The undergraduate curriculum in Architecture introduces students to methodologies to critically understand and creatively transform the built environment. Design innovation requires creativity, technical knowledge, cultural awareness, risk-taking, and meaningful questioning. Our curriculum uses design as a mode of critical inquiry to explore questions and pose new visions for a range of scales, all of which constitute the disciplinary realm of architecture: from cities, territories, infrastructure and buildings to rooms, installations, furniture, and clothing. The first year of study is a shared Common First Year curriculum, wherein students take courses in three School of Architecture departments: Architecture, Urban + Environmental Planning, and Architectural History. UVA School of Architecture offers two concentrations for the Bachelor of Science Architecture: Pre-Professional and Design Thinking.
The Bachelor of Science Architecture is a 4-year undergraduate degree with a minimum of 125 credits.
Undergraduate students entering the School of Architecture share a Common First Year Curriculum. Students take core courses in three School of Architecture departments: Architecture, Urban + Environmental Planning, and Architectural History to provide a framework for the study of contemporary culture through observation, analysis, and design. Students must pass each core course with a grade of C- or higher. During the spring semester of the first year, students choose an intended major: Bachelor of Architectural History, Bachelor of Science Architecture, or Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning.
UVA School of Architecture offers two concentrations for its undergraduate Architecture majors: the Pre-Professional and the Design-Thinking concentrations. Learn more about the differences between these two concentrations here.
The Pre-Professional concentration is for our students intent on pursuing a career as a practicing architect. The curriculum is designed to maximize the opportunities to explore through design of complex projects, focused on spatial, material, formal and tectonic investigations. The Pre-Professional concentration prepares students for a graduate degree in Architecture, a required pre-requisite for obtaining an architectural licensure.
WHAT IS THE 4+2?
With the Bachelor of Science Architecture - Pre-professional degree, our students receive advanced placement in the professional Masters (graduate) degree program, typically known as a 4+2 education sequence. Our students are eligible to obtain their professional graduate degree in a total of 6 years, including the 4 years of undergraduate study at UVA. Our graduates have consistently been accepted to the top-ranking M.Arch. programs across the nation, including our own.
Our undergraduate students also have the added value of learning alongside our graduate students, in cross-listed research studios and to be taught by the same award-winning faculty who are teaching within our highly-ranked graduate programs.
UVA School of Architecture offers two concentrations for its undergraduate Architecture majors: the Pre-Professional and the Design Thinking concentrations. Learn more about the differences between these two concentrations here.
The Design Thinking concentration is for students interested in interdisciplinary problem solving through exploratory design processes. The curriculum offers a strong core in the design of the built environment while offering broader studios and electives designed to collaborate across the University. Our students in the Design Thinking concentration integrate a second field of study by declaring a second major or a minor.
WHAT IS DESIGN THINKING?
Our Design Thinking program recognizes the value of the design process as a mode of inquiry to address problems in many fields, from medicine to environmental science, from art to engineering. The design process is about both problem-posing and problem-solving as it synthesizes acts of thinking and making. Bringing together inquiry, questioning and speculation with prototyping, testing, and experimentation, design thinking allows our students to build collaborative and interdisciplinary skills.
Graduates from our Design Thinking concentration have pursued careers in fashion design, web and brand design, exhibition design, furniture design, graphic design and visualization, industrial design, environmental design, community design, and more.
A Minor in Architecture provides students with an opportunity to develop a basic understanding of, and appreciation for, architecture as an important component of culture and the built environment. The Minor in Architecture is offered to all students at the University. Students who complete the Minor range from those whose major is in a related field and who wish to expand the boundaries of that endeavor, to those considering graduate study in architecture.
The Design Minor leverages the strengths and unique disciplinary practices of the four departments in the School of Architecture (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban & Environmental Planning, and Architectural History). The curriculum is grounded in the disciplinary practices of design, while incorporating expertise from numerous allied disciplines and fields of study. The main objective is to serve a wide population of undergraduate students throughout the University who are interested in complementing their current course of study with the methodologies of Design Thinking, spatial and material practices, and the strategies of creative problem-solving.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Direct Admission Policy is only applicable to students who entered UVA in Fall 2022 or earlier.
The Direct Admissions Policy does not apply to students who entered in Fall 2023, and will be phased out.
The School of Architecture offers high-performing undergraduates direct admission into a graduate program offered within the School.
Every UVA School of Architecture undergraduate student who graduates with a strong academic record, above a 3.3 cumulative GPA (and a 3.5 GPA in design studios for architecture, or landscape architecture) is insured direct admission and advanced standing into the corresponding graduate program. Any student with a GPA below 3.3 is still free to apply through the normal admissions process.
— BArH and BUEP graduates with advanced standing can complete the corresponding graduate degree in one year through a 4+1 track.
— BSArch, Pre-Professional concentration graduates with advanced standing can complete the MArch or MLA graduate degree through a 4+2 track to obtain their professional degree.
— BSArch, Design Thinking concentration graduates with advanced standing can complete the MArch or MLA graduate degree through a 4+2.5 track to obtain their professional degree.