Skip to main content

Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure

The North Carolina State University School of Architecture is one of only 17 schools nationwide chosen by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards in 2015 to offer iPAL within its architecture program.

About iPAL

iPAL is the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure, an opportunity for an architecture student to complete the three components of architectural licensure – education, experience, and examination – while still in school, and graduate with a professional license to practice architecture.

NC State’s School of Architecture is one of only 21 schools nationwide chosen by NCARB to offer iPAL within its architecture program.  iPAL is available as an option in all three NAAB-accredited architecture programs: B.Arch, M.Arch Track 1, and M.Arch Track 3.

As an iPAL student, you will have access to residency positions at collaborating architectural firms throughout the Triangle and around the US. Students in iPAL will also be provided with guidance when taking the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE).

IPAL is a great way to learn how the profession of architecture operates and augments my education in ways not otherwise possible.

Scott Needham

Scott Needham

M.Arch, 2018


The first requirement for architectural licensure in the U.S. is graduation from a NAAB–accredited program.  It is possible to enter the NC State iPAL option from the Bachelor of Environmental Design degree, the B.Arch degree, or the M.Arch degree. Following the iPAL path will add approximately two years to a typical accredited architecture degree for both curricular and experience requirements.


The accrual of 3,740 hours of paid employment experience within the field of architecture is the second requirement for licensure in the U.S. The NC State iPAL option includes approximately four semesters of Cooperative Education Residency during which you will be working full time for a firm in the Research Triangle or elsewhere in the world and gaining AXP experience hours. Students in iPAL are guided through the process of application and coordination with a consortium of professional architecture firms, and every effort is made to find a residency amenable to both the iPAL student and the consortium firm.


The third requirement for architectural licensure in the U.S. is passing all sections of the Architect Registration Examination (A.R.E.). A critical ingredient in NC State’s iPAL option is access to the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE 5.0) before graduation. During the semesters of residency or on-campus curricula, iPAL students will have the opportunity to register and attempt all six divisions of the ARE 5.0. Students are also provided with ARE guidance during their residency, and access to exam preparation materials and classes.

Starting in Fall 2016, the first cohort of iPAL participants began full-time residencies by enrolling in designated Cooperative Education course sections for both Undergraduates and Graduates.
Enrolling in CO-OP class allows iPAL students to work full time while maintaining full enrollment. The iPAL Coordinator in the School of Architecture is the instructor of record for the CO-OP courses, enabling close communication, coordination with residency AXP supervisors, and constant updating of an iPAL plan of work for each student.