Those considering architecture as a major are encouraged to take three first-year courses while also completing the University of Notre Dame’s First Year Curriculum requirements. The first-year architecture courses are Graphics I: Drawing (fall semester), Graphics II: Drafting (spring semester), and Analysis of Architectural Writings (spring semester), a theory course. The graphics courses develop the drawing skills necessary for design studio courses in the second year and introduce the student to important architectural concepts. The theory course introduces students to the vocabulary of architecture.
In the first year, students examine typology, urbanism, figure-ground perception, and the relationships between the attainment of manual and intellectual skills as articulated by Vitruvius in his well-known dictum, “The Education of the Architect.” The liberal arts First Year Curriculum, common to all first year Notre Dame students, also provides the background for the second year architecture students’ exploration of the principles of construction and the relationship of those principles to architectural form.
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).