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Important Factors to Consider in Selecting an Architecture School

Majors Overview April 19, 2014

Architecture refers to the study of how to create and design structures, such as buildings. Various colleges throughout the U.S. offer undergraduate Architectural programs.

Degree Focuses and Levels

A variety of approaches to architecture and focus areas are offered by different schools. The broad outline of the field is offered by some schools with a focus on all-round education, while other schools offer programs focusing on areas of specialization, such as environmental design, landscaping, urban planning and sustainability.

The focus on the culture, history and art of architecture is likely to increase in the coursework of Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree programs offered by schools, while coursework is likely to remain technically practical in Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs. There is increasing intensity and concentration in Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) programs aimed at ensuring that graduates can aspire to join the workforce without further education.

Accredited Programs

The most important factor in choosing an architecture school is accreditation. Holding a degree accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) will make an individual eligible to take most state registration board exams and gain professional certification. The NAAB is the authorized accrediting agency in the United States for accrediting architectural education programs.

Only three program types are recognized by the NAAB, namely, a Ph.D. in Architecture, Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) and Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.). No other program, including a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Architecture, is recognized by the NAAB and students enrolled in such programs cannot qualify to sit for most state registration board examinations.

Non-Accredited Programs

NAAB-certified programs are not offered at many educational institutions that offer bachelor’s degree programs. Those who complete bachelor’s degrees from these schools can seek entry-level occupations as architectural interns or pursue NAAB-certified master’s degrees. Two types of programs are offered by some schools, those that are NAAB-certified and those that are not. Hence, students must choose a program carefully. NAAB-certified bachelor’s degrees qualify students to sit for most state examinations and to pursue entry-level occupations as professional architects.

Degree Overview: Bachelor’s (B.S.) Degree in Architecture

Coursework in a bachelor’s degree program in Architecture is devised to impart knowledge about the rudiments of the field to prepare them for entry-level jobs and continued education in graduate school. Basic coursework in a bachelor’s degree program in Architecture may include a variety of basic architecture courses, such as:

•3-D and 2-D digital methods of representation
•History of architecture
•Project management
•Principles of computer-aided architectural design

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