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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Degree in Architectural Design

Majors Overview November 8, 2014

Those interested in becoming an urban planner, interior designer, or architect should look into Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree programs in Architectural Design. These programs teach students about the history of architecture along with teaching the technical skills necessary to design buildings. Additional training and schooling will be required for graduates that wish to become licensed architects.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Degree Programs in Architectural Design

Students enrolled in a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Architectural Design degree program will be prepared for entry-level careers in landscape architecture, urban design, interior design, and landscape architecture. Various specific concentrations are included in the broad degree program, whereby enrolled students are offered an overview of all types of fields that require an expertise in material and spatial design theories.
Architectural design majors can expect to gain a firm theoretical grasp of architecture and design and become adept at conceptualizing an interior space or building. Classroom instruction is augmented with experiences in a design studio, where students create representations and models of full-scale design projects.

Bachelor’s degree programs in architectural design are usually hands-on, and students engage in the completion of several individual and group research projects. Students enrolled in many programs are also required to complete work experience or internships at architectural firms or design houses, among other venues.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. Prospective students may also be expected to complete courses in social studies, communications, English, art history, and college mathematics before they are allowed to begin program coursework.


Coursework combines theoretical instruction and hands-on education in studio settings. Core coursework may include these topic areas:

•History of world architecture
•Elements of space and surface
•World art and design
•Portfolio preparation
•Drawing studio
•3D design studio
•2D integrated studio
•Design studio
•Global issues in design
•Environment and architecture

Career Choices

Graduates of a bachelor’s degree program in architectural design can choose from many career options:

•Environmental artist
•City planner
•Exhibition designer
•Landscape architect
•Interior designer
•Urban designer

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth rate of 24% has been predicted for architects over the 2010 – 2020 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The best job outlook has been predicted for the West and South, in addition to urban and rural areas. In May 2012, architects other than those involved in naval or landscape architecture brought home an average annual wage of $73,090 (BLS).

Continuing Education Options

Those that successfully complete a bachelor’s degree program in architectural design can choose from many available continuing education choices, such as Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) degree programs. Many concentrations are included in architecture graduate programs, such as a Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) in Sustainable Design or Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) in Urban Design. Schools also offer two-year degree programs in similar fields, including a master’s degree in landscape design or a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Interior Design.

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