How To Be an Architect in Malaysia
Unleash your creativity and bring your vision to life as an architect. This guide will detail all the steps and requirements to be an architect in Malaysia including education, licensing with Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia and work experience required.
Updated 01 Feb 2023
An architect is a professional who designs buildings and physical structures. It’s not an easy job as the design must not only meet the aesthetic requirements set by the client, but it must also be structurally safe and sound. After all, people spend a significant portion of their lives in buildings and structures designed by architects, whether for work, living or play. Hence, safety is of utmost importance.
With people’s lives at stake, this means that there are numerous requirements and hoops that you have to jump through before becoming an architect. This includes education requirements, getting an accredited architecture degree and gaining sufficient work experience.
Curious? Here are the steps you need to take if you want to work as an architect in Malaysia.
Step #1. Fulfill the entry requirements at the SPM level
To study architecture, you have to meet the minimum entry requirements at the SPM level. You don’t have to come from a specific stream but you must have studied and achieved at least a credit in Mathematics for your SPM.
If you are planning to pursue a Diploma in Architecture after completing SPM, you will need to have at least 3Cs including Mathematics.
Step #2. Finish a pre-university or foundation programme
If you are planning to go for a Degree in Architecture, then you will probably want to consider going for a pre-university (e.g. A Levels, STPM, SACEi, etc.) or foundation programme after finishing your SPM. Foundation in Architecture or Built Environment work best to help prepare you for your degree but other foundation courses can be accepted too.
You will need to achieve the grades required depending on the programme that you choose:
- STPM: Minimum of 2Cs, including Mathematics
- A Level: Minimum of 2Es, including Mathematics
- Relevant Foundation: Minimum CGPA of 2.00, including Mathematics
- Matrikulasi: Minimum CGPA of 2.00, including Mathematics
Once you’ve completed your pre-university or foundation programme and meet the minimum academic requirements, you can immediately apply to a Degree in Architecture.
Step #3. Complete a recognised architecture degree
The next step is to take an architecture degree that is recognised by the Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM) or Board of Architects Malaysia.
As the governing body for practicing architects in Malaysia, a LAM-certified architecture programme will allow you to progress seamlessly into a career as an architect after graduation. All architecture degrees that are recognised by LAM will give you exemption from the LAM Part I Examination. This applies to both architecture programmes in Malaysia as well as overseas. In general, most architecture degrees are 3 years long.
If your degree is not recognised by LAM, all is not lost. You can still qualify to become an architect by sitting for the LAM Part I Examination separately. The examination includes a review of your academic transcripts, course content and your work portfolio, and an oral examination.
It’s crucial to note that completing a degree in architecture is not enough for you to call yourself an architect or work as an architect professionally. You will still need to further your studies and gain work experience.
Not keen on pursuing a postgraduate qualification after you graduate? You can still gain professional registration with LAM. As a graduate of a recognised architecture degree, you will be eligible to register with LAM as an Architectural Technologist after completing 2 years of practical experience and passing any required examinations.
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Step #4. Complete an accredited postgraduate architecture programme
If you want to be on your way to work as an architect professionally, you will first need to become a Graduate Architect. And for that to happen, you need to either complete a Masters in Architecture programme (usually 2 years duration) that is recognised by LAM or pass the LAM Part II Examination. Similar to the undergraduate degree, a LAM-recognised Masters programme will allow you to claim exemption from LAM Part II Examination.
Step #5. Register as a Graduate Architect
Done with LAM Part II or completed a recognised Masters in Architecture? You can now register as a Graduate Architect with LAM.
Make sure to submit your application with LAM with the required documents. This includes copies of your exam transcripts and exam slips dating back to SPM.
Step #6. Gain 2 years of practical work experience and sit for LAM Part III Examination
After registering as a Graduate Architect, the next step is for you to gain a minimum of 2 years of practical working experience. At least 1.5 years must be at an architect’s office, of which 1 year must be in Malaysia in an Architect’s office that is registered with LAM.
Thereafter, you will need to sit for the LAM Part III Examination. Unlike Part I and Part II, there are no exemptions for this exam. The exam involves submitting a log book that details your practical work experience, an oral examination and a written examination.
Step #7. Register as an Architect
Once you’ve obtained the relevant work experience and successfully passed the LAM Part III Examination, you will be able to register with LAM as an Architect. It is at this point where you’ll be entitled to describe yourself as an “Architect” and use the abbreviation “Ar.” in front of your name or the abbreviation “P. Arch” after your name.
In summary, to be able to call yourself an “Architect” and use the abbreviation “Ar.”, you will need an undergraduate degree in architecture and a postgraduate degree in architecture (usually totalling to 5 years of study), at least 2 years of practical working experience and pass the LAM Part III Examination.
We hope this article has helped you with your planning. While becoming an architect takes time, if you have passion on your side, the path ahead is bound to be fulfilling.