Architecture : Overview

Department of Architecture

Contact Information

School of Architecture and Planning
114 Diefendorf Hall
South Campus
Buffalo, NY 14214-8032

Phone: 716.829.3483
Fax: 716.829.3256
Web Address:
Omar Khan
R. J. Multari
Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education
Debra Eggebrecht
Assistant to the Chair
Susan McDonald
Admissions Support Secretary


The Department of Architecture offers the only accredited professional master of architecture (MArch) degree in the State University of New York system, along with an undergraduate preprofessional bachelor of science in architecture (BS Arch), as well as an undergraduate minor. Founded in 1969, the department offers introductory courses for non-majors, as well as undergraduate preprofessional, graduate professional, and advanced postprofessional training in the field of architecture. Additional degree programs include a dual master of architecture plus master of urban planning (MArch + MUP), a dual master of architecture plus master of business administration (MArch + MBA), a dual master of architecture plus master of fine arts in media arts production (MArch + MFA), and an advanced research-based master of science in architecture (MS Arch) has been approved by SUNY and the New York State Education Department.

Architecture is the study of designing and building structures, and architects are professionals with specialized knowledge about the design of built and natural environments. These projects can be as small as an entrance way and as large as an entire college campus - and everything in between. Architects transform concepts and then develop images, plans, and designs of buildings, communities, and landscapes for construction.

The educational mission of the Department of Architecture is fourfold:

1. To educate and train individuals in the art and science of architecture in preparation for creative leadership within the profession and the discipline of architecture;
2. To encourage a critical understanding of the historical, societal, material, and cultural forces that inform the built environment;
3. To prepare students to explore emerging ideas and technologies that can and will have profound effects on the built environment; and,
4. To provide a comprehensive education through exposure to related disciplines throughout the university and to encourage rigorous interaction across disciplinary boundaries.

Incoming students should prepare themselves in the areas of freehand and figure drawing, manual drafting, , sculpting, studio art, technical drawing, and 2-D and 3-D design. Graphic techniques, model making, ceramics production, metal working, as well as many other visual skills are taught in the preprofessional bachelor of science in architecture program, but students who have some earlier preparation may find it easier to succeed in design studio coursework. In addition, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture recommends introductory courses in urban environments, art, and world history for those interested in architecture.

Architects must be able to graphically communicate their ideas visually to their clients; therefore, design and drawing ability is helpful for such communication. More important is a visual orientation and the ability to conceptualize and understand spatial relationships. Good communication skills, the ability to work independently or as part of a team, and creativity are important qualities for anyone interested in becoming an architect.

Many of the building technology courses and design studios required in the Department of Architecture depend upon prior knowledge of physics and calculus, and physics and calculus are prerequisites for the structures/construction courses in architecture. Architecture students are placed into mathematics, physics, and English courses based upon the following criteria: SAT/ACT scores; Advanced Placement scores; or, college courses completed while in high school. Students may fulfill these prerequisites with successful completion of Advanced Placement high school calculus and Advanced Placement high school physics, or successful completion of introductory college calculus and introductory college physics.

Basic computing skills, including familiarity with personal computers, word processing, online library research, and desktop publishing are prerequisites to beginning the sophomore year. Students who are unable to demonstrate the necessary competence may be required to seek remedial help before continuing in the undergraduate program. In accordance with UB computing policies, it is the responsibility of all architecture students to have access to a computer.

In the United States, most state 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 U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a 6-year, 3-year, or 2-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 consist of a preprofessional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the preprofessional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree. The University at Buffalo is the only campus in the State University of New York system to offer the accredited professional master of architecture (MArch) degree. The UB School of Architecture and Planning offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:
  • M Arch (pre-professional undergraduate degree + 64 graduate credits)
  • M Arch (non-pre-professional undergraduate degree + 112 graduate credits)

Next accreditation visit for all programs: 2012.

Updated: 13 Nov 2012 06:00:14 EST