Architecture is a multifaceted and complex discipline. Therefore it is expected that prospective students are ambitious and dedicated. Students who elect to study in one of the 20 Cheapest Bachelor’s Degrees in Architecture are opening themselves up to the potential engagement with a variety of discourses, as courses of study often pull from other disciplines to prepare students for many types of careers. Additional disciplines may include design, urban planning, roles in sustainability, but also law, business, and academia.
Students in Architect programs should expect to graduate with advanced knowledge and necessary skills that make them competitive candidates for different types of employment. Graduates train in communication, analysis, design, and the implementation of creative ideas. For those looking towards more academic-focused careers, many programs offer potential focuses on research within the field.
When selecting an undergraduate program in Architecture, it’s essential to recognize the difference in degrees and program layouts. Some of the universities in this ranking offer Bachelor of Architecture degrees, which are considered professional degrees that typically five-years and include a thesis or research project. Other Architecture degrees offer a traditional four-year Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree, and with a major in Architecture. Either type of degree provides adequate training in Architecture, with coursework focused on foundational aspects of the field accompanied by hands-on experience in studios. Choosing which degree to pursue in Architecture is more a matter of long-term goals, and what field one might want to work in, what higher degrees they may wish to earn, etc.
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Here are the 20 cheapest bachelor’s degrees in architecture.
The Bachelor of Architecture from The University of Texas at Austin is a 161-credit professional program that prepares students with a solid foundation in the technology, history, and theory of architecture. The core curriculum covers general aspects, such as design, visual communication, professional practice, and construction. The remaining coursework is fulfilled by electives that allow students to take a more specialized approach to the discipline. These may include special topics in the History of Architecture, courses in Architectural Research, or advanced levels of design study. There are minors available in Architectural History, Architectural Studies, Interior Design, and The Landscape.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
The Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is a five-year professional degree, made up of foundational and core courses, advanced studies, and a thesis. The first year focuses on basic elements of design and how they are addressed visually, conceptually, and haptically. The core of the professional program, which takes place the second and third year, draws from theory and processes to train students in engaging with Architecture and design as a discipline. The fourth year is for studio work, which may include study abroad options in Europe or Chicago. The fifth year is spent working on a thesis formulated around an independent and intense project.
California Polytechnic State University's Bachelor of Architecture equips students with both the breadth of knowledge and variety of skills necessary to engage in lifelong learning as a professional in the field. It is a highly-structured degree that rather than draws from exterior departments and disciplines, prepares students with thorough and in-depth knowledge of the field. This includes coursework dedicated to the technical, historical, and theoretical aspects of architecture, as well as those focused on the research methods, communication styles, and design decisions. The professional program takes about five years to complete, with major courses in physics, professional practice, architectural criticism, and world architecture. There are no credits left for electives within the major requirements.
The Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of California - Berkeley prepares students for both professional programs, entry-level careers, or further studies in a related discipline. Students train in the groundworks of the field, including foundations like environmental design, before being allowed to individualize their course of study. Core courses focus on broad introductory fields of architecture. Once completed, students can specialize in Architectural Design and Representation; Technologies and Building Performance; Architectural History; and Society and Culture. There are also two different tracks within the major: Design Research Track and Studio Track. The former is focused on research in topics of the field, changing each year and designed by faculty. The latter accompanies the core curriculum with studio-intensive work.
The Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia gives students the benefit of an innovative curriculum, dedicated to addressing the variety of ways that design influences the world. Graduates equip themselves with an understanding of the methodologies, research methods, and modes of critical inquiry necessary to pursue successful careers or graduate study. The program offers two concentration areas: Pre-Professional and Design Thinking/Practices. Regardless of the selected area, students spend their first year of study dedicated to Urban and Environmental Planning as well as Architectural History. The remaining time in the program is designed around the concentration with Pre-Professional courses to prepare students for practice as an architect.
Cornell University's Bachelor of Architecture is a five-year professional program that consistently ranks as one of the top in the country. Students benefit from not only the expectedly intense professional education but allocated time and space to utilize the resources of a world-class university. Coursework covers design, theory, history, technology, representation, and structures. The first three years are dedicated to this core curriculum, while the last two years are spent focusing on disciplines to fulfill a specialized course of study. Concentration areas are offered in Architecture, Culture, and Society; Architectural Science and Technology; History of Architecture; Architectural Analysis; and Visual Representation in Architecture.
The Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology equips students with a rigorous education in all aspects of the field, including design, history, theory, and communication. The portion of the curriculum dedicated to design studio is flexible, allowing students the opportunity to work interdisciplinarily with other schools at Georgia Tech. The flexibility of the program ensures that students can focus on areas of Architecture that best-suit their interests, which may be broad-based and take them to careers in related fields. There's also an available International Plan within the program, which is intensive but provides students the space to become proficient in a foreign language, take globally focused courses, and study abroad.
University of Washington's Bachelor of Arts in Architecture prepares students with a liberal arts foundation that allows them to examine and study the discipline of architecture in a variety of different ways. The initial preparation allows for a later curriculum covering spatial reasoning, aesthetics, political and economic structures, socio-cultural influences, urbanism, ecology, and even more. The program is not a studio-based architectural studies program, but instead encourages students to engage with the field as a complex and multifaceted discipline that engages with other discourses. Admission is granted to students who have completed general requirements at UW as well as Architecture prerequisites.
The University of California - Los Angeles offers a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies. The program is a two-year major that begins the junior year of a student's undergraduate career. Coursework focuses on three areas: Critical Studies, Design, and Technology. Students take courses that prepare them with a foundation in critical thinking, useful in further engagement with historical and contemporary disciplinary contexts, and research. The curriculum views the discipline as a humanist one, meaning that students will engage with cultural and social studies alongside their Architect education. Observing a humanist perspective prepares students for not only graduate-level education and careers in architecture, but also in history, the fine arts, urban studies, and more.
The Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Minnesota is a pre-professional undergraduate degree, training students through a studio-based design education that covers history, theory, and building technology. Coursework also provides a platform for students to understand other influences of the field, including the socio-cultural, material, environmental, and historical factors. Coursework utilizes analog and digital drawing, research, and theoretical text analysis and inquiry. Electives cover topics such as Architecture in Watercolor, Territorial City, Design Introduction to Heritage Preservation. Graduates prepare for higher education at UM, including an opportunity to earn a Master of Architecture in just an additional year.
The Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Southern California provides students with a global outlook and lens of the field, with cultural thinking about architecture and its role in social change. A variety of courses allow students to challenge themselves and spend time with their specific interests of the field. During a student's time in the five-year program, they'll take courses like Architecture: Culture and Community; World History of Architecture; and Physics for Architects. Electives offer students the opportunity to take liberal arts courses that can accompany their goals in Architecture. Students dedicate the fifth year to an advanced, comprehensive design studio project.
The Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan is a 50-credit major that prepares students for further professional degrees in Architecture. Students train in several areas in the field. Some go on to work in engineering, art, construction, urban planning, historic preservation, or even business or law. Students benefit from both a digital fabrication laboratory and a design studio measuring over 32,000 square feet. Courses cover a wide-array of the field, including robotics and woodshop. There are also opportunities to study abroad, with recent cohorts traveling to Indonesia.
Syracuse University's Bachelor of Architecture degree is a five-year professional program focused on architectural design, theory, technology, history, and professional practice. The program is specifically designed to prepare students to enter the Intern Development Program (IDP) required for architect licensure. The 162-credit major requires over five courses in Architectural Design, resulting in a Thesis. Other curricular requirements- in Theory, Technologies, and History- are fulfilled by both core courses of that subfield as well as electives. Electives feature topics like Italian Architecture, Theories and Analysis of Exurbia, Islamic Architecture, and more.
The Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University prepares students professionally for competitive careers in the field, often with key specialties. The curriculum is structured to take five years. The first three years are made up of foundation courses and studios, which provide students a core architecture education that transitions smoothly to a specialty in their fourth and fifth years, which are made up of electives. Some students have specialized in architectural robotics, sustainability and computation, or urban design. Those who are looking for a non-professional degree in Architecture from CMU are encouraged to study Architecture in a multidisciplinary undergraduate degree through the Intercollege Degree Programs.
The Bachelor of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology gives students five options for a concentration area: Architectural History/Theory, Digital Design, Design/Build, Landscape Architecture, and Planning. Many students elect to fulfill a related minor in fields such as Business or Urban Affairs to ensure that they graduate with rounded liberal arts knowledge that provides career opportunities in a variety of fields. The program gives students many study abroad opportunities, with recent trips to China to view some of the greatest high-rises. Students are also encouraged to participate in workshops around Chicago as well as research.
Northeastern University's Bachelor of Science in Architecture is an undergraduate program that still emphasizes the professional training necessary for a successful career in the field. Students are trained not only in foundational aspects of the field, but creative problem-solving and an appropriate liberal arts preparation. Courses cover both the introductory breadth of the field as well as specialized topics, such as Architecture and Urbanism Abroad; Architecture, Modernity, and the City; and Environmental Systems. While the curriculum provides much of the core of the program, there remains room for electives. The entire program is a total of 146 credit hours, translating to about five years.
Rice University's Bachelor of Architecture degree is open only to students who have completed a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture at Rice, as well as a two-semester preceptorship and some advanced courses. Once admitted, the competitive applicants train in the knowledge and practice of architecture through advanced critical thinking, experimentation, and research, accompanied by potential internships and research and design projects. The Bachelor of Architecture degree is a 62-credit program completed after the first undergraduate degree and takes an additional two years. The renowned Preceptorship Program at Rice places B.Arch students in offices across the world to gain experience as mentored and paid employees.
Tulane University's Bachelor of Architecture program is five years and structured through both required courses and a variety of electives, all preparing students for professional careers both the study of liberal arts and advanced study of architecture. The first year is dedicated to studying in design, visual and digital media, architectural history and theory, writing, and other courses on cultural knowledge of the field. The second and third year is more intense, and cover the program's requirements in studio work accompanied by further theory and studies. The fourth year consists of advanced architectural design studio courses and graduate-level seminars. All students have the opportunity for international study this year. The fifth year is when students complete an advanced thesis.
The Bachelor of Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design is a professional five-year degree that trains students in critical thinking, experimentation and design, and relevant investigation in the field. The curriculum provides foundations in all aspects of the field, with coursework dedicated to research, design, material performance, digital and manual representation, and the history of architecture. Courses include Design, Theory and History of Art and Design, Structural Analysis, and The Making of Design Principles. The fifth year is dedicated to intensive thesis work and workshops, as well as upper-level seminars and research studios.
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art's Bachelor of Architecture is a five-year professional program. The curriculum prepares students for opportunities in all aspects of the profession, which includes coursework grounded in the intellectual foundation of the liberal arts. Skills develop through a framework of studios and courses that equip students with the tools necessary to pursue individual research. Courses cover topics like architecture as a cultural practice and the different social and environmental implications it poses. Because Cooper's campus is in the heart of NYC in Manhattan, students benefit from learning in a stimulating professional, social, and cultural setting.
Best Value Schools publishes college degree rankings with the belief of how one’s higher education should be, both, affordable and an investment of continued value for the students who pursue them. The staff of BVS collects data from reputable sources in order to calculate Net Price and the short and long-term value of every ranked degree. Collected data is simplified into weighted categories before scoring and then scaled through a BVS Score up to 100. The weighted categories are:
Degree Investment Return (25%)
Student & Alumni Evaluation (25%)
Cost Value (25%)
Academic Success (15%)
No matter what degree you decide on, we hope our research and support has made the selection process easier. There are numerous resources BVS utilizes to collect information on degrees, and we encourage you to check them out for yourself!
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