The Faculty for the Built Environment
is currently re-structuring the courses it offers to professionals aspiring to work in the building industry, and the built environment. The five-year degree leading to Bachelor of Engineering and Architecture
is being phased out, and it is being replaced by a two-cycle degree system, which conforms to the Bologna Declaration.
The Bologna Declaration envisages the adoption of a system of degrees, based on the credit system, which is common to all European Universities. It envisages the adoption of course structures based on three cycles, one building on the previous one. The objective of each level is to prepare the student for the trans-European market, and also to build further professional competence. The three tiers are Bachelor, Masters, and Doctoral
. [PDF] In the system adopted by the Faculty for the Built Environment, 60+180 ECTS credits, (one + three years), are envisaged for the first tier, and 120 credits, (two years), for the second tier.
The first tier degree, at Bachelor level, will be preceded by a Diploma in Design Foundation Studies
, which opened for the first time in October 2010, which will provide the transition between advanced level secondary education, and the design-based skills required for a successful uptake of the degrees leading to professional careers in architecture, civil and structural engineering, planning, construction management, and conservation architects/engineers.
The Diploma Course is divided into two; a 30-credit Certificate programme held over the first semester, and a further second-semester 30-credit programme which would qualify candidates for a Diploma. The Course will offer training in some basic design-related tools, that are required in later studies, to plug the knowledge/skills gaps of students, whose pre-tertiary preparation is not sufficiently wide for design-related studies. It is envisaged that these Design Foundation studies would be of relevance to other degree programmes offered by other Faculties. Alternatively, they could even have relevance as stand-alone certificate and diploma courses.
It is envisaged that during this Design Foundation Studies course, there would be units offering training in graphical communication, in the use of computers and computer graphics, in photography, in free-hand drawing and colour appreciation, as well as in oral and written communication, (particularly English). In general, this course shall ensure that students coming to the Faculty with a variety of skills, and from diverse backgrounds, have those minimum basic skills that are common, and necessary, to the main disciplines that underpin the Faculty for the Built Environment. Admission to the Foundation Year would be the normal matriculated status that qualifies students to be admitted to University.
Following the successful completion of the Diploma course, students (who also satisfy the Special Entry Requirements), will be eligible to register for a three-year Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Built Environment Studies
. This first tier degree will be based on a credit-system, so as to be flexible, multi-disciplinary, and to give more opportunities for trans-European exchange programmes. The 180-ECTS degree is envisaged as a period of study of a range of study-units which are, first of all, common to many of the professional disciplines the candidates wish to follow in subsequent years. Secondly, the range of study-units offered allow a greater degree of choice, than is currently the case, so as to ensure that students take those subjects which are of relevance in the context of the programmes they intend to follow. The first-tier level course should allow for the study of architectural and structural/civil engineering and planning subjects, in preparation for entry to the “Graduate School” stage of studies, whilst allowing candidates to delay, as much as possible, the final decision on which particular professional discipline they intend to follow. The knowledge base, necessary for any stream at “graduate school” level, including the field of management-related disciplines, will be laid during these years.
The proposed professional Masters degree programmes are developed from the current, final two-year, study streams, into fully-fledged 120-credit postgraduate degree courses, which impart specific professional competencies in architecture, structural/civil engineering, and spatial planning
. The award of the Master’s degree will give access to one of the three main regulated professions related to the built environment, as recognized at European level. At least two of these main professional disciplines would qualify candidates to the award of the local state warrant of Perit, namely that of architect, and that of structural and/or civil engineer. A third main professional discipline, that of planner, will not necessarily qualify candidates to the award of the same state warrant, the distinction being that a planner does not take a role, or any responsibility, in the execution of building projects – which is what the state warrant of Perit, presumes.. The objective of these three main professional masters degrees to ensure that the respective graduates qualify for the titles of architect, engineer, and planner, respectively, as currently defined at European level, and to achieve professional status in Malta (currently the warrant of Perit), and in Europe (eg. the regulated titles of Architect, and of European Engineer).
Further specialized and research-based study will also be available through specialization Master’s degree programmes, such as the Master of Science in Conservation Technology of Masonry Structures
and the Master of Science in Sustainable Infrastructure
or research degrees such as Masters of Science, or Doctor of Philosophy. These developments allow the Faculty to move away from a single professional degree course, addressing only architecture and civil engineering, to a Faculty that, addresses the wider issues relevant to the quality of the built environment in the Maltese Islands, and beyond, and provides training, and research, in the other professions, besides architects and civil engineers, who have an important role in the process whereby the built environment is formed and modified, including planners, construction managers, building engineers, conservation professionals etc.. The transition from the current system to the new course structure will be phased over the next four years.