Architecture Major

Review the types of undergraduate architecture degrees available, and check whether they can prepare you to become an architect. Find out what you'd study as an architecture major and how long it would take you to earn your degree. Learn whether online degree programs in architecture are available at the bachelor's degree level. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Architecture Major?

If you want to become an architect, most states require that you be licensed. To get a license, you need to complete an undergraduate degree that is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). According to the board's website (, there are other methods of acquiring a license, but most states do require an undergraduate degree from an accredited program.

The NAAB lists a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Architecture as the accredited degrees for this profession. You can, however, earn a Bachelor of Science in Architecture as a 'pre-professional' degree and then complete the Master of Architecture curriculum at an accredited school. The NAAB website lists over 100 accredited architecture programs.

Degree Levels Bachelor's and master's degrees available
Degree Durations Undergraduate degrees typically last four to five years; graduate degrees last anywhere from one to five years
Learning Environments Traditional classroom and distance learning programs are available
Common Courses Mathematics, design, physics, history of architecture, engineering
Median Salary (2018)* $79,380 for architects
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 4% for architects

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Long Will It Take to Earn My Degree?

Most Bachelor of Architecture programs require five years of study. A Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Architecture might require only four years of study. According to the American Institute of Architects, most architecture students spend a minimum of five years in an undergraduate program and 1-5 years in a graduate program. How long it takes to earn a Master of Architecture depends upon what type of architecture major you pursue.

To be licensed as an architect, you also need to complete an internship and work in the field for at least three years. After that, you have to pass a comprehensive exam. Licensing requirements vary by state; you can find information about each state on the NAAB website.

Can I Earn My Degree Online?

There are very few online programs that result in an accredited Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture. There are many programs, however, where you can earn a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Architecture online. There are even a few master's degree programs offering online courses, but they are usually hybrid programs requiring at least one in-person studio class.

What Courses Will I Take?

Most architecture majors require several years of architectural design classes. Courses start out with simple design practices and then get increasingly complex each year. In addition to design classes, you will also take classes in the history of architecture and buildings, as well as environmental systems.

Architecture calls for art and design skills, as well as math and science skills. Design studios make up many of the required hours in an architecture major, but students must also take extensive math, chemistry and physics classes. There are programs that are more tailored to design aspects, as well as schools that are more heavily focused on the engineering aspects of architecture.

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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