What Is The Best Major For Architecture?
"I finally figured out what I want to do with my life, which is architecture. The college I go to doesn’t offer it, though. In fact, there’s only one college I’ve found in the state that does. My school offers some related disciplines, but I’m not sure whether I should be transferring to the school that offers architecture or staying where I am. Transferring seems like it’d be a major pain, but I want to do the right thing. What is the best major for architecture? Are there any alternatives I can choose?"
asked by Abigail from Arlington, VA
Ideally, you would need to major in architecture in order to get into the field. Fortunately you don’t have to. What’s most important is that you get the proper certifications. Learn the safety codes and physics principles for construction which are needed to create safe and functional buildings. If your school doesn’t offer a degree in architecture, check whether they offer a degree in civil engineering, which is a closely related field.
A major difference between the programs is that a Bachelor in Architecture is often a Bachelors of Arts (B.A.) degree, as opposed to a Bachelors of Science (B.S.) degree. Some universities will offer you a choice. The B.A. program puts a higher emphasis on the aesthetic principles of design. The B.S. program will place a higher emphasis on the scientific principles of design. A civil engineering degree on the other hand is always going to be a B.S. with a heavy emphasis on science, mathematics, and physics.
Becoming a qualified civil engineer enables you to design and erect buildings, just as if you were an architect. If you are confident in your aesthetic principles and you are okay learning all that math and science, you may be fine taking civil engineering.
This is a more common major than the architecture degree. If you feel a need to hone your aesthetic abilities and aren’t as concerned about the sciences, you might do better taking a Bachelor of Arts program in architecture.
On the other hand, if you struggle with math and science, you could see it as especially important that you get a better understanding of both. You may find the civil engineering degree is actually more comprehensive in the long run, though it will likely present you with more hurdles to get where you’re going.
It may also open more doors since your qualifications will be more extensive than those of an architect who didn’t get a B.S. degree. You will have an easier time dealing with safety codes and legal regulations with your scientific knowledge.
Nobody can tell you whether transferring or not is the right decision. That choice has to come from you.
Hopefully this provides you with some options, however. I recommend you talk to an advisor at your school in the engineering department. That person may be able to point you in the right direction and help you figure out the step by step process of becoming an architect via the educational route you choose.
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