University of Virginia: School of Architecture

Frequently Asked Questions About Undergraduate Admissions

Is it possible for undergraduate students to double major in Architecture and another field?
Yes, it is possible for students to double major in Architecture and another field. Our students study in a variety of fields, such as Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, and Spanish, to name a few. However, it would be challenging to graduate in four years if majoring in two highly intensive majors, such as Architecture and Studio Art or Engineering. 

It is also possible to pursue a minor in a wide range of disciplines across the University. Within the School of Architecture, you are able to pursue a minor and/or a second major in the following fields:

  • Architectural History (minor, double major)
  • Historic Preservation (minor)
  • Landscape Architecture (minor)
  • Urban and Environmental Planning (minor, double major)
  • Global Sustainability (minor)

 

How does UVA’s undergraduate program differ from other architecture degree programs?

U.Va.’s four-year undergraduate program leads to a Bachelor of Science in Architecture (BS Arch). Students can choose one of two concentrations: pre-professional architecture (for those that are likely to continue into the profession or a closely related design field), and architectural design thinking, for students that want a rigorous background in the design process but might not remain in the field of architecture or design. 

 

The pre-professional concentration is a more focused degree than the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Architectural Studies or Environmental Design offered by many universities. The first part of a 4+2 degree sequence, the pre-professional students have a total of seven design studio courses compared to two or three studios in a BA program.  The curriculum includes requirements in architectural history, theory, structures, building materials / construction and passive design.  At the same time, the curriculum provides plenty of opportunities to explore coursework outside the School of Architecture.  Pre-professional students that want to become a licensed / registered architect typically work for a couple years and then return to a two year Master of Architecture (MArch) program.  The UVA BS Arch program regularly sends it’s top students on to advanced standing MArch programs at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton and UVA.

A BS Arch degree is a more flexible option for students that are interested in design, but don’t know yet if they want to practice architecture or explore a related or completely different field. This is in contrast with a five year Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree offered by some other universities where the students do not get a broader education or an opportunity to explore non-architectural coursework.

The architectural design thinking concentration offers even more flexibility.  The design thinking concentration builds on many of the same educational strategies, with design studios at its core, but the studios are more broadly focused than simply designing a building.  Also, students are not required to take as many architecture and building technology courses, and instead are required to select courses in other departments in the university that relate to their personal interests.  The architectural design thinking students are more well-rounded, and will be prepared to enter a wide range of career tracks, including real estate development, community based non-profit organizations, urban design, business, industrial design, construction, construction management, and many other possibilities.  They can also choose to pursue an MArch program, or get a graduate degree in a related field like landscape architecture, planning, urban design, graphic design, animation, industrial design, etc.

What is the average class size?

  • The introductory undergraduate lectures [ARCH 1010, ARCH 1020, AR H 1010 & PLAN 1030] have enrollments exceeding 100 students, but typically include smaller group discussions of 15-20 students each.
  • Upper-level undergraduate lectures range in size from 10-90 students.
  • Combined graduate and undergraduate seminars range from 15-20 students.
  • Studio classes generally have 12-14 students.

What types of jobs can students work with a four year unaccredited Architecture degree?
Students with four year unaccredited Architecture degrees go on to work in a variety of professions, some in Architecture, others in completely unrelated fields. One great aspect of earning a four year Architecture degree is that there is a liberal arts emphasis to the course of study, so students graduate with skills of quick, abstract thinking, strong artistic ability and creative expression, which can be applied to numerous career paths.

Does the School of Architecture have a certain emphasis (i.e. architecture, sustainability, green design, etc.)?
All programs in the school are well-rounded, although each has its own strengths. 

Our faculty and students are notable for their commitment to sustainability and public interest design as well as materiality, architectural theory, historic preservation theory and practice, digital fabrication, integrated design and design/build. 

How many UVa School of Architecture students go on to earn a Master’s Degree?
Roughly 50% of the School of Architecture students continue to graduate school to earn a Master of Architecture degree. Many others seek employment in related fields. 

Is it possible for students to play varsity sports if they are enrolled in the School of Architecture?
Students in the past have found it very difficult to balance the requirements of a varsity sport with an Architecture major, although it does happen occasionally. However, we have had several varsity athletes in our Urban and Environmental Planning and Architectural History programs.