The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Bachelor of Science in Architecture

The BS in Architecture is an interdisciplinary major that integrates architecture and design. The program (housed in the Department of Architecture) has an interdepartmental curriculum including coursework in studio arts, art history, environmental design, landscape architecture and regional planning, engineering, and building materials. This degree provides students broad exposure to aspects of building and material science as well as a variety of cultural, environmental, and historical perspectives, preparing them to make innovative and integrated contributions as architects and designers.


There are two concentrations: Architecture Studies and Design Studies

The Architecture Studies concentration is intended for students who plan to pursue a professional graduate degree in architecture. It requires more courses in architecture studios, architectural history, and building technologies.

The Design Studies concentration is intended for students who transfer to the department or who have a broader interest in the design fields. It has more flexibility in requirements for studio, history, technology. It is focused on architectural design, but because it has fewer requirements, it will also allow students to double major.

Pre-professional Degree

The BS in Architecture is a pre-professional program. Many of our students continue their studies to earn a Master of Architecture after graduation because in the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure.

The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a 6-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards. Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may consist of a preprofessional undergraduate degree (such as the BS Architecture) and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional BS in Architecture degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

Degree Requirements

All courses are 3 credits unless noted.

The Architecture major will require the following core courses applicable to every student:

  • Math/Physics: 3 courses
    • MATH 104 Algebra, Analytic Geometry, and Trigonometry
    • MATH 127 Calculus for Life and Social Sciences I
    • PHYS 131 Intro Physics I (plus Lab)
  • Foundations: Choose 4 courses
    • ART 110 Basic Studio/Drawing (4 cr)
    • ART 120 Drawing Composition
    • ART 131 Foundation Studio I
    • ART 142 Foundation Studio II
    • Or other 100 and 200 level studios approved by the advisor
  • Design/Graphics: 4 courses
    • ARCH 300 Design I (5 cr)
    • ARCH 301 Design II (5 cr)
    • ARCH 540 Analysis and Representation I (4 cr)
    • ARCH 541 Analysis and Representation II (4 cr)
  • History/Theory: 3 courses
    • ART-HIST 110 Visual Arts, Artists, and Cultures (or another art survey course such as ART-HIST 100 or 115) (4 cr)
    • ART-HIST 118 History of Architecture and the Built Environment (4 cr)
    • ARCH 370 Junior Year Writing

The Architectural Studies concentration will require the following additional courses:

  • Design/Graphics: 3 courses
    • ARCH 400 Design III (5 cr)
    • ARCH 401 Design IV (5 cr)
    • ARCH 403 Design V (6 cr) –or— 404 Design VI (6 cr)
  • History/Theory: 1 course
    • ART-HIST 343 20th Century Architecture
  • Buildling Technology: 2 courses
    • BCT 211 Energy Efficient Housing
    • ARCH 550 Tectonics I
    • Or BCT 313 Principles of Light Frame Structure Technology
    • Or ARCH 520 Building Physics I

The Design Studies concentration will require the following additional courses:

  • Design/Graphics: 2 courses
    • ARCH 400 Design III (5 cr)
    • ARCH 401 Design IV (5 cr)
  • History/Theory: 1 course
    • Design history course approved by the adviser
  • Buiding Technology: 2 level courses
    • 200+ level courses as approved by the advisor

Other Requirements of the Major

Students are required to provide their own laptop computers and software, to specifications provided by Program, for all ARCH design and graphics classes.

Admission to the BS in Architecture Major Process

Admission to the Architecture major will require successful portfolio review in addition to fulfillment of the standard University admission requirements.

Prospective applicants are welcome to email the department or call (413) 577-0943 for information about the program and building tours.

Click here for more information about the BS in Architecture application process.