2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog


A. Swartz, Chairperson


Architecture enriches our life experiences where we live, work, and play.  Architecture is a balance of the inspirational and the practical, of art and of science.  Architects create beautiful and durable environments that attend to the functional needs of people and communities. By weaving together these technical and artful considerations, architecture is positioned to address today’s critical challenges such as environmental stewardship, and social equity. 

The study of architecture is analytical, experimental, creative, and iterative. It involves focused observation and the integration of a breadth of information and considerations. Our undergraduate programs in architecture educate students in design processes of analytical and creative thinking, intellectual inquiry, ideation, making, and effective communication. We seek to inspire our students with the grounding of a rigorous education that fosters students’ creative and intellectual confidence, ethical grounding, and self-awareness to allow them to succeed in their aspirations. Three undergraduate degree programs in architecture are offered.  Each of these is tailored to different educational and professional goals. 

The professional Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) program at Ball State is a five year program resulting in an accredited professional degree (a necessary requirement for professional licensure as an architect). The B.Arch degree balances the intensity of a professional degree program with a well-rounded undergraduate university education. This curriculum requires a semester-long (paid) work experience with a licensed architect.  The Bachelor of Architecture degree program is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), receiving Initial Accreditation January 2020; we have a visit for Continuing Accreditation in 2023.  The Bachelor of Architecture professional degree program provides an education that is also suitable for other career paths and/or educational pursuits at the graduate level.

The undergraduate degree program Bachelor of Arts (includes a foreign language concentration) or Bachelor of Science (no foreign language concentration) with a major in architecture provides a four-year “pre-professional” undergraduate architecture education.  This degree path prepares students to pursue a graduate, professional Master of Architecture degree (a necessary requirement for professional licensure) at Ball State or elsewhere and requires application/acceptance to a graduate program. The BA/BS (in architecture) degree is the “pre-professional” component of the department’s NAAB accredited Master of Architecture “4+2” degree program and is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited professional degree. See *below.

The four-year undergraduate major BS (or BA) in Environmental Design provides students with an immersive exposure to the discipline of architecture, while preparing them for leadership roles in allied environmental design disciplines.  While benefitting from lessons in critical thinking, communication and design process inherent in an architectural education, this degree suits students who have broader educational and career aspirations, perhaps leading to careers (with or without additional graduate education) in the construction industry, interior design, industrial design, business management, communications, marketing, or business, to name a few.  This degree does not directly lead to professional licensure as an architect although the three-year professional Master of Architecture program (at Ball State or elsewhere) would be an option for students in this track.

Approval to pursue any of the departmental undergraduate degrees involves admission to the university: http://cms.bsu.edu/admissions/undergraduate-admissions/information-for/high-school-students 
AND acceptance into the Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning: http://cms.bsu.edu/academics/collegesanddepartments/cap/applications-financial-aid/undergraduate 
AND admission into the Department of Architecture Department after the first-year CAP program.

Admission Standards (to the Department of Architecture at the end of the first-year design program in CAP):

  • Portfolio of CAP first year work including design, design communication media work and writing examples (reviewed by committee for admission)
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 overall in the CAP first-year courses
  • Note:  transfer requests into the undergraduate program are addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Retention Standards:

  •  Students in the professional B.Arch and pre-professional BA/BS undergraduate degree programs receiving grades BELOW C- in two consecutive, required architecture courses (i.e., ARCH 201, 202; ARCH 214, 314; ARCH 218, 318 etc.), must repeat the sequence of BOTH courses.

*In the United States, most registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.
Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may require a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

In order to meet the education requirement set forth by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, an applicant for an NCARB Certificate must hold a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited by the NAAB; the degree must have been awarded not more than two years prior to initial accreditation.  However, meeting the education requirement for the NCARB Certificate may not be equivalent to meeting the education requirement for registration in a specific jurisdiction.  Please contact NCARB for more information.

Ball State University’s Department of Architecture offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:

B.Arch (154 undergraduate credits)
Next accreditation visit: 2023

M.Arch (pre-professional degree + 57 graduate credits)
M.Arch (non-pre-professional degree + 99 credits)
Next accreditation visit for both M.Arch programs: 2022

Approval to pursue any of the departmental graduate degrees involves admission to the university’s Graduate School as well as admission to the department.