Undergraduate Program in Architecture

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Mario Gandelsonas (Fall 2019)
Cameron Wu (Spring 2020)


The School of Architecture's undergraduate program is known for its rigorous and interdisciplinary approach to pre-professional education. The program leads to an A.B. with a concentration in architecture and offers an introduction to the discipline of architecture within the framework of a liberal arts curriculum. In order to qualify for licensing as an architect in the United States, students are required to complete a program leading to a professional degree that is accepted by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

In addition to architectural design and the history and theory of architecture and urbanism, undergraduates study a range of disciplines that contribute to an architect’s knowledge and vision, including courses in architectural analysis, representation, computing, and building technologies. Such a broad academic program also prepares students for a graduate program in architecture and other related disciplines such as landscape architecture, urban planning, civil engineering, art history, and the visual arts.

Students find the design studios the most unique part of their experience. In these studios, students prepare individual designs of buildings and urban areas, which are analyzed and critiqued by faculty. Studios meet with faculty for three-hour sessions every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.


Certificate Programs

In addition to the concentration, or major, students have the opportunity to enroll in certificate programs. There are two specifically related to Architecture. The Program in Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary program for the study of cities, metropolitan regions, and urban and suburban landscapes. Students who pursue an Urban Studies certificate must incorporate a component of urban studies in their senior thesis. Students may also enroll in the Program in Architecture and Engineering. Students interested in this program may choose between two options: structures focus or architecture focus. Please visit princeton.edu/cee/ for more information.


Undergraduate Program in Architecture


ARC 203    Introduction to Architectural Thinking
ARC 204    Introduction to Architectural Design
ARC 206    Geometry and Architectural Representation (Spring of Sophomore Year, effective with Class of 2022)

Course Requirements (Departmentals)

History and Theory of Architecture
ARC 308     History of Architectural Theory (Fall of Junior Year)
ARC 403     Topics in the History and Theory of Architecture (Fall of Senior Year)
One elective

History and Theory of Urbanism and Landscape
Two electives

Art and Archaeology
Two upper level courses

Building Technology 
ARC 311     Building Science and Technology: Building Systems
One elective

Studios and Design Seminars
ARC 206     Geometry and Architectural Representation
ARC 350     Junior Studio I (Fall)
ARC 351     Junior Studio II (Spring)
ARC 404     Advanced Design Studio (Fall of Senior Year)

Junior Independent Work

The junior independent work requirement is satisfied by a paper of approximately 30 pages, which is initiated in the fall and completed in the spring. The paper addresses a subject related to architecture selected by the student in consultation with a faculty member. Students work in consultation with their faculty adviser and with the assistance of a Ph.D. student, who provides writing support. Juniors may keep the same faculty adviser and are encouraged to continue working on the same research area for their senior thesis.

Senior Thesis

The senior thesis is a detailed project, presenting a well-argued piece of research on a precise architectural theme, and may include a substantial amount and variety of visual materials, including any of several forms of representation: architectural drawings, models, video, photographs, and computer-generated images. The relative proportion of written to visual material for each student must be agreed upon with the adviser and thesis committee. The final presentation and oral defense of the senior thesis in the spring constitutes a section of the departmental examination. Visit Mudd Library to see Architecture Thesis from 1968-2018.

Professional Study in Architecture

Students in the undergraduate program in architecture will graduate with a liberal arts degree, not a professional degree in architecture. The School of Architecture offers a professional degree in architecture (M.Arch. degree), which students generally complete in three years. Advanced standing may be granted by professional graduate schools at other universities. In order to qualify for licensing as architects in the United States, students are required to complete a program leading to a professional degree that is accepted by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. 

Study Abroad

Princeton University is committed to providing high quality opportunities that allow undergraduates to encounter firsthand the people, culture, and contemporary concerns of other regions of the world.  Through the Study Abroad Programs, Princeton undergraduates receive full academic credit for a semester or a year by enrolling in an approved overseas university or study abroad program. Please visit http://www.princeton.edu/oip/sap/ for more information.