Introduction to the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure Initiative (IPAL)

The USC School of Architecture was selected as one of the first 14 architectural programs across the United States to participate in the inaugural NCARB Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure [IPAL] initiative. USC received the support of the California Architects Board and the American Institute of Architects, and is one of three schools in California to be originally designated. The IPAL student is permitted to take any of the divisions of the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE) while being full-time at USC. The School of Architecture has developed a recommended series of courses, activities and milestones that, if followed, would help facilitate the candidate’s goal of graduating with, or close to obtaining, a license to practice architecture**. IPAL students are free to set their own path and timelines.

USC encourages all students to gain professional experience (AXP) during their time in school. The USC Architectural Guild’s network of firms  is an ongoing resource for students as they independently consider and secure their own positions in a variety of professional experience employment settings. NotLY, USC’s faculty's own, nationally recognized, and much awarded Not Licensed Yet Program, available and provided without cost to all local candidates for licensure, also provides access to professional instruction to IPAL students as they study and prepare for taking the divisions of the exam (ARE). A student’s participation in the IPAL program does not change any of the requirements of the existing architectural degree programs. There is no separate IPAL curriculum. IPAL at USC is integrated into the overall learning experience. USC provides guidance and encourages the IPAL student to gain architectural experience within the professional community and provides the opportunity to significantly reduce the time necessary to become a licensed architect. This overlapping of education, experience and examinations is designed to increase the student’s awareness and enhance their learning through the interaction of professional and academic pursuits.

Charles A. Lagreco, AIA; Associate Professor; Faculty Coordinator, USC SoA IPAL initiative

Michael Hricak, FAIA; Adjunct Professor; Faculty Associate Coordinator, USC SoA IPAL initiative

Interested in participating in USC’s IPAL Initiative? How to Enroll

STEP ONE: Establish an NCARB Record

If you already have an NCARB Record, proceed to STEP TWO), otherwise:

Personal NCARB Record keeps track of your education, experience, and exam progress, and supports your licensure process.

1.1. Go to

1.2 Click: “Establish Record.”

1.3. Create and verify your free My NCARB account.

1.4. Add the “NCARB Record” service.

1.5. Follow the step-by-step instructions. NOTE! identical email address must be used for BOTH your NCARB Record and enrollment in USC’s IPAL Initiative. 

1.6. Select and enter your payment method.

1.7. Click submit and check your email, you will receive two emails:

  •  The first confirms your payment.
  • The second contains your Record number plus instruction for your next steps.

STEP TWO: Start the IPAL enrollment process

2.1. Google: USC School of Architecture Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure IPAL

2.2. Start enrollment in IPAL using the Google form**** and completing all of the required information.

2.3. You must use the Google Drive Form**** - Do not use the NCARB IPAL enrollment process. See Item 4 below.

2.4. The USC IPAL Coordinators will entered into the NCARB IPAL system. You will receive notice directly from NCARB when this has been completed.

2.5. Respond to the NCARB request for waiver. Once you grant USC permission to access your IPAL File, you are formally and completely entered into the USC IPAL Program. 

2.6. When the time comes for you to register to take a division of the ARE, follow the instructions available on the NCARB IPAL website. The site will recognize that you are an IPAL participant.


B.Arch IPAL Licensure Path

M.Arch IPAL Licensure Path

IPAL Registration Form