2024 Best Online Architecture Degrees [Bachelor’s Guide]

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Explore the best online architecture degree programs in 2023 and discover the path to becoming an architect. Find accredited programs and career opportunities.

From towering skyscrapers to elegant homes, an architecture degree teaches you how to design the structures that are the foundation of communities and cities around the world.

Best Online Architecture Degrees

During an architecture program, you can learn how to create safe, practical, and beautiful spaces. Architecture design degrees are essential if you have been wondering how to become an architect, and they’re also valuable for a number of other career paths.

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From surveyors to architectural managers, there are a range of opportunities for graduates of architecture bachelors programs.

Online Architecture Degrees

Man taking Online Architecture Degree

If you want to study architecture, the first step is to determine which type of architectural degree program is the best fit for you. Architecture students can pursue either professional or pre-professional bachelor’s degrees.

Select the program that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

The curriculum of these programs are often very similar, but earning a professional degree allows you to immediately pursue state licensure. If you earn a pre-professional bachelors instead, it’s necessary to also complete a master’s degree in architecture in order to become a licensed architect. A number of universities now offer on-campus and online masters in architecture programs.

Professional degrees often involve in-the-field internships and practicums that may not be required for a non-professional degree.

Professional Bachelor of Architecture (BArch)

licensed architects with BArch degree programs

A BArch degree program typically lasts 5 years and requires at least 150 credit hours to graduate. A BArch is strategic for students who want to quickly enter the workforce because it is the only undergraduate degree in architecture that is accepted by most state licensure boards.

During a professional Bachelor of Architecture program, you’ll study subjects like:

  • Environmental design
  • Project management
  • Urban design
  • Construction methods
  • History of architecture

Most programs of this kind culminate with an internship completed under the supervision of a licensed architect. These experiences give students the opportunity to see firsthand what the job is like and to network with professionals in the field.

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After graduating with a BArch, you may be ready to take the Architect Registration Examination, which most states require when awarding licensure. Most students earning this degree intend to become licensed architects who work as independent consultants or with professional firms.

Pre-Professional Bachelors in Architecture

urban planners with Bachelor of Arts in Architecture

A pre-professional or non-professional bachelors degree in architecture gives you a chance to learn more about the field, discover specializations or concentrations, and make a plan for your future career. Some common pre-professional degrees include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Architecture
  • Bachelor of Science in Architecture
  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
  • Bachelor of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering
  • Bachelor of Environmental Design

Each program has a specific focus, so it’s helpful to consider your plans and goals before deciding which one to pursue. For example, a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture is ideal if you are interested in designing outdoor spaces. The subject matter covered during pre-professional bachelors programs differs, but students generally learn about topics like contemporary architecture, sustainable design, drawing, and materials.

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Pre-professional degrees are a popular option for students who plan to seek a master’s degree. They are also well-suited to related careers in areas like surveying, project management, and urban planning.

Architecture Careers & Salaries

Architecture Careers & Salaries

Graduating with an architectural design degree may help you qualify for a variety of careers with competitive salaries.

Many types of employers—including architecture firms, construction companies, government agencies, and manufacturers—hire professionals with a background in architecture. Within these companies, graduates might take on roles like architect, surveyor, or regional planner.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median salaries of potential career paths that graduates of online architecture degree programs may pursue.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Architectural and Engineering Managers $152,350
Construction Managers $98,890
Architects $80,180
Urban and Regional Planners $78,500
Industrial Designers $77,030
Landscape Architects $67,950
Construction and Building Inspectors $61,640
Surveyors $61,600
Interior Designers $60,340
Drafters $60,290

Some of the above careers may require additional education or specialized training. Organizations often seek employees with the analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities that students in architecture programs can develop.

This skill set is useful for positions involving the understanding and design of any three- or two-dimensional objects and structures.

Architecture Bachelor’s Curriculum & Courses

Students taking Architecture Bachelor's Degree, in group study

The curriculum of an architecture degree program typically focuses on a combination of historical knowledge, awareness of contemporary issues, and practical skills. These courses commonly appear on the degree plan for an architecture student:

  • Survey of Architectural History: In this course, you’ll learn about the cultural, geographical, political, and religious history of architecture.
  • Introduction to Architecture: Students in this class explore the visual and technical foundations of the field of architecture.
  • Architecture Communication: This course centers on the key vocabulary and principles of architecture, including oral presentation, computer literacy, and visual communication.
  • Digital Representation in Architecture: Students in this course learn how to transform three-dimensional constructions into two-dimensional scaled drawings and models.
  • Architectural Design Studio: Studio courses give students the opportunity to practice designing structures and spaces that are suitable for different purposes.
  • Materiality: This class focuses on different types of materials used in architecture, including options that promote safety and sustainability.
  • Architecture and Political Economy: Students taking this class learn about the connections between architecture, economics, and politics.
  • History of Urbanism: The main subject of this course is the historical development of cities, with a focus on urban planning and design.
  • Environmental Issues: In this course, you’ll examine environmental issues and discuss ways that different architectural methods can contribute to or improve them.
  • World Cities: This class offers an overview of the architectural achievements in different cities around the globe, such as Paris, London, Los Angeles, and Madrid.

Students with a particular interest may also take elective courses related to their professional goals. For example, if you are passionate about sustainable design, you might take courses like environmental geology and public policy.

Admissions Requirements

Woman preparing her Bachelor in Architecture requirements

Here are some common admissions requirements for architecture degree programs:

  • School transcripts. Official transcripts show your educational background, GPA, diplomas, and degrees.
  • Test scores. Some schools request scores from standardized tests like the SAT or ACT.
  • Recommendation letters. Letters from former instructors can offer personal insights into your abilities.
  • Personal essay. A brief essay explaining your interest in the program helps admissions counselors understand your goals and history.

Most colleges also require students to submit an official application and pay a fee.

Architecture Schools Accreditation

University offering Online Architecture Degrees

Colleges and universities that apply for regional accreditation must undergo a thorough evaluation and assessment to ensure they have high-quality curriculum and faculty. For this reason, many employers prefer job candidates with degrees from accredited colleges.

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Accreditation is also important if you decide to move to a different school before graduating or to pursue an advanced degree. It is usually easier to transfer credits from institutions with regional accreditation status, making it less likely that you will have to repeat courses you already took.

NAAB Accreditation

The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) is responsible for accrediting postsecondary professional programs in architecture.

NAAB accreditation is important from both an academic and professional perspective. The NAAB determines whether a program is offering the most up-to-date and industry-approved knowledge for prospective architecture professionals.

As a result, many employers and graduate-level programs show preference to architecture degrees that were completed at NAAB accredited institutions. State licensure boards will also only accept professional architecture degrees with NAAB accreditation.

Architecture Licensure and Certifications

Architects with AIA Certification

Licensure requirements for architects vary by state, but they generally include a professional degree from an NAAB accredited program, internship experience, and completion of the Architect Registration Examination.

Licensure is an essential requirement if you hope to work as a licensed architect. Students may also want to pursue industry certification offered by a professional organization or private business. Popular certifications include:

  • Project Management Professional: This certification shows that you are capable of overseeing projects and being mindful of schedules and budgets.
  • American Institute of Architects: Certification from the AIA demonstrates your knowledge, achievements, and experience in the field.
  • National Council of Architectural Registration Boards: Professionals with NCARB certification have proven that they meet architecture standards for safety and public health.

In combination with a degree and licensure, a professional certification might make you more competitive when applying for jobs and negotiating your salary.

Architecture Majors Financial Aid and Scholarships

Architecture Majors Financial Aid

Earning an architect degree requires a financial investment, but there are many resources that may help you reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

The first step for most students is to submit a FAFSA, which determines whether they are eligible for federal grants, loans, and work studies. It could also be worthwhile to research aid programs offered by your state government. You can search an online database or consult with a financial aid representative to learn about scholarship opportunities for your degree program or personal background.

If you’re currently working, you could inquire about opportunities for tuition reimbursement or assistance. Many organizations help their employees pursue their academic goals.

Is Architecture a Good Career?

Architect working on a new project blueprint

Yes, architecture is a good career for many professionals. Architecture is especially rewarding if you enjoy thinking creatively, generating new ideas, and developing unique and innovative plans.

Architects often make above average salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for architects is $80,180. This is significantly higher than the current median wage for all occupations, which is $45,760.

Depending on their specialization, some architecture professionals also travel throughout the country or even around the world as they seek new inspiration and design buildings for different locations.

What Degree Do You Need to Be an Architect?

Architecture students working together on a project model

To become a licensed architect, you can have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. An NAAB accredited Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) is a professional degree that allows you to apply for licensure without earning an advanced credential from a graduate or doctoral program.

Some students choose to earn a pre-professional degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture or in a related field. In those instances, you could go on to complete a Master of Architecture (MArch) program that’s NAAB accredited to apply for licensure.

What Can You Do with an Architecture Degree?

Urban & Regional Planners discussing

Architecture is a logical major for architect professionals and aspiring licensed architects. Architects are responsible for designing buildings, structures, and outdoor spaces for residential, commercial, and public use.

There are other career paths available for graduates of architecture programs, too. Some people become drafters, surveyors, inspectors, or urban planners. Others work for private companies as industrial designers who develop new products.

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Along with experience, an architecture degree may also help you advance to a management position within the field. Some professionals go on to become construction managers, architecture managers, and project managers.

Is Architecture Hard?

Architect working in her office

The level of difficulty of an architecture program depends on your personal strengths and skills. To excel as an architect, it’s necessary to take advanced math and science courses, pay attention to details, and understand complex visual plans.

Many programs include classes in physics, calculus, and geography. While courses tend to focus heavily on creativity and the ability to develop new ideas, they also require completing accurate calculations to ensure that structures are safe and stable.

Some courses are time intensive, and studio classes require you to put your knowledge into practice and create functional and interesting building designs.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor Degree in Architecture Online?

student taking Bachelor Degree in Architecture Online
When determining how long it will take you to earn an architecture degree online, it helps to consider the type of program. Earning a pre-professional degree in architecture usually takes around 4 years to complete with full-time enrollment, while a professional degree typically requires 5 years.

If you attend full-time and take summer courses, or if you have transfer credits, you may be able to graduate more quickly. Students who enroll in school part-time often need longer to finish their degrees. Your completion time also depends on whether the program has an internship or practicum requirement, as is the case with most Bachelor of Architecture degrees.

What’s the Difference Between a BA vs. BS in Architectural Studies?

A Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture are both pre-professional degrees, but there are important distinctions between them.

BA in Architecture Degree BS in Architecture Degree
  • Typically emphasizes humanities and social sciences courses
  • Focuses on the social, cultural, and historical aspects of architecture
  • Beneficial for careers in urban planning or drafting
  • Typically emphasizes math and science courses
  • Focuses on the scientific, mathematical, and design elements of architecture
  • Beneficial for careers in sustainable architecture or industrial design

Despite their differences, both a BA in Architecture and a BS in Architecture are preparation for a master’s degree.

Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture Worth It?

Architects and Engineers working together

Yes, a bachelor’s degree in architecture is worth it for many students. Earning a degree in architecture may help you qualify for a range of engaging and rewarding roles.

Architecture is an essential field, particularly as the world overcomes new challenges related to energy, urbanization, and the environment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for architects is expected to increase by 3% over the next ten years.

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In addition, several careers related to architecture are projected to have average or faster than average growth over the next ten years. This includes construction managers (8% job growth) and urban and regional planners (4%).

Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Architecture Degree Programs

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University campus

The Academy of Art University offers both Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Design programs online. The Bachelor of Architecture aims to help develop a comprehensive portfolio and to pursue professional licensure, while the Bachelor of Arts focuses on architectural history and theory.

Academy of Art University is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Berkeley College

Berkeley College campus

Berkeley College offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design program online. Potential coursework includes Architectural Visualization, Sketching and Color Composition, History of Architecture, and Interior Design. The program also requires the completion of a field-based internship experience. Graduating from the program may provide eligibility to sit for the NCIDQ Exam.

Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Boston Architectural College

Boston Architectural College campus

Boston Architectural College offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. Some college credits should already have been earned before starting the program. The program typically teaches both theory and studio courses, and real-world experience working for various firms that partner with BAC is often offered.

The Boston Architectural College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Dunwoody College of Technology

Dunwoody College of Technology campus

Dunwoody College of Technology offers an online program for a Bachelor of Architecture, which can often be earned in 3 years with a completed related associate’s degree. Common topics taught include history of architecture, metropolis and activism, ordering systems, and material studies. Touch-screen laptops with industry software are commonly offered for the duration of enrolment in the program.

Dunwoody College of Technology is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

New York School of Interior Design

New York School of Interior Design

The New York School of Interior Design offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design program online. Both part-time and full-time enrollment options are often available. The completion of 132 credits is required and graduation typically offers eligibility to sit for the NCIDQ Exam.

The New York School of Interior Design is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Ohio University

Ohio University campus

Ohio University offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture program online. The program aims to offer both residential and non-residential design projects. Credits earned at previous accredited institutions may be transferred in. Courses are typically taught in an asynchronous format, and start dates tend to be open.

Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design campus

Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design online. Courses focus on teaching both artistic and technical aspects of the field and in building spaces that are both beautiful and functional. Instructors typically have years of real-world experience as practicing industry professionals.

Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University campus

Texas Tech University offers a program for a Bachelor of Science in Architecture with upper-level courses taught online. Courses are designed to teach the knowledge and skills needed to gain career opportunities in architecture and in the building industry. The program aims to account for a wide range of variables while solving problems in architectural design.

Texas Tech University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona campus

The University of Arizona offers a BS in Sustainable Built Environments program online. Concentrations include Heritage Conservation, Sustainable Real Estate Development, Sustainable Landscapes, Sustainable Communities, and Sustainable Buildings. Start dates are typically offered in either the fall or spring semester.

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Bachelor in Architecture Degree Onlined.

student pursuing Bachelor in Architecture Degree Online

Whether you loved creating cities with blocks as a child or have recently discovered your passion for building design, earning a bachelors degree in architecture could open doors to new career opportunities.

Graduates of online architecture bachelor’s degree programs often go on to become licensed architects who help develop new and innovative structures. Others take on positions as managers, surveyors, inspectors, or urban planners. Your journey toward a new career in architecture begins with finding a degree program that will help you develop the necessary creative and analytical skills.

You could get started today by researching online bachelors degrees in architecture from accredited colleges and universities.

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Kama has a master's degree in English from Virginia Tech and a bachelor's in English from Concord University. She previously taught college-level English composition, literature, and English as a second language courses. She is now a full-time writer in the education field, with a particular focus on educational technology and pedagogical best practices for English language learners.