School of Architecture
- Mónica Ponce de León
- Paul Lewis
Director of Undergraduate Studies
- Mario I. Gandelsonas
Director of Graduate Studies
- Beatriz Colomina, Ph.D. program
- Michael Meredith, M.Arch, professional program (fall 2019)
- Marshall Brown, M.Arch, professional program (spring 2020)
- Jesse A. Reiser, M.Arch, post-professional program
- Stanley T. Allen
- M. Christine Boyer
- Beatriz Colomina
- Elizabeth Diller
- Mario I. Gandelsonas
- Sylvia Lavin
- Paul Lewis
- Guy J. P. Nordenson
- Jesse A. Reiser
- Alejandro Zaera-Polo
- Lucia Allais
- Marshall B. Brown
- Michael Meredith
- Spyros Papapetros
- Erin D. Besler
- V. Mitch McEwen
- Forrest Meggers
- Stefana Parascho
- Cameron Wu
The undergraduate program at the School of Architecture (link is external) 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 studying design and the history and theory of architecture and urbanism, undergraduates engage 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 concentrate in architecture are required to complete two courses during their first year or sophomore year: ARC 203 Introduction to Architectural Thinking and ARC 204 Introduction to Architectural Design. 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 architecture program provides a foundation 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 ten courses in three related areas: history and theory, technology, and design. The History and Theory distribution requires six courses: three History and Theory of Architecture courses, 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 which must be ARC 206.
Architecture concentrators take the following sequence of courses in their junior and senior year: Junior Studio, which consists of ARC 350 and ARC 351, and two required history and theory courses: ARC 308: History of Architectural Theory (taken in the fall of the junior year) and ARC 403: Topics in the History and Theory of Architecture in the fall semester of the senior year. These courses introduce methodologies of historical analysis and research, the literature of the field, and varieties of architectural writing.
In the fall semester of their senior year, students are required to enroll in ARC 404: Advanced Design Studio. ARC 404 is centered around independent design projects in that synthesize students’ training and interests and investigate new approaches to representation.
Students should check with the Academic Programs office and Department Representative to determine which one-time-only courses are being offered during the academic year.
Independent work provides an essential part of an architecture concentrator’s training in their junior and senior years.
Junior Year. The junior independent work requirement is satisfied by a paper (about 30 pages) selected by the student in consultation with a faculty member. The work is initiated in the fall (topic, outline and bibliography) and completed in the spring. Students work throughout the year in consultation with their faculty adviser. A Ph.D. student mentor also provides writing support.
Senior Year. The senior thesis in architecture is a year-long project that begins with ARC 403 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 their adviser to formulate their topic, define research methods, organize thesis material, and refine the presentation of the scholarship.
The senior thesis is intended to be a detailed project, presenting a well-argued piece of research on a precise architectural theme, and may include several forms of representation. For example, students commonly utilize architectural drawings, models, video, photographs, and computer-generated drawings and models. The final presentation and oral defense of the senior thesis in the spring constitutes a section of the departmental examination.
Senior Departmental Examination
All students in the architecture program take the departmental examination [DC1] in May of their senior year. The exam consists of a dialog with one’s advisor and second reader around the thesis itself and a brief (10-15 min) presentation summarizing the student’s principal questions, findings, and contribution to existing research. Students typically show images and highlight what was most interesting and exciting about the project.
Preparation for Graduate Study
The concentration in architecture offers a rich and wide-ranging curriculum that blends foundational knowledge with experience in architectural writing and creative workflows and processes. The concentration provides training that prepares students for a variety of career choices. Architecture students typically pursue practice and/or teaching, both of which require further study at the graduate level.
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.
Located at the center of campus, 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.
Architecture students have two model-building facilities available to them. The first is the School of Architecture Laboratory (aka SoA Lab), which 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, and there are Shop Staff or trained Student Shop Monitors on-duty when opened. The second facility is the new Embodied Computation Laboratory (aka Arch Lab or ECL). This facility is a working research laboratory focusing on parametric design, robotics, and fabrication which allows for heavier fabrication work, hands-on material experiments, and full-scale mock-ups and prototypes.
Located on the second floor, School of Architecture Library is part of the larger Princeton University Library system. Its 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. Although the site is modest in size, with about 28,500 volumes on-site, there are thousands more volumes housed in the Research Collections and Preservation Consortium (ReCAP) facility. Importantly, the library also subscribes to more than 325 architectural-related journals and other serials. The University’s collections related to architecture also extend across campus, with important resources in the Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology, the Engineering Library, andand 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.