Bachelor of Architecture Vs. BS in Architecture: How to Choose

Discover the similarities and differences between Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) and Bachelor of Science (BS) in Architecture programs. Weigh curriculum requirements and career options to decide which program type is right for you.

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How Do I Choose Between a BArch and a BS in Architecture?

A Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) program is a professional degree program that generally takes five years to complete. Provided its curriculum is approved by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), a BArch program prepares graduates to become licensed architects.

A Bachelor of Science (BS) in Architecture program, on the other hand, is not a professional degree program. It prepares students to earn licensure only after continuing their education. For example, graduates of a BS in Architecture program who want to become professional architects should enroll in a Master of Architecture or similar graduate program. Bachelor's degree program graduates can also begin careers in architecture-related fields such as interior design or landscape architecture.

Program Requirements

BArch and BS programs include similar introductory coursework that examines architectural design, building materials and construction methods. Schools offering both program types often allow, if not require, all students to start out in the BS track, which could be of interest to applicants undecided about which degree to pursue. Once the first two years of coursework have been completed, they can either remain in the BS course of study or apply to the professional BArch program.

Students interested in earning a BS move on to study design concepts and architectural history in their remaining two years of enrollment. They can also complete studio and lecture courses in an area of interest. Students earning a BArch are required to complete professional development classes and an extensive series of studio courses culminating in a capstone project where they oversee all facets of a structure's design.

Career Info

Graduates of BArch programs typically enter internships in order to fulfill the 3-year training requirement mandated by many state licensing boards. After this period, prospective architects can sit for the Architect Registration Examination and become fully licensed. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment opportunities for architects (excluding landscape and naval) would grow 17% between 2012 and 2022. They earned an average salary of $77,850 as of May 2013.

Students who complete a BS in Architecture and elect not to continue their education can pursue jobs in such areas as construction management and computer-aided design or opt for positions as paraprofessionals with architectural firms.

According to the BLS, architectural and civil drafters could see little to no increase in employment opportunities from 2012 to 2022, while a more favorable job growth of 16% was projected for construction managers over the same 10-year period. The average salary for architectural and civil drafters was $51,250 in 2013. Construction managers earned an average of $92,700 per year.

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