Individual schools design their own curriculum based on accreditation standards, but common course requirements include history of architecture, principles of urban design, structural theory, computing design applications and architecture technology. Environmental design, contemporary design, geometry, spatial dynamics and drawing are also standard curriculum topics. All programs include studio courses that help students explore design theory through practical application.
The curriculum for an architectural degree depends on whether it is a Bachelor or Master’s program, and whether the latter requires previous undergraduate study. Some programs also have subtle differences in coursework between arts- and science-focused degrees. History of architecture and urban design theory courses provide an understanding of the economic, cultural and political factors that drive changes in architectural evolution. They also introduce students to the structural, functional and environmental conditions architects must consider when planning structures.
Other courses give students a foundation in spatial awareness, visualization and drawing for conceptualizing and rendering structures, including working knowledge of physics and geometry principles. They lead to the studies of building materials and technologies, such as steel structures, sustainable development, digital mapping, digital modeling and energy efficiency. These courses provide the basis for studio coursework, ensuring students have a solid background to solve practical problems involving structural stability, community planning, climate resistance and topography.