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Columbia University Course/Program Name
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National :01 Jan 
International :01 Jan 

BA Architecture

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

3 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

46040 USD
46040 USD

Application fee

International 75 USD
National 75 USD
Department of Architecture
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600

World University Ranking

About this course

Studying Architecture at Barnard and Columbia Colleges leads to a liberal arts degree – a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Architecture. Barnard College is the administrative location for all undergraduate architecture studies at Columbia University and its partner institutions. A liberal arts education in architecture holds a unique position in academia and in relation to the discipline. If the goal of a professional education in architecture is to enable students to participate directly in the world as an architect – a liberal arts education asks that students consider the broader and myriad conditions in which architecture is conceived and practiced and, in turn, to understand how architecture inevitably alters those conditions. Students are asked to confront and interpret the complex social, cultural, political, and environmental processes that weave through architectural design and urbanism. The purpose of an undergraduate liberal arts degree in architecture is to educate students to think about the world through architecture.

The Architecture curriculum introduces design at a variety of scales, acknowledging that integrated design thinking is effective for problem solving at any scale and in any discipline. Students will experiment with full-scale installations and devices and make small-scale models of urban conditions from which they extract, interpret and invent new possibilities of inhabitation and use. The curriculum intentionally balances the traditions of handcrafted representation with evolving digital technologies of architectural design and communication.

The Architecture major complements, and makes great use of its University setting. With access to superb libraries, research centers, graduate programs, and abundant intellectual resources, our students have the opportunity to follow their creative instincts to great depth and breadth – and they do. The major depends on New York City as more than a convenient site for many design and research projects and frames the City as one of the key social and architectural, and thus didactic, markers of Modernity. Architecture students study with peers from countries around the world in one of the most diverse cities in the world. A large majority of the Architecture students expand their education by interning in Architecture or a related field during their undergraduate studies. Alumni of the Department are leaders in architecture and design fields around the world. The faculty teaching in the undergraduate program are dedicated teachers who are also at the forefront of practice and research and are similarly drawn to New York City as a nexus of global design thinking.

Students interested in obtaining a professional degree in Architecture continue on to graduate programs after their undergraduate degree, and students from the Barnard-Columbia program have enjoyed enormous success in their admissions to the most competitive graduate programs in the country. Students who study Architecture as undergraduates have also pursued graduate degrees in a wide variety of disciplines including Urban Planning, Law, and Media and Communications.

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Eligibility Criteria

To be well-prepared for a college like Barnard, it is important to think about the academic community you are hoping to join. Barnard's general education requirements cover a wide range of subjects: literature, the social sciences, language and the arts, lab sciences, and quantitative areas. For this reason, you should acquire a strong foundation in high school, taking courses from the core academic subjects: math, science, English, history, and foreign language. Do your best to take the most rigorous classes available to you in which you can do your best work. For transfer students, our recommendations are similar. Take courses that are recommended to fulfill general requirements in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. If an area is a relative weakness, continue taking that subject while pursuing advanced coursework in areas of relative strength. Remember, we hope to see how you might contribute to our intellectual community, and your choices tell us what kind of a student you will be.

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Course Modules

The two majors in Architecture are comprised of studio and non-studio courses that explore the multiple relationships between architectural design, history, theory, and criticism. Both tracks share introductory-level studios as well as introductory- and upper-level lectures and seminars. Both tracks also offer the option to take project-based courses using new media and other research formats. The studio-based major offers an intensive design experience and the History and Theory of Architecture major requires a written thesis. 

The Architecture Major (studio-based)

14 classes required

The required classes are broken down into four categories: studio, history/theory, senior courses, and the cluster. 
Studio Requirement – 4 Courses 
• Architectural Representation: Abstraction
• Architectural Representation: Perception
• Architectural Design I
• Architectural Design II    

History/Theory Requirement – 5 Courses
• Perceptions of Architecture
• Pre-1750 elective course
• Post-1750 elective course
• Two elective courses
(It is recommended that one of these courses be on non-western architecture) 
Senior Courses Requirement – 2 Courses 
• Senior Seminar
• Elective Architecture seminar (another Senior Seminar in the Department or senior level seminar elsewhere across the University, Architectural Design III Studio, or Independent Research)
Cluster – 3 Courses
All majors are asked to complement their work with a thematic unit (three courses) called the "cluster." The cluster is devised by each student based on their interest in historical, technical, place-specific or issue-specific themes. The cluster sets up the opportunity for students to think in cross-disciplinary terms and to enrich their architectural work as they work through other forms of knowledge. (Examples include: New York City, Sustainability, Digital Design and New Media). 
Graduation Requirements
The major also requires that students submit a portfolio and a writing sample before graduation. The design portfolio includes representative work from all design studios and the writing sample is a paper or essay from a senior level architecture or architecture-related course. Final submissions are archived in the department, the portfolios are displayed at the end of the year show, and both are used to award graduation honors.

The History and Theory of Architecture Major

16 classes (including thesis) required

The History and Theory of Architecture major stresses research and writing in Architectural History, Art History, and related subjects. N.B. This particular program of study is only open to Barnard College students; all Columbia College students that are interested in majoring in architectural history should contact the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University.
Studio Requirement – 2 Courses 
• Architectural Representation: Abstraction
• Architectural Representation: Perception
History/Theory Requirement – 5 Courses 
• Perceptions of Architecture
• Two Architecture elective courses
• Introduction to Art History I
• Introduction to Art History II
• Two Art History elective courses
Seminar Requirement – 3 Courses; 2 in Architecture, 1 in Art History
• Senior Seminar
• Elective Architecture seminar (another Senior Seminar in the Department or senior level seminar elsewhere across the University, Architectural Design III, or Independent Research)
• Elective Art History seminar
Thesis - (the “senior capstone experience”)
This written thesis may be done in two semesters of independent research that can be counted as the required lectures/seminars.
Cluster – 3 Courses
Same requirements as Studio-based Major
Graduation Requirements
Same requirements as Studio-based Major

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How to Apply

Submit all supporting materials

  • Request that all official high school and college transcripts be sent to Barnard College along with your high school's profile. Your guidance counselor will also need to submit the School Report.
  • Submit official standardized testing. For more information, please view
  • Submit Teacher Evaluation forms. We require letters from two teachers that taught you in core academic subjects (English, foreign language, history [social science], mathematics, or science) in your final two years of secondary school.
  • Your counselor will submit the mid-year report with your first semester senior grades by March 1st via the common application.
  • Submit TOEFL or IELTS (if applicable). In addition to SAT/ACT requirements, TOEFL/IELTS scores are required for students whose primary language is not English and who have not been enrolled in a school where English is the primary medium of instruction for four consecutive years

Optional Supplemental Materials

  • Students may choose to complete an on-campus or off-campus interview. For information on how and when to schedule an interview, please visit our admissions interview page. 
  • Students may choose to submit supplementary portfolios (art—including film, photo, drawing, painting, sculpture—music, dance, theatre, or creative writing) for review via Slideroom. 
    Please note: Supplementary material will not be reviewed by Barnard faculty, and unfortunately, during high volume periods, we cannot guarantee it will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. 

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