Frequently Asked Questions for First Year Students

Student Life


Do architecture students do other things?  Get involved with dorm life?  Varsity athletics?  Student activities?

Architecture students are involved in a wide variety of extracurricular activities. In the past year, we have had students in the marching band, varsity fencers, ROTC members, orchestra players, RAs in dorms, liturgical ministers, teaching assistants in Architecture classes, and members of a seemingly endless list of clubs. The School of Architecture hosts five Architecture-specific student clubs that first-year students are encouraged to join, as well as a vibrant Lecture Series featuring talks by scholars and practitioners outside of the University. Many students also work on campus in the dining halls and eateries, offices, ArchIT support, and the Architecture Library.


Do students really stay working in studio until late in the night?

Despite what you may have heard about architecture school culture, achieving a healthy and fulfilling work-life balance is not only possible, but highly encouraged. You will likely have some late nights in studio over the course of your five years at Notre Dame--architecture studies require dedication--but with time management and prioritization, it is possible to complete your school work while also enjoying the benefits of good sleep, exercise, and healthy eating habits; extracurricular activities; work-study responsibilities; and time with friends. You will have your advisors as well as the University’s Care and Wellness Team with you every step of the way if you need support in developing skills and strategies to find a healthy balance.




What architecture courses will I take in my first year?

Architecture students take three Architecture courses in the first year: ARCH 11011: Graphics I - Drawing in the fall semester, and ARCH 11021: Graphics II - Drafting and ARCH 10311: Analysis of Architectural Writings in the spring semester. Additionally, students are required to take Physics I, Calculus I, and Mathematics in Architecture or a second Calculus to prepare for sophomore technical coursework. Your First Year Advisor will assist you in assembling a schedule that includes these courses alongside other Core Curriculum requirements.


What do I need to do to prepare for my fall architecture course?

Professor Giuseppe Mazzone has prepared a list of supplies you will need to purchase for the Graphics I: Drawing course. Please note this list assumes in-person instruction and is subject to change. It may be prudent to wait until closer to August to purchase supplies. Virtually all of the supplies purchased for the Graphics I course--and the Graphics II course--will be used throughout one’s entire course of study and beyond.  Some items such as paper and pencil lead will need to be periodically replenished, but the majority of tools will be purchased once and continue to be reused.


Who is my advisor?

As a first-year student, Cecilia Lucero will serve as your First Year Advisor. Once you officially declare Architecture as your major at the end of the first year, you will transition to the care of the School of Architecture advising team. Caroline Maloney, Academic Advising Director, will meet with you annually beginning in the fall of sophomore year to discuss course registration, adding concentration and minors, and graduation progress. Samantha Salden Teach, Assistant Dean, provides guidance with a range of student life issues including health and wellbeing, accessibility and accommodations, and professional development. These advisors all maintain offices in the Dean’s Suite of Walsh Family Hall of Architecture. You are welcome to reach out to them at any time with questions or concerns, even before you arrive on campus.


Can I do a double major?

Because of the robust requirements of the Architecture major and Core Curriculum, students rarely pursue double majors. Most majors consist of 30 credit hours (10 classes), and Architecture students have on average only 15 credit hours (5 classes) open for elective courses. Supplementary majors, which have fewer requirements than full majors, are somewhat more feasible to pursue but may require students to overload or take summer courses to make additional space for elective coursework during the academic year. If you are interested in pursuing a double major or supplementary major, please consult with your advisor to confirm you will be able to do so.


Can I do a minor in architecture?  In another discipline?

At this time, the School of Architecture does not offer a minor in Architecture. The only program of study at the undergraduate level is the Architecture major through the Bachelor of Architecture degree program. However, many Architecture students choose to pursue one of the 60+ minors offered through other colleges within the University. Sustainability, Resiliency & Sustainability of Engineering Systems, Real Estate, Digital Marketing, Italian Studies, Greek & Roman Civilization, Art History, and Sociology are some of the most popular minors among our students. To learn more, browse academic programs by college here.


What are concentrations?

The School of Architecture offers three optional concentrations for undergraduate students. Concentrations consist of four courses, meant to be taken one per semester in the fourth and fifth year of the program. Students are asked to express interest in a concentration in the spring of their third year. Space in each concentration is limited, so students will be asked to submit a statement of interest as part of this process.

  • Furniture Design Concentration: Through a sequence of four furniture studio courses, students design and build original pieces of furniture. In recent years, students have crafted custom tables, chairs, benches, cabinets, music stands and lamp bases, among other things, using a combination of hand tools and machinery. This concentration acquaints students with woodworking techniques and challenges them to design two-dimensionally and then realize their designs as three-dimensional outputs, a reverse of the typical architectural design process of imagining space in 3D and then graphically translating it into 2D.
  • Historic Preservation & Restoration Concentration: Through coursework in History and Theory of Preservation, History of American Architecture 1630-1915, Historic Preservation and Traditional Construction, and Research and Documentation of Historical Buildings, students are introduced to the field of preservation, learn about U.S. architecture from the colonial period to World War I, participate in hands-on demonstrations with traditional methods, tools, and materials, and have even worked to help preserve historic buildings in the city of South Bend.
  • Architectural Practice and Enterprise Concentration: Students take four courses through Mendoza College of Business: Principles of Management, Accountancy I, and two business elective courses from a pre-approved list. Pre-approved electives range from economics to finance to real estate and beyond.


What is the difference between a 4-year architecture program and a 5-year architecture program?  Pros and cons?

If you wish to pursue architectural licensure in the future, it is important that you have a professional Architecture degree from a National Architectural Accrediting Board-accredited program. Most of the 55 U.S. architectural licensing boards require that architects hold a professional degree from a NAAB-accredited program, which include Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Architecture, and Doctor of Architecture programs. All Bachelor of Architecture programs are five years in length in order to meet the NAAB’s rigorous learning requirements. Four-year, unaccredited architecture programs, such as Bachelor of Arts or Sciences in Architectural Studies, require students to additionally complete a two- or three-year accredited, professional Master of Architecture degree in order for students to be eligible to pursue architectural licensure. These various models are sometimes referred to as the 5-year model and the 4+2-year model.

The Notre Dame School of Architecture offers a professional, accredited Bachelor of Architecture degree, so once you graduate with this degree in hand, you will have fulfilled the educational component of licensure requirements. You will not be expected to have additional graduate training, unless you desire to pursue an academic (higher education teaching) or research career or you wish to explore a particular area of study to augment your professional endeavors.


Professional Development and Service


Do I need internship hours to graduate?

No, students are not required to complete internships in order to graduate, though many choose to pursue paid summer internships to build work experience, network with architecture firms, and begin working toward their internship hours required for licensure.


Where do students get internships?

The School of Architecture hosts a Career and Internship Fair each spring, typically with over 60 firms in attendance. While the first half of the fair is reserved for graduating students who are interviewing for full-time, post-graduate employment, the second half of the fair is open to architecture students at all levels who are seeking paid summer internships. Interviews are conducted on campus following the fair. Beyond the Career and Internship Fair, students make use of the Notre Dame alumni network and faculty contacts/introductions to connect with Architecture alumni and offices in their hometowns or preferred cities or in areas of the field that might not have been represented in a particular year’s Career Fair. Fourth-year students also have the opportunity to apply for the David M. Schwarz Architects Internship & Traveling Fellowship Award, which includes a 10-week paid internship in Washington, D.C. and a generous research stipend.


How do potential employers view independent research and service activities?

Potential employers will view endeavors to enrich your own intellectual life and connect with and serve communities very favorably. Opportunities exist for students to assist faculty with research, and many architecture students apply for grant funding from the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement, Liu Center for Asia and Asian Studies, and Nanovic Institute for European Studies to support independent research projects. The Center for Social Concerns is a great resource for students to connect with local, domestic, and international service opportunities.


What kind of careers do people with a B.Arch pursue?

Many of our students choose to work in professional practice after graduation, working their way toward professional licensure. Firms that attend our Career and Internship Fair represent a wide array of scales, including affordable and “missing middle” housing, high-end residential, civic and institutional architecture, mixed-use development, and urban design and planning.  Beyond professional practice, we have Notre Dame Architecture alumni working in real estate, business, economic development and policy, urban and regional planning, historic preservation and restoration, landscape and garden design, fashion design, and even movie set design. The Bachelor of Architecture is a versatile degree with many possibilities.


What is the process for professional licensure in architecture?

There are five major requirements to become a licensed architecture in the United States:

  • Earn an architecture degree from a NAAB-accredited program, or meet your jurisdiction’s education requirement.
  • Gain and document the required experience through the Architectural Experience Program (AXP).
  • Pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).
  • Meet any extra jurisdictional requirements.
  • Have your NCARB Record transmitted to the jurisdiction where you would like to be licensed.

We encourage you to visit the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards website to learn more about the licensure process. International students and U.S. students who intend to practice abroad should consult requirements specific to their countries and/or provinces.

While students can begin to accumulate AXP experience hours as students through approved summer internships, licensure is typically not achieved until at least several years after graduation, during which time the alumnus/a is already working full-time in an architecture firm under another architect’s license. This is because the alumnus/a will need to accumulate significant experience hours and study for and pass the AREs during this time.

The School of Architecture has a dedicated Architect Licensing Advisor, Professor John Mellor, who helps guide students through the process. You are welcome to reach out to him with any questions.


How do Notre Dame Architecture graduates perform on the ARE?

Our graduates have been very successful to date, exceeding the national average by 20%. View all schools’ pass rates here.

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