Although architecture students spend most of their time learning about science, they also spend time learning about the arts. Well-built structures not only benefit the people who work and live in them. They are also aesthetically pleasing buildings that define cities and communities.
Architecture students learn how to collaborate with other professionals to design buildings, which include modern skyscrapers and simple houses. By taking classes such as construction materials and architectural engineering, students learn the skills necessary to transform their ideas into structurally sound and elegant buildings.
Architecture students are required to complete design studio courses throughout their college career. While participating in these courses, students learn essential skills in hands-on environments. Teachers assign students projects with specific requirements, and they typically spend hours designing a building or other structure.
Students solve problems, develop drawings, construct models, and modify results. After they’re finished, or the project deadline approaches, students are required to present their completed project to their classmates. Classmates and the teacher then provide feedback.
In order to become a licensed architect students must earn a Bachelor of Architect (B.Arch.) or Master of Architecture (M.Arch) degree accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) and pass the Architectural Registration Examination (ARE). Only licensed architects are allowed to practice in the United States. Select a concentration below to explore various architecture majors, and view colleges and universities offering NAAB-accredited degree programs in architecture.
- Architecture, General
- City/urban, Community and Regional Planning
- Environmental Design/architecture
- Interior Architecture
- Landscape Architecture
- Architectural History and Criticism, General
- Architectural Technology/technician
- Architectural and Building Sciences/technology
- Real Estate Development
- Architecture and Related Services, Other
Selecting an Architecture School
With such a large selection of architecture schools to choose from, how do you even know where to begin your search? Well, a good place to start is the America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools, a publication which ranks schools based on a variety of criteria. You can also review any number of college ranking reports produced by organizations, such as archdaily.com; but betware, most ranking reports only consider a few criteria and don’t represent the unique qualities of each school. In fact, a top ranked architecture school may not even have the type of program you’re looking for. As you evaluate different schools, consider exactly what you want to achieve from your architecture education. Request catalogs from each architecture school of interest, and even take the time to visit some of the schools that are at the top of your list. Once you’ve narrowed down your list, talk with architects in field about their experience at these schools. Most schools will have an extensive list of alumni that you can use to find and contact their graduates.
You’ll also want to make sure that the school you attend is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (if you’re in the United States) and the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (if you’re in Canada).
Types of Architecture Degrees
There are several paths to earning an architecture degree. The first is to earn a bachelor’s degree in a field such as engineering, design, art or mathematics, and then complete a 2 to 3-year master’s degree in architecture. These graduate programs are designed for students who don’t have previous experience in architecture, and consequently tend to be a little bit longer than a traditional architecture master’s degree. Another option is to complete a four-year bachelor’s degree in architecture. A bachelor’s degree will prepare students for entry-level career positions, but more and more students are opting to pursue a master’s degree in architecture having already completed their bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree program in architecture for students who already have a bachelor’s in architecture typically lasts no longer than two years.
To practice, architects must be licensed in the state where they work. To become licensed architects must meet certain educational requirements (as dictated by their state). Typically, an degree earned must be from a school accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) or Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB).