Architectural Studies Degree and Certificate Program Information

In architectural studies programs, students learn about the techniques and technologies used in drafting and design through traditional coursework, research projects and internships.

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Essential Information

Certificate and degree programs in architectural studies prepare students for the field, as they'll learn about the responsibilities of developers and property owners and how to design buildings, homes and other structures based on how people live and work. Certificate paths are geared towards entry-level drafting and designing professionals who want to further their education.

Professional bachelor's options that allow individuals to graduate as licensed architects are typically offered through the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)-validated schools. These five-year bachelor's programs cover topics like infrastructure technology, environmental controls and lighting. Degrees are conferred as either a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies. In these programs, direct experience is acquired through internships.

Graduate studies are accessible principally to licensed architects. Coursework is flexible, as enrollees can choose from a number of specializations, including architectural technology, digital media and sustainable architecture. A thesis or research project is required for graduation.


Certificate in Architectural Studies

Certificate coursework includes general education units in areas such as math and science to complement the architectural curriculum. Students learn the essential concepts needed for the field, become familiar with various methods of architectural design and drafting and how to interact with clients. They also learn how architecture has changed over time and become aware of the latest trends found in modern designs. Examples of core subjects are:

  • History and theories of architecture
  • Fundamentals of drawing for architecture
  • Computer-Aided drafting and design
  • Common building materials
  • Presenting architectural designs

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  • Architectural History
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Bachelor's Degree in Architectural Studies

Bachelor's degree programs have a comprehensive curriculum that covers all topics provided by certificate programs in detail, but it also explores how different design elements can be implemented to make structures unique. Students may also learn how to make structures more environmentally friendly via the use of different construction materials or layout designs. Central topics addressed in a bachelor's architectural studies program may include:

  • Architectural design principles and procedures
  • History and social implications in architecture
  • Building material selection
  • Building and structure design elements
  • Computer applications in architecture

Master's Degree in Architectural Studies

This program is well-suited for those who are looking to advance in the field or wanting to do research on a particular aspect of architecture. In addition to learning how to develop plans for private homes or businesses, the curriculum covers architectural design for high-rise buildings. Furthermore, master's concentration selections are broad, involving history and theory, building technology and preservation. Primary issues discussed in classes include:

  • Contemporary issues in architecture
  • Structural principles
  • Design concepts and systems for tall buildings
  • Environmental systems
  • Impact of design codes in architecture

Popular Career Options

Graduates are qualified for many positions in the field, including as a drafter, architectural designer and construction assistant. Other popular job titles are:

  • Facility manager
  • Construction specialist
  • Real estate developer
  • Historic preservation specialist
  • Planning assistant

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for architects is expected to grow at a rate of 7% over the 2014-2024 decade, with an average annual salary of $82,850 as of May 2015.

Continuing Education Information

Those interested in furthering their education can seek a doctoral degree in urban design, urban planning or architecture, which can lead to research, scholarly or teaching roles.

Architectural studies programs are available at the certificate, bachelor's, and master's degree levels. Each offers a different level of training for students with different educational backgrounds and future career goals.

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