School of Architecture

  • Dean

    Monica Ponce de Leon

  • Associate Dean

    Paul Lewis

  • Departmental Representative

    Mario I. Gandelsonas 

  • Director of Graduate Studies

    Jesse Reiser,  M.Arch, Post-Professional Program (fall)

    Paul Lewis, M.Arch, Post-Professional Program (spring)

    Forrest Meggers, M.Arch, Professional Program

    Beatriz Colomina, Ph.D. Program

  • Professor

    Stanley T. Allen

    M. Christine Boyer

    Beatriz Colomina

    Elizabeth Diller

    Mario I. Gandelsonas

    Paul Lewis

    Guy J.P. Nordenson

    Monica Ponce de Leon

    Jesse A. Reiser

    Alejandro Zaera-Polo

  • Associate Professor

    Michael Meredith

    Spyridon Papapetros

  • Assistant Professor

    Lucia Allais

    Axel Kilian

    V. Mitch McEwen

    Forrest Meggers, also Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

  • Associated Faculty

    Sigrid M. Adriaenssens, Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Eduardo L. Cadava, English

    Bruno M. Carvalho, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

    Brigid Doherty, German and Art and Archaeology

    Hal Foster, Art and Archaeology

    Ruben Gallo, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

    Maria E. Garlock, Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Thomas Y. Levin, German

    Douglas S. Massey, Woodrow Wilson School and Sociology

    Anson G. Rabinbach, History

The undergraduate program at the School of Architecture is known for its rigorous and interdisciplinary approach to pre-professional education. The four-year undergraduate program leads to an A.B. with a concentration in architecture and offers an introduction to the discipline of architecture within the framework of a liberal arts curriculum. In addition to design and the history and theory of architecture and urbanism, undergraduates study a range of disciplines that contribute to an architect's knowledge and vision, including courses in architectural analysis, representation, computing, and building technologies. Such a broad academic program also prepares students for a graduate program in architecture and other related disciplines such as landscape architecture, urban planning, civil engineering, art history, and the visual arts.

Information and Departmental Plan of Study


Students who wish to enter the school are required to complete two courses: ARC 203 Introduction to Architectural Thinking, and ARC 204 Introduction to Architectural Design during their freshman or sophomore year. The courses do not need to be taken in sequence. At least one course in architectural history, taken in either the School of Architecture or the Department of Art and Archaeology, is recommended but not required to be completed before their junior year.

Program of Study

The program provides a foundation for graduate professional study in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, historic preservation, and related fields of study. In particular, the program prepares students for further study at the graduate level in design and the history and theory of art or architecture.

In addition to the general prerequisites and the requirements for independent work, each student is required to complete 10 courses in three cognate areas. The History and Theory distribution requires six courses : three courses in History and Theory of Architecture, two of which are ARC 308 and ARC 403; two courses in History and Theory of Urbanism and Landscape; and at least one upper level course to be taken in the Department of Art and Archaeology. The Technology distribution requires two courses, one of which is ARC 311 Building Science and Technology: Building Systems. The Design Seminar distribution requires two courses, one of whch must be ARC 206. All students are required to take Junior Studios (ARC 350 and ARC 351), ARC 308: History of Architectural Theory in the fall of their junior year and ARC 403: Topics in the History and Theory of Architecture in the fall semester of their senior year. This course covers methodologies of historical analysis and research, the literature of the field, and the varieties of architectural writing. All students are required to enroll in ARC 404 Advanced Design Studio, in the fall semester of their senior year. The advanced design studio presents a challenging independent design project in which the knowledge of previous studios is synthesized and new techniques of representation are employed. Students should check with the school office to determine which one-time-only courses are being offered during the academic year.

Independent Work

Each student is required to complete independent work in each semester of the junior and senior years.

Junior Year. In the junior year, the independent work requirement is satisfied by a paper (of approximately 30 pages), due at the end of the academic year addressing a subject related to architecture selected by the student, in consultation with a faculty member. The work will be initiated in the fall (topic, outline and bibliography) and completed in the spring. Students will work in consultation with their faculty adviser.

Senior Year. In the fall and spring semesters of the senior year, the independent work requirement is satisfied by the architectural thesis. The senior thesis is a detailed project, presenting a well-argued piece of research on a precise architectural theme, and may include a substantial amount and variety of visual materials (including any of several forms of representation, for example, architectural drawings, models, video, photographs, and computer-generated images). The final presentation and oral defense of the senior thesis in the spring will constitute a section of the departmental examination.

The thesis is a year-long project that begins in the fall semester. Faculty thesis advisers are assigned at the end of the fall term of the senior year, and students work closely with the adviser in the formulation of the topic, research methods, organization of the thesis material, and presentation of the work.

Senior Departmental Examination

All students in the program will take the departmental examination in May of their senior year.

Preparation for Graduate Study

Students who contemplate pursuing graduate professional study in architecture are strongly advised to elect MAT 103 and PHY 101. Courses in the social sciences and art and architectural history are also encouraged.

Professional Study in Architecture. Princeton undergraduates completing the program, if admitted to Princeton's graduate professional program (M.Arch. degree), generally complete their graduate studies in three years. Advanced standing may be granted by professional graduate schools at other universities.

In order to qualify for licensing as architects in the United States, students are required, by individual states, to complete a program leading to a professional degree that is accepted by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. Please see the NAAB statement at the end of this section.

Architecture and Engineering. Students interested in pursuing studies in both architecture and civil engineering may participate in the interdisciplinary certificate program in Architecture and Engineering. For further information, consult the appropriate entry for the Program in Architecture and Engineering.

Program in Urban Studies. The Program in Urban Studies is an interdepartmental plan of study for undergraduates that offers an interdisciplinary framework for the study of cities, metropolitan regions, and urban and suburban landscapes. With courses in diverse departments including art and archaeology, history, music, civil and environmental engineering, sociology, and politics, along with the School of Architecture and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the program encourages students to think about metropolitan centers in all their complexity as physical spaces; social, cultural, political, and economic nexuses; and historical artifacts. For more information, please see the program's website.

Facilities. The Architecture Building is home to undergraduate and graduate design studios, Betts Auditorium, an exhibition gallery, the School of Architecture Library, the Archives and Audio-Visual Resources Collection, the Computer-Aided Design and Imaging Facility, and facilities for work related to building and construction technologies.

The School of Architecture has two model-building facilities available to students. The first is the School of Architecture Laboratory (aka SoA Lab), a full service model laboratory located on the School of Architecture's ground floor. It also houses some of the latest computer-driven fabrication technologies, including two Universal Laser Systems X Class CO2 Lasers; a Precix 4' X 8' Computerized Router Table; and the 3-D Systems Z-650 3-D Printer. All can be utilized after the completion of orientation and training sessions. There is a material charge to students for any model prints on the Z-650 3-D Printer. There are always Shop Staff or trained Student Shop Monitors on-duty when opened. The second facility is the Embodied Computation Laboratory (aka Arch Lab) which is located off the SoA grounds proper. This facility allows for heavier fabrication work, hands-on material experiments, and the construction of full-scale mock-ups. It has been where all Construction Methods labs are conducted. The Embodied Computation Laboratory also has become a working research laboratory focusing on parametric design, robotics, and fabrication. This site combines architectural and engineering experimentation for interdisciplinary design exploration and prototyping.

The School of Architecture Library is part of the larger Princeton University Library system. The holdings focus on architectural-related topics dating from the mid-19th century through the present, such as design, professional practice, architectural theory, landscape architecture, urban design, city planning, housing, architectural history, and interior design. The collection constitutes approximately 28,500 volumes on-site with thousands more housed in the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (ReCAP) facility. The library subscribes to more than 325 architectural-related journals and other serials. Supplementing the School of Architecture Library's collections are the Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology, the Engineering Library, and Firestone Library.

National Architectural Accrediting Board Statement. In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may require a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

Princeton University School of Architecture offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:

Master of Architecture (non-pre-professional degree + 108 graduate credit hours)
Master of Architecture (pre-professional degree + 72 graduate credit hours)

Next anticipated accreditation visit: 2023.