Bachelor of Architecture
The bachelor’s degree program begins intensively with architectural studies in the first year and provides for a mix of architectural and general university studies throughout the program. The curriculum includes two cycles of development. The first cycle of six semesters provides a foundation in understanding architecture, concluding with integrative studies after two years of introductory work. The second cycle, four semesters, provides the opportunity to explore many aspects of architecture and to develop individual strengths and interests. During this period, a comprehensive design studio project is undertaken in the fall of the fifth year. The spring of the fifth (and final) year culminates in the development of that comprehensive building project in the context of a professional practice course, coupled with a research design studio taken along the lines of the students’ own interests.
Admission as a First Year Student
All applicants to the School of Architecture must complete the Common 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 at least 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 at the time of application.
Summer Transfer Courses
A summer design studio and drawing course 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 transfer courses, students must demonstrate significant design and drawing skills to justify advanced placement. Successfully completing these summer transfer courses allows students to reduce the required 10-semester design sequence by two semesters, reducing USC residency to four years. This either provides for advanced placement into the second year or gives credit for ARCH 102a , ARCH 102b and ARCH 105 if these courses are passed with grades of B or above. For more information, contact the school at (213) 740-2420.
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 five-year design sequence. Previous academic work may in part be applied toward required and elective courses for the five-year Bachelor of Architecture program.
The School of Architecture maintains academic advisers for the benefit of all students in the school. All incoming students will participate in new student orientation and receive information about course requirements and planning. An individual appointment with an adviser may be scheduled at any time during the academic year to review coursework in progress or to plan for future semesters.
Accredited degree programs awarding the BArch degree must require a minimum of 150 semester credit hours or the quarter-hour equivalent, in academic course work in general studies, professional studies and electives. The curriculum leading to the architecture degree must include at least 45 credit hours, or the quarter-hour equivalent, outside of architectural studies either as general studies or as electives with content other than architectural.
Design Studio and Degree Seminar Grade Point Average Requirement
Less than average work in design and design research is not considered sufficient for a professional degree. Students must receive a grade of C (2.0) or above in each semester of design and design research (ARCH 102a , ARCH 102b , ARCH 202a , ARCH 202b , ARCH 302a , ARCH 302b , ARCH 402a , ARCH 402b , ARCH 500a , ARCH 501 , ARCH 502a ) in order to continue in the design sequence and to graduate. Students will be required to repeat the course until such a grade is achieved.
Transfer Limit for Design Studio Credit
School of Architecture majors enrolling for a semester of study off campus are limited to the transfer of only one design studio course within the ARCH 402a , ARCH 402b sequence. Approval of transfer credit will be dependent upon portfolio review by an appointed faculty review committee.
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 basis. 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.
Students in upper division (ARCH 402a , ARCH 402b ) may substitute any fall or spring semester by completing degree requirements, including design studio, by enrolling during summer session. This substitution does not provide for acceleration of the degree but does allow for make up so that students may get back on schedule for the five-year degree.
While there are no specific time limits for completing the bachelor’s 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.