Non-professional degree lets students explore options

Kelsey Henninger

Program gives architecture students interested in journalism, graphic design careers less studio, tech-intensive option

Some architecture students may not be ready to devote their days and nights to studio time in Taylor Hall, but with the Architecture and Environmental Design’s new Bachelor of Arts degree, students can achieve a non-professional architecture degree.

The Bachelor of Arts degree is a strong base for students who do not want the full studio- and technical-based professional architecture program but are interested in related careers such as graphic design, journalism or business.

Beth Bilek-Golias, coordinator of the Bachelor of Arts degree, said the program gives students interested in architecture, but not ultimately becoming a licensed architect, the flexibility to take electives to strengthen their related interests.

Most electives courses come from the colleges of Architecture and Environmental Design, Arts, Arts and Sciences, Business, and Technology.

The idea was developed by Steven Fong, the former dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, and was approved within months, said Maurizio Sabini, graduate studies coordinator.

“We are enthusiastically trying to make this program a success,” Sabini said.

The flexible curriculum is beneficial because it gives students the opportunity to develop their individual careers and pursue their interests, he said.

“All the chips were in the right spot for me,” said freshman architecture major Arthur Schmidt, when asked why he considered this major. “(The degree) drew me to it because I could focus on international business, too.”

Schmidt said he can concentrate more on the design of the building and not worry about things that don’t interest him, such as electrical aspects.

His goal is to attend graduate school, achieve his professional license and open his own architecture firm.

Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts requirements focus on the history of architecture, with courses such as architectural and art history constant throughout the degree.

Representation of Design I and II, courses that examine the tools designers use and investigate the power of design in relation to digital media and information visualization, are taken in the first year.

This leaves about 18 hours for liberal education requirement classes in the first year. A foreign language is recommended to occupy six credit hours.

While continuing their architectural and art history courses, students take Structural Typology, an introduction to structures and materials.

The first studio class is taken spring semester of their second year. In this course students gain familiarity with basic architectural problems and solutions through sketching and experiments in a variety of media.

This leaves another possible 18 hours for LERs in the second year.

During the third year, the second studio class is taken along with a writing-intensive course in urban design and writing.

This leaves 18 possible LERs, but three hours must be an architecture elective.

Students in the fall semester of their fourth year study abroad in Florence, Italy with six architecture electives and nine other electives.

Their final semester is filled with six hours of architecture electives and nine of other electives, which will support their career plans, and with additional work, can result in a minor or major concentration in a related field.

The Bachelor of Arts takes about 85 hours of LERs — architecture and non-architecture electives.

Bachelor of Science

Students engage in their first studio class during their first semester in the Bachelor of Science program. They are required to take more math and science courses — for example, physics and calculus courses are required and prerequisites for a majority of the other courses.

The Bachelor of Science majors study abroad in Florence in their third year, and overall, the degree takes 54 to 60 LERs.

“The Bachelor of Science is a fast track toward a professional graduate degree in architecture,” Bilek-Golias said. “It is technical-subject intensive.”

Bachelor of Arts students can enter a professional program in architecture graduate school, which allows students to sit in for the exam to achieve their professional license, Bilek-Golias said.

This program will help enrollment and expand options for students in the architecture college, Sabini said.

“It’s becoming quite popular to get a non-professional degree and move onto a three-year graduate program,” Sabini said.

Sabini estimated about 20 to 25 students are currently enrolled in this degree. The goal is 50 students by next spring.

Students agree this degree allows them to get involved with the architecture program instead of waiting to be admitted into the professional program.

Trevor Kline plans to graduate this spring with the very first Bachelor of Arts degree.

Kline said this degree is great for those interested in architecture but unsure if they want a professional license.

Bilek-Golias said faculty members are very encouraging and their brainstorming helps.

This program encourages students to explore career options, Bilek-Golias said. Students can combine other areas and become more marketable.

Contact College of Architecture and Environmental Design reporter Kelsey Henninger at [email protected].