Which Architecture Colleges Are in the Washington, DC Area?

Learn about architecture schools in the Washington, DC area. Get information about degrees available and program requirements to make an informed decision about your education. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

If you are in the Washington, DC area and wish to obtain an education that could prepare you for a career as an architect, you will find several schools offering bachelor's, post-baccalaureate certificate and master's degree programs. As a licensing requirement for architects, you will need to obtain a 4-year degree; more advanced studies could be required for advancement in the field.

A Bachelor of Architecture or Bachelor of Science in Architecture program will typically teach you about the history of architecture, basic design methods and information about architectural structures. More advanced studies presented in post-baccalaureate certificate and Master of Architecture programs could delve deeper into more specific architectural topics, such as sustainable design, real estate development and architectural theories. Advanced programs could also include labs, simulated exercises and internships. It could take 2-3 years to complete a master's degree in this field of study.


Bachelor's Degree Programs in Washington, DC

The Catholic University of America

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Architecture
  • Program Length: Four years
  • Tuition: $18,315 per semester, full-time (as of Fall 2012)
  • Requirements: Portfolio required for transfer students
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; roughly 3,600 undergraduate students
  • Address: 620 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC 20064
  • Phone: (202) 319-5188

The Catholic University of America's (CUA's) School of Architecture and Planning offers a program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. This pre-professional degree can provide a foundation for further study in a graduate architecture program or prepare you for careers related to architecture. As a pre-professional degree, it will not qualify you to apply for licensure as a professional architect. The school also offers a joint degree program in architecture and civil engineering.

As a CUA student, you'll have access to digital media and fabrication labs as well as a visual resources center. With its location right in DC, the school commonly hosts lectures and exhibit programs that are sponsored by the many organizations and institutions in the surrounding DC area.

Howard University

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Architecture
  • Program Length: Five years
  • Tuition: $10,725 per semester (as of Fall 2012)
  • Prerequisites: Secondary school courses that include three units in English, 3.5 units in math, including algebra, geometry and trigonometry and one unit in a foreign language
  • Requirements: Must submit 1-3 creative work examples for admission (can be graphic, written or audiovisual examples)
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; nearly 7,000 undergraduate students
  • Address: 2366 Sixth St NW, Washington, DC 20059
  • Phone: (202) 806-7424

A member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Howard University's School of Architecture and Design offers an NAAB-accredited Bachelor of Architecture program that meets the requirements for licensure. Specific courses include elements of architecture, architectural history, design methods and structures. Architecture students have access to a range of facilities that include a gallery for showcasing student work and special exhibits and an auditorium, as well as an architecture and design library, computer laboratory, resource center and model shop with student workstations.

University of the District of Columbia

  • Program Name: Bachelor of Science in Architecture
  • Program Length: 128 credit hours
  • Tuition: $265.83 per credit hour for residents, $557.50 per credit hour for non-residents (as of Fall 2011)
  • School Type: 4-year, public; roughly 5,300 undergraduate students
  • Address: 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
  • Phone: (202) 274-6110

The University of the District of Columbia is the sole fully accredited public institution of postsecondary education in DC. The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. The program is open to high school graduates and applicants with associate's degrees in architecture or related fields as well as architecture and construction industry technicians and related professionals. The bachelor's degree program requires a total of 128 credit hours and at least a C grade for all major coursework.


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Programs in Washington, DC

The Catholic University of America

  • Program Name: Certificate in Sustainable Design or Certificate in Real Estate Development
  • Field of Study Options: Technical and non-technical tracks (for sustainable design)
  • Program Length: 12 credit hours
  • Tuition: $1,420 per credit hour (as of Fall 2012)
  • Prerequisites: At least a bachelor's degree with a 2.8 GPA or higher
  • Requirements: A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of at least 295 and, if available, an architecture portfolio
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; roughly 3,400 graduate students
  • Address: 620 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC 20064
  • Phone: (202) 319-5057

The School of Architecture and Planning offers two post-baccalaureate certificate programs in sustainable design and real estate development, which are offered as standalone certificates or may be applied towards a master's degree in architecture. The sustainable design program offers technical and non-technical tracks; courses in the technical track include systems and simulations, while non-technical track courses include strategies in sustainable design, ethics and stewardship. Real estate development courses include practice management, real estate finance, real estate law and architecture theory. All real estate development courses are offered exclusively in the evenings.


Master's Degree Programs in Washington, DC

The Catholic University of America

  • Program Name: Master of Architecture
  • Specialization Options: Cultural studies/sacred space, urban design/conservation, digital architecture, digital fabrication and real estate development
  • Program Length: 2-3 years for the Master of Architecture (depending on undergraduate degree)
  • Tuition: $18,315 per semester, full-time (for 2012-2013)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree in architecture or another field with a 2.8 GPA or higher
  • Requirements: A GRE score of at least 295 and, if available, an architecture portfolio
  • School Type: 4-year, private not-for-profit; roughly 3,400 graduate students
  • Address: 620 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC 20064
  • Phone: (202) 319-5057

CUA's School of Architecture and Planning administers a NAAB-accredited professional Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) program. If you have a bachelor's degree in architecture, it typically takes two years to complete; otherwise, it will take three years if you have a bachelor's degree in another field. The school also offers a Master of Architectural Studies, which is a post-professional degree for applicants holding professional architecture degrees who want further training in design. Both master's degree programs offer five areas of concentration.

University of the District of Columbia

  • Program Name: Master of Architecture
  • Program Length: 1.5-3.5 years (depending on bachelor's degree concentration)
  • Tuition: $421.11 per credit hour for residents, $810 per credit hour for non-residents (as of Fall 2011)
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts
  • School Type: 4-year, public; roughly 200 graduate students
  • Address: 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
  • Phone: (202) 274-6158

Through the university's College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences, you can pursue a Master of Architecture program. It can be completed in 1.5 years if you have a bachelor's degree in the field or 3.5 years with a bachelor's degree in another field. The graduate-level curriculum covers topics in sustainable design, structural design, computer simulation, environment systems and studio labs. Upon graduating from the program, you can qualify for an internship towards licensure as a professional architect.


Licensing Requirements for Architects

All states, as well as the District of Columbia, regulate the architect profession with licensure or registration. To get licensed in Washington, DC, you'll need to earn an architecture degree from a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). You'll then have to complete the Intern Development Program, which is administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and provides you with about three years of training under the supervision of a licensed architect.

Once you meet degree and training requirements, you're eligible to register for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) administered by the NCARB. Applicants can complete the seven divisions of the ARE in any order. Once you become a licensed architect, you must continually renew your license by acquiring a minimum of 24 professional development units every two years.

Salary and Job Outlook for Architects

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for architects nationwide (except naval and landscape architects) were expected to increase by 24% from 2010-2020; however, you may experience greater job opportunities in the Washington, DC, area than in other parts of the country. The BLS reported that DC had the highest concentration of jobs in the country, employing 1,610 architects as of May 2011. Architects based in the District of Columbia were also among the highest-paid architects in the country. As of May 2011, the average salary of these professionals working in DC was approximately $92,000, while the average salary for architects across the nation was roughly $79,000.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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