Architecture Major Guide for 2013-2014

What is Architecture

Architecture involves the study and transformation of the built environment, from the scale of furniture to the scale of the city. The goal of an architectural education is to develop a synthetic thought process of critical thinking and creative problem solving. Creative thinkers must address all aspects of the built environment in its cultural, social, and ethical context.

Most states require that an architect hold an accredited professional degree, either a Bachelor or Master of Architecture. All architects must pass a national licensing exam, following three years of internship in an architectural office. Nationwide, three types of programs lead to an accredited, professional degree:

  • Five-year Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch.) professional degree undergraduate programs, with approximately 25% of the curriculum devoted to the humanities and electives (offered at UT).
  • 4 + 2 programs, which grant a pre-professional B.A. or B.S. degree (majoring in architecture or environmental design) after four years, followed by a two-year program of intense study leading to a Master of Architecture (M. Arch.) professional degree.
  • Three-year M. Arch., first professional degree graduate programs, for students holding a four-year undergraduate degree in any subject matter (offered at UT). The University of Tennessee offers both the five-year B. Arch. and the three-year M. Arch. for students with an undergraduate degree in any subject matter.

The University of Tennessee offers the five-year B.Arch., the two-year M.Arch for students with a pre-professional degree )B.A., B.. or B.E.D. or equivalent), and the three-year M.Arch. for students with an undergraduate degree in any subject.

Career Opportunities in Architecture

An architectural education, with its emphasis on problem solving through analytical and creative thinking, is an excellent preparation for many different career paths within architecture, as well as within other fields such as real estate development, construction, consulting, graphic design, industrial design, product development, law, and computer services.

The profession is changing rapidly: some offices are diversifying their services to include urban design, programming, interior design, construction management, facility management, and consulting. Other offices develop specializations, such as historic preservation, health-care facility design, or campus master planning.

Architectural offices have a broad range of sizes and personalities reflecting different business priorities and goals. Depending on personal strengths, skills, and interests, different architects within a firm may focus on design, marketing, client presentations, the technical development of the project, construction details and specifications, construction supervision, interiors, or project management within the office. Architects may make important contributions to the quality of the built environment by working in construction companies, by working with building product companies, or by working for clients such as developers, hotel chains, or the government.

Salary Trends in Architecture

Architecture graduates from the University of Tennessee are highly regarded. Each spring, the college organizes extensive interview opportunities for students, with regional and national firms. Architecture graduates can expect starting salaries of $36,000–44,000, with significant increases in the first five years of employment.

High School Preparation

Students interested in architecture are encouraged to learn about the profession, to learn about different educational degree programs, and to visit the University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design. High school students are encouraged to take physics and calculus. Students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses should take the national AP exam. Students are also strongly encouraged to take drawing and/or art courses as a way to develop visual ability. Short drawing and art courses offered by local organizations such as a museum or summer camp program may be very helpful. Extensive drafting, mechanical drawing or “architecture” courses based on drafting are not recommended.  For students interested in actively exploring architecture and design, the College offers a one-week summer exploration of design, “Design Matters”, each year.

High school students interested in architecture are not encouraged to attend a community college and transfer at a later date. Unless attending a professionally accredited architecture program, most transfer students will start the architecture program in the first-year design curriculum. Transfer students will be accepted into the College of Architecture and Design on a space available basis, and will be evaluated based on college record, high school record, and portfolio.

How to Major in Architecture

Due to the limited size of the design studios and College resources, admission to the
College of Architecture and Design is selective, based on high school record, test scores, and
portfolio. Students accepted to the University of Tennessee are not automatically accepted
to the College of Architecture and Design, and the following steps should be taken to insure
consideration for the program:

  • All students must indicate an interest in applying to the College of Architecture and Design through the UT Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
  • A portfolio is required of all applicants, due by the application deadline.
  • It is recommended that students visit the College of Architecture and Design.
  • Deadlines for early decision, scholarships, financial aid, application, portfolio submission, and transfer application are determined each year by the UT Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Requirements for Architecture

All applicants must submit a portfolio of personally produced graphic or visual work. The purpose of the portfolio is to demonstrate visual talent and abilities as well as to provide insight into the creative thought process of the applicant. The portfolio must contain three required images as follows:

•     An instrument

•     A visual description of ‘where you live’

•     Hand(s)

One of each of the three required images must be executed in black ink, one in graphite, one in color. At least two of the three images must be executed freehand.

Aim for quality rather than quantity in selecting work. An ideal number would be eight to ten examples of personal work. All work shall be neatly assembled in an 8 1/2 x 11 portfolio or organized folder/notebook. Submittals not adhering to this size requirement will not be reviewed.

The following guidelines have been established to assist applicants in selecting additional samples of personal work for the portfolio.

•     Consider including examples of drawings, artwork, photography, or anything else that may demonstrate visual and creative abilities.

•     Consider including examples of creative work such as graphic design, fashion design, industrial design, furniture design and/or other examples of creativity and invention.

•     Consider including work from course assignments (if any), as well as work completed independently.

•     Submit mechanically-drafted or computer-aided drawings only if they are illustrative of personal design work.

•     Submission of the original item is not necessary. Inexpensively reproduced drawings, photographs, reductions, and photocopies are acceptable. Digital design work must be submitted as a hard copy. (No slides or disks.) For work that does not lend itself to representation in an 81/2 x 11 format, such as films, websites, or recordings, include appropriate information, such as a labeled CD.

•     Label all work with name, date, when work was executed, and media. Indicate if it was part of course work.

•     The cover or cover page of the portfolio should include the student name and contact information as well as the program to which the application is made (Architecture or Interior Design).

•     Include a hard copy of the application to UT and personal information in the portfolio.

•     Submit the portfolio by the published deadlines.

The portfolio will be reviewed by faculty members on the College admissions committee. Include a self-addressed stamped mailer for the return of the portfolio. Otherwise, portfolios will not be held nor returned.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

A very active lecture series and program of exhibitions bring a variety of nationally known architects and artists to Tennessee. Local practicing architects participate in many school activities. Field trips take students to places of architectural interest, from Cades Cove in the Smokey Mountains, to New Your and Chicago.

The College provides information to students about the Internship Development Program, a nationally accepted list of licensure requirements for architecture interns after their graduation from an accredited degree program. The College also provides information about summer employment opportunities and organizes interviews each spring. The College encourages, but does not require, an internship experience for architecture students.

Highlights of Architecture

  • A sense of community: a small college and low student-faculty ratios.
  • High-quality students: the highest academic profile of entering students on the campus.
  • High-quality faculty: exceptional and dedicated teachers who are active participants in the students’ program. Faculty includes professional architects, interior designers, engineers, and scholars, with diverse educational backgrounds and with impressive experiences in practice.
  • High quality facilities: award-winning Art & Architecture Building includes all design studios, a student café, a supply store, the Ewing Gallery, and two sculpture gardens. Architecture students have a well-equipped wood shop, darkrooms, experimental building platform, presentation spaces, two computer labs, a print center with extensive digital printing capabilities, and a digital fabrication center with laser cutters, 3D printers and CNC mills.
  • Computing in the curriculum: develop traditional drawing abilities while providing all students with the computing skills necessary for entry into the profession. During their second year, all students are expected to own a laptop for use in required courses.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

Each year since its founding in 1965, The College of Architecture and Design has recognized the importance of study abroad programs. As the world continues to shrink, and architectural practices become increasingly involved in global trends, the College has consistently sought to expand the programs as well as the options open to our students. Each spring and summer, the University of Tennessee architecture students have an opportunity to study in many different locations. Each year, different faculty members in the College plan fascinating summer courses of study held during the mini-term to various locations. Students in the College are strongly encouraged to participate in one of the study abroad opportunities to enhance their educational experience while at UT.

Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. Beginning with first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students entering in the Fall 2013 semester, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

For More Information

Amy Burns
Academic Advisor
College of Architecture & Design
1715 Volunteer Boulevard
Knoxville, TN 37996-2400


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.