The mission of the Yale School of Architecture is to educate architects, scholars, teachers, and leaders who will shape the future through design. Through the design process, architecture addresses the interrelated environmental, behavioral, social, and cultural issues that underlie the organization of built form. The student of architecture is called upon to direct sensitivity, imagination, empathy, and intellect to respond to these fundamental issues in designing the built environment. Architectural design as a comprehensive creative process is the focus of the Yale School of Architecture.

The objectives of the School of Architecture reflect the view that architecture is both a core expertise and a broad mode of engaging with the world. The program, therefore, is based on the following intentions:

  1. to foster creativity and innovation, stretching our modes of study by drawing upon the forward-thinking, future-focused, scholarly ethos of the larger University in which we are situated;
  2. to foster a culture of collaboration and inclusion that welcomes many perspectives and backgrounds and integrates architecture with other disciplines;
  3. to act on our intellectual curiosity and spirit of inquiry to explore, research, experiment, and invent solutions to real design challenges and opportunities;
  4. to engage with the world beyond the academy to create an ethical, relevant architecture that supports a sustainable, resilient planet.

The School offers an integrated curriculum and programming that respond to the needs and conditions of building in the twenty-first century. It aspires to sustain a school culture that is rooted in inclusivity and collaboration. To embrace an increasingly diverse culture, the School is committed to understanding the needs of staff, faculty, and students of varied backgrounds and establishing a system that supports all its members.

The Yale School of Architecture offers graduate-level professional education and advanced research opportunities in architecture and allied design professions. Undergraduate majors in Architecture and Urban Studies are offered exclusively to Yale College students. In order to further the pursuit of a variety of interests within the study of architecture, the curriculum offers opportunities for study in several interrelated fields.

For the programs leading to the degree of Master of Architecture, the design studio is the core of the School’s curriculum, a laboratory to explore interrelationships between social and environmental purpose, material form, and technical knowledge. Design is emphasized as a process that weaves together collaboration, innovation, risk-taking, and experimentation. The studio fosters a generative environment of open discussion. Students come together to present and discuss projects and proposals with fellow classmates, faculty, visiting critics, professionals, activists, researchers, potential occupants, and the general public. The design studio combines individual and group instruction, varying from desk crits with individual faculty members, to pinups with several faculty members and fellow students, to more formal midterm and final reviews with faculty and guest critics—all undertaken with the intention of fostering critical thinking, spatial form-making skills, and tectonic skills. Education in the design studio values collaborative skills, individual creativity, and the understanding of architectural problems and the ability to solve them. The School of Architecture’s mandate is for each student to understand architecture as a creative, productive, innovative, and responsible practice.

In addition to the design studios, courses in design and visualization, technology and practice, history and theory, and urbanism and landscape serve as a basis for developing a comprehensive approach to architectural design. Core courses in each of these study areas strategically parallel work in the design studio, encouraging students to make connections between what they are making in the studio and what they learn outside it.

The area of design and visualization includes electives that concentrate on design logic and skills, and courses that support design thinking and representation.

Technology courses explore, as an integral part of the architectural design process, the physical context, the properties of natural forces, computational modeling, and building systems. In the area of practice, courses are concerned with issues related to the professional context of architecture and its practices and, in particular, with the architect’s responsibility for the built environment.

Courses in history and theory examine attitudes concerning the design of buildings, landscapes, and cities that may contribute to a design process responsive to its broadest social and cultural context.

Courses in urbanism and landscape address the study of aesthetic, ecological, economic, political, and social issues that influence large-scale environments. This area deals with the relation of buildings to their urban contexts and natural environments.

Direct experience of contemporary and historical architecture and urbanism as well as firsthand contact with experts in various fields is an important part of the School’s educational mission. To this end, many studios and classes incorporate both domestic and international travel as part of their course work. The global diversity of architectural practice and the interrelated environmental and urban challenges the world faces are directly engaged in studios and classes that collaborate with scholars, clients, consultants, and stakeholders.

The diversity of course offerings in the School represents a concern for design that ranges in scale from the individual building to the urban landscape. Students are also encouraged to take courses in other departments and schools in the University.

While advanced studies and research in architecture and urbanism are supported throughout the M.Arch. I curriculum, they are a primary focus in the M.E.D. and post-professional (M.Arch. II) programs. The M.E.D. program provides opportunities for exceptionally qualified students to pursue advanced research in architecture and urbanism through course work and independent studies guided by faculty from the School and the University. Emphasis is placed on rigorous methods of research and scholarship leading to a substantial written thesis. In the post-professional M.Arch. program, advanced studies in architecture and urbanism are supported by course work and design research studios. Students develop individual research projects that are developed through a structured set of seminars and culminating studio. These projects address important social, cultural, and environmental issues of the built environment. The M.Arch. I students share studios and classes with those from the M.Arch. II and M.E.D. programs, creating opportunities for lively exchange.