Learning the Basics

Architecture is the artistic product and the discipline of building, designing, and assembling buildings or other constructed objects. Architectural projects, in the conventional material form such as homes, schools, and buildings, are commonly seen as artistic works and as social statements about the society and culture of the projects represent. Architecture majors examine architectural plans and design as a process that yields an original structure that has aesthetic, social, economic, or psychological merit. In addition to building structures, architects develop buildings, landscapes, furnishings, and structures for a variety of other purposes, such as urban planning and design.


Urban planners and designers specialize in creating and planning cities and communities, creating and arranging peoples’ daily lives within those communities, and analyzing the built environment to determine the needs, tastes, and preferences of the people who live in those communities. A number of different fields of study within the field of architecture exist, including landscape architecture, water management, housing and community planning, historic preservation, transportation planning, and outdoor space planning. The physical makeup of cities and neighborhoods varies significantly, from the type of land used, the height of the buildings and structures, the types of materials used, the climate, and more.

The discipline of architecture is highly diversified and requires a wide range of specialized degrees and certifications. In order to be considered an architect, an architecture major must have a Bachelors degree in a related field, typically in a relevant field such as civil engineering, mathematics, or building science. Those who wish to pursue a career in architecture should be committed to a course of study that will teach them the techniques, forms, and standards of architectural design, construction, and maintenance. Students can expect to take classes such as design theory, construction methods, environmental analysis, sustainability, building design, and visual communication. Specializations include interdisciplinary courses in cultural studies, government, and history.