University of Maryland’s baccalaureate programs in architecture are tailored to complement the needs of contemporary undergraduate students. Our undergraduate programs enable students to discover their academic and career passions through coursework and extracurricular experiences.
We embrace the notion that we do not simply train future architects, rather we broadly educate the leaders of tomorrow’s design professions. It is for that reason that we offer pre-professional degrees at the undergraduate level (similar to that of pre-med and pre-law) while reserving the professional degree for graduate level study. Explore our undergraduate degree programs in architecture and learn how they are designed to provide you with a strategic educational advantage. And while you’re at it, combine your interests in architecture with a minor in Construction Project Management, Real Estate Development, Sustainability Studies, and more.
As an architecture major, you and your classmates will explore how architects and others in the design professions visualize and study their design propositions, how they analyze existing conditions, learn from the past, and devise new sustainable technologies in order to design a better future. Importantly, in our degree programs you will have the opportunity to be a student of the University: to learn a language, to minor in an area of interest, to study abroad, participate in sports, or to be in the band. In short, our undergraduate degree tracks are designed to give you a well-rounded education, to prepare you for a meaningful and productive career while being able to make adjustments to your course of study as your knowledge of the discipline becomes more refined.
You’ll find that University of Maryland affords you an opportunity to become a leader in the field of your choice!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I’m confused, what is the difference between a Bachelor of Science in Architecture (BS in ARCH), a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture (BA in ARCH), and a Bachelor of Architecture (B ARCH) degree?
A: The Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Bachelor of Arts in Architecture degrees are pre-professional degrees (like pre-law or pre-med), however when these degrees are combined with an accredited professional degree (usually the Master of Architecture degree) the degree combinations offer the recipient credentials for professional registration. The Bachelor of Architecture degree (usually a five-year degree track) is a professional degree offered at the undergraduate level.
Q: Which is the better degree, the Bachelor of Science in Architecture or the Bachelor of Arts in Architecture?
A: The answer is neither. The question should be, “which is the better degree track for me?” Both degrees offer unique opportunities. Both degrees permit individuals to gain experience such that they might continue onward to careers in architecture and a wide variety of other disciplines. The BS in Architecture offers an accelerated path to the professional degree, while the BA in Architecture offers more opportunities for tailoring a course of study that fits your personal interests and talents.
Q: What’s an accredited degree and why is it important?
A: In the United States, most 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 professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year, three-year, or two-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 require a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.
Q: Why don’t you offer a five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of Maryland?
A: The University of Maryland did offer a Bachelor of Architecture degree until the mid-1980’s when it transitioned to the Bachelor of Science in Architecture (4-year degree) plus the Master of Architecture (2-year degree). The most prestigious schools nationally have structured their curricula paralleling that of the law and medical professions such that students are afforded a pre-professional experience at the undergraduate level and an intensive professional degree-track at the graduate level. Our program, which is commonly referred to as a 4+2 program (referring to the typical number of years studying at the undergraduate and graduate levels respectively), was developed in response to the nation-wide trend to associate graduate study and professional education. The Bachelor of Architecture degree was developed in the 19th Century as an attempt to integrate the vocational training of architects within the structure of American universities. In the late-1960s the so-called “Princeton Report” and other factors in higher education suggested that the future of professional education in architecture did not reside in the nearly 100-year old Bachelor of Architecture model and was better served by a combination of undergraduate pre-professional and graduate professional education. Other benefits of the 4+2 model are:
- Students in our pre-professional baccalaureate programs can make adjustments or changes to their undergraduate major more readily than they might in a Bachelor of Architecture program.
- Students benefit from more coursework and electives outside of architecture that better prepares them to be leaders of a complex and dynamic design profession.
- Students can take time off between their undergraduate coursework and graduate coursework in order to gain practical experience in an office setting as an intern.
- Students in a pre-professional education are generally more integrated into collegiate life than their counterparts who receive professional degrees at the undergraduate level.
- Undergraduates may elect to pursue graduate education at an institution other than Maryland.
- The Architecture Program controls significant resources to financially support graduate education through scholarships and assistantships.
Q: Is a professional degree from a NAAB-accredited program required to satisfy a state board of architects' education requirement?
A: The answer is complicated. Most jurisdictions in the United States require an accredited professional degree as a precondition for professional registration. Several jurisdictions do not have this requirement and will permit individuals who have worked for a predetermined number of years to become a registered architect after completing the Architect Registration Examination and other board requirements. The problem is, your state registration in this case may not be transportable. That is, if you are registered in Jurisdiction A, which does not have a professional degree requirement, and you want to seek reciprocity in near by Jurisdiction B, which does have a professional degree requirement, you may not be able to practice in Jurisdiction B because you do not have a professional degree. This may hamper your path toward leadership in your firm and it may also limit your ability to compete for work out of state. For more information explore (www.ncarb.org).
Q: What if I am not sure about my major? I like architecture, but what if I enroll in the architecture program and I change my mind?
A: “About 80 percent of students in the United States end up changing their major at least once, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. On average, college students change their major at least three times over the course of their college career." - Yuritzy Ramos, Borderzine, March 2013
Our program is structured in such a way to allow you greater flexibility in deciding on your major because changing majors in a traditional five-year Bachelor of Architecture program can be a challenge, cost you money, and lose time toward your degree.
Visiting the School
The best way to get to know us is to visit us in person.
We have scheduled a series of informative open house events to show you the Architecture Program in action.
The best time to visit the School is on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday when you will see studio courses in action. Please make an online appointment for a School tour.