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Department Overview

208 Gould

Architecture includes the study of design, graphics, computing, building structures, construction materials, environmental control systems, history, theory, and professional practice. It also draws from a broad range of fields including ecology, sociology, psychology, cultural studies, and law.

Undergraduate Program

208 Gould Hall, Box 355720

Advising for the first two years of the program is done through the Undergraduate Gateway Center, 171 Mary Gates Hall.

The Department of Architecture offers the following programs of study:

  • The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in architectural design
  • A dual-degree program leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in architectural design and the Bachelor of Science degree in construction management
  • A minor in architecture

The BA in architectural design is a pre-professional degree that prepares candidates for admission with advanced standing to professional architectural programs. It is also good preparation for other roles in society that benefit from an understanding of and exposure to architectural design and problem solving such as government, development, management, planning, art, graphic design, and digital arts. Students develop visual literacy and complex problem solving through the design process, including researching historical precedents, analyzing theoretical texts, and on-site understanding of the physical built and natural environment. International study programs (Rome, Scandinavia, India, Mexico, Japan) provide further opportunities for students to engage built environments within global/local and contemporary/historical cultural contexts. A focus on sustainable technologies and the craft and making of architecture play an important role throughout the program.

The BA with a major in architectural design is for students who are interested in the architecture profession and who may continue their studies by earning a graduate professional degree in architecture. The masterís degree in architecture is a professional degree and generally takes two or more years to complete if the student enters with the pre-professional BA in architectural design.

The college also offers a design and construction concurrent degree (BA in architectural design, BS in construction management), awarded after completion of 227 credits. Students interested in this double degree must complete the prerequisites for the architectural design major, be admitted to architectural design, and then apply to construction management while completing the architectural design major. This is a five-year program. In addition, the College of Built Environments offers three other bachelor degrees: the BLA in landscape architecture, a five-year professional degree; the BS in Construction Management, a four-year professional degree; and the BA in Community, Environment, and Planning, a four-year interdisciplinary degree.

Bachelor of Arts in architectural design

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: See Department Admission Requirements below.

Department Admission Requirements

  1. 90 credits to include the following:
    1. Preparatory Architectural Coursework (17 credits): ARCH 350, ARCH 351, ARCH 352 (9 credits); ARCH 210, ARCH 211 (8 credits). Note: These courses can be taken through UW Extension on a nonmatriculated basis, prior to admission to the UW, or they can be taken in the sophomore year on campus.
    2. General Education Requirements (70 credits): English composition (5 credits); Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA) (20 credits); Individuals and Societies (I&S) (20 credits); Natural World (NW) (20 credits, including MATH 112, MATH 124, or MATH 145); additional Areas of Knowledge (5 credits).
    3. Electives (3 credits)
  2. While the cumulative GPA is an important factor in the admission evaluation, the committee places emphasis on the evaluation of performance in the preparatory architectural coursework the student has completed. It is to the student's advantage to take as many of these courses as possible before applying.
  3. Application deadline: May 15 for autumn quarter only. Prerequisite courses must be completed by the time the student enters the program in autumn quarter.

Major Requirements

90 credits as follows:

  1. Preprofessional Coursework (69 credits): ARCH 300, ARCH 301, ARCH 302, ARCH 315, ARCH 320, ARCH 321, ARCH 322, ARCH 332, ARCH 380, ARCH 400, ARCH 401, ARCH 402, ARCH 431, ARCH 460, CM 313. One selective course in each of the following areas: (1) graphics/media; (2) history/theory; (3) building science/materials. Selective courses to be chosen from approved lists maintained by the department.
  2. 21 credits of approved upper-division electives.
  3. The final 45 credits must be completed as a matriculated student in residence at the UW.
  4. Minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA for all work done in residence.

Dual-Degree Program

Admission Requirements

Dual-degree majors first apply to the architectural design program and must meet architectural design admission requirements. Admitted architectural design students apply to the construction management program during spring quarter of their junior year (first year in the architecture program). For architectural design students, construction management prerequisites are waived, but such students must take CM 313 and CM 323 prior to the construction management application deadline, April 1.

Dual Degree Program Requirements

139 credits, as follows:

  1. Architecture Foundation Courses (60 credits):  ARCH 300, ARCH 301, ARCH 302, ARCH 315, ARCH 320, ARCH 321, ARCH 322, ARCH 380, ARCH 400, ARCH 401, ARCH 402, ARCH 431, ARCH 460
  2. Architecture Selectives (6 credits): 3 credits of graphic/media selective chosen from among the following BIM-recommended courses: ARCH 316, ARCH 410, ARCH 412, ARCH 413, ARCH 415, ARCH 418, ARCH 478, ARCH 481, ARCH 482, ARCH 484, ARCH 485, ARCH 486, ARCH 498. 3 credits of history/theory selective from among the following courses: ARCH 441, ARCH 442, ARCH 450, ARCH 452, ARCH 455, ARCH 457
  3. Construction Management Courses (64 credits): CM 310, CM 311, CM 312, CM 313, CM 321, CM 322, CM 323, CM 331, CM 332, CM 333, CM 334, CM 410, CM 411, CM 412, CM 421, CM 422, CM 423, CM 431 (capstone experience), CM 432, CM 433, B CMU 301
  4. Construction/Construction Science Electives (6 credits): Two of the following courses: CM 415, CM 420, CM 425, or ARCH 420
  5. Approved Electives (3 credits): may be chosen from among CM or ARCH courses
  6. Minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA for all work done in residence

Note: A minimum of 225 credits is required to complete a dual degree.


Minor Requirements: 25 credits to include a minimum of 20 credits in ARCH courses (at least 9 credits at the upper-division level) and 5 additional upper-division credits from courses in the College.

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: The architectural studies program emphasizes a broad liberal arts foundation followed by a focus on entry-level courses in architectural design, theory, the technology of building, and materials. Specific goals for student learning include an understanding of the organization of three-dimensional space in response to specific human needs; the sequences and history of human building activities; various architectural theories and current thought about the aesthetics of design; construction materials and their properties; building systems and their integration for human comfort; structural principles, relationships of buildings to their sites; social, political, legal, and economic influences of design and construction. Specific goals in the area of personal development include an ability to visualize three dimensions and think spatially; graphic, verbal, and written communication skills for design development and presentation; an ability to think critically and exercise self-criticism.
  • Instructional and Research Facilities: Departmental and College facilities include the following:
    • Design Machine Group, a collaborative design and computing research lab and studio aimed at fostering and developing ideas that will shape the future of design and information technology.
    • UW Rome Center, housed in the Palazzo Pio on the Campo de Fiori of Rome, provides studio and classroom spaces for students participating in Italian studies programs.
    • The Integrated Design Lab is an extension of the Department of Architecture. Faculty and students in the lab focus on integrated daylighting, electric lighting, energy simulation, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. The lab provides regional design teams access to the best building-performance knowledge available, project-by-project support, and education & training on how to design, construct and operate the healthiest, most productive and energy efficient buildings in North America.
    • Photography Laboratory: A large and well-equipped laboratory for black-and-white photography operated by the department for the College provides studio and darkroom facilities for use by photography classes, design studio classes, special instruction, and independent activity.
    • Wood and Metal Shop: Large and well-equipped wood- and metal-working shops are available for student and class projects.
  • Honors Options Available: For Interdisciplinary Honors, see University Honors Program.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: Internships are available and vary according to individual interests within the program. See adviser for details.
  • Department Scholarships: A limited number of department scholarships are available to eligible students entering their final year of the major.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: AIAS (American Institute of Architectural Students)

Of Special Note:

Most states require that an individual intending to become an architect hold an accredited degree. Two types of degrees are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB): (1) the Bachelor of Architecture, which requires a minimum of five years of architectural study (this degree is not offered at the University of Washington), and (2) the Master of Architecture, which requires a minimum of three years of study following an unrelated bachelor's degree or two years following a related pre-professional bachelor's degree. These professional degrees are structured to educate those who aspire to registration and licensure to practice as architects.

The UW's four-year, pre-professional degree is not accredited by NAAB. The pre-professional degree is useful to those desiring a foundation in the field of architecture as preparation for either continued education in a professional degree program or for employment options in fields related to architecture.

Architectural education at the University of Washington requires a minimum of six years of higher education to attain the first professional degree, the Master of Architecture. The curriculum is divided into three two-year segments of coursework with a pre-professional Bachelor of Arts degree (with a major in Architectural Studies) awarded at the completion of the second two-year segment. The professional degree, Master of Architecture, is awarded only upon completion of the third segment. (Students with bachelor's degrees in unrelated fields take an additional year of coursework.)

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
208 Gould, Box 355720

The Department of Architecture offers two graduate level degrees: the Master of Architecture (MArch) degree, a professionally accredited architecture degree; and the Master of Science (MS) degree in design computing, an advanced research-oriented degree for those who already hold a professional or pre-professional degree in architecture or an allied design discipline (or can show evidence of equivalent preparation for work in design computing). Those interested in professional careers in architecture should apply to the Master of Architecture program.

Master of Architecture

The Master of Architecture degree is the only professional degree offered by the Department of Architecture. Completion of the requirements of this nationally accredited degree program satisfies the educational requirement for licensing (registration) as an architect. The accredited MArch program accommodates two groups of undergraduate degree holders: (1) persons holding a pre-professional four-year degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture (or equivalent), who normally require seven or eight quarters of study; (2) persons with an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field, who normally require ten or eleven quarters, over a period of at least three years, to complete the requirements for the degree. This three-year program may vary somewhat in duration and specific coursework required, depending on selection of concentration/study areas and prior academic and professional experience.

Candidates with a pre-professional four-year degree, such as Bachelor of Arts (in architecture) or the equivalent, usually undertake six full-time quarters of study including completion of a thesis for the MArch degree. This program typically requires 91 credits of coursework, including 30 credits of design studio, 30 credits of approved core courses, 9 credits of thesis, and 15 credits of electives. Special interests and certificate programs often can be accommodated within the 15 credits of electives and design-studio options.

Persons holding degrees in other fields normally take three quarters of preparatory coursework to develop knowledge and skills equivalent to those of students who enter the program from undergraduate architecture programs. Upon completion of preparatory coursework, the students merge with students in the two-year program described above.

The department offers an advanced MArch degree program for persons holding an accredited professional five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree (and those already holding an accredited Master of Architecture degree). For these candidates the program represents a specialization or in-depth study of a specific area or interest in the field. Each student's program is developed on an individual basis in consultation with faculty advisers. The approved program of study becomes the student's curriculum, which must be completed for award of the degree. Typically this program involves a minimum of 45 credits of required coursework, including a thesis, and can be completed in four or five quarters. Those seeking advanced study of design computing should apply to the Master of Science (MS) in architecture degree program, not the post-professional MArch.

Admission Requirements

  1. Scholastic record and aptitude as evidenced by transcripts from baccalaureate (or higher) degree and GRE test scores, taken within the last five years. Primary emphasis is placed on more recent and architecturally related coursework.
  2. Minimum 3.00 GPA (B) or better in the last 90 graded quarter hours or last 60 semester hours.
  3. A portfolio of work in visual arts and/or design. The portfolio is of primary significance for candidates from design backgrounds who desire advanced standing; however, applicants from other fields must show some graphic evidence of interest and aptitude in the design arts as well.
  4. The applicant's statement of purpose for clarity, purpose, and the extent to which the program can be expected to prepare him/her for those objectives.
  5. The statement of purpose is particularly significant for those applying for the post-professional MArch program. Where appropriate the candidate should include a proposed schedule of coursework and identify faculty to be involved in the study.
  6. The applicant's background and experience in architecture and related fields
  7. Written recommendations from three persons who can evaluate the applicant's past record and future promise of success in the program

Degree Requirements

91-145 credits, as follows:

  1. For students without an architecture background a preparatory year is required (54 credits): ARCH 303, ARCH 304, ARCH 305, ARCH 310, ARCH 311, ARCH 312, ARCH 320, ARCH 321, ARCH 322, ARCH 331, ARCH 332, ARCH 350, ARCH 351, ARCH 352, ARCH 360
  2. First-year requirements ARCH 420, ARCH 432, ARCH 433, ARCH 500, ARCH 501, ARCH 502, ARCH 530, ARCH 570, ARCH 590, ARCH 591, electives (6)
  3. Second-year requirements: ARCH 503, ARCH 504, ARCH 595/ARCH 599, ARCH 700, professional practicum selectives, graduate semianr selectives, electives (9)

Master of Science

The Master of Science (MS) in architecture program offers an advanced and specialized graduate degree in architecture. The MS in architecture is currently offered with a single area of specialization, design computing. Applicants should hold a degree in architecture or an allied design discipline. Candidates from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds who are interested in pursuing education in research and applications of design computing that include design methods, cognition and computation, design collaborations, human/computer interface in design, visual architecture, physical computing, and related areas are encouraged to apply.

Admission Requirements

  • Scholastic record and aptitude as evidenced by transcripts from baccalaureate (or higher) degree and GRE (Graduate Record Examination) test scores taken within the last five years
  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited U. S. college or university (or its equivalent in a foreign institution)
  • Minimum 3.00 GPA (B) or better in the last 90 graded quarter hours or last 60 semester hours
  • A portfolio of work in design in architecture or an allied discipline (or similar work appropriate to the program). The portfolio should include evidence of the applicant's preparation for the study in design computing.
  • The applicant's statement of purpose for clarity, purpose, and the extent to which the MS with emphasis in design computing can be expected to prepare him/her for those objectives
  • The applicant's background and experience in architecture or an allied discipline (or related experience appropriate to the program), as well as preparation for advanced work in design computing, information technology, digital media, or the like.
  • Written recommendations from three persons who can evaluate the applicant's past record and future promise of success in the MS with emphasis in design computing.

Degree Requirements

45 credits, as follows:

  • Core Curriculum: ARCH 587, ARCH 588, ARCH 599
  • Required Coursework: One of the the following: ARCH 402, ARCH 403, ARCH 503, ARCH 504, ARCH 505; ARCH 481; ARCH 484; ARCH 486; either ARCH 482 or ARCH 483
  • Electives: 9 credits to be chosen from design computing courses, or any other relevant courses.
  • Thesis: 9 credits of ARCH 700

Certificate Programs

The Department of Architecture, in conjunction with Landscape Architecture and Urban Design and Planning, offers graduate-level interdisciplinary certificates in historic preservation and urban design. The department also offers certificates in design computing and lighting design.

International Studies

The department offers the Architecture in Rome program at the University of Washington Rome Center, and the Design/Build Mexico program in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Other programs have included summer study of the Italian Hill Towns and in Portugal and Scandinavia, and numerous exchanges including Scandinavia, England, Germany, Hong Kong, Colombia, Japan, and Australia.

Financial Aid

Each spring quarter the department awards scholarships and assistantships for the following academic year. These are more typically available to students already enrolled in the architecture program at the time of awarding, although some financial aid is offered to newly entering students. Other financial aid and assistantship possibilities may be found through the Graduate School Fellowship Division and the Office of Student Financial Aid in Schmitz Hall.