Undergraduate Degrees in Architecture
Architecture programs in the US have a variety of emphases, but the undergraduate fields of architecture allow international students to take the time to learn the broad aspects of architecture before they move on to their Master’s degrees in Architecture. Choosing the right undergraduate architecture degree is not an easy process, but it is a rewarding one.
The general layout of an architecture major has several facets. Though there will be the basic liberal arts courses that are required of domestic and international students alike, within the architecture major there will be the history of architecture and some more involved theory. Undergraduate degrees in architecture may take on the titles of BS Architecture, Bachelor of Architecture or more individualized plans, all depending on the school of choice for the international student.
Undergraduate degrees generally take at least four years to complete. Within those four years there will be elective classes that provide an architecture major with a well-rounded education. The degree program will also be filled with theory classes and more in-depth, experience-based learning in the two and three years before the final year in which a strong portfolio, internship or practical application of the theories and history will be developed. The fourth year, in many programs, can be combined with the more difficult courses of a Master’s of Architecture program. Due to the rigorous curriculum, it is common that students actually take five years to complete an undergraduate architecture major, instead of four.
Knowing Your Finances
The financial impact of studying architecture as an undergraduate will still be significant.
- Workshop fees
- International internships
- Artistry and experience costs
- School location
These are just a few of the costs to consider as an architectural timeline map is created. Remembering hidden costs in transferring or attending a new school is also an important factor for an international student studying architecture in the US.
Considering Your Options
The options for undergraduates studying architecture are many, but the first four-year degrees are not accredited for licensure. This means the pre-professional architecture degree will vary in length, focus, and architecture work. It is a good idea to obtain a Bachelor of Architecture degree, as opposed to a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. A Bachelor of Architecture degree could then be supplemented by a Master’s in Architecture. This, plus a variety of internships, will eventually help international students studying architecture reach their licensure.
To obtain a Bachelor of Architecture degree will require at least five years of study and a three-year internship, but it results in a degree that is required for licensure. Keep in mind that getting a degree quickly does not mean it is the best or most efficient method for you. There is also the option of a pre-professional degree combined with a Master’s degree. This avenue takes six years, as well as a three-year internship.
There are also options for the international students who began their undergraduate degree in something other than architecture and even for students whose first degree is not in architecture. Though this means more schooling and a longer time before attaining licensure, it is still possible to study architecture. It could take close to eight years of study followed by the three year internship. This is not for the faint—it will require focus and maturity to ensure that studying architecture is the path you want to take.
Factors to Consider
What factors should be considered? Undergraduate architecture programs are almost as different as the variety of students they accept, so it is important to consider all options and think through some different factors such as:
- Tuition costs and fees as well as available scholarships, grants, and loans
- Work-study options and internship requirements
- Costs of living
- Expertise of the instructors involved in the program
- Program type, length, philosophy, curriculum and emphasis
- Long term career goals
- Accreditation of program
These factors make it very important that international students thoroughly investigate their desired career and program so that the undergraduate degree program in architecture fits their needs and desires.