Architecture, B.S.

Program Code: ARCBS_BS

Program Description

The Department of Architecture is a member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and the Bachelor of Architecture degree is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. The major provides for the education of architects at the professional and pre-professional levels.

"In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture.

A program may be granted a 6-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree."

Students may elect to leave Penn State after completing the requirements of the four-year (ARCBS) program and receive the Bachelor of Science degree.

Bachelor of Science

The pre-professional Bachelor of Science degree program in Architecture (ARCBS) is a four-year curriculum which requires a minimum of 135 credits. The curriculum mirrors the first four years of the professional (BARCH) program. The ARCBS program prepares graduates to pursue careers in fields such as construction, real estate development, public administration, or historic preservation. Students may also continue their education at the graduate level in fields such as architecture, urban planning, or law. Enrollment in the pre-professional (ARCBS) program is limited to those students who transfer from the professional (BARCH) program.

What is Architecture?

The study of architecture is a broad endeavor combining the arts and humanities with engineering, science, and technology. It is a global study – from piazzas in Italy to rural contexts to information networks spanning physical and virtual domains. As creative designers, architects reflect the history, philosophy, dreams, habits, and values of a culture through buildings and spaces. Architects create responsible solutions to the needs of clients and the natural circumstances of sites. The profession spans the classical to the cutting-edge, and studying architecture encourages exploration across a range of interests, and provides flexibility to develop academic concentrations or pursue minors. The architecture studio is a laboratory in which design synthesizes history, theory, structural systems, building materials, environmental control systems, visual communications, professional practices, and systems integration.

You Might Like this Program If...

  • You're fascinated by the intersection of spaces, cultures, history, and people
  • You think deeply and love to create
  • You're compelled by art, technology, and the environment
  • You like formulas and experimentation
  • You want to impact society
  • You are self-motivated and enjoy the balance of teamwork and working independently
  • You honor tradition while inventing novel practices
  • You welcome responsibility
  • You think and act with precision
  • You take risks
  • You want to explore, discover, and invent

Entrance Procedures

This program is only available to students currently admitted to the Bachelor of Architecture (B.ARCH) program at Penn State. Students studying Architecture who choose not to pursue the five-year professional degree or licensure, can pursue the four-year B.S. degree in Architecture. Students thinking of changing from the B.ARCH to B.S. Architecture degree should speak with their assigned academic adviser to understand career implications.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture a minimum of 135 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 96

6 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes 6 credits of General Education GA courses.

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
AE 210Introduction to Architectural Structural Systems3
AE 2113
AE 421Architectural Structural Systems I3
AE 422Architectural Structural Systems II3
AE 4243
ARCH 121Visual Communications I2
ARCH 122Visual Communications II2
ARCH 131Basic Design Studio I4
ARCH 132Basic Design Studio II4
ARCH 203Materials and Building Construction I3
ARCH 204Materials and Building Construction II3
ARCH 210Ideas Across Time in Architecture and Urbanism Keystone/General Education Course3
ARCH 231Architectural Design I6
ARCH 232Architectural Design II6
ARCH 311WArchitectural and Planning Theories3
ARCH 331Architectural Design III6
ARCH 332Architectural Design IV6
ARCH 4316
ARCH 499ARome Study-Architectural Design6
ARCH 499BArchitectural Analysis3
ARCH 499CUrban Studies3
ARTH 201Ancient to Medieval Architecture Keystone/General Education Course3
ARTH 2023
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 3 credits in non-Western traditions in architecture from approved department list3
Select 6 credits in consultation with an academic adviser6

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required and Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Breadth in the Knowledge Domains (Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Arts (GA): 3 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 3 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits

Integrative Studies

  • Inter-Domain Courses (Inter-Domain): 6 credits


  • GN, may be completed with Inter-Domain courses: 3 credits
  • GA, GH, GN, GS, Inter-Domain courses. This may include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the 12th credit level or the requirements for the student’s degree program, whichever is higher: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Sara Watson
Stuckeman School Undergraduate Academic Adviser
127 Stuckeman Family Building
University Park, PA 16802

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2024-25 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition.

Architecture, B.S. at University Park Campus

The pre-professional Bachelor of Science degree program in Architecture (ARCBS) is a four-year curriculum which requires a minimum of 135 credits. The curriculum mirrors the first four years of the professional (BARCH) program. The ARCBS program prepares graduates to pursue careers in fields such as construction, real estate development, public administration, or historic preservation. Students may also continue their education at the graduate level in fields such as architecture, urban planning, or law. Enrollment in the pre-professional (ARCBS) program is limited to those students who transfer from the professional (BARCH) program.

*Please note that the pre-professional program leading to a B.S. degree is a non-accredited degree. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania only the professional degree (B.Arch--5 years) is recognized for licensure application. Students applying for entry into the Department of Architecture should check with the state of their residence for similar regulations concerning requirements for licensure application.

Career Paths

The Bachelor of Science in Architecture program is a stepping stone for those seeking careers in architecture and related fields. Graduates holding a Bachelor of Science in Architecture can pursue a professional architecture degree, after which, they can undertake internships and professional state licensing examinations required for registration as architects. The B.S. in Arch program is a passageway to further one's studies at the graduate level in design-related fields. The diversity and broad inquiry integral to architectural studies form a natural path to advanced studies in architecture, landscape architecture, computer science, geography, urban studies, system logistics, art history, and more.


The Bachelor of Science in Architecture – a non-professional degree option – provides a broad, rigorous, and rich course of study that opens doors to careers in nearly limitless fields. Graduates from the Penn State’s Department of Architecture have designed digital environments for major motion pictures, created branding and advertising for Fortune 100 companies, started businesses converting recycled materials into high-end lighting products, and designed custom jewelry. Note: if you are interested in a degree program that provides a direct path to pursue licensure and professional practice, you should undertake the B.Arch. professional degree program.


Opportunities for Graduate Studies

B.S. in Arch students may opt to pursue graduate programs in specialized topics or focus areas. Students interested in advanced research will be well-positioned to pursue a Master of Science in Architecture (M.S. in Arch) degree. The Penn State M.S. in Arch program is designed to strengthen the intellectual underpinnings of students' undergraduate work through intensive studio investigations, design applications, and rigorous theoretical inquiry. Alternately, B.S. in Arch students might pursue Penn State’s M.Arch. professional degree in preparation for professional practice and licensure as an architect.


Professional Resources


University Park

121 Stuckeman Family Building
University Park, PA 16802