BA in Architectural Studies

The major in Architectural Studies emphasizes skills and knowledge that are fundamental to thinking and writing about 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.

Besides requirements in architectural history and design, students are encouraged to take as electives for the major classes of architectural content or relevance 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 his or her chosen advisor in developing a coherent and meaningful program of study suited to his or her needs and interests. In addition to the major’s 11 courses, students interested in graduate studies in architecture should take calculus (CAS MA 121 or 123) and physics (CAS PY 105), and are encouraged to take CFA TH 110 and/or COM CM 311 for public speaking and presentation skills. 

Learning Outcomes

  1. 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.
  2. Students will demonstrate the ability to read critically, to think critically, to design creatively, and to write synthetically.
  3. Students will acquire a foundation in the history and theory of architecture and urbanism.
  4. Students will master effective analysis of visual, spatial, and structural issues in architecture.
  5. Students will demonstrate the ability to conduct research, manage evidence, and construct an argument concerning a topic in architecture, landscape, or urbanism.


All students entering as freshmen in Fall 2018 and after will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, 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, co-curricular experience.

Eleven courses are required for the major in Architectural Studies:

  • CAS AH 201 Understanding Architecture (4 cr)
  • CAS AH 111 Introduction to Art History I: Antiquity to the Middle Ages (4 cr)
  • CAS AH 398 Twentieth-Century Architecture (4 cr)
  • Three upper-level architectural history course core electives, at least one at 400 or 500 level (not 580)
  • CFA AR 412 Architectural Design I or CFA AR 428 Architecture Site Design I (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 selected in consultation with the Director of Architectural Studies
  • Three electives on topics of architectural relevance chosen with your advisor

For a full list of Architectural Studies electives, see the Art History department website or contact the Director of Architectural Studies.