Frequently Asked Questions on HWS architecture major and becoming an architect
No. HWS' Architectural Studies major is a pre-professional liberal arts degree. You will receive a B.A. in Architecture when you graduate.
No. In order to become a licensed architect, you need to study architecture in an accredited professional program, either at the undergraduate (Bachelor of Architecture degree) or graduate level (Masters of Architecture degree). HWS’s program is a 4-year pre-professional non-accredited liberal arts college major in architecture studies. You can work in an architecture office; you just can’t become licensed until you go to graduate school. In order to become a licensed architect after completing HWS’s degree, you will need to go to a 3 year M. Arch. program at a major university.
No. Architecture involves learning a multitude of approaches to solving problems and math is just one minor part of the whole design process. If you want to go to architecture school, you will have to take one course in Calculus and one course in Physics, but you do not have to be a math genius or love math before entering an M.Arch. program (but these courses are not required for admission to a program). If you want to go to Landscape Architecture school, you do not have to take any math. Designers consult with engineers throughout the design and construction process. Design is collaborative!
About 50% of our majors apply to graduate M. Arch. programs. The other 50% choose to work in real estate, construction management, historic preservation, interior design, planning, or landscape architecture. Our program is so strong that the success rate for students applying to graduate M. Arch. programs is 100% - every student who applies to graduate school gets in!
Our students have gone to all the major national architecture schools, including Harvard University, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania (Penn), University of Virginia, Cornell, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arch), Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Buffalo, Syracuse University, and many others.
Because you will have more options when you graduate and you will have gotten the kind of
well-rounded education that is valued by the profession.
Because the architecture profession rewards architects who have done their professional training at the graduate level in and M.Arch. program. You will be better paid and have more career opportunities. The 5 year B.Arch. degree is less valuable and has far less career advancement possibilities than the M. Arch. B.Arch. graduates tend to be hired in lower-level drafting positions, while M. Arch. graduates tend to be hired for upper-level design and management positions. If you only want to work for an architect, get the B.Arch. If you really want to be an architect, you’ll need the M. Arch. degree.
Every architect who wants to be a leader in the profession needs to have a Masters degree, so if you get a 5 year B.Arch, you will still have to go to graduate school to be highly competitive in the working world.
A 5 year B.Arch. degree might appear to be a faster track to becoming an architect than a 4 year B. A. degree at HWS followed by 3 years in an graduate M. Arch. program.
However, since many B.Arch graduates find their career advancement limited, they are forced to go back to school for an additional 2 year graduate M. Arch. degree. Thus, the apparent time advantage vanishes!
Your classes will be small. You will receive personal guidance from real architects in making decisions about your career and schooling.
You will have more time for extracurricular activities. In a 5-year professional program, you will do nothing but study architecture and spend all your time with architecture students.
The bottom line: Do you want to be 22 years old and only be able to be an architect or do you want to be 22 years old and have career options that include architecture, landscape architecture, city planning, interior design, industrial design, historic preservation and many other fields?
You can work in an architecture or landscape architecture firm under the guidance of a licensed architect. You can work on a historic preservation project. You can work with an interior designer. You can work in architectural journalism. You will be qualified to work in almost any field that has something to do with the built environment.
No, we do not require a design portfolio for admission.
We are the only liberal arts college in the country that has an architecture program staffed by two trained architects, employed as full-time faculty. We have well-equipped inhouse design studios. All other programs are typically staffed by studio art faculty, or a part-time architect who stops in a few times a week, or send their students to a nearby university to take a design studio.
Yes. While architecture coursework is challenging and time-consuming, students who wish to play sports or participate in extracurricular clubs find the time to do so.
Yes. The HWS architecture students have a club that is an official chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students. The organization offers great opportunities for networking with architecture students, faculty, and professionals across the country.
Locally, the organization works with the architecture student society at Syracuse University to coordinate activities, field trips, and lectures. Our students also regularly attend lectures and reviews at Cornell University.
Yes. Many of our students spend a semester (usually during their Junior year) studying design and art/architectural history in Copenhagen, Denmark; Rome, Italy; Norwich, England; Bath, England; Aix-en-Provence, France; and Lingnan, Hong Kong.
Yes. Our program prides itself on teaching students to take an ethical stance when it comes to architecture, whether that is through community outreach or sustainable design. Our belief is that Architects must be stewards of the environment. Discussion and design of green architecture is integrated throughout the HWS architecture studies curriculum.
Join our group at HWS Architecture.