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All first-year students at the University of Notre Dame are required to complete Writing & Rhetoric, University Seminar, and the Moreau First Year Experience courses as part of the Core Curriculum. While the Core requirements of quantitative reasoning and science/technology do not have to be completed in the first year, those considering Architecture as a major should take Calculus (MATH 10250) and Physics I (PHYS 11011) in the first year in order to build a foundation for structural courses taken in the sophomore year.
In addition to their Core Curriculum coursework, students considering the major are encouraged to take Graphics I: Drawing (fall semester) and required to take Graphics II: Drafting (spring semester) and Analysis of Architectural Writings, a theory course (spring semester). The graphics courses develop the drawing skills necessary for design studio in the second year. The theory course introduces students to the vocabulary of architecture. Together these courses introduce the student to important architectural concepts. Students examine typology, urbanism, figure-ground perception, principles of construction and the relationship of those principles to architectural form. They are also introduced to the relationships between the attainment of manual and intellectual skills as articulated by Vitruvius in his well-known description of the need for an architect to know both theory and craft.
First year students are welcome to join any of the School of Architecture's student groups: the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), the Frank Montana Sketching Club of Notre Dame – (FMSCND), The National Organization of Minority Architecture Students – Notre Dame (NOMAS-ND), the Student Association for Women in Architecture (SAWA), Students for Classical Architecture (SCA), and Students for New Urbanism (SNU).