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SEEDS Building


College of Architecture + Planning

Students fulfill the majority of their general studies courses in their first two years of study before entering our studio-based curriculum in their final two years.  The curriculum for the Bachelor of Science in Architecture is closely integrated with our Master of Architecture program that is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). 

Most state registration boards in the United States require an applicant for licensure to have graduated from a NAAB-accredited program, obtaining such a degree is an essential aspect of preparing for the professional practice of architecture. While graduation from a NAAB-accredited program does not assure registration, the accrediting process is intended to verify that each accredited program substantially meets those standards that, as a whole, comprise an appropriate education for an architect.   

The NAAB has established 32 Student Performance Criteria (SPCs) that all graduates of an accredited professional program (such as an MArch) must satisfy. Students graduating with the BS Arch degree will satisfy 19 of the 32 criteria embedded in the MArch degree. The remaining 13 criteria would be acquired as part of the MArch degree. 

While these 19 criteria are particular to the accreditation process, they are also the learning outcomes necessary for a well-rounded undergraduate education for students wishing to pursue careers in design, construction, real estate and other related professions. The student learning goals of the program will also allow its graduates to pursue many other options for graduate study, or careers in related and other fields. Scroll to the bottom of this page for more details on the 19 applicable NAAB criteria and learning goals.

The curriculum emphasizes:
  • the development of the critical, analytical, interpretive and creative abilities that are essential to  engaging and effectively addressing the diverse bodies of knowledge that define architecture’s realm and its practices  

  • the use of design thinking as a highly effective means for dealing with complex situations, and will ask students to respond to design issues and situations that are often in conflict through analysis, interpretation, reason, argumentation and proof with both precision and accuracy

  • the ability to analyze, interpret, organize, arrange and manipulate various bodies of knowledge

  • understanding and being able to apply appropriate methodologies 

​​REQUIRED CREDITS: 120 minimum credits to graduate
  • 49 credits outside the ARCH prefix
         37 required
         12 elective

  • 71 credits carrying the ARCH prefix
         54 required
         17 elective 


The curriculum is organized around four areas of study: 

1. Design Studies -  27 credits

    The complex process of analysis, interpretation, definition and conclusion

  • ARCH 1110:  Design Studio I

  • ARCH 3110:  Design Studio II

  • ARCH 3120:  Design Studio III

  • ARCH 4110:  Design Studio IV

  • ARCH 4120:  Design Studio V

2. Cultural Studies - 9 credits

    Unique mode of inquiry (historiography) with particular methodologies for analyzing, organizing,               categorizing, interpreting and delivering information about the designed environment’s past

  • ARCH 1110:  Introduction to Architecture and Urbanism

  • ARCH 2230:  Architectural History I

  • ARCH 3230:  Architectural History II

3. Technical Studies - 18 credits

     Scientific methodologies

  • ARCH 3130:  Construction Practices I

  • ARCH 3430:  Construction Practices II

  • ARCH 3330:  Building Systems I

  • ARCH 3130:  Building Systems II

  • ARCH 3130:  Theory of Structures I

  • ARCH 3130:  Theory of Structures II

4. General Studies - 12 credits

     A range of the arts and sciences that constitute a liberal education, grounding the students in a
     diverse set of modes of thinking that prepare them for upper division studies in the disciplinary
     part of the program

The same subject matter may be examined in two study area courses using two different methodologies. The question of sustainability, for instance, may be addressed from four very different perspectives - that of the historian, the scientist, the designer or the scholar - depending on the particular focus of the question and the methods of inquiry used. 

There are one or more required introductory courses in each area of study, complemented by a number of intermediate and advanced courses that emphasize the analytical, interpretive, critical and creative methodologies particular to an area. 


CAP Undergraduate Advising at 303.315.1000 or by email


The learning goals established by the 19 applicable NAAB criteria are listed below (using the NAAB numbering system).

• A.1. Communication Skills: Ability to read, write, speak and listen effectively.

• A.2. Design Thinking Skills: Ability to raise clear and precise questions, use abstract ideas to interpret information, consider diverse points of view, reach well-reasoned conclusions, and test alternative outcomes against relevant criteria and standards.

• A.3. Visual Communication Skills: Ability to use appropriate representational media, such as traditional graphic and digital technology skills, to convey essential formal elements at each stage of the programming and design process.  

• A.4. Technical Documentation: Ability to make technically clear drawings, write outline specifications, and prepare models illustrating and identifying the assembly of materials, systems, and components appropriate for a building design.  

• A.5. Investigative Skills: Ability to gather, assess, record, apply, and comparatively evaluate relevant information within architectural coursework and design processes.  

• A.6. Fundamental Design Skills: Ability to effectively use basic architectural and environmental principles in design.  

• A.7. Use of Precedents: Ability to examine and comprehend the fundamental principles present in relevant precedents and to make choices regarding the incorporation of such principles into architecture and urban design projects.  

• A.8. Ordering Systems Skills: Understanding of the fundamentals of both natural and formal ordering systems and the capacity of each to inform two- and three-dimensional design.  

• A.9. Historical Traditions and Global Culture: Understanding of parallel and divergent canons and traditions of architecture, landscape and urban design including examples of indigenous, vernacular, local, regional, national settings from the Eastern, Western, Northern, and Southern hemispheres in terms of their climatic, ecological, technological, socioeconomic, public health, and cultural factors.  

• A.10. Cultural Diversity: Understanding of the diverse needs, values, behavioral norms, physical abilities, and social and spatial patterns that characterize different cultures and individuals and the implication of this diversity on the societal roles and responsibilities of architects.  

• A.11. Applied Research: Understanding the role of applied research in determining function, form, and systems and their impact on human conditions and behavior.  

• B.8 Environmental Systems: Understanding the principles of environmental systems’ design such as embodied energy, active and passive heating and cooling, indoor air quality, solar orientation, day lighting and artificial illumination, and acoustics; including the use of appropriate performance assessment tools.  

• B.9. Structural Systems: Understanding of the basic principles of structural behavior in withstanding gravity and lateral forces and the evolution, range, and appropriate application of contemporary structural systems.  

• B.10. Building Envelope Systems: Understanding of the basic principles involved in the appropriate application of building envelope systems and associated assemblies relative to fundamental performance, aesthetics, moisture transfer, durability, and energy and material resources.  

• B.11. Building Service Systems: Understanding of the basic principles and appropriate application and performance of building service systems such as plumbing, electrical, vertical transportation, security, and fire protection systems.  

• B.12. Building Materials and Assemblies: Understanding of the basic principles utilized in the appropriate selection of construction materials, products, components, and assemblies, based on their inherent characteristics and performance, including their environmental impact and reuse.  

• C.1. Collaboration: Ability to work in collaboration with others and in multidisciplinary teams to successfully complete design projects.  

• C.2. Human Behavior: Understanding of the relationship between human behavior, the natural environment and the design of the built environment.  

• C.9. Community and Social Responsibility: Understanding of the architect’s responsibility to work in the public interest, to respect historic resources, and to improve the quality of life for local and global neighbors. 


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