Major: Architecture

What colleges offer a Major in Architecture?

While architecture is grounded in science, its heart is in the arts. Well-designed buildings not only serve the people who use them. They are also works of art that help define the town or city in which they stand.

As an architecture major, you'll learn how to work with others to imagine buildings, from straw-bale houses to the tallest skyscrapers. And with the technical know-how you pick up in such classes as architectural engineering and construction materials, you'll know just what needs to be done to bring them to life.

Students of architecture prepare to become professional architects. Classes cover such topics as architectural theory, design, and history; drafting; and project and site planning.

“I see architecture as a study and a profession that brings all the rest of them together: art, science, philosophy, music, psychology, [and] literature.” Dana, freshman, architecture, University of Virginia

Are You Ready To...?

  • Think about how buildings affect individuals and society
  • Study architectural styles and history
  • Learn about preserving and restoring old buildings
  • Take physics and calculus courses
  • Draw plans of your own building ideas
  • Build models
  • Research and write papers

It Helps To Be...

A creative problem solver. Because architects never work alone, it also helps to be good at working with other people — so start building teamwork skills now.

College Checklist

  • Is the program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board?
  • What is the background and philosophy of professors? Are they practicing architects? What kinds of buildings have they designed?
  • Does the department stress the studio-art side or engineering side of architecture?  
  • What kind of work do current students do? Ask to see examples of student work.
  • How often do design studios meet? How many students are in each class?
  • Will you be able to use the design studio at all times?
  • What role do computers play in studio courses?

Did You Know?

The Empire State Building, completed in 1931, used sixty thousand tons of steel from Pennsylvania and marble from Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy.

Course Spotlight

As an architecture student, you'll take a design studio course nearly every semester. In these classes, you'll apply what you learn in other courses in a practical, hands-on setting. The instructor will assign a project with certain requirements, and you'll spend long hours designing your structure. 

You'll solve problems, make drawings, build models, and fine-tune the results. Once you've finished -- or the due date comes along -- you'll make a formal presentation to the class. Your instructor and fellow students will respond with comments.