the Architectural Sciences course comprises 22 lecturers taken by the University of Parma staff, and 25 lecturers taken by various professionals on a contract basis. They include freelancers, public administration managers and academics who are all able to offer invaluable interaction between the world of work and the University. Proof of this particular interaction lies in the role played by traineeships and work experience, which are compulsory for both degree courses. Traineeships are put into practice thanks to partnerships with approximately one thousand government bodies and private entities, most of which are professional studios having special arrangements with the University.
The courses are mostly held within the University Campus (in Via Langhirano) called Parco Area delle Scienze, the scientific centre of the University of Parma. The campus, located in a 77-hectare green area on the outskirts of the city, is easily accessible from the train station and the historical centre; it includes the modern, well-equipped facilities of the University Sports Centre (swimming pool, tennis courts, facilities for football, golf, athletics, basket, volleyball and five-a-side).
Course instructions can be given in all the forms envisaged by current legislation as well as other experimental ones. The programme includes theoretical teaching as well as practical exercises, laboratories and internships.
Laboratory activities focus mainly on design, and have a duration of 120 hours each. They cover various interconnected subjects and receive a single final evaluation.
Practical and laboratory activities are part of individual course subjects and internships and may be carried out at qualified public or private entities with which the University has specific agreements, upon approval of the Course Council. Each course year is organized in two teaching periods (usually lasting fifteen weeks each and called semester) separated by periods dedicated exclusively to exams. Course attendance is the students’ right and duty. Students automatically get an attendance certificate at the end of the teaching period set in their study plans, except for the courses referred to as laboratories. Indeed attendance of lessons for all these courses is obligatory. Only students that have attended at least 70% of the lesson hours of the laboratory may sit the exam. It is the responsibility of the lecturer in charge of the laboratory to provide a document certifying student attendance.
In order to gain access to the Degree course, applicants must have a secondary school diploma or other qualification obtained abroad and recognized as equivalent. Each year, a set number of students is admitted to the first year of the course (Art. 1 of Law 264/99). This number is established by the Department Council, and the students are selected through a test drafted at a national level, in accordance with the regulations in force. The test is held simultaneously in all the main Italian Universities. The essential subjects for the entry test are based on the Ministerial programmes for secondary school and must cover areas such as general culture, history, mathematics and physics, as well as drawing and representation.
The results of the admission test will also highlight any learning gaps that may occur. Every year, the Course Council fixes a minimum score to be achieved in order to be admitted without any learning gaps. Students taking the test must achieve a minimum score in the following subject areas:
- Drawing and representation;
- Mathematics and Physics.
After the official closing of the national rankings for admission to the Degree Course in Architectural Science, the Course Council will set the minimum score to be achieved for each subject area. Students obtaining a score higher than the minimum requested in each subject area will be directly admitted to the Course. Students obtaining a score lower than the minimum requested in each subject area will be admitted to the Course but with a learning gap to fulfil, according to the subject area.
Students showing a learning gap in the History subject area, will have to bridge the gap by attending the complementary course in History of Art and Contemporary Architecture in the first year of course.
Students showing a learning gap in the Mathematics and Physics subject area, will have to bridge the gap by attending the complementary course and practice lessons in Mathematics in the first year of course.
Students showing a learning gap in the Design and representation area, will have to bridge the gap by an individual remedial educational path defined together with a tutor nominated by the Course Council.
The results of the score evaluation and identification of possible learning gaps will be published on the official web page.
Key learning outcomes
The Degree Course in Architectural Sciences is geared towards training professionals capable of understanding the technological, formal, compositional, structural and construction-related aspects of architectural works. The field of application of this knowledge also applies to historical and environmental contexts, as well as to the renovation of existing buildings. The graduate's specific skills will involve providing support for architectural design and town planning work, as well as in the construction of the building itself and the implementation of renovation works. These objectives contribute towards turning out graduates who may conduct the professional activities stipulated for the corresponding level of studies (Junior Architect, Junior Planner and Junior Civil Engineer) autonomously, upon passing the State Examination. During the three years, the course gradually consolidates knowledge in the eleven subjects involved, in compliance with CEEC Directive 85/384. In our view, combining this knowledge (in terms of design, structure, technology, town-planning, representation, renovation and history etc) is essential for acquiring a systematic and balanced interaction between the various subjects, and is essential for a sound architectural background. The training programme includes both laboratories and courses covering one or more subjects. The first two years generally favour the laboratory teaching approach, whilst in the third year the courses feature one or more subjects backed by final laboratory work to summarise the skills acquired.
Final examination, if any
Final degree examination
Final assessment of the candidate takes into account the results of the entire university career and the evaluation given by the professors of the Final Synthesis Laboratory on the final thesis on the candidate’s project work carried out in the laboratory.
This final experience aims to encourage students to personally re-elaborate and synthetize the conceptual and operative instruments acquired during the course, especially with the profession-oriented disciplines regarding the final synthesis laboratory.
The elaboration of a project allows the candidate to develop creative problem-solving skills to be applied to different contexts and conditions, especially envisaging a possible State examination (Junior Architect or Junior Planner). Such skills are also useful for future professions or for a second cycle degree or other postgraduate training. The project must be made up of a brief report, additional graphics, photographs or three-dimensional models. Students passing the exam of Final Synthesis Laboratory will obtain confirmation of suitability.
Grading the Degree exams
Generally, the candidate does not present his/her project during the final examination. The professors of the Final Synthesis Laboratory attended by the candidate will propose a score from 0 to 4 points and hand it in to the degree commission. The commission, after evaluation of the project, will approve or modify the score and will add it to the weighted average grade of the candidate’s whole university career.
The grade of the final exams for attaining the academic qualifications is expressed out of 110. The exam is passed if the grade is at least of 66/110. Honours can only be awarded if the board gives its unanimous approval.
Enrolment in the final Degree exams
Three degree sessions – summer, autumn and extraordinary – are set for each academic year. At least 30 days prior to the date set for the Degree exam, the candidate must submit the application for admission to the final examination, along with the necessary documentation, to the Students’ Registry Office. The Students’ Registry Office checks to ensure that the candidate has acquired the necessary credits on the course, as set out in the syllabus.