Majors to Be an Architect

As an aspiring architect, you can choose from a pre-professional program in architecture or a professional program. Explore both of these degree options here, and also learn about licensure and graduate education available for architects. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Majors Exist for a Future Architect?

Undergraduate programs include the non-professional Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in architecture and the professional Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) program. You'll typically spend five years completing a professional architecture degree. During this time, you'll study architectural theory and history, as well as exploring architecture's role in culture and society.

As your studies progress, you may transition from lecture-based coursework into the studio, where you can practice drawing and design techniques. This will require you to master practical concerns, such as building codes, as well as developing your own stylistic approach to architectural design.

These degree programs often include requirements for internships or study abroad. While an internship can gain you practical work experience with an architectural firm, studying abroad can give you experience with ancient architecture and help you learn about how architectural styles vary throughout the world. This major is typically only found through campus-based programs, with online program options limited due to the hands-on nature of the material.

Common Courses History of architecture, architectural theory, design techniques, drawing
Professional Credentials Licensure is required in all states; exam offered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)
Continuing Education Master's and doctoral degrees available

What Licensure Is Required?

Wherever you work throughout the United States as an architect, you'll need a license. Licensure requires the completion of a professional architecture program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The only professional program available at the undergraduate level is the Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) program; Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts programs in architecture or architectural studies don't satisfy the professional program requirement.

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) offers the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), which will test your expertise in nine divisions and is a requirement for licensure. Among the nine divisions are site planning, schematic design, building systems and construction documents. Prior to taking the exam, you must complete your degree in architecture and complete an apprenticeship period, where you work under the guidance and authority of a licensed architect.

Though not required, you can earn additional certification through NCARB. Among the benefits of certification is an increased ease of transferring your licensure from state to state. Certification also allows you to receive benefits on continuing education, which is typically required to maintain licensure.

What Graduate Options Can I Pursue?

Once you've earned a bachelor's degree in architecture, you can further develop your understanding of the field by pursuing a post-professional master's degree in architecture. This degree, sometimes known as a Master of Architecture (M.Arch.), provides you with the opportunity to conduct research in a subfield of architecture that personally or professionally interests you.

You can also pursue a graduate degree related to architecture, in such areas as landscape architecture and urban planning. Doctor of Architecture (D.Arch.) degrees are also available, though these degrees are very similar to M.Arch degrees. If your goal is a career in academia or professional research, you can earn a Ph.D. in Architecture. Admission to such a program requires a professional architecture degree.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools