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Architecture School Requirements and Prerequisites

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an architect. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs and prerequisites to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Architects design homes, commercial structures and other buildings. To become a licensed architect, prospective candidates must first complete either a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) or Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) professional degree program. Such programs emphasize design, visual arts, construction law, and computer-aided drafting and modeling. Some also offer specialized courses in topics such as energy efficiency and sustainable design.

Required Education Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture
Projected Growth (2012-2022)* 17%
Median Salary (2013)* $74,110

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements for a B.Arch. Degree

Most aspiring architects enroll in a 5-year professional B.Arch. program that's been approved by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. These programs offer courses in architectural theory, construction technology and building structures. Topics in visual arts, architectural history and art theory also may be covered. Additionally, most students take computer-aided design and drafting courses to help them create 3-D structures and models.

B.Arch. programs require students to participate in a design studio, which allows them to showcase the skills they've learned in producing building sketches and models. These programs also may require students to complete an individual design or research project related to architecture. Students may choose to focus in an area such as sustainable design or energy efficiency.

Educational Requirements for an M.Arch. Degree

College graduates who have earned a bachelor's degree in another field, like architectural studies or construction management, may consider enrolling in a 2- to 3-year professional M.Arch. program to become a licensed architect. Current professionals who've earned a B.Arch. degree can enroll in a 1-year M.Arch. program to focus on a specific field of study, such as sustainable design. Like B.Arch. offerings, M.Arch. programs feature courses in freehand drafting, architectural design and construction law. These programs may also require the completion of a design studio and research project.

Prerequisites for Architecture School

Preparation for architecture school begins in high school. Applicants should have a strong background in math, including algebra, trigonometry and calculus. High school students may also consider taking courses in physics, design and drafting to become familiar with core concepts and practices.

Architecture schools tend to base acceptance on grades and completed coursework. While B.Arch. programs focus on a student's high school performance in core courses like English, laboratory science and mathematics, M.Arch. programs review a student's undergraduate record in architectural and mathematics courses. Additionally, programs require students to complete standardized tests - B.Arch. applicants typically submit either SAT or ACT scores, while prospective M.Arch. students provide GRE or GMAT scores. Some schools may also mandate that applicants submit a design portfolio during the application process.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

A 17% surge in jobs for architects was predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the years 2012-2022. The BLS reported the median annual wage for these professionals was $74,110 in the year 2013.

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