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What Should I Expect from Architecture College?

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  • Written By: Andrea Campbell
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2016
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In architecture college, students will learn how to design buildings, master construction techniques and foster design projects. In addition to designing a facility or home plan that is both functional and appealing, buildings must be structurally safe and sound; architecture school will help prepare future architects on how to ensure this in their designs. Additionally, since an architect's designs must meet or exceed the needs and wants of the people who commission the project, architectural coursework will help address that as well. Finally, since erecting structures are usually limited by a variety of building codes, budget constraints and deadlines, students will hopefully learn these skills too while getting their architecture education.

The primary goal students have when deciding to attend an architectural college is to become educated in the common concepts necessary to be an architect. Typically, this is achieved by getting a professional engineering, design or building degree. Additionally, architect's school helps students gain experience through a sanctioned internship program. In the United States, coursework also helps prepare students to become a professionally licensed architect by passing the Architect Registration Exam (ARE). This long-term strategy takes approximately eight to ten years to complete.

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An architecture student, typically, has a long list of required courses he or she must take to meet her objective of licensure. A student at an architecture college can expect to take artistic classes that specialize in drawing and drafting. The history and theory of architecture is usually studied in order to learn the precedents of building techniques. The emphasis on mathematics and physics is also important because of its relation to building safety and feasibility. Typical college courses also have classes in how to utilize and become proficient with computer-aided design software (CADD) in order to create at-scale blueprints electronically. Today, creating drawings and three-dimensional models of design is usually a necessity. Other classes may include city planning, construction management, sociology and calculus.

Most architecture courses are highly competitive, time intensive, and detail-oriented as students learn to create designs that solve problems, are technically accurate and aesthetically pleasing. A beginning architecture program in the United States is typically a five to six-year bachelor degree program, but many students continue on to earn their masters degree in architecture for better jobs, higher pay, and more self-driven opportunities. United States candidates must also perform an extensive internship and be able to pass a nine-part exam before they can be licensed.

Architecture college advisors stress that even high school students can begin preparing for architect school by examining the buildings and spaces around them. Potential architecture college students are encouraged to notice the elements of color, texture, light and perspective in the designs around them. Computer literacy and attention to mathematics and physics is essential, along with learning how to communicate and express thoughts on design and theory. Students are encouraged to tour design studios or visit accredited schools of architecture. In the US, there are 114, as sanctioned by the National Architecture Accrediting Board, to choose from.

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