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Department of Consumer Affairs California Architects Board
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Suggested High School Courses

Each college and university has its own specific requirements for admission, but here are some general guidelines/courses suggested by the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS):

  • A solid background in the physical sciences
  • A solid background in mathematics
  • Ability to "conceptualize" (think abstractly/formulate ideas/visualize) at an above-average level
  • Background in English and the humanities
  • A breadth of interest in the humanities*
  • Ability to draw and sketch with ease
  • One semester of drafting (if available)
  • A course in freehand drawing (probably even more valuable than drafting)
  • A course in industrial arts can be helpful, but is not essential
  • Strong oral and written communication skills -- speech or debate classes are very helpful as architects (and architecture students) must present and defend their ideas

Architecture is a highly diversified, multi-faceted profession, and the opportunities for specialization are many. So even if you do not excel in mathematics (or drawing, or writing), you may still become an outstanding architect.

Foreign languages are seldom required in architecture programs, but most accept a language as an elective. Because many schools have opportunities for study abroad, the appropriate language can come in handy even before graduation. It can also be valuable in the study of architectural history and in conducting research.

*Courses in geography, history, philosophy, and government are useful to everyone.