Majors & Minors
There are a few distinctions between the opportunities for Barnard College, Columbia College, Columbia College Engineering students, and the School of General Studies students to study architecture at an undergraduate level.
Barnard College students can major in Architecture (also referred to as the Studio Major), major in the History and Theory of Architecture, or minor in Architecture through our Department.
Columbia College and the School of General Studies students can only major in Architecture in our Department. There is no minor (or concentration) in Architecture available to them, and a History and Theory of Architecture major is instead available to them through The Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia.
Columbia College Engineering students may complete a minor in Architecture that is similar to the minor for Barnard students.
Courses for the Architecture Major
The studio major in architecture provides students with the opportunity to explore the discipline of architecture within the context of the College’s commitment to liberal arts. The major is introduced through a series of studio and academic courses that explore the multiple relationships between architectural design, history, theory, and criticism. Students are expected to develop technical skills, design excellence, and a critical understanding of architecture as part of our visual, social, and political history and culture. The major is designed to prepare students to work in architecture and related disciplines or pursue graduate study. Most students take advantage of the resources of New York City and the teaching faculty by working in internships in the city while majoring in the field.
The required sequence of courses begins with two introductory design studios, Architectural Representation: Abstraction and Perception, and the introductory lecture courses, Perceptions of Architecture. The introductory studios investigate space, form, scale, and traditional and experimental systems of representation, and Perceptions of Architecture develops fluency with architectural concepts. Together, these courses provide a foundation of material upon which the major builds.
Architectural Design, I and II are taken in the junior or senior year. The two-semester design studio introduces students to more rigorous conceptual, social, and theoretical study through comprehensive design projects. The distribution of the elective lecture courses is designed to provide students with an exposure to a broad range of architectural history traditions. Senior course work includes a two-course sequence with options for those courses to be senior seminars, advanced elective design studios, or independent research. The curriculum requires that students complement their work in the major with related course work that serves to provide a link between architecture and other social and cultural issues.
Courses in the major, as well as field trips and events for students, take full advantage of our location in New York City. The major is designed to accommodate students who wish to study abroad in their junior year.