What is an Architecture Major and is it Right for Me?

Whether you’re looking at houses, shopping centers, factories or skyscrapers, chances are an architect was involved in creating the designs. If you’re looking for a college major that will allow you to mix subjects like math and business while also praising your keen design eye, you might want to consider taking on a major in architecture.

What is an architecture major?

Architecture is a mix of art, science, math and business so it requires you to have a robust background in a variety of subjects. It also requires a five-year course of study rather than the standard four years for an undergraduate degree.

Throughout your time as an architecture major, you’ll take classes in areas like math (including geometry, algebra, trigonometry and calculus), science (most likely physics and engineering), statistics, computer science (particularly 3D modeling and linear programming) and art (such as drawing and art history). If the idea of undertaking a truly interdisciplinary course of study excites you, a major in architecture may be the one for you.

Is it right for me?

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re considering becoming an architecture major:

  • Am I a strong math and art student? Can I just as easily solve complex equations as I can design models?
  • Do I want a major that is interdisciplinary (combining two or more academic disciplines) instead of focusing on a particular subject?
  • Do I handle criticism/critiques well, regardless of whether it comes from professors or peers?
  • Am I willing to work long hours to get projects done? Am I able to work well with others on these projects?
  • Regardless of the program, majoring in architecture is challenging at any college, so you must be prepared to spend lots of time on your studies and working on a variety of different projects at once.

What can I do with an architecture degree?

Architecture majors can embark on a wide variety of career paths after graduation, from construction and engineering to design and theatre.

Possible career paths include (but certainly are not limited to) becoming a licensed architect, urban planner, civil engineer, carpenter, building designer, mechanical engineer, set designer or surveyor. And that’s just the start. For more advice on what career opportunities are best for architecture majors, read Career Opportunities for Architecture Majors (link).

What do architects earn?

Salary can vary greatly by the type of job you do, but architects earn an average annual income of $79,300, with some salaries as high as $120,000. Your salary also depends on if you’re working independently or within a larger firm, as well as whether or not you’re working in the private or public sector.


Next, learn more about this college major such as Finance and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Get a Letter of Recommendation.