Four-year universities and colleges offer bachelor's-level programs in architecture, which may lead to a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Architecture. While the BS and BA programs are pre-professional programs, the Bachelor of Architecture is considered a first professional program and prepares students for licensure.
There are some undergraduate programs in this field available totally online, but more commonly they are offered on campus because they require extensive hands-on design and modeling work and/or internships. Some schools may offer hybrid programs where selected undergraduate courses are available online, including general education requirements. Related undergraduate programs, such as bachelor's degrees in urban planning, are also available entirely online.
Usually, these architecture programs take five years to complete, although online formatting may allow room for scheduling flexibility. Some programs evaluate students' abilities and previous education to create a curriculum based solely on that individual's career goals. Computer drafting software is needed for these programs.
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Bachelor's Degree in Architecture
Architecture programs are academically rigid and also heavily comprised of hands-on elements. Online Bachelor of Architecture programs are professional in nature and usually require an internship experience in addition to class work. This is typically arranged by students in their local area and approved by their professor. Internships can take one semester or a specified number of work hours to complete.
Typically, distance-learning programs in architecture combine online learning with supplemental learning in a campus-based classroom. On-campus portions take place in stints of two or three weeks. Through virtual classroom set-ups such as Blackboard, students can access video lectures and online assignments. Students can take the courses when their schedules allow, and generally have access to lessons for as long as they need them so that they can go back to review old topics.
Online architecture courses may include:
This course teaches students to draft architectural designs for residential and commercial buildings using pencil and paper. Students learn to read blueprints and apply basic design principles.
Students explore computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) techniques and practices in this course. Individuals see how their completed designs look so they can make necessary design changes and achieve precision for building construction.
Students study strategies for integrating eco-friendly technology into building designs. Classes cover techniques for designing buildings that conserve energy and use light naturally.
Students discuss the use of wood, stone and steel in buildings. They study construction procedures and practical techniques to determine if a design can be completed with various materials.
Although a bachelor's degree does not directly qualify candidates for careers as a professional architect, it's a step in the right direction. With an online bachelor's degree in architecture, students can prepare for a wide variety of design and planning careers; they may also work as assistants to architects. Or, they can continue their education to earn a master's degree in architecture in order to qualify for licensure. Career options open to bachelor's students include:
- Architectural drafter
- Landscape architect
- Interior architect
- Regional planner
- Building contractor
BA in Architecture and Bachelor of Architecture programs are rarely found entirely online, but many programs offer both general education and select architecture courses online. These hybrid programs may require some hands-on training or internships.