Architecture includes the study of building design, representation, computing, structures, construction materials, environmental control systems, history, theory, and professional practice. In its teaching, research, practice, and community engagement, the department addresses the traditions of architecture within the context of social and technological change, a legacy of craft in the making of architecture, an activist and community-based design process, and the principles of ethical action to address human and environmental concerns.
Advising for the first two years of the program is done through the Undergraduate Gateway Center, 141 Mary Gates Hall.
The Department of Architecture offers the following programs of study:
The Bachelor of Arts (with a major in architecture) is a four-year, undergraduate degree program in architecture in which students explore the factors that shape our built environment. The program provides a liberal arts foundation in the discipline of architecture, which covers spatial reasoning, aesthetics, political and economic structures, socio-cultural influences, urbanism, landscape, and ecology, and gives students the opportunity to concentrate their studies through a sequence of courses investigating history and theory, materials and making, or sustainable technologies. Students in the Bachelor of Arts (with a major in architecture) program can prepare for graduate study in architecture and related fields such as construction management, landscape architecture, real estate, and urban planning, as well as careers in other fields.
The Bachelor of Arts (with a major in architecture) consists of two, two-year sequences. Years one and two include 14 credits of preparatory architectural coursework in addition to at least 76 credits devoted to satisfying the UW’s general education requirements. These include coursework in the Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA), Individuals and Societies (I&S), mathematics, science, and other areas of knowledge. The intent of these first two years is to help students build their skills in communication and critical thinking; gain broad exposure to other disciplines in order to make more informed academic and career decisions; and provide the broad academic foundation essential to successful study in architecture. All interested UW students are welcome to participate in this first two-year sequence.
The second two-year sequence begins in the junior year. Upper-division admission to the program requires the completion of architecture prerequisites and a minimum of 90 credits, and occurs through a selection process at the beginning of spring quarter of the sophomore year. Years three and four include 29 credits of required courses, including the capstone, 38 credits of discipline-specific selectives and electives, and 23 credits of upper-division electives. Students can focus their studies by choosing a concentration of history and theory, materials and making, or sustainable technologies, or a combination of these.
The Bachelor of Arts (with a major 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 Bachelor of Arts (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 master’s degree in architecture is a professional degree and generally takes two or more years to complete if the student enters with the pre-professional Bachelor of Arts (with a major in architectural design).
The college also offers a design and construction concurrent degree (Bachelor of Arts with a major in architectural design, BS in construction management), awarded after completion of 225 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 (with a major in architecture)
Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: See Department Admission Requirements below.
Department Admission Requirements
Applicants are considered for autumn admission only. Admission is competitive. Admission groups are freshmen/sophomore admission (F/S A) and upper-division admission (UA). Consult department website for more information and application form.
The department enrolls freshman-year students directly out of high school, prior to their completion of any university-level prerequisites. All freshmen indicating architecture on their UW application are considered for freshman admission to the BA (with a major in architecture) program; no additional application materials are required. Students admitted as freshmen must complete all preparatory and general education requirements listed under upper-division admission as well as all major requirements in order to earn a degree.
Application deadline is the first Monday of spring quarter. Admission decisions are based on an applicant’s academic performance and potential, extent and quality of relevant experience, and personal motivation. Completion of prerequisite requirements does not guarantee admission. Students admitted as sophomores must complete all preparatory and general education requirements listed under upper-division admission as well as all major requirements in order to earn a degree.
Transfer students may apply for admission at the beginning of the sophomore year or the beginning of the junior year. Application deadlines are the same as for sophomore or upper-division admission. Admission decisions are based on an applicant’s academic performance and potential, extent and quality of relevant experience, and personal motivation. Transfer students must also submit a separate application to the UW.
Upper-Division Admission Requirements (UA)
Bachelor of Arts (with a major in architectural design)
Department Admission Requirements
90 credits as follows:
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
142 credits, as follows:
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 of Built Environments.
Student Outcomes and Opportunities
Of Special Note:
Most states require that an individual intending to become an architect hold an architecture degree accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The NAAB accredits three types of degrees: (1) the Bachelor of Architecture (BArch), which requires a minimum of five years of architectural study (this degree is not offered at the University of Washington), (2) the Master of Architecture (MArch), 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, and (3) the Doctor of Architecture (this degree is not offered at the University of Washington). These professional degrees are structured to educate those who aspire to registration and licensure to practice as architects.
The UW's four-year, Bachelor of Arts degree in architectural design is a pre-professional degree and 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 or seven 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 design) 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 the Bachelor of Arts in Architecture or bachelor’s degrees in unrelated fields take an additional year of coursework).
Graduate Program Coordinator
The department offers the Master of Architecture (MArch) and the Master of Science in architecture (MS Arch).
The MArch is a National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)-accredited program for students already grounded in the sciences or liberal arts. Applicants interested in entering the profession of architecture should apply to the MArch program, which has three accredited tracks:
The MS Arch is a non-accredited advanced research-oriented degree for candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds. The MS in architecture has two distinct degree streams:
Master of Architecture
The MArch degree, accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), is the only professional degree offered by the University of Washington. Completion of the department’s 2+year or 3+year MArch degree program satisfies the educational requirement for licensing (and registration) as an architect.
95 credits for 2+year degree; 146 credits for 3+year degree
1-Year MArch in High Performance Building Degree Requirements
Master of Science
The MS Arch offers advanced, specialized study in two areas: design computing and architectural history and theory.
Design computing includes design methods, augmented and virtual environments, building simulation and analysis, digital fabrication, human computer interfaces for design, collaboration and community in design, and other related topics. Students work in the Design Machine Group (DMG), a collaborative research studio that fosters innovation and actively seeks ideas that shape the future of design and information technology. Coursework: 11 core credits, 21 credits of design computing electives, 4 credits of thesis preparation, and 9 credits of thesis.
Architectural history and theory encompasses the architectural, cultural, and political forces that have shaped modernity in architecture, including all its contemporary manifestations. Coursework: 11 core credits, 21 credits of history and theory electives, 4 credits of thesis preparation, and 9 credits of thesis.
Completed MS in Architecture application form
Transcripts from baccalaureate (or higher) degree(s) with a minimum 3.00 (B) (or higher) GPA in the last 90 graded quarter hours or last 60 semester hours of coursework
GRE test scores taken within the last five years
Portfolio of work showing evidence of the applicant's preparation for study in design computing, or a writing sample that shows evidence of applicant’s preparation for study in the history and theory of architecture.
Statement of purpose that clearly articulates the applicant’s goals and the extent to which the program can be expected to prepare him or her for those objectives. The statement should also describe the applicant's background and experience appropriate to the program and must also include a proposed research focus.
Written recommendations from three persons who can evaluate the applicant's past record and future promise of success in the MS in Architecture program
Design Computing Stream Degree Requirements
45 credits, as follows:
History and Theory Stream Degree Requirements
45 credits, as follows:
Two interdisciplinary certificate programs offered by the College of Built Environments are available to MArch students in the areas of historic preservation and urban design.
The department also offers certificates in design computing and lighting design.
The department offers architecture in Rome, Italy, at the UW Rome Center; architecture in Mexico City, Mexico; and architecture in Chandigarh, India. Other programs include travel to Scandinavia, Germany, Japan, and Australia.
Scholarships and assistantships 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’s Fellowships, Assistantships, and Awards and the Office of Student Financial Aid.