Architecture combines the arts and sciences in the process of planning, designing and fabricating large structures and buildings while taking into consideration functionality, durability and aesthetics by making use of materials, technology and elements of design. Architecture as a process is largely responsible for the safety and reliability of structures used by humans. Activities of someone in the field can involve everything from budgeting and negotiating with contractors to designing and ensuring regulatory compliance.
Entrance into an architecture degree program varies from institution to institution. Some architecture degree programs have a grade requirement, either from the entrance or standard exam, from previous courses taken in secondary school or sometimes both. High marks in subjects such as mathematics and physics may be a good boost to an application.
Various leadership experiences and letters of recommendation may also be taken into consideration. Some institutions also require a letter of intent or an application essay in addition to an admissions interview. As architecture involves the application of art and design, an applicant may be asked to submit a design portfolio.
For a complete list of requirements, you are advised to check with the institution you are interested in applying to.
Most degree programs in architecture focus on topics such as the history of architecture, design theory and process, and material science. Aside from lectures in the classroom, classes may also be held in ‘studios’ or design spaces. Evaluation and assessment may be in the form of written work and design projects.
The accreditation of a degree usually depends on the country where the degree is awarded. In most cases, countries have their own accrediting systems for universities, students and graduates.
Graduates of architecture degree programs will need to go through a licensing process should they want to practice as professional architects. Education, experience and results of examination are taken into consideration by licensing bodies.
A bachelor’s degree in architecture can typically take around three to five years of full-time study. The exact period of time would depend on the university of your choice, the country wherein it is located and where the graduate would want to practice.
Many graduates of architecture bachelor programs choose to take further studies at the graduate level. Master’s and doctoral programs are available for those looking to further their knowledge of the field. Some architecture organizations, such as the Royal Institute of British Architects require a master’s degree.
In total, the estimated time to become a qualified architect is around seven years of study and internship.
Most universities provide specialization options for their students, either through optional electives or as a mandatory part of the degree program. For architecture programs, these are normally available later on at the master’s level, although some schools have undergraduate degree programs with specialization options. Availability of specializations would also depend on the offerings of each university. Archaeological specializations are usually on different regions, places and eras.
Below is a short list of some specializations offered by institutions:
Most graduates of architecture degree programs choose to go directly into the field as either licensed architects, architectural technologists, drafters, interior designers and landscape designers. These positions are available in partnerships or firms, although many architects practicing professionally are self-employed.
Those who choose to work in other fields can do so using the transferrable skills that can be gained throughout architecture degree programs such as effective teamwork, design and visual communication, decision-making and project management.
Some related positions include surveyor (for commercial and residential properties), historic building conservation officer, town/urban planner and production designer (for film, TV and theatre).
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