A wider definition may comprise all design activity, from the macro-level (urban design, landscape architecture) to the micro-level (construction details and furniture). Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, and aesthetic considerations. It requires the creative manipulation and coordination of material, technology, light and shadow. Architecture also encompasses the pragmatic aspects of realizing buildings and structures, including scheduling, cost estimating and construction administration. As documentation produced by architects, typically drawings, plans and technical specifications, architecture defines the structure and/or behavior of a building or any other kind of system that is to be or has been constructed.
Bachelor of Architecture:
The Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) is an undergraduate academic degree designed to satisfy the academic component of professional accreditation bodies, to be followed by a period of practical training prior to professional examination and registration. It is awarded for a course of study that lasts up to five years. In some cases, a B.Arch can only be undertaken after having completed a three-year generalist architectural degree, in which case, it may be as short as two years. Many architecture schools using this bi-partite structure have re-badged their B.Arch programs as M.Arch degrees.
Master of Architecture:
The Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) is a professional degree in architecture, qualifying the graduate to move through the various stages of professional accreditation (internship, exams) that result in receiving a license.
The degree is earned through several possible paths of study, depending on both a particular program’s construction, and the candidate’s previous academic experience and degrees. M.Arch degrees vary in kind, so they are frequently given names such as “M.Arch I” and “M.Arch II” to distinguish them. All M.Arch. Degrees are professional degrees in architecture. There are, however, other master’s degrees offered by architecture schools that are not accredited in any way.
Many schools offer several possible tracks of architectural education. Including study at the bachelor’s and master’s level, these tracks range up to 7.5 years in duration.
One possible route is what is commonly referred to as the “4+2” course. This path entails completing a four-year, accredited, pre-professional bachelor of arts in architecture or a bachelor of science in architecture. This degree is not enough to qualify the student to sit for the architectural record exam, so the next step is to complete a 2 year (or sometimes 3 year, depending on the nature and quality of your undergraduate study performance, and the evaluation of your master’s degree program school of your undergraduate study) Master of Architecture program.
Â The second route to obtaining an accredited master’s degree begins in graduate school, with a 3 or 3.5 year Master’s degree (commonly called an “M.Arch I”). The advantage to this route is that the student can study something else he or she is interested in his/her undergraduate study (anything else). Because students come from different undergraduate backgrounds, the breadth of knowledge and experience in the student body of an M.Arch I program is often considered an advantage.
Graduate-level architecture programs consist of course work in design, building science, structural engineering, architectural history, theory, professional practice, and elective courses. For those without any prior knowledge of the field, coursework in calculus, physics, computers, statics and strengths of materials, architectural history, studio, and building science is usually required. Some architecture programs allow students to specialize in a specific aspect of architecture, such as architectural technologies or digital media. A thesis or final project is usually required to graduate.