Architecture Undergraduate Program Options

Learn about pre-professional and professional bachelor's degree programs in architecture, and get info to find out which one might work best for you. Review the typical curricula for these programs, and learn about licensure and certification for architects. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kind Of Architecture Degrees Are Available?

Many schools offer pre-professional Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree programs in architecture, and some offer professional Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) programs. You might also find bachelor's degree programs in architectural studies. B.A. programs differ from B.S. programs in that they are less technically oriented and place more emphasis on the cultural and artistic aspects of the study. B.S. programs, by contrast, are going to offer more courses on the engineering aspects of the field.

Pre-professional B.A. and B.S. programs prepare you for graduate-level professional architecture programs, but they don't alone qualify you for architecture licensure. To meet licensure requirements, you'll need to complete a professional architecture program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The B.Arch. is the only such program available at the undergraduate level. B.Arch. programs usually last five years. Online study is generally not available for this field.

Degree Options Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Architecture
Common Courses Building design, project administration, structural design, environmental systems, energy and environment
Licensure Requirements Completion of an accredited professional architecture program, work experience and a passing score on the Architect Registration Examination (ARE)

What Topics Will I Study?

You'll study a broad range of topics designed to give you a solid foundation in the art, history and technology of architecture. Many programs include courses on urbanism and the social and cultural aspects of architectural design. In addition to your coursework, you'll be expected to put together a professional portfolio of your work and complete an internship or studio work requirement. Some common course topics include:

  • Architectural history
  • Structural design
  • Environmental systems
  • Building construction
  • Project administration
  • Technology in architecture
  • Energy and environment
  • Visual representation and drawing
  • Building design

What About Certifications and Licensure?

If you choose the B.A. or B.S. path, you'll need to continue to a professional, NAAB-accredited master's degree program in architecture. If you go with a 5-year B.Arch. program, you can go straight into the work experience requirement. Work experience is typically gained by interning at an architectural firm.

Once you complete a professional degree and meet work experience requirements, you'll be able to sit for the licensing exam. The Architect Registration Examination (ARE) is given over the computer and consists of seven divisions, which test on such areas as site planning, building design, proper documentation and more. Once you've passed the exam and fulfilled any additional requirements your state board may have, you'll be a licensed architect. To maintain licensure, you'll need to continue your education at regular intervals throughout your career. Continuing education programs are provided by the NAAB and the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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