Architectural Design Degrees: Online and Campus-Based Programs
An undergraduate or graduate architectural design program explores how art can be combined with engineering principles to solve design problems in construction. Get information about requirements for these degrees.
What Architectural Design Degree Programs Can I Enroll in?
Due to the nature of professional study, most architectural design degrees require classroom experience. You are unlikely to find an online degree, but several schools offer on-campus programs in this field. As an undergraduate, you can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Architectural Design or a Bachelor of Architecture. At the graduate level, you can pursue a Master of Architecture or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Architecture.
|Degree Levels||Bachelor's, master's, doctorate|
|Degree Categories||BArch, BFA; Master of Architecture; Ph.D. in Architecture|
|Common Courses|| Bachelor's: Computer drafting, 3-D design, landscaping and environment issues, sketching, urban planning |
Master's: Engineering, construction, design
Doctorate: Landscaping, urban planning, architecture history, building perspectives
|Median Salary (2018)||$79,380* (for architects, except landscape and naval)|
|Job Outlook (2016-26)||4% growth* (for all architects, except landscape and naval)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Why Does the Type of Degree I Earn Matter?
Before you can enroll in a graduate architecture or architectural design program, you'll need to earn your Bachelor of Architecture or Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architecture. Both types of degrees also qualify you to work in urban design, drafting and related art fields.
To become a licensed architect, you'll need to complete a graduate program recognized by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Master of Architecture programs accept students who've completed a 4-year, pre-professional program accredited by the NAAB.
You can pursue a Ph.D. in Architecture after you complete a bachelor's or master's degree program in architecture. The purpose of earning a Ph.D. is generally to prepare you for a career in specialized research, consulting or architectural instruction at the college level.
What Courses Will I Take?
Undergraduate architectural design programs introduce you to different methods for representing an incomplete or theoretical project, such as animation, computer drafting, sketches and 3-dimensional models. You'll learn to use all of these to design a structure to a certain specification, address urban planning concerns, and resolve other issues related to landscaping or the environment.
Master's degree programs prepare you for professional practice. You'll have the opportunity to work with design firms completing real projects for architectural clients. Aside from design work, you'll also complete courses that provide an overview of construction and engineering concerns.
Ph.D. coursework supports scholarly research within the architectural industry, and the type of courses you take will be governed by the focus of your dissertation. You can study a wide range of subjects that include architectural history, building perspectives, landscaping, construction concerns and urban planning. To earn your Ph.D., you'll be required to teach undergraduate and graduate students about the area you've chosen to study.