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Bachelor of Architecture

Program Overview

The Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) professional program is a five-year curriculum leading to the B.Arch. degree requiring 162 credits and contains additional intensive academic studies in architectural and related subjects required for professional development. This program prepares those who seek careers as practicing architects. It is also professional preparation for those entering related design fields. Graduates holding a B.Arch. first professional degree are eligible, after appropriate internship experience, for admission to the professional state licensing examination, and subsequent registration as architects. The B.Arch. in Architecture requires 45 credits of general education, including work in the areas of communications skills, natural science, quantification, art history, arts, social and behavioral sciences, humanities, and the health sciences and physical activity.

Incorporated into the program is a one-semester required study abroad program. Students can choose between an option in Rome, Italy or Copenhagen, Denmark. These opportunities are part of the fourth-year of studies. More information on each of these programs can be found on the Global Programs website

Upon entry to the Department of Architecture, students are enrolled in the Bachelor of Architecture degree (five-year, 162 credits, professional). Students may opt to change their major to the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in architecture (four-year, 135 credits, non-professional) at any point of their studies. See Bachelor of Science degree for more information.

Penn State students in good standing who choose at any point in the curriculum not to enroll in architecture design courses will have an academic hold placed on their registration. Students wishing to resume the studio sequence must have these holds cleared by November 15 for spring and April 15 for fall semester courses.


A. Professional core courses: 69 credits

  • Architectural design 42 credits
  • Visual communications 3 credits
  • Structural and environment control systems 6 credits*
  • Design and planning theories 6 credits
  • Architectural History 12 credits

B. Professional area studies: 21 credits

  • Architectural environmental control systems 9 credits
  • Architectural building materials 6 credits
  • Architectural and planning theories 6 credits

C. Professional degree studies: 18 credits

  • Architectural professional practice 3 credits
  • Integrated building systems 3 credits
  •  Architecture design thesis 12 credits

D. Supporting Courses: 15 credits

*6 credits are also included as part of the General Education courses

**3 credits are also included as part of the General Education courses.

(A minimum of 162 credits is required)

Notice: The University may make changes in policies, procedures, and educational offerings at any time.

Study Abroad

Required Program

All architecture majors are required to study abroad during the fall semester or the spring semester of their fourth year. Students have the choice between programs in either Rome, Italy or Copenhagen, Denmark.

Meetings will be held for third-year students in preparation for the semester in Rome. Sign-up sheets will be posted to determine who goes during the fall semester and who goes during the spring semester. 

Even though it is a requirement, all third-year architecture majors must complete the Education Abroad Application form, which initiates your semester abroad registration. More information on the program, application process, and deadlines can be found on the Global Programs website.

Optional Programs

In addition to the required semester abroad in either Rome or Copenhagen, architecture majors are encouraged to consider an additional international experience during the summer. Any of a number of summer faculty-led programs can satisfy General Education or General Education Arts credits, however, the Department of Architecture also sponsors a summer program in Korea and Japan designed specifically for architecture majors. 

Korea and Japan: During this six-week, 9-credit summer faculty-led program, participants are exposed to 4,000 years of cultural development in Japan and on the Korean peninsula. The first 10 days of the program are spent traveling in Japan touring seminal works of Japanese architecture and engaging members of the Japanese architectural community. For the next five weeks, students are enrolled at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea, where students work with Penn State faculty in a studio environment that engages the urban context of the South Korean capital. This portion of the program is informed by weekend travel throughout the peninsula, exploring significant works of Korean architecture, both ancient and modern. Application deadline for all summer programs is February 1. Contact Marcus Shaffer or Katsu Muramoto for information, or go to



Robert Reed Drawing Workshops

Cathy Braasch, assistant professor of architecture, was so moved by the passion of the late artist and educator Robert Reed that she has set out to share his life, work, and pedagogy with a whole new generation of students through the Robert Reed Drawing Workshops at Penn State and in New York at Hunter College and the Whitney Museum for American Art. Read the story.

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Department of Architecture
121 Stuckeman Family Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 814.865.9535
Fax: 814.863.8137
Program Assistant: Jennifer Howard