Undergraduate Studies

Bachelor of Arts

The School offers an undergraduate major in Architecture and an undergraduate major in Urban Studies exclusively to students enrolled in Yale College. Students who desire either major must apply directly to Yale College. For additional information and full course descriptions, see Yale College Programs of Study, online at http://catalog.yale.edu/ycps.

Architecture Major

Michael Surry Schlabs, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Architecture

Architecture is a humanistic endeavor. The purpose of the undergraduate major is to include the study of architecture within a comprehensive liberal arts education, drawing from the broader academic and professional environment of the Yale School of Architecture. The curriculum includes work in design; in history, theory, and criticism of architecture; and in urbanism, and leads to a bachelor of arts degree with a major in Architecture. As a liberal arts major in Yale College, it is not an accredited professional degree program. For accredited professional degree programs, refer to the requirements of the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

Introductory Courses

The introductory courses to the study of architecture are ARCH 150, ARCH 200, and ARCH 280. They are open to all Yale College students and are required for those interested in the Architecture major prior to submitting a Declaration of Intent to Major. Interested students may also consider courses such as ARCH 154160260312, or 345.

Declaration of Intent to Major

Yale College students interested in the Architecture major must submit a Declaration of Intent to Major during the spring term of their sophomore year, after taking ARCH 150, ARCH 200, and ARCH 280. The Declaration of Intent to Major must be submitted to the office of the DUS (contact DUS for deadlines) and must include the following information: name, address, telephone number, courses related to architecture already taken, and a statement of purpose. Students should also indicate their desired concentration at this time. Additionally, students must submit an electronic portfolio representative of course work for ARCH 150, ARCH 200, and a paper from ARCH 280. Upon the successful completion of these requirements, students are notified in writing regarding their acceptance to the major. 

Requirements of the Major

Students majoring in Architecture are required to take fifteen course credits, including prerequisites and the senior requirement. Majors are expected to take the three prerequisites by the end of their sophomore year and to complete a core of four courses, for five course credits, by the end of their junior year. They must also base their studies in one of two areas of concentration: the Design concentration or the History, Theory, Criticism of Architecture, and Urbanism concentration. Majors are also required to complete three orientation sessions: advanced technology orientation, library orientation, and shop orientation. Within the concentrations, electives are categorized under four broad subject areas: history and theory of architecture and the city; urbanism and landscape; materials and design; and structures and computation.

  1. Design, which explores the role of architecture in shaping the world around us. It introduces complex processes involved in solving spatial and programmatic problems. Creative work is grounded in the study of history and culture, and in the analysis of social conditions influencing architecture. Design studios provide a forum for production and discourse. Studio projects address issues of architectural form, space, composition, site, tectonics, and programs within broader humanistic ideals.
  2. History, Theory, Criticism of Architecture and Urbanism, which is intended to establish a broad historical and intellectual framework for the study of architecture and the city. An interdisciplinary approach is encouraged through additional courses taken in various fields of humanities and social sciences. Such courses may include archaeology, urban studies, aesthetics, philosophy, or visual culture. Permission of the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) is required if the courses fall outside the specified course of studies. During their senior year students complete a senior essay or project on a topic approved by the faculty.
  3. Urbanism, which encourages a broad, interdisciplinary investigation of the complex forces that shape the urban and physical environment. The Urbanism concentration is only available for the class of 2024.

For the senior requirement, seniors in the Design concentration take ARCH 450 in the fall term and ARCH 494 in the spring term. Seniors in the History, Theory, Criticism of Architecture and Urbanism concentration take ARCH 490 in the fall term and ARCH 491 in the spring term. Proposals for senior projects and essays are submitted in the fall term for review and approval by the senior project coordinator; they are then distributed to faculty members for review. Upon successful review, students may ask faculty members to act as senior advisers. Senior essays and projects for ARCH 491 are due in the office of the DUS by early April. Design projects for ARCH 494 are due as specified by the course instructor. All seniors must submit a portfolio of their work to the office of the DUS by late April. For all Architecture majors, this portfolio must be representative of the student’s design work including prerequisites and the senior project. History, Theory, Criticism of Architecture and Urbanism majors must also include a copy of the senior essay and other appropriate texts.

Urban Studies Major

Elihu Rubin, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Urban Studies

Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary field grounded in the physical and social spaces of the city and the larger built environment. The Urban Studies major is situated within Yale’s liberal arts framework and draws on the broader academic context and expertise of the Yale School of Architecture, including the areas of urban design and development, urban and architectural history, urban theory and representation, globalization and infrastructure, transportation and mobility, heritage and preservation, and community-based planning. The major introduces students to the following bodies of knowledge: history, theory and contemporary analysis of urban morphologies, spaces, societies, and political economies; conceptual tools and analytical methods to understand urban environments and issues through spatial terms; and practices of and speculative approaches to urban planning and design.

The major prepares undergraduates for a variety of future careers and fields of graduate study related to urban planning, design, and development. These include professional and practice-oriented fields such as urban planning, law, nonprofit management, public policy, real estate development, and architecture; as well as research-oriented fields such as geography, sociology, anthropology, urban planning, and architecture.

Declaration of Intent to Major

Students may declare their intent to major during their second year. The intent to major process will include meeting with the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) to discuss the intended course of study; submitting a Declaration of Intent to Major form and completing the surveys by the end of the second year. More information regarding this process, the relevant forms, and submission link is available on the program’s website. Schedules for majors must be discussed with, and approved by, the DUS in Urban Studies. Only then may a schedule be submitted to the residential college dean’s office.

Requirements of the Major

Thirteen course credits are required for the major, including the senior requirement. Each student, in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) or a departmental faculty adviser, bears the responsibility for designing a coherent program, which must include the following elements: 3 surveys; 3 methods courses; 4, 5, or 6 electives (depending on the senior requirement); and a one- or two-term senior requirement.

Senior Requirement

All majors must satisfy a senior requirement undertaken during the senior year. Students have the option of pursuing a yearlong senior project, which includes URBN 490, Senior Research Colloquium, in the fall and URBN 491, Senior Project, in the spring. The senior project may be a written paper or a project that could encompass a variety of media. The primary adviser must be a member of the architecture faculty. Students not choosing a yearlong project may enroll in an advanced seminar (URBN 400–490), and produce a final paper of twenty to twenty-five pages in addition to existing course work. The seminar should be selected in consultation with the DUS. Note that students pursuing this option must also take an additional elective.