University of Southern California

School of Architecture

Undergraduate Degrees

Bachelor of Science, Architectural Studies

The Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies program begins intensively with architectural studies in the first two years and provides a mix of architectural and general university studies throughout the program. The curriculum includes a core program in the first two years identical to the Bachelor of Architecture professional degree program. The last two years provide the opportunity to explore many aspects of architecture and related fields and to develop individual strengths and interests. Students take an introductory course in specialization in the second year, which provides an introduction to related fields and alternative degree options. Students can elect to move into the four-year non-professional B.S. in Architectural Studies program with a degree plan identifying electives fulfilling an area of concentration. The program is concluded with a seminar with all degree candidates, allowing for collaborative work on areas of common interest.

Admission as a First-year Student

All applicants to the School of Architecture must complete the university application and submit it to the USC Office of Admission along with Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or other test scores. All applicants, including international students, must submit a portfolio.

Admission with Advanced Placement

It is possible, in selected instances, that a transfer student from an accredited community college or other university may be eligible for advanced placement at the second-year level if previous work includes a minimum of 32 semester units of acceptable academic credit in a pre-architecture program. The academic credit must include 8 semester units in architectural design or environmental design. Students accepted for advanced placement must still comply with all requirements for the degree.

Advanced placement applicants are required to submit a design portfolio to the School of Architecture.

Summer Transfer Studio

A summer design studio allows highly qualified students transferring from community college or other university programs to be evaluated for advanced placement in the fall semester. Applicants must submit a university application and portfolio by February 1 for consideration. During the summer studio, transfer students must demonstrate significant design and drawing skill to justify advanced placement. Transfer students who are admitted with fewer than 32 units of college level work and who have only limited drawing or design skills may be considered for placement in the first year of the four-year program. Previous academic work may in part be applied toward required and elective courses for the four-year B.S. in Architectural Studies program. For more information about this program, contact the school at (213) 740-2420.


The School of Architecture maintains student advisers for the benefit of all students in the school. Soon after being accepted, new students are advised to make an appointment for pre-registration advisement. A complete record is kept of the progress for each student while in attendance. Appointments with an adviser may be scheduled at any time during the academic year.

Design Studio Grade Point Average Requirement

Less than average work in design studio is not considered sufficient for a continuation in the design studio sequence. Students must receive a grade of C (2.0) or above in each semester of design in order to continue in the design sequence. Students in the first two years of the program are required to repeat the course until such a grade is achieved.

Pass/No Pass Courses

Architecture students are permitted to take a maximum of 24 units of non-architecture electives, exclusive of the writing requirements, MATH 108 and the PHYS 125L requirement, on a pass/no pass option. No more than 4 units of pass/no pass courses may be applied to general education requirements; no more than 4 units may be taken in one semester. Students who have taken non-architecture courses pass/no pass in the past (i.e., before admission to architecture) may count such pass/no pass courses toward, but not in addition to, the maximum of 24 units.

Time Limits

While there are no specific time limits for completing the B.S. in Architectural Studies degree (except in the case of discontinued programs) the School of Architecture may require additional course work of students who remain in the degree program beyond six years.

Four-Year Curriculum for the Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies Degree

ARCH 102aL Architectural Design I 4
ARCH 105L Fundamentals of Design Communication 2
ARCH 114 Architecture: Culture and Community 2
MATH 108* Precalculus, or
WRIT 150* Writing and Critical Reasoning — Thematic Approaches 4
General Education Social Issues 4
ARCH 102bL Architectural Design I 4
ARCH 214a World History of Architecture 3
PHYS 125L** Physics for Architects 4
WRIT 130*** Analytical Writing, or General Education 4
ARCH 202aL Architectural Design II 6
ARCH 213a Building Structures and Seismic Design 3
ARCH 214b World History of Architecture 3
General Education 4
ARCH 202bL Architectural Design II 6
ARCH 211 Materials and Methods of Building Construction 3
ARCH 213b Building Structures and Seismic Design 3
General Education 4
ARCH 215 Design for the Thermal and Atmospheric Environment 3
ARCH 313 Design of Building Structures 3
ARCH 370 Architectural Studies — Expanding the Field 2
WRIT 340 Advanced Writing, or
General Education 8
ARCH 315 Design for the Luminous and Sonic Environment 3
ARCH 411 Architectural Technology 3
Diversity 4
Professional electives 6
ARCH 314 History of Architecture: Contemporary Issues 3
ARCH 525 Professional Practice: Pre-Design, Project and Office Administration 3
Professional electives 10
ARCH 470 Capstone Seminar 4
Electives 8
Professional electives 5
Total minimum units required: 128
*All students must enroll in WRIT 150 in the fall except those who are required to take MATH 108. These students must take WRIT 130 the following spring.

**PHYS 125L fulfills the General Education requirement in Category III. The PHYS 125L requirement can also be fulfilled by PHYS 135abL; 4 units will be applied toward the B.S. and 4 will count as electives.

***Students who take WRIT 130 are advised to fulfill their sixth General Education requirement concurrently with the Diversity requirement or with a Professional Architecture elective, or with their free electives.

Requirements for B.S. in Architectural Studies Degree

A total of 25 units of professional electives, including ARCH 470 Capstone Seminar, are required in an area of specialization, which must be selected from the accepted professional elective offerings in the School of Architecture or with consultation and approval of the program adviser. This is in addition to the core, elective and general education requirements of the Bachelor of Architecture degree, which are identical for the first two years of the Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies.

In the third and fourth year of the program, the requirements for the Bachelor of Architecture design studios, ARCH 302abL and ARCH 402ab — 24 units — are changed to the professional electives requirement. The full degree requirements are described above.

Core Requirements

Students must complete the following core courses as a prelude to the upper division professional electives and degree requirements: ARCH 102abL, ARCH 105L, ARCH 114, ARCH 202abL, ARCH 211, ARCH 213ab, ARCH 214ab, and ARCH 370, MATH 108, PHYS 125L, and WRIT 150 or WRIT 130.

General Education Requirements

The university’s general education program provides a coherent, integrated introduction to the breadth of knowledge you will need to consider yourself (and to be considered by other people) a generally well-educated person. This program requires six courses, in different categories, plus writing and diversity requirements, which together comprise the USC Core. See The USC Core and the General Education Program for more information. Students who are required to take MATH 108 during the freshman year may take their Social Issues course in the fall and WRIT 130 separately in the spring. Others will take WRIT 150 in the fall and will take Social Issues with it.