What You Need to Know About Becoming an Architecture Major | Best Colleges

An architecture major studies the history and theory of design while getting practical experience in creating layouts for buildings. Creativity, precision and skills in math are essential for this field.

What Is an Architecture Major?

An architecture major learns the history and theory of the discipline, while also getting studio experience creating and planning their own architecture drafts.

Students interested in pursuing an architecture major can typically choose from two types of programs: a five-year National Architectural Accrediting Board-accredited Bachelor of Architecture degree that equips graduates to enter the workforce or a four-year bachelor’s degree in architecture or architectural studies. With the latter, students have to earn an NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture degree to obtain a license and work as an architect.

In a five-year professional B.Arch. degree, students can expect to get a strong foundation in design, theory and technology, while learning the history of architecture. Many programs require students to take some courses in a design studio, where they get hands-on experience representing their ideas through drawings and structure models.

A four-year architecture bachelor’s program covers many of the same topics but may go less in depth.

Common Coursework Architecture Majors Can Expect

Students in a B.Arch. degree take multiple design courses. Likewise, students also take a few representation courses, with some classes devoted to freehand architectural drawing and digital drawing.

Architecture majors also study theory, history, building structures and building materials. For example, some courses may focus on one building material, like steel or concrete, or on architectural assembly systems. Some programs include classes on sustainability – with topics from global warming to sustainable building metrics – and landscape design. Math and science requirements in architecture programs vary, but common courses may include calculus, geometry and physics.

By the end of the program, students should be equipped to apply critical thinking and design skills to an array of architectural projects. They should also have the technical skills to create building designs, keeping in mind factors like sustainability and accessibility. Along with being able to find technical design solutions, majors should develop good communication, leadership and collaboration skills, which will help them professionally.

With a four-year architecture program, students get a strong foundation in the discipline, particularly during their junior and senior years. Courses provide an overview of architectural design history, from baroque to contemporary styles, for example. Typically, students also get hands-on experience with architecture design and technology. One of the main objectives of this degree is to prepare students to enter a Master of Architecture degree program.

How to Know if This Major Is the Right Fit for You

Architects are meticulous artists. Those considering an architecture major should have both a creative streak and a strong attention to detail. Architecture students should have a firm knowledge of subjects like geometry and physics to create designs that are accurate, safe and functional.

Students considering this major should also enjoy working with others, as a career in architecture involves collaborating with clients, engineers and other architects. Likewise, architecture majors should be able to take criticism well and move forward with designs given certain feedback. Architects typically work long hours, especially to meet deadlines, so architecture majors should be prepared to put in the work – in school and in their professional lives.

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What Can I Do With an Architecture Major?

Accredited architecture degree holders are equipped to enter the workforce once they’re licensed. The requirements for licensure include having an internship or other professional experience, passing the Architect Registration Examination administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and meeting any state requirements.

Once you can call yourself a licensed architect, you can start your own business or work for an architecture firm, a construction company or the government.

Architectural drafters, who work under architects and use software to design products and specify materials and procedures, require less training. Additionally, city planners often have a background in architecture.

Schools Offering an Architecture Major

Check out some schools below that offer architecture majors and find the full list of schools here that you can filter and sort.

Cooper Union
New York, NY Location
#1 in Regional Colleges North Featured Ranking
Columbia University
New York, New York Location
#3 in National Universities (tie) Featured Ranking
Wellesley College
Wellesley, MA Location
#3 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie) Featured Ranking
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT Location
#7 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie) Featured Ranking
Ithaca College
Ithaca, NY Location
#8 in Regional Universities North (tie) Featured Ranking
Tuskegee University
Tuskegee, AL Location
#25 in Regional Universities South (tie) Featured Ranking

School Name




Featured Ranking

Princeton University   Princeton, NJ   #1 in National Universities
Cooper Union   New York, NY   #1 in Regional Colleges North
Columbia University   New York, New York   #3 in National Universities (tie)
Wellesley College   Wellesley, MA   #3 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie)
California Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo   San Luis Obispo, CA   #4 in Regional Universities West
Middlebury College   Middlebury, VT   #7 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie)
Ithaca College   Ithaca, NY   #8 in Regional Universities North (tie)
Dunwoody College of Technology   Minneapolis, MN   #24 in Regional Colleges Midwest (tie)
Tuskegee University   Tuskegee, AL   #25 in Regional Universities South (tie)
Lawrence Technological University   Southfield, MI   #43 in Regional Universities Midwest (tie)