Bachelor of Arts

Major in Architecture

Architecture major handbook:

The Program

Berkeley's undergraduate program in architecture leads to the bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree. The program combines required courses in environmental design and architecture with opportunities for highly varied individual programs. Through its core courses, the program offers a broad introduction to the field of architecture, and through studies in the various areas it provides opportunities to prepare for specialization in the field in the areas of architectural design and representation, architectural technologies and building performance, architectural history, and society and culture. In addition to offering a sound and well-rounded education, undergraduate studies can also provide pre-professional competency for entry-level employment in architecture, the option for graduate work in architecture, or further studies in a related environmental design field.

Some graduates go on to obtain professional degrees in architecture or in other related fields; many others work in architectural practice, construction, government, or industry. Employment opportunities exist also at the community level, particularly in those communities that traditionally have not been served by professional architectural practice. The overall aim of the undergraduate program is to establish a strong foundation for a diversity of careers and to provide for mobility and flexibility to suit changing individual opportunities.

Course of Study

All undergraduates follow the same path through their junior year. In the first two years, students take a breadth of lower-division courses and the introductory environmental design courses. The junior year is architecture-intensive. In the fall semester, students take a design studio and a history and humanities option. In the spring, the required courses include another studio, a course in history and a technology option.

Program Tracks

During the spring semester of the junior year, students choose either a design research track or a studio track for the senior year.

Design Research Track

The design research track option explores a particular theme for both the fall and spring semesters of the senior year. This theme changes each year, and is taught by a group of faculty members on a subject of their shared interest. For the fall semester, students enroll in a design research preparation seminar, and for the spring semester, students take a studio — led by the same faculty — in which they develop their research and explorations, culminating in a design project and documented in a pamphlet.

See the ARCH 102A Project Track Preparation Seminar course description on the architecture fall courses page for the current project track description.

Studio Track

The studio track option is studio-intensive, with more architecture courses required in addition to a design studio each semester. Studio-track students enroll in a structures course in the fall, and choose between an energy and environment or construction course in the spring.


The B.A. degree is a pre-professional degree and provides the foundation for entry to a Master of Architecture program, the most widespread professional degree program in architecture in the United States. The B.A. degree can also be applied toward licensing requirements in the State of California. See the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) for more information on accreditation. See the California Architects Board and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) for more information on licensing.

For licensing in California, the four-year Bachelor of the Arts in architecture (BA) has an experiential equivalent of 3 1/2 years (maximum credits allowed). Candidates eligible as of January 1, 2005 or after are subject to IDP/IAP requirements. Please see the California Architects Board website for more information about experience equivalents.


See Additional Programs for information on minors offered by the College of Environmental Design, as well as other minors available to architecture majors.