BA in Architectural Studies

The major in Architectural Studies emphasizes skills and knowledge that are fundamental to understanding, designing, and writing about historical and contemporary buildings and spaces, as well as to careers and graduate study in architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation, and urban planning. The major takes advantage of Boston’s vibrant architectural scene and is especially appropriate for students considering graduate study leading to careers in the design professions.

The Architectural Studies major includes a study abroad opportunity through the BU Venice Studio Arts program, as well as internship opportunities through the Architecture Capstone course (CAS AH 486). Students are also encouraged to take as free electives for the major classes of architectural content or in related areas such as archaeology, anthropology, philosophy, history, sociology, engineering, and urban affairs. Opportunities exist for dual majors or major/minor combinations and are encouraged for those who wish to pursue an interdisciplinary liberal arts education. Each student works closely and regularly with their chosen advisor in developing a coherent and meaningful program of study suited to their needs and interests. In addition to the major’s 11 courses, students considering graduate studies in architecture should take calculus (CAS MA 121 or 123) and physics (CAS PY 105), and are also encouraged to take CFA TH 110 and/or COM CM 311 for public speaking and presentation skills. 

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Acquire knowledge of specific areas of learning that will prepare the student for a future career in architecture or related fields of design.
  • Demonstrate the ability to read critically, to think critically, to design creatively, and to write synthetically.
  • Acquire a foundation in the history and theory of architecture and urbanism.
  • Master effective analysis of visual, spatial, and structural issues in architecture.
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct research, manage evidence, and construct an argument concerning a topic in architecture, landscape, or urbanism.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Architectural Studies will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation and some elements of the Intellectual Toolkit, as well as, depending upon elective choices, other BU Hub requirements in Scientific and Social Inquiry and Communication. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experience.


Students must earn a minimum grade of C in all AH courses taken toward the major.

Eleven courses are required for the major in Architectural Studies:

  • CAS AH 111 Pyramids to Cathedrals: An Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Art
  • CAS AH 201 Understanding Architecture
  • CAS AH 398 Twentieth-Century Architecture
  • Three upper-level architectural history course core electives*, one of which must be:
    • an architectural history seminar course*
  • CFA AR 412 Architectural Design 1 or CFA AR 428 Architecture Site Design 1 (This requirement may be satisfied by completion of an intensive summer architectural design course from an accredited architecture school, e.g., Design Discovery at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.)
  • One of selected College of Fine Arts studio art course core electives in architectural design, drawing, installation art, or other media*
  • Three free electives on topics of architectural content or relevance from the Architectural Studies course list*

*For eligible core, seminar, and free elective classes, see lists posted on the Architectural Studies website.

Honors in Architectural Studies

The opportunity to complete the major with honors is also available (see the Architectural Studies website for guidelines).

More Information

For more information about the Architectural Studies program, see the Architectural Studies website.