Architects have very demanding, yet rewarding jobs. Due to the opportunity to be creative and the high salaries, architecture is a field that a lot of people desire to be in. Surprisingly, though, there are very few architects in the United States when compared to other professions. One of the reasons for this is the amount of schooling required to become an architect, as well as the high cost that is generally associated with the schooling that is required. For those who can handle the road less traveled, though, will find a world of opportunity in the field of architecture.
There are various types of architecture degrees available to students, and it’s important to understand what the difference is, so they can decide which career path is best fit for them. Below is a list of various architecture degrees along with a description for each.
1. Pre-professional architecture degrees
There are many schools out there which claim to have architecture degrees, but the architecture degrees they offer might not be the type that students are looking for. Pre-professional architecture degrees don’t prepare students to become architects, even though the degrees are related to architecture. These pre-professional degrees have such titles as BS in Architecture, BS in Architectural Studies, BA in Architecture, Bachelor of Architectural Studies, etc. Due to their titles, it may be easy to think that these degrees would prepare students to become architects, so students must be aware and careful when choosing a program.
Some of the pre-professional architecture degrees include:
- Architectural Design
- Architectural Engineering
- Architectural Studies
- Architectural Technology
- Building Science
- City and Regional Planning
- Civil Engineering
- Construction Engineering
- Construction Management
- Electrical Engineering
- Environmental Design
- Interior Architecture
- Landscape Architecture
- Mechanical Engineering
- Structural Engineering
- Urban and Regional Design
Cautionary Note: Any online school that claims to have an architecture degree program is referring to a pre-professional architecture degree program, not a Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch), as there aren’t any online B. Arch programs currently available.
2. Professional Degrees
A professional architecture degree at the bachelor level is called a Bachelor of Architecture, which is commonly known as B. Arch. There are three main differences in a B. Arch and a BS or BA in Architecture. The biggest difference is that B. Arch programs are designed to prepare students to become accredited, licensed architects. The second difference is the length of the programs. B. Arch programs are 5-year programs, and BS and BA programs in Architecture are 4-year programs. The third difference is accreditation. B. Arch programs are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the only accrediting institution for professional architectural degree programs in the United States, and BS and BA programs are not accredited by the NAAB.
Master of Architecture (M. Arch) degrees are also designed to prepare students to become architects licensed architects. They may be completed in as little as 1 year or may take up to 5 years to complete, depending on students’ previous education. For those who have received a B. Arch, an M. Arch only takes a year. This is for those B. Arch students who want to specialize in a particular area of architecture, such as design theory, health care facilities, solar design, etc. For those who have a pre-professional degree in architecture or other liberal arts degrees, the M. Arch takes 2-3 years to complete. For those who have no background in architecture or liberal arts, the M. Arch takes 5 years to complete.
Doctor of Architecture (D. Arch) degrees are also available. Doctorate degrees in architecture are not near as common as they are in other fields. Most people who get D. Arch degrees want to go into research or academia.