Architecture Student in 2022 - Before and After University

Here's an interesting fact about an architecture student.

If you ask any type of student how their studies are going, seldom will you receive an optimistic answer. That’s because college years are definitely not a piece of cake, regardless of the university and the major.

But if you ask an architecture student the same question, they will try to remember the last time they had a decent night’s rest.

Pursuing architecture is one of the most demanding areas of study.

It includes combating looming deadlines, projects that keep piling on, endless amounts of coffee and sleepless nights. Over time, you get used to the chaotic schedule, and your university studio becomes your second home.

In this guide, we will try to paint a picture of an average architecture student. Stick around if you’re interested in learning what it takes to become a great student of architecture and what to do after you’ve completed your studies. 

Architecture Student Library

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University - where every Architecture Student begins

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What does architecture education even look like?

If this is the career path you opted for, then be ready to completely devote yourself to it for a minimum of six years.

The key factors to take into consideration are university options, specific majors that you might be interested in, and of course, at least a vague idea of what you want to accomplish afterwards.

Every architecture student has to receive a higher education.

Just like with any other major, the education process entails earning the following degrees:

  • Bachelor’s degree - for architects, it usually lasts 5 years.
    Students are introduced to architectural theory, architectural history, computer aided-design, and many more core subjects. 
  • Master’s degree - obtaining a Master’s degree can take from one to five years, depending on the student and on the university.
    Around this time, architecture students have the opportunity to do various internships and further perfect their skills. 
  • PhD - obtaining a Master’s degree can take from one to five years, depending on the student and on the university.
    Around this time, architecture students have the opportunity to do various internships and further perfect their skills. 

As opposed to traditional architecture education, students with absolutely no experience in architecture also have the option of getting a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, engineering or design, and then proceed to earn a Master’s degree in architecture.

Even after you complete your studies, you will learn and evolve as an architect throughout your entire career. That’s why studying architecture is considered to be a life-time commitment.

What type of subjects and majors are available for Architecture Students?

Architecture Student Drawing

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Picking out your major is one of the most important decisions of your academic career.


When it comes to architecture, universities all over the world offer a wide variety of courses and majors.

Here are some of the most popular architecture majors:

  • City/urban, Community and Regional Planning
  • Interior Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Architectural Design
  • History and Theory of Architecture
  • Architectural Technology
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Real Estate Development
  • Environmental Architecture
  • Architectural and Building Sciences

Which universities are best for aspiring architects?

Architecture Student Taking Notes

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When it’s finally time to decide which university you want to enroll at, your decision should be based on a couple of determining factors:

  1. 1
    Does it offer courses you are interested in?
  2. 2
    Are the courses accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board?
  3. 3
    Does the course curriculum include all the necessary subjects?
  4. 4
    Will the course prepare you for the real world?
  5. 5
    The university’s location.
  6. 6
    Is it something you see yourself doing in the future?

Universities welcome students who are skilled at math and geometry, as well as individuals who have shown their interest and passion for design and art, by attending courses, internships, summer programs, and similar.

Some of the best universities in the world for architects are: 

  • Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands
  • ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)
  • The Bartlett School of Architecture
  • Harvard University Graduate School of Design
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia
  • The UPC School of Professional & Executive Development
  • Architectural Association School of Architecture

University Tuition 

Architecture Students lauhging

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Of course, university tuition and fees vary from country to country. According to CollegeCalc.org, a four-year Bachelor’s degree amounts to $179,376, while a two-year Master’s degree fluctuates between $27,600 and $72,580.

These totals don’t include other student fees and expenses, such as accommodation, course materials and supplies, travel expenses and the overall cost of living. What students are usually left with are enormous loans and debts that take a lifetime to repay.

Having said that, students have the option of searching for scholarships, which can cover their tuition either partially or entirely.

So before you decide which university to enroll at, make sure to thoroughly investigate available scholarships both your university and country have to offer.

If you want to know more about architecture education, check out our blog.


Life of an Architecture Student

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What does a day in the life of an architecture student look like?


These are just some of the aspects your average architecture student comes across on a daily basis. 

  • Sketching, drawing and drafting - your day-to-day college life will include making models, creating portfolios, and slowly bringing your own ideas to light.
    Remember, practice makes perfect
  • Drinking several cups of coffee a day. Due to the lack of sleep architecture students are cursed with, coffee can sure help and make you more productive.
    Just be careful not to drink too much.
  • Be prepared to spend almost all your time in a studio. It will become your home away from home, where you will meet colleagues and new friends, practise teamwork and collaboration during projects, and perfect your skills.
  • Teamwork is emphasized. Throughout your future architecture career, you will always be closely working with someone (whether it’s a client, a project manager or an interior designer).
    For that reason, college prepares you by forcing you to always work and study in groups. 
  • Stress is bound to be around. Especially when all those projects and assignments start accumulating. Soon you’ll be seeing studying materials and deadlines wherever you go.

How to survive university as an Architecture Student

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Here are some of our tips for future architecture students:


1) Have the right equipment.

Apart from necessary technology you literally can’t live without (like laptops and drawing tablets), make sure to have a sketchbook, drawing pens and pencils, different types of rulers, tracing paper, a cutting mat, and other valuable architecture tools.


2) Every opportunity you have to rest your eyes, seize it.

Pulling all-nighters is not unheard of in the world of architecture students. Every hour of sleep is precious.


3) Don’t forget to set aside time for yourself.

This is extremely important. Whenever you have a chance, spend some time with your friends, go out for drinks, read a book or watch your favorite TV show.


4) Attend all your classes and take notes.

If you miss out on just one, lectures and study materials will just pile up, until you are faced with a plethora of assignments and presentations that are due tomorrow. 


5) Become acquainted with basic technology

As a modern architect, you will need to be versed in computer-aided design, 3D printing, parametric design and the latest programs you will be using on a daily basis.


6) Networking is very important.

As a student of architecture, you must recognize the importance of networking from the very beginning.

This doesn’t only apply to making new friends, but meeting people with similar interests, connecting on social media, and most importantly, staying in touch.

You never know, some of those people might end up being your future colleagues.


What to do after university?

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When you've finally passed all your exams and graduated from university, you might think to yourself that the hard part is finally over. That you have finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel.

Well, we’re here to tell you that your journey is far from over.

Before you start sending your resume to various companies, make sure to do these two things first:

Do an architecture internship

You may have already covered this step during your college years.

Going through an internship in an architecture firm will be a great way to gain on-the-job experience and see what being an architect actually looks like. Whether we are talking about paid or unpaid internships, there are loads of great options that companies offer to beginners.


As an architecture intern, you will learn how to:

  • Work on architectural drawings and docume
  • Build various models
  • Perfect your designing skills
  • Start working on CAD
  • See how work is actually done

Become a licensed architect 

If you want to become a licensed architect, we suggest completing a paid internship that lasts up to three years. Afterwards, you are permitted to take the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).

According to the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), it takes an average of 12.7 years to complete core requirements before you can become licensed.

If you want to pass the ARE, these are some of the categories and subjects you need to brush up on: construction documents and services, programming, planning and practice, site planning and design, building design and construction systems, structural systems, building systems and schematic design.


What can you do with an architecture diploma?

After completing all the necessary steps, it’s finally time to go job hunting. There is a great number of things you can do with an architecture degree.


Here are some of the most popular occupations architecture students end up choosing:

  • Civil engineer - this job includes designing, operating and overseeing transportation and infrastructure projects (e.g. building roads, airports, bridges, tunnels, buildings, etc.).
  • Construction manager - people with this occupation also oversee and manage numerous building projects from start to finish.
    The job description also includes organizing everyone’s work schedule and making sure all the employees are following it properly, and similar.
  • Architectural technologist - they specialize in the latest technology architects use, and they are responsible for managing projects all the way through, with the main focus on designing buildings and turning plans into constructions.
  • Interior and spatial designer - if you prefer working with interior spaces, where you can put your artistic skills to use, then this just might be the right vocation for you.
    You will be required to work with different areas of interior design, such as furnishings, fittings, lighting, color schemes, and so on.
  • CAD technician - this job requires using Computer-aided design (CAD) software to design products, structures and buildings. Students who are skilled at math and engineering can usually see themselves doing something like this.
  • Digital mapping - your main responsibilities would be using mapping software to analyze spatial data and researching spatial patterns and trends.
  • Drafter - if you enjoy making 3D models, then you could be in charge of drafting and designing new products in CAD.
  • Graphic designer - if technological skills are your strong suit, graphic design might be the career path for you.
    You would be tasked with designing various formats, concepts, styles, layouts, and many more things.
  • Industrial designer - these types of architects design and plan the construction of commercial and public buildings, as well as industrial premises.
  • Landscape architect - if you have an eye for aesthetics and nature, then landscape architecture might be for you.
    Your job description would include planning and designing open spaces (parks, gardens, city centers…)
  • Urban & regional planner - if designing outdoor spaces is something that might interest you, then consider urban planning.
    This branch of architecture deals with designing different types of environments, like urban, rural, spatial, etc.

If none of these options appeal to you, then consider pursuing a career in one of the following choices:

building surveyor, commercial or residential surveyor, estates manager, estimator, historic buildings inspector/conservation officer, and similar.

The good news is that there will always be a demand for architects.

But if you’re currently in the midst of your studies, focus on passing your exams for now, and worry about the future later.

Even when you finish your formal degree, you will still learn the architecture trade.
 

The most important advice we have to offer is to simply enjoy where you are right now. No matter how difficult and complicated studying architecture might be, it’s still a rewarding process that will eventually pay off.

 

What’s your favorite part of being an architecture student? Let us know in the comments section below.

About the Author

Dušan Cvetković is a professional architect from Serbia with international experience in the industry. Collaborated with numerous clients all around the world in the field of architecture design, 3D modeling and software education. He's been teaching Rhinoceros3D to thousands of architects through How to Rhino community and various social media channels.