The School offers an undergraduate major in architecture and an undergraduate major in urban studies exclusively to students enrolled in Yale College. Students who desire this major must apply directly to Yale College.


The purpose of the undergraduate major is to include the study of architecture within a comprehensive liberal arts education, drawing from the broader academic and professional environment of the Yale School of Architecture. The curriculum includes work in design; in history, theory, and criticism of architecture; and in urban studies. As a liberal arts major in Yale College, it leads to a bachelor of arts degree with a major in Architecture, a nonprofessional degree, and it does not fulfill the prerequisites for architectural licensure. For accredited professional degree programs, refer to the requirements of the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) at

Introductory Courses

The introductory courses to the study of architecture (ARCH 150, 200, and 280) are open to all Yale College students and are required prior to applying for the Architecture major. With permission of the director of undergraduate studies (DUS), the prerequisites may be waived for students with sufficient experience in architecture or relevant subjects.

Declaration of Intent to Major

Yale College students interested in the Architecture major must submit a Declaration of Intent to Major during the spring term of their sophomore year, after taking ARCH 150, 200, and 280. The Declaration of Intent to Major must be submitted to the office of the DUS no later than 4 p.m. on March 27, 2020, in 328 Rudolph (third floor), and must include the following information: name, address, telephone number, courses related to architecture already taken, and a statement of purpose. Students should also indicate their desired concentration at this time. Additionally, by May 1, 2020, students must submit an electronic portfolio representative of course work for ARCH 150, 200, and a paper from ARCH 280. Upon the successful completion of these requirements, students are notified in writing regarding their acceptance to the major by May 31, 2020.

Requirements of the Major

To graduate as a Yale College major in Architecture, a student must complete fifteen course credits, including three prerequisites and the senior requirement. They must also base their studies in one of three areas of concentration:
1. Design, which explores the role of architecture in shaping the world around us. It introduces complex processes involved in solving spatial and programmatic problems. Creative work is grounded in the study of history and culture, and in the analysis of social conditions influencing architecture. Design studios provide a forum for production and discourse. Studio projects address issues of architectural form, space, composition, site, tectonics, and programs within broader humanistic ideals.
2. History, Thoery, and Criticism, which is intended to establish a board historical and intellectual framework for the study of architecture. An interdisciplinary approach is encouraged through additional courses taken in various fields of humanities and social sciences. Normally these interdisciplinary courses address subjects closely linked to architectural history, theory, and criticism. Such courses may include archaeology, history of religion, aesthetics, philosophy, or visual culture.
3. Urbanism, which encourages a broad, interdisciplinary investigation of the complex forces that shape the urban and physical environment.

For the senior requirement, seniors in the Design track take ARCH 450 in the fall term and ARCH 494 in the spring term. Seniors in the History, Theory, and Criticism track and in the Urbanism track take ARCH 490 in the fall term and ARCH 491 in the spring term. Proposals for senior projects and essays are submitted in the fall term for review and approval by the senior project coordinator; they are then distributed to faculty members for review. Upon successful review, students may ask faculty members to act as senior advisors. Senior essays and projects for ARCH 491 are due in the office of the DUS by April 10, 2020. Design projects for ARCH 494 are due as specified by the course instructor. All seniors must submit a portfolio of their work to the office of the DUS by May 1, 2020. For all Architecture majors, this portfolio must be representative of the student’s design work including prerequisites and the senior project. History, Theory, and Criticism majors and Urbanism majors must also include a copy of the senior essay and other appropriate texts.

Urban Studies

Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary field grounded in the physical and social spaces of the city and the larger built environment. The Urban Studies major is situated within Yale’s liberal arts framework and draws on the broader academic context and expertise of the Yale School of Architecture, including the areas of urban design and development, urban and architectural history, urban theory and representation, globalization and infrastructure, transportation and mobility, heritage and preservation, and community-based planning. The major introduces students to the following bodies of knowledge: history, theory and contemporary analysis of urban morphologies, spaces, societies, and political economies; conceptual tools and analytical methods to understand urban environments and issues through spatial terms; and practices of and speculative approaches to urban planning and design.

The major prepares undergraduates for a variety of future careers and fields of graduate study related to urban planning, design, and development. These include professional and practice-oriented fields such as urban planning, law, non-profit management, public policy, real estate development, and architecture; as well as research-oriented fields such as geography, sociology, anthropology, urban planning, and architecture.

Requirements of the Major

Students in the Class of 2020 and 2021 Students interested in pursuing a major in Urban Studies should consult with the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) early in the fall 2019 term. Upon approved fulfillment of the requirements indicated below, upper-level students may earn a B.A. degree in Urban Studies.

Students in the Class of 2022 and subsequent classes Students majoring in Urban Studies must take thirteen course credits approved by the DUS. The major is organized around survey courses, methods courses, related electives, and a one- or-two term senior requirement.

Thirteen term courses are required for the major, including the senior requirement. Each student, in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) or a departmental faculty adviser, bears the responsibility for designing a coherent program, which must include the following elements: 3 surveys, 3 methods courses, 4 or 6 electives, depending on the senior requirement; and a one- or two-term senior requirement. All students are required to take either ARCH 360 or 362, one of the Urban Lab courses.

Surveys Students choose three survey courses from the following list, of which one course in ARCH is required. Surveys should be completed by the end of the second year. Surveys: ARCH 200, ARCH 280, ARCH 341, ARCH 385, AMST 196, ANTH 414, EVST 226, HSHM 211

Methods Courses Students choose either ARCH 360 or 362 (Urban Labs) as one of the three required courses from the following list that introduces various methods of understanding and analyzing urbanism and the city. Students should consider completing at least two of these courses by the end of their junior year. Methods Courses: ARCH 230, 345, 353, 360, 362, AMST 348, ANTH 303, EVST 290, HSHM 422, SOCY 160

Electives Students choose five electives if enrolling in the two-term senior requirement; 6 electives if opting for the one-term senior requirement. Each student is responsible for selecting their elective courses from the approved list available on the Urban Studies website or by petition of the DUS. Students who take two Urban Labs (1.5 credits each) may take 4 electives.

Credit/D/Fail No course taken Credit/D/Fail may be counted toward the Urban Studies major.

Senior Requirement

All majors must satisfy a senior requirement undertaken during the senior year. Students have the option of pursuing a yearlong senior project, which includes the ARCH 490, Senior Research Colloquium in the fall and URBN 491, Senior Project in the spring. The senior project may be a written paper or a project that could encompass a variety of media. The primary adviser must be a member of the architecture faculty. Students not choosing a yearlong project may enroll in an advanced seminar (ARCH 400–490), and produce a final paper of twenty to twenty-five pages in addition to existing course work. The seminar should be selected in consultation with the DUS. Note that students pursuing this option must also take an additional elective.

Advising and Intent to Major

Students may declare their intent to major during their second year. The intent to major process will include meeting with the DUS to discuss the intended course of study; submitting a Declaration of Intent to Major form and completing the surveys by the end of the second year. More information regarding this process, the relevant forms, and submission link is available on the program’s website. Schedules for majors must be discussed with, and approved by, the DUS in Urban Studies. Only then may a schedule be submitted to the residential college dean’s office.

Courses in the School of Architecture Unless otherwise indicated in the course descriptions, all courses in the School of Architecture are open to majors and nonmajors with permission of the instructor and the graduate registrar. They are not available for the Credit/D/Fail option. Students are admitted on the basis of their previous course work and previous performance.


Prerequisites None

Number of courses 13 courses (incl senior req)

Specific courses required ARCH 360 or ARCH 362

Distribution of courses 3 surveys, inc 1 ARCH course (to be completed by second year); 3 methods courses, one of which is ARCH 360 or 362; 4–6 electives as specified

Senior Requirement ARCH 490 and URBN 491; or adv seminar (ARCH 400–490) and addt elective