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Architect Educational Requirements

Higher Education Articles March 26, 2013

Architecture blends the science of engineering and the art of design. Structures suitable for people to worship, shop, work, and live are planned by architects; they are usually involved in the building complexes and their surroundings. Architects may design buildings that become cultural monuments or plan the entire neighborhoods. Individuals who want to become an architect are required to complete a five-year professional degree in the field.

Academic Requirements for an Architect

In a majority of states, architects need to undergo training in a program that has the approval of the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Completion of these programs usually culminates in a Doctor of Architecture (D.Arch.), Ph.D. in Architecture, Master of Architecture (M.Arch.), or Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.).

Architecture Bachelor Degree Program

The bachelor of architecture programs span for five years and concentrate on construction methodology, structural design, and architectural theory. Courses usually cover topics such as universal design for the disabled, architectural documentation, environmental design. Students also receive instruction in the use of computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software along with drafting tools. Several programs combine design studio and classroom work with paid, professional work experience.

Architecture Master Degree Program

Students who hold a bachelor degree in any field may be accepted in some Master of Architecture programs, while others require an undergraduate degree in architectural studies or related field. Depending on a student’s prior architectural education, the National Architectural Accrediting Board approved master’s programs can take approximately one to five years to complete. Similar to bachelor degree programs in architecture, Master of Architecture programs may incorporate faculty-supervised studio work, as well as paid professional work in the field. Courses concentrate on project management, engineering, and design.

Some colleges and universities offer a post-professional Master of Architecture program. In order to be considered for admission, applicants need to have a Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture degree. This is an advanced research degree program, and students can research areas such as architecture and urbanism or architecture and ecology.

Ph.D. in Architecture and Doctor of Architecture

The University of Hawaii – Manoa is the only school that offers an accredited Doctor of Architecture program, according to the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The Doctor of Architecture program takes seven years to complete and admits students with a master or bachelor degree in the field; however, it offers a combination of graduate and undergraduate study that allows students straight out of high school to enroll. The Doctor of Architecture is a professional program.

A Ph.D. in Architecture is not a professional degree, but it may lead to teaching, consulting, or research positions. Ph.D. in Architecture feature advanced study of research methodology and architectural theory. Students can focus on a certain area, such as building science and sustainability. At the end of the program, students will need to submit a dissertation based on original research.

Architectural Internship

Once aspiring students graduate from an NAAB-approved program, in order to meet state licensure requirements; students are required to complete an internship approved by the Intern Development Program (IDP). To ensure that interns are receiving specific training in schematic design, construction documents, and other relevant areas, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB – oversees the Intern Development Program. Interns are required to maintain work reports, which document their experience.

Architectural License Qualification

Architects need to be licensed in all fifty states, but individual licensing requirements vary by state. After completing an internship and an educational program, architects are required to pass the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ Architect Registration Examination (ARE). Its focus is on testing the architect’s understanding of safe building practices, planning, and structure.

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