Merriam Webster defines opportunity as “the favorable juncture of circumstances” and “a good chance for advancement or progress”.

Earlier this year, Ball State’s Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning (ECAP) Master of Architecture program was afforded the opportunity to participate in the cutting-edge Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) initiative. Introduced by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), IPAL provides motivated students the opportunity to pursue an accelerated path to licensure upon graduation.

While in recent years the traditional path to licensure has become more integrated and many architect licensing boards allow experience and testing to occur during education, as of 2020, candidates are still taking on average of just over 12 years to complete the education, experience, and testing requirements required in US licensing jurisdictions. ECAP’s MArch IPAL option further evolves the concept of concurrent completion of the licensure requirements and integrates them into a very structured optional track within the college’s MArch program.

While still maintaining the rigors of education, experience, and testing that are required in the path to licensure, ECAP’s IPAL track will allow students/candidates the opportunity to complete their licensure requirements upon graduation with their Masters of Architecture degree and in a little more than half the time other candidates are taking to become licensed in the “traditional path”.

”It typically takes a candidate about 13 years to complete the core requirements for architectural licensure. With the IPAL option, Ball State offers an immersive new pathway for students to potentially earn a license in less than 8 years. This allows greater access into the profession.

 – Dan Overbey, IPAL Director for the Department of Architecture

Benefits to students and firms

We all know that obtaining an architecture degree is already an accomplishment that is not for the faint of heart.  IPAL takes this dedication to another level and requires even more discipline and maturity of those participating in the initiative.  The rigors of completing ECAP’s architecture education program are intensified by the requirements to concurrently complete both the requirements of the Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®) for licensure and take all divisions of the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) prior to graduation.

The ECAP’s Master of Architecture IPAL curriculum offers the symbiotic opportunity for strengthening the relationship between the architecture profession and the college’s architecture education program.  Students will be afforded paid opportunities for integrating their education with practice, and participating firms will be afforded opportunities both during and after a student’s education to recruit and employ dedicated and talented students as members of their staff.

ECAP has joined 28 National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited programs at 22 other architecture schools.  ECAP’s students will among the 650+ who have enrolled in IPAL programs. For those concerned about the status of ECAP’s traditional Master of Architecture program, IPAL does not replace it.  It will exist in tandem and provide a place to continue their architectural education for those who may not be able to maintain the rigor and pace of IPAL.

Participation and support by practicing ECAP graduates will be a key component to the success of ECAP’s MArch IPAL program. ECAP anxiously welcomes your interest and participation in this opportunity to facilitate our graduates becoming licensed as architects in our profession.



By Greg Erny FAIA, NCARB, ’77
President at architects + LLC