Colleges and Schools for Architecture Degree Courses

Where to Study Architecture

Individuals who want to study architecture and get their degree can complete a comprehensive program at an accredited school, college or architecture university in the United States. Architecture degree programs provide both classroom and hands-on training in the field, and prepare students for a rewarding career in the field of architecture, landscaping, and building design. Many of the top architecture schools in the country also require students to complete an internship as part of their program. This provides a real world training experience and prepares students for a job after completing their architecture degree program.

Available Architecture Programs

Many architecture schools offer a variety of courses and programs at the bachelor's, master's and advanced degree levels. All degree programs prepare students to get their architecture license in their respective state.

The different types of architecture programs available include:

  • BS in Architecture
  • BS in Architectural Studies
  • BA in Architecture
  • Bachelor of Environmental Design
  • Bachelor of Architectural Studies
  • Master of Architecture

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Students who wish to take advanced architecture courses or pursue research may choose to complete a doctoral program or apply for a research grant from some of the top schools in the country.

Students who pursue a post-professional architecture degree may choose to specialize in fields such as health care facility design, interior design, eco-friendly or "green" design, construction management or design theory.

Some universities and schools also offer non-professional graduate architecture degree programs. The non-professional program typically involves about seven and a half years of study, followed by a three-year internship and prepares students for research, theory and teaching positions in the field.

Types of Architecture Courses

A general architecture course may be a part of an interior design degree, landscaping degree or other degree program in the field. Individuals who wish to study architecture and complete a degree program typically take the following types of courses:

  • Introduction to Architecture
  • History of Architecture
  • Architectural Design Class
  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Introduction to Interior Design
  • Landscaping Technique
  • Computer Aided Drafting and Design
  • Building Materials
  • Building Safety
  • Building Construction Process
  • Land Development and Site Planning

When an individual has completed their courses, they will need to complete an internship to receive specialized training outside the classroom. An internship can last anywhere from one year to three years.

Architecture Degree Exam and Licensing Information

Licensing requirements for students who complete an architecture degree program vary slightly from state to state, but all states require the individual to have completed a degree program at an accredited school, log in a certain number of internship hours, and obtain a passing score on the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARDB) lists resources and information about state licensing boards, and architecture licensing information for individuals who complete a degree in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands or Guam.

The National Architectural Accrediting Board accredits over 114 architecture schools and universities in the United States and Canada. Most schools offer bachelor, master, and doctor of architecture degree programs. Some schools also offer a five-year bachelor of architecture degree program.

After completing a degree and necessary courses, students must sit for the official Architect Registration Examination (ARE). The ARE covers the following areas, and most architecture schools offer advanced training and classroom instruction in each of these fields:

  • Building Design, Materials and Methods
  • Building Technology
  • Building Planning
  • Construction Documents and Services
  • General Structures
  • Lateral Forces
  • Mechanical and Electrical Forces
  • Pre-Design
  • Site Planning

Some states do require those who hold an architecture degree to take a certain number of continuing education courses each year. Continuing education is required to maintain the license, and course requirements vary by state. Some architects choose to obtain voluntary certification through the NCARB so that they can obtain reciprocal licenses in other states.

Top Architecture Schools in the United States

Some of the top undergraduate and graduate schools in the United States include:

  • Cornell University
  • Syracuse University
  • California Polytechnic State University
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • University of Texas
  • Kansas State University
  • University of Oregon
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Rice University
  • University of Southern California
  • Harvard University
  • Yale University
  • Columbia University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of Cincinnati

Most of these schools offer advanced training in the fields of computer applications, construction methods and materials, design, research and theory, sustainable design and analysis and planning.

Career Outlook with an Architecture Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 21 percent of architects are self-employed, as of 2010. Employment of architects is expected to grow faster than average for all occupations through 2018. The median annual wages of wage-and-salary architects were $70,320 in May 2008.