Architectural Studies BS

Major: Architectural Studies
Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Science (BS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Minimum Required Credits: 181.0
Co-op Options: No Co-op (Four years); One Co-op (Four years)
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 04.0803

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 25-1031

About the Program

The Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies degree offers an introduction to architecture while affording students the flexibility to customize their studies based on their interest in the realm of design and the built environment. The program encompasses foundation courses in the applied and social sciences, the humanities, and a range of architecture courses to give students an understanding of the discipline. At the heart of the curriculum are the introductory-level design studios where students are challenged to apply their knowledge acquired from the above disciplines to consequential design problems.

As an art, a technical craft, and an ethical practice, architecture is the culturally responsible design and production of buildings that are functional, sustainable, inspiring, and responsive to their physical and social contexts. Students have the opportunity to reinforce their skills in the field by opting to participate in Drexel’s signature co-op program, giving students the opportunity to work full-time in an architecture or design firm or related fields either locally, nationally, or internationally. The BS in Architectural Studies program prepares students for entry-level employment in architecture and in fields related to architecture; however, this program is not NAAB accredited and does not directly prepare for architectural licensure and registration. This degree is offered as a co-op and a non-co-op option. The degree modality is face-to-face; however, a small number of classes may be offered partially or fully in a virtual format, which allows us to attract talented experts from outside the greater Philadelphia area and provides more flexibility for students on coop or out working in the profession.  

The pre-professional BS in Architectural Studies degree creates the foundation in the field of architecture as preparation for continued education in a professional NAAB-accredited graduate degree program. It is also the ideal foundation for specialization in other related disciplines such as Design Research, Urban Strategies, Interior Architecture & Design, Construction Management, Real Estate Development, and Digital Media & Animation, as well as pursuing an individualized path with coursework in other design disciplines within Westphal College.

Note: Bachelor of Architecture vs Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and Architecture vs Architectural Engineering  

Because Drexel University offers three programs with "architecture" in their titles, it is useful to point out the significant differences between them:

  • Architects design buildings to meet people's spatial, organizational, and aesthetic needs; they also coordinate the building design process. All states, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) require individuals to be licensed (registered) before they may call themselves architects or contract to provide architectural services. Many architecture school graduates work in the field even though they are not licensed or while they are in the process of becoming licensed, but they may not call themselves an architect.

    licensed architect is required to take legal responsibility for all work. Licensure requirements usually include:
    • A professional degree in architecture (B.Arch. or M.Arch. degrees)
    • A period of practical training or internship (AXP)
    • Passage of all divisions of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE)
  • Architectural Engineers specialize in the design of engineering systems within buildings. Architectural engineers earn Bachelor of Science degrees and become professional engineers with the required experience and state examinations. Students whose interests are focused on the technological and engineering aspects of buildings should review Drexel's major in Architectural Engineering offered by the College of Engineering.

The difference between the NAAB-accredited Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) degree and the non-accredited Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies (BS in Arch. Studies) degree:

Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) degrees are designed to help you develop a comprehensive knowledge of the discipline of architecture, as well as foundational professional knowledge and a basic understanding of related fields. The NAAB-accredited B.Arch. degree at Drexel University is suitable for students who seek to earn a professional undergraduate degree that leads to professional licensure and affords them early exposure to architectural practice. While our B.Arch. degree does NOT participate in Drexel's signature co-op program, our students' opportunity to gain professional work experience and complete most or all of their AXP requirements prior to graduation far exceeds the practice exposure of co-op. A conventional B.Arch. degree is typically five years long. The 2+4 Option and the PT Evening Option take longer to complete due to the part-time model but allows an accelerated path to professional licensure due to parallel AXP completion and the option to participate in IPAL. 

The Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies (BS in Arch. Studies) degree is a four-year, pre-professional degree that is NOT accredited by NAAB. You will develop a comprehensive knowledge of the discipline of architecture, hone your design skills, and expand your architectural understanding. If you’re unsure about becoming a licensed architect, this degree provides flexible avenues to combine your studies with related fields. Our BS in Architectural Studies degree can be a precursor to a dual BS/MS degree at Drexel University or a professional NAAB-accredited M.Arch. degree.

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements will be similar to those admitted to the Architecture Program: 1250+/- SAT scores and 3.3+/- high school GPA. Applicants should submit eight to 12 pieces of work in a variety of media that demonstrate a balance of technique and concept. Portfolio guidelines for the B.S. in Architectural Studies will follow the current Westphal College description. A writing supplement is required.

Degree Requirements

General Education Requirements
CIVC 101Introduction to Civic Engagement1.0
COOP 101Career Management and Professional Development *1.0
ENGL 101Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research3.0
or ENGL 111 English Composition I
ENGL 102Composition and Rhetoric II: Advanced Research and Evidence-Based Writing3.0
or ENGL 112 English Composition II
ENGL 103Composition and Rhetoric III: Themes and Genres3.0
or ENGL 113 English Composition III
MATH 101Introduction to Analysis I4.0
MATH 102Introduction to Analysis II4.0
PHYS 182Applied Physics I3.0
PHIL 317Ethics and Design Professions3.0
UNIV A101The Drexel Experience2.0
Arts and Humanities - students elect a minimum of 12 credits12.0
Natural Science - students elect a minimum of 3 credits3.0
Social Science - students elect a minimum of 9 credits9.0
Free Electives24.0
Architecture Requirements
Studios (must be taken in sequence)
ARCH 181Architecture Studio 1A4.0
ARCH 182Architecture Studio 1B4.0
ARCH 183Architecture Studio 1C4.0
ARCH 281Architecture Studio 2A4.0
ARCH 282Architecture Studio 2B4.0
ARCH 283Architecture Studio 2C4.0
Required Professional Courses
ARCH 141Architecture and Society I3.0
ARCH 142Architecture and Society II3.0
ARCH 143Architecture and Society III3.0
ARCH 144Architecture and Society IV3.0
ARCH 211Architectural Representation I2.0
ARCH 212Architectural Representation II2.0
ARCH 213Architectural Representation III2.0
ARCH 221Materials & Methods I1.5
ARCH 222Materials & Methods II1.5
ARCH 223Materials & Methods III1.5
ARCH 224Architectural Representation IV2.0
ARCH 225Architectural Representation V2.0
ARCH 226Architectural Representation VI2.0
ARCH 251Structural Systems I1.5
ARCH 252Structural Systems II1.5
ARCH 253Structural Systems III1.5
Senior Project Sequence
ARCH 490Capstone Project I4.0
ARCH 492Capstone Project II4.0
Architecture Electives23.0
Sustainable Built Environment I
Sustainable Built Environment II
Theories of Architecture I
Theories of Architecture II
Theories of Architecture III
History of Philadelphia Architecture
Intensive Architectural Studies
Studies in Vernacular Architecture
Contemporary Architecture
Environmental Psychology and Design Theory
The Development Process
Urban Design Seminar
Advanced Drawing
Emerging Architectural Technology
Interdisciplinary Pathway Electives18.0
Animation & Visual Effects
Computer Graphics Imagery I
Computer Graphics Imagery II
Art History
Building Skills in Object Analysis
History of Modern Design
Art of India
Art of China
Art of Japan
Contemporary Art
African Art
Latin American Art
Material Matters in Contemporary Art
Construction Management
Understanding Construction Drawings
Introduction to Sustainability in Construction
Contracts And Specifications I
Contracts and Specifications II
Estimating I
Techniques of Project Control
Fine Arts and Visual Studies
Design II
Design III
Tablet Drawing
Multimedia: Space
Multimedia: Materials
Materials Exploration
Game Design & Production
Computer Programming I
Overview of Digital Media
Digital Storytelling
Game Design Lab II
Game User Interface Design
Scripting for Game Design
Overview of Computer Gaming
Serious Games
Experimental Games
Graphic Design
Computer Imaging II
Visual Communication I
Visual Communication II
Visual Communication III
Typography I
Typography II
Graphic Design: 20th Century and Beyond
Interior Design
History of Modern Architecture and Interiors
Textiles for Interiors
Interior Materials
Visual Culture: Interiors
Visual Culture: Furniture
Furniture Design
Digital Photographic Post Production
Intermediate Photography
History of Photography I
History of Photography II
Product Design
History and Analysis of Product Design
Applied Making I
Introduction to Product Design
Design Thinking in Product Design
Applied Design Visualization
Smart Product Design
Interdisciplinary Product Design Studio
Virtual Reality & Immersive Media
Digital Tools for Immersive Media
Digital Imaging for Immersive Media
Immersive Production Lab I
Total Credits181.0

Students not participating in co-op will take one additional credit of ARCH Elective instead of COOP 101.

Writing-Intensive Course Requirements

In order to graduate, all students must pass three writing-intensive courses after their freshman year. Two writing-intensive courses must be in a student's major. The third can be in any discipline. Students are advised to take one writing-intensive class each year, beginning with the sophomore year, and to avoid “clustering” these courses near the end of their matriculation. Transfer students need to meet with an academic advisor to review the number of writing-intensive courses required to graduate.

A "WI" next to a course in this catalog may indicate that this course can fulfill a writing-intensive requirement. For the most up-to-date list of writing-intensive courses being offered, students should check the Writing Intensive Course List at the University Writing Program. Students scheduling their courses can also conduct a search for courses with the attribute "WI" to bring up a list of all writing-intensive courses available that term.

Sample Plan of Study

4 YR., 1 COOP

First Year
ARCH 1413.0ARCH 1423.0ARCH 1433.0VACATION
ARCH 1814.0ARCH 1824.0ARCH 1834.0 
ARCH 2112.0ARCH 2122.0ARCH 2132.0 
ENGL 101 or 1113.0ENGL 102 or 1123.0CIVC 1011.0 
MATH 1014.0MATH 1024.0ENGL 103 or 1133.0 
UNIV A1011.0UNIV A1011.0PHYS 1823.0 
 17 17 16 0
Second Year
ARCH 2211.5ARCH 1443.0ARCH 2231.5COOP 101*1.0
ARCH 2242.0ARCH 2221.5ARCH 2262.0Architecture Elective6.0
ARCH 2511.5ARCH 2252.0ARCH 2531.5Arts & Humanities Elective3.0
ARCH 2814.0ARCH 2521.5ARCH 2834.0Elective3.0
Arts & Humanities Elective3.0ARCH 2824.0Architecture Elective2.0 
Interdisciplinary Pathway Elective3.0Elective3.0Elective3.0 
  Natural Science Elective3.0 
 15 15 17 13
Third Year
Architecture Elective3.0Architecture Elective3.0COOP EXPERIENCECOOP EXPERIENCE
Arts and Humanities Elective3.0Arts & Humanities Elective3.0  
Interdisciplinary Pathway Elective3.0 Interdisciplinary Pathway Elective3.0  
Social Science Elective3.0Social Science Elective3.0  
 15 15 0 0
Fourth Year
Architecture Elective6.0ARCH 4904.0ARCH 4924.0 
Arts & Humanities Elective3.0Architecture Elective3.0PHIL 3173.0 
Interdisciplinary Pathway Elective3.0Interdisciplinary Pathway Elective3.0 Interdisciplinary Pathway Elective3.0 
 15 13 13 
Total Credits 181

Co-op cycles may vary. Students are assigned a co-op cycle (fall/winter, spring/summer, summer-only) based on their co-op program (4-year, 5-year) and major. 

COOP 101 registration is determined by the co-op cycle assigned and may be scheduled in a different term. Select students may be eligible to take COOP 001 in place of COOP 101.

4 YR., No COOP

First Year
ARCH 1413.0ARCH 1423.0ARCH 1433.0VACATION
ARCH 1814.0ARCH 1824.0ARCH 1834.0 
ARCH 2112.0ARCH 2122.0ARCH 2132.0 
ENGL 101 or 1113.0ENGL 102 or 1123.0ENGL 103 or 1133.0 
MATH 1014.0MATH 1024.0PHYS 1823.0 
UNIV A1011.0UNIV A1011.0CIVC 1011.0 
 17 17 16 0
Second Year
ARCH 2211.5ARCH 1443.0ARCH 2231.5VACATION
ARCH 2242.0ARCH 2221.5ARCH 2262.0 
ARCH 2511.5ARCH 2252.0ARCH 2531.5 
ARCH 2814.0ARCH 2521.5ARCH 2834.0 
Arts & Humanities Elective3.0ARCH 2824.0Architecture Elective3.0 
Elective3.0Arts & Humanites Elective3.0Natural Science Elective3.0 
 15 15 15 0
Third Year
Architecture Elective3.0Architecture Elective6.0PHIL 3173.0VACATION
Arts & Humanites Elective3.0Arts & Humanities Elective3.0Architecture Elective3.0 
Interdisciplinary Pathway Elective3.0Interdisciplinary Pathway Elective3.0Interdisciplinary Pathway Elective3.0 
Social Science Elective3.0Elective3.0Social Science Elective3.0 
Elective3.0 Elective3.0 
 15 15 15 0
Fourth Year
Architecture Elective6.0ARCH 4904.0ARCH 4924.0 
Interdisciplinary Pathway Elective3.0Architecture Elective3.0Interdisciplinary Pathway Elective3.0 
Social Science Elective3.0Interdisciplinary Pathway Elective3.0Elective6.0 
 15 13 13 
Total Credits 181


Drexel’s Architecture Program offers distinct experiential-based learning models for students interested in combining an architectural education with other disciplines, like digital media, construction management, design, or other fields. The Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies provides opportunities for interdisciplinary studies with flexible options to combine your studies with related fields. It can be a precursor to a dual BS/MS degree at Drexel University or a professional NAAB-accredited M.Arch. degree at another institution.

The degree provides the opportunity to take advantage of Drexel’s renowned co-op program, undertaken in the junior year. Co-op provides project-based, real-life experiences that help students enter the professional world, apply and hone their skills. Students may opt to do their co-op in Philadelphia or in another location of their choosing. Through a required course and career advisement services offered by the Steinbright Career Development Center, students develop the ability to market themselves and obtain jobs in leading firms worldwide. 

Drexel is located in University City, a Philadelphia neighborhood that includes several centers of education and research. Philadelphia itself offers an unparalleled collection of landmark architecture and urban planning that spans 300 years of development. The region has always been home to architectural and design firms of national and international prominence. A rich and varied environment, combined with an accomplished and supportive professional community, makes Philadelphia an ideal laboratory for the study of architecture. All of the faculty in the program are active in the Philadelphia architecture community, many in leadership positions at firms.

Students seeking support for resume and portfolio development may schedule an appointment both with the Steinbright Career Development Center or with the Architecture Program faculty. Password-protected job listings exclusively for Drexel Architecture students can be found on the Opportunities for Students siteFirms seeking Drexel interns may contact students directly by finding student links to resume, work samples, and web portfolios at this site.


The Architecture program is housed in URBN Center, an original Venturi Scott Brown building enhanced by an award-winning retrofit by MS&R Design, which includes a skylight-covered atrium, exposed beams, and open spaces. There are dedicated 24-hour studios with dedicated desks for full-time students, storage space, model-building opportunities, and a small lounge area.

The Department's offices, studios, and teaching facilities are located on floors 3, 3A, 4 and 4A of the URBN Center at 3501 Market Street. The Hybrid Making Lab with laser cutters, 3-D printers, a CNC router, and small-scale power tools located on the first floor, is open to all Westphal students. It is equipped with state-of-the-art fabricating equipment accessible to students after required training. The Westphal Print Center is a full-service, low-cost facility located on the ground floor and is accessible to students from on and off-campus.

The URBN Annex houses a black box theater, screening room, and the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery. Additional studio and classroom space in the Academic Building and the Design Arts Annex accommodate photography, basic design, painting, sculpture, and a full woodworking shop, including metal, resin, casting, CNC, and fabrication equipment with industrial-quality equipment. 

Philadelphia, one of the nation's major design centers and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, gives interior design students the vitality of the contemporary arts at local galleries and easy access to many museums, libraries, and renowned buildings, as well as design centers located in Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

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