Architecture  Program Description


Insider Info

dotToday's architecture students are responsible for designing tomorrow's living spaces.

Architects plan and develop designs for constructing and renovating buildings. However, the study of architecture opens up more career opportunities than you might imagine.

"The profession is changing so rapidly," says architecture professor Sherry McKay. "I know people who are now working on film sets, creating virtual reality sets completely by computer, as well as diverging into such fields as furniture design."

You may be able to get a five-year bachelor of architecture degree from an accredited institution. But some schools only offer a master's program. These schools generally require a bachelor's degree, a diverse portfolio of creative and innovative projects and some experience showing interest in the field.

A master's degree is normally required for research, teaching and certain specialties. But many students find architectural work with only a bachelor's degree.

A typical architecture program includes courses in architectural history. Students look at the history of buildings and cities and the social dimensions in architectural traditions.

Other typical courses include theory, building design, professional practice, math, physical sciences and liberal arts. Students should also graduate with a working knowledge of computer-aided design and drafting (CADD).

In the design studio, students put classroom concepts into practice. During the final semester of most programs, students complete a 3D model of their own architectural design.

Thanks to computers, you don't have to be an accomplished artist to enter architecture. Artistic talent is still important, but students also need to focus on math and science. "It requires a skillful combination," says Frank Dimster. He is a professor of architectural design at the University of Southern California.

"Seek out a well-rounded education," says McKay. "This should include things like physics or math, some art classes and cultural history."

She also recommends having a look at galleries and architectural exhibitions.

Some universities also have summer programs for high school students. "For a few weeks, students can live on the campus and explore what it would be like to be an architecture student at the university level," says Dimster. Check with your closest university -- they might have something similar.

All state architectural registration boards require a training period before candidates may sit for the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) and become licensed. The ARE is administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Architects

Architecture Resources
Explore modern and historical architecture

Architecture and Building Resource Directory
A list of links for you to try

The Great Buildings Collection
A reference site featuring some famous architectural works from around the world

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this program is about? Check out Just the Facts for a simple description.