Study Architecture in The USA

Embarking on the path of architectural education in the United States is a journey that fuses creativity with innovation, history with future possibilities, and artistic expression with technical expertise.

Architecture, the art and science of designing structures that resonate with society's values, cultural identity, and functional needs, holds a profound significance in shaping our world.

From the diverse course offerings and types of degree programs to the immense career prospects and cultural exposure, this guide invites you to uncover the captivating journey that studying architecture in the USA promises.

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Architecture - An Overview

Architecture encompasses the art of conceiving and crafting tangible structures, serving both practical and aesthetic purposes. It serves as a conduit for expressing societal values, historical narratives, and everyday existence, representing the delicate balance between functionality and beauty. Architectural creations distinguish themselves through their suitability for human interaction, robust construction, and the ability to visually convey ideas.

Throughout history, architecture has consistently been a medium for reflecting culture and identity. Works like Vitruvius' "De Architectura," emphasizing durability, usability, and elegance, provide insights into early architectural philosophies. The concept of "form follows function" later expanded this notion, incorporating culture, psychology, and aesthetics into the realm of utility. The contemporary popularity of architecture also owes much to its emphasis on sustainability.

The evolution of architecture commenced with rural vernacular styles before evolving into grandiose urban designs. Diverse architectural traditions, such as Chinese and Indian influences, contributed to the development of distinct forms. The Renaissance period embraced Classical elements, while the Middle Ages introduced Romanesque and Gothic styles. Following World War I, modern architecture emerged, driven by innovation and geometric simplicity. However, contemporary and postmodern styles emerged subsequently, challenging the dominance of modernism. Beyond the realm of architectural design, the field has expanded to encompass interior design and even ship design.

Why Study Architecture?
  1. Technical Proficiency and Practical Skills

Architectural education imparts the technical know-how necessary to bring ambitious design concepts to life. Courses in structural engineering, building technology, environmental systems, and construction techniques are essential components of this training. Additionally, faculty members with industry expertise provide real-world examples and insights, bridging the gap between academic knowledge and practical application.

  1. Fostering Creative Expression

Students who pursue architecture education gain a strong foundation in artistic expression, along with a unique design language and a keen sense of aesthetics. Studying architectural history, philosophy, and criticism allows them to explore the evolution of architectural styles and the factors influencing design. This knowledge empowers students to draw inspiration from the past while envisioning innovative ideas for the future.

  1. Comprehensive Skill Development

Architectural education is designed to equip students with a well-rounded skill set that encompasses artistic creativity, technical proficiency, and social consciousness. This multifaceted approach enables future architects to create designs that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional, sustainable, and socially responsible.

  1. Encouraging Research and Innovation

Architectural education places a strong emphasis on research that pushes the boundaries of technology and design thinking. Participation in research projects exposes students to the latest developments in the field, fostering a mindset of lifelong learning and adaptability to the evolving architectural landscape.

  1. Promoting Interdisciplinary Collaboration

The study of architecture encourages collaboration across various disciplines. This interdisciplinary cooperation is crucial for addressing complex architectural challenges, such as sustainability and social responsibility, and for developing holistic design solutions that integrate diverse perspectives.

  1. Nurturing Sustainability

Sustainability is a core focus of architectural education. Students learn about eco-friendly building materials, energy-saving technologies, and design principles aimed at minimizing the environmental impact of structures. This prepares architects to actively contribute to the global sustainability movement through their design practices.

  1. Integrating Theory and Practice

A balanced approach in architectural education integrates theoretical knowledge with real-world application. This ensures that aspiring architects not only understand the theoretical foundations of architecture but also possess the skills to translate these concepts into practical and successful designs.

  1. Preventing Architectural Failures

Architectural education places an emphasis on the importance of appropriate architectural techniques, helping students consider factors beyond aesthetics. By delving into the theoretical underpinnings of architecture, students learn to ensure that their design ideas are conceptually sound and practical, reducing the risk of architectural failures.

Why Study Architecture in The USA?

There are several advantages to studying architecture in the United States, including opportunities for personal and professional development. International students who pursue a career in architecture will find it an outstanding choice due to its esteemed educational institutions, a wide range of course options, and the importance of architecture in American society.

  1. Diverse Course Curriculum

American architecture schools are renowned for their extensive and varied educational offerings. With an emphasis on design and art, these programs give students a well-rounded combination of theoretical knowledge and practical abilities. This comprehensive approach enables students to create novel concepts and comprehend the technical elements needed to realize their ideas.

  1. Types of Degree Programs

International students can select the educational path that best suits their job objectives thanks to the flexibility of degree programs. Students can customize their education to match their interests and goals by pursuing an architecture bachelor's degree (B.Arch), master's degree (M.Arch), or doctorate.

  1. QS-Ranked Universities

The QS World University Rankings list numerous top architecture schools in the United States. These universities have a stellar reputation with employers and academic institutions, ensuring graduates are highly acknowledged in the field. This recognition improves the chances of locating satisfying domestic and international architecture work.

  1. High-Quality Education

The United States is known for providing education of the highest calibre. Students in architecture programs nationwide have access to cutting-edge facilities, research opportunities, and knowledgeable faculty members. This equips students with the confidence they need to take on the challenges of the architectural profession.

  1. Architectural Diversity

The USA is the home to a vast range of architectural designs, from ancient historical sites to cutting-edge modern structures. Students studying in such a setting are exposed to a rich architectural history that they can use as a source of inspiration and information for their work.

  1. Cultural Exposure

Being fully immersed in a different culture while pursuing school can be a life-changing experience. Students get the opportunity to engage with peers from different cultural backgrounds thanks to the cultural richness of the USA, which promotes cross-cultural understanding and broadens their viewpoint on architecture.

  1. Career Opportunities

There are many chances for recent graduates in the USA's thriving architecture business. The information and abilities gained throughout the study closely coincide with the industry's requirements, giving doors to various occupations associated with architecture.

  1. Innovation and Research

Students are encouraged to investigate novel design processes, materials, and technologies because American architecture programs strongly focus on research and innovation. Students who work on research projects are exposed to cutting-edge developments, preparing them to progress in the field.

  1. Practical Application

Students can apply theoretical ideas in real-world situations through practical projects, site visits, and internships frequently included in architecture programs. This hands-on training sharpens their problem-solving abilities and prepares students for the difficulties they'll face in the workplace.

  1. Global Network

Building a worldwide network of peers, lecturers, and industry professionals is possible when studying architecture in the USA. This network may be beneficial for working together, finding employment, and staying current with market developments.

Types of Degrees in Architecture in USA

1. Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch)

The Bachelor of Architecture program in the USA holds accreditation from the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) as a professional degree. NAAB-accredited Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) programs typically require a minimum of 150 semester credit hours, including at least 45 semester hours in general studies. Completion of such a program generally takes about five years.

The Bachelor of Architecture curriculum encompasses a range of courses.

It includes studio courses that explore -

  • Design and aesthetic theory alongside practical courses covering structures
  • Building mechanical systems and Electrical systems
  • Plumbing and Construction

Student work often involves -

  • Creating drawings
  • Renderings
  • Physical models
  • Employing computer-aided design or hand drafting.
  • Additionally, students develop presentation boards for graphics and pictures.

2. Bachelor of Science in Architecture (B.S. Arch)

The Bachelor of Science in Architecture (B.S Arch) program serves as a foundational platform, introducing fundamental concepts and skills that form the basis for advanced studies in the accredited professional Master of Architecture (MArch) program.

B.S Arch covers -

  • Design
  • Construction technologies
  • Digital arts
  • Humanities
  • Social sciences
  • Aesthetic expression

For aspiring architects, the pre-professional architecture degree serves as an essential foundation.

It's essential to note that the four-year pre-professional Bachelor of Science in Architecture program, if pursued on its own, lacks accreditation from the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

3. Master of Architecture (M.Arch)

The Master of Architecture (M.Arch) is a two-year postgraduate program designed to equip students with advanced architectural knowledge and skills. It serves as a professional degree that paves the way for students to acquire an Architectural License, enabling them to practice architecture professionally.

The M.Arch curriculum covers a wide range of subjects, including -

  • Contemporary Architecture
  • Urban Conservation
  • Urban Landscape Design
  • Urban Design Studio

4. PhD in Architecture

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Architecture is the pinnacle of architectural education, tailored for those aiming to excel in architectural research, theory, and academia. PhD programs encompass rigorous study and the completion of a comprehensive dissertation.

PhD Program Structure and Components -

  • Lecture and Seminar Courses
  • Special Problems
  • Research Credits
  • Dissertation

Each PhD student works under the guidance of a dedicated committee, which plays a pivotal role in overseeing the research and dissertation process. The committee is chaired by a faculty member who supervises and mentors throughout the research journey.

Top Universities in the USA for Architecture

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Established in 1861, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private land-grant research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. With a rich history of technological and scientific advancements, MIT stands as a global leader in academia. Originating in response to industrialization, MIT embraced a European polytechnic approach, prioritizing applied science and engineering through hands-on laboratory instruction. The university's urban campus stretches along the Charles River and includes significant off-campus facilities, contributing to its impact in various fields of research and development.

TypePrivate
Rank (QS University 2023)2
Programs Offered
  • Master of Architecture [M.Arch]
  • Master of Science [M.Sc] (Architecture Studies)
  • Bachelor of Science [B.Sc] (Architecture)
Fees (Average)46,000 USD - 53,000 USD
LocationCambridge

Harvard University

Harvard University, founded in 1636 in Massachusetts, is the oldest US higher education institution. Named after John Harvard, it's prestigious and unaffiliated with any denomination.

TypePrivate
Rank (QS University 2023)6
Programs Offered
  • Master of Architecture in Urban Design
  • Master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design
  • Master of Architecture [M.Arch]
Fees (Average)53,420 USD
LocationCambridge

University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley, founded in 1868, is a public research university located in Berkeley, California. It was the state's first land-grant university and is part of the University of California system. It has strong ties to national laboratories and has contributed to scientific breakthroughs and political activism, notably the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s.

TypePublic
Rank (QS University 2023)9
Programs Offered
  • Master of Architecture [M.Arch]
  • Master of Landscape Architecture [M.L.A]
Fees (Average)15,564 USD - 31,128 USD
LocationBerkeley

Columbia University

Columbia University, established in 1754, is a private research university and the 5th oldest in the United States. The university's researchers have made significant contributions to various fields, including nuclear research, brain-computer interfaces, and geology's discovery of tectonic plates and continental drift.

TypePublic
Rank (QS University 2023)15
Programs Offered
  • Master of Architecture [M.Arch]
  • B.A. in History and Theory of Architecture
Fees (Average)58,980 USD - 88,470 USD
LocationNew York

Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology, known as Georgia Tech, is a public research university in Atlanta, Georgia. It has satellite campuses worldwide. Georgia Tech is renowned for its strong emphasis on science and technology, offering programs in computer science, engineering, and architecture within its six colleges and approximately 31 departments/units.

TypePublic
Rank (QS University 2023)18
Programs Offered
  • Master of Architecture [M.Arch]
  • Master of Science in Architecture
  • Bachelor of Science in Architecture
Fees (Average)31,370 USD
LocationAtlanta

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is a renowned public research university located in Los Angeles, California. Its origins trace back to 1882 as a teacher's college, later becoming the Southern Branch of the University of California in 1919. It's a prominent member of the University of California system, known for its rich academic history.

TypePublic
Rank (QS University 2023)18
Programs Offered
  • Master of Architecture and Urban Design
  • MA in Architecture
  • Master of Architecture [M.Arch]
Fees (Average)32,374 USD - 39,089 USD
LocationLos Angeles

Cornell University

Cornell University, a prestigious private Ivy League and land-grant research institution, was established in 1865 in Ithaca, New York. It was founded with a unique vision to provide education across various fields and is guided by the principle of offering instruction in any study. With multiple colleges and divisions, Cornell maintains its commitment to diverse academic programs and autonomy. 

TypePrivate
Rank (QS University 2023)21
Programs Offered
  • Master of Architecture [M.Arch]
  • Master of Landscape Architecture [M.L.A]
  • Bachelor of Architecture [B.Arch]
Fees (Average)32,374 USD - 39,089 USD
LocationNew York

Stanford University

Stanford University, officially named Leland Stanford Junior University, is a renowned private research institution located in Stanford. With a global reputation for excellence, it hosts over 17,000 students on its expansive 8,180-acre campus. Founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their son, the university welcomed its first coeducational and nondenominational students in 1891.

TypePrivate
Rank (QS University 2023)34
Programs Offered
  • Bachelor of Science [B.Sc] (Architectural Design)
Fees (Average)-
LocationCalifornia

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan (UMich) is a prominent public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Founded in 1817 as the Catholepistemiad, it's Michigan's oldest university. It offers diverse undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral programs across nineteen colleges and boasts nine professional schools, including Architecture, Business, Medicine, Law, and more. Affiliated with regional universities and having a Detroit center, UMich has a rich history, including the Henry Ford Estate.

TypePublic
Rank (QS University 2023)35
Programs Offered
  • Master of Science [M.Sc] (Architecture Design and Research)
  • Master of Science [M.Sc] (Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering)
Fees (Average)21,389 USD
LocationMichigan

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn or UPenn) is a prestigious Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin. It offers diverse undergraduate and graduate programs across its schools, including Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Wharton, and Nursing. Known for its practical approach to education, Penn has a rich history of "firsts" in fields like law, medicine, and business.

TypePrivate
Rank (QS University 2023)40
Programs Offered
  • Master of Landscape Architecture [M.L.A]
  • Master of Science [M.Sc] (Architecture)
  • Bachelor of Arts [B.A] (Architecture)
Fees (Average)53,166 USD - 56,786 USD
LocationPennsylvania

Princeton University

Princeton University, a prestigious Ivy League institution founded in 1746, is located in Princeton, New Jersey. It's one of the oldest universities in the US, offering a wide range of programs to around 8,500 students on its expansive 600-acre campus. With a substantial endowment and extensive research facilities, Princeton excels in various fields, including humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering.

TypePrivate
Rank (QS University 2023)42
Programs Offered
  • Master of Architecture [M.Arch]
Fees (Average)54,070 USD
LocationNew Jersey

University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin, established in 1883, is a renowned public research university in Austin, Texas. With a diverse community of over 50,000 students and more than 24,000 faculty and staff members, it's a hub of academic excellence. Notable for its substantial research activities, the university boasts an impressive $679.8 million in research expenditures for 2018. It houses multiple museums, libraries, and research facilities, contributing to its significant impact in various fields. The institution's remarkable alumni and faculty include Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, and Olympic medal winners, highlighting its global influence.

TypePublic
Rank (QS University 2023)49
Programs Offered
  • Master of Arts [M.A] (Landscape Architecture)
  • Master of Arts [M.A] (Landscape Architecture)
Fees (Average)27,318 USD - 44,634 USD
LocationTexas
Curriculum Overview and Core Courses

Curriculum for Bachelor's in Architecture

The Bachelor of Architecture program focuses on designing innovative and enduring spaces and places. It considers architecture a research-based creative practice that intertwines various technical, historical, intellectual, and aesthetic activities.

The program is accredited and structured into three phases -

  1. Foundation Phase

Basic design and representational skills, introduction to history and theory of the built environment, and physical principles of buildings.

  1. Core Courses

Emphasizes individual skills and knowledge in five significant areas - studio, history and theory, design communications, building technology,

  1. Research

Develops a research trajectory, collaboration skills, and complex design skills, and culminates in a year-long capstone project.

Courses may be taken in sequence or shifted in the student's study plan.

Curriculum for Master's in Architecture

The curriculum for M.Arch varies from University to University, but here is a simplified curriculum and Course Structure -

Curriculum Structure

The curriculum consists of a minimum of 36 units of coursework covering theory development, technical skills, and research skills. The program is structured over three semesters, and students complete -

  • Research studio
  • Research methods
  • Core electives
  • Core skill development
  • Research seminar
  • Elective courses
  • Master's report or thesis

Core Skill Development Electives

These electives are recommended in consultation with a faculty chair or academic advisor and can be taken in any order.

Examples include -

  • Daylighting, Health and Behavior
  • Social and Behavioral Issues in the Built Environment
  • Health and Wellbeing in the Built Environment

Elective Options

Various elective courses are offered in different semesters.

Some examples include -

  • Design Communications III
  • Computer Energy Analysis
  • Materials: Properties and Tests
  • Environmental Science Laboratory
  • Introduction to Heritage Conservation

Master's Project or Thesis

Students can choose between a research-based design project (master's project) or a research-based written document (master's thesis) as their outcome.

Concentrations

The program allows students to pursue concentrations aligned with faculty expertise.

Engagements include areas like-

  • Critical Spatial Practice
  • Design and Energy Conservation
  • Emerging Building Technologies
  • Health and the Built Environment

This is a simplified overview of the program's structure and curriculum.

Eligibility Criteria For Architecture Courses In USA

Eligibility Criteria for Bachelor's in Architecture

  1. Strong Academic Record

Common admission criteria for M.Arch programs include completing 12th-grade education from a recognized institution, holding a five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree or equivalent from a recognized university/college,

  1. Letter of Recommendation

A letter of recommendation is required from a teacher, counselor, or other relevant individuals who can vouch for your academic abilities, character, and potential.

  1. Standardized Test Scores

Standardized test scores like the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) or ACT (American College Testing) are often required by many U.S. universities as part of the application process.

  • SAT can vary, but an average score of 400 and abov enhances your chances of admission.
  • For ACT, an average score between 25 - 36 is considered competitive.
  1. Proof of English Proficiency

International students whose native language is not English are usually required to provide proof of English proficiency through tests like TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System).

The minimum scores may vary depending on the university, but having a TOEFL iBT score of 46 to 59 or an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher is a common benchmark.

  1. Statement of Purpose (SOP)

The Statement of Purpose is a written essay that allows you to explain your academic and career goals, your reasons for choosing a particular university or program, and how your background aligns with your chosen field of study.

It's important to emphasize that while these are general eligibility criteria, each university might have its own specific requirements and standards for admission.

Eligibility Criteria for Master's in Architecture

  1. Academic Records

Students typically need a CGPA score of 2.25 or above in their Bachelors in Archietcture, along with minimal backlog history, for admission to US universities.

  1. GRE (Graduate Record Exam)

A GRE score above 290 is recommended, as higher scores improve chances of admission. GRE assesses verbal reasoning, critical thinking, problem-solving, and writing skills.

Some universities do not require GRE as an eligibility criterion for M.Arch programs in the USA.

  1. Letter of Recommendation (LOR)

Applicants need to submit atleast three recommendation letters from academic heads, supervisors, or teachers. LORs enhance the application by providing insight into the candidate's profile beyond a resume.

  1. Portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of the candidate's best artwork, designs, and projects. It is considered both an eligibility criterion and a way to stand out during the admission process.

  1. English Language Requirements

Proficiency in English is necessary. Minimum requirements vary but typically include an overall IELTS score of 6.0 or 6.5 and a TOEFL score of 79. These scores may vary by university.

  1. Statement of Purpose (SOP)

An SOP is a significant document that provides insight into the student's personality and aspirations. It plays a vital role in the admission process.

Other important documents include transcripts, certificates, and academic achievements.

Architectural Portfolio

Developing a well-crafted architectural portfolio is a valuable asset when seeking admission to top architecture schools in the USA. 

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to construct an effective portfolio - 

Curate Your Finest WorkChoose various projects that showcase different skills and aspects of your design abilities. This could include sketches, drawings, models, digital renderings, photographs, and other relevant work. Ensure that each project aligns with the program you're applying to.
Craft a Cohesive NarrativeOrganize your projects in a way that weaves together a compelling narrative. Showcase your design journey from the initial concept through to the final outcome. Provide insights into your design rationale, the obstacles you encountered, and how you surmounted them. This narrative will enable reviewers to gain insight into your design philosophy and creative approach.
Diversify Your PortfolioAs previously mentioned, incorporate a variety of work types into your portfolio. This should encompass hand-drawn sketches, digital illustrations, 3D models, and more. Demonstrating versatility across different media highlights your adaptability and capacity to work with a broad spectrum of tools.
ContextFor each project, provide context through brief descriptions or captions. Explain the project's objectives, constraints, and the underlying thought processes that guided your design choices. This contextual information helps reviewers comprehend your intentions and grasp the challenges you addressed.
Emphasize Problem-SolvingHighlight projects that underscore your problem-solving abilities. Illustrate how you approached design challenges and innovatively resolved them. Proficiency in problem-solving is a fundamental skill in the field of architecture.
Design a Cohesive LayoutDevise a clean and visually appealing layout for your portfolio. Maintain consistency in fonts, colors, and overall design elements to ensure a polished presentation. Make effective use of white space to guarantee that your work is easily digestible and visually engaging.
Thorough Proofreading and EditingExamine your portfolio meticulously for errors or typographical mistakes. Scrutinize alignment, formatting, and visual uniformity. Seek feedback from friends or mentors to ensure your portfolio is error-free and refined.
Prepare for Digital and Physical SubmissionMany universities require both digital and physical versions of your portfolio. Craft a high-quality digital version for online submission and create a printed version for potential interviews or presentations.

Keep in mind that your portfolio serves as a reflection of your architectural skills and potential. Dedicate ample time to craft a portfolio that authentically represents your abilities and conveys your unique design perspective. Best of luck in your application endeavors!

 

Career Opportunities

College graduates with architecture degrees can explore diverse roles within and related to the field. While some become architects and drafters, others pursue creative and academic careers.

Studying at top architectural schools in the USA can lead to exceptional career opportunities and higher pay rates, especially for international students.

Students develop various skills during their architecture degree, including creative thinking, visual design, drafting, project management, analytical and mathematical skills, computer programming, collaboration, problem-solving, communication, leadership, and adaptability.

Many find positions in architectural firms, utilizing their expertise to contribute to projects led by professional architects. Graduating from prestigious architecture colleges in the USA offers attractive job prospects and salary figures, aligning with academic achievements, skill sets, and work experience, including internships.

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Architectural Technician

An architectural technician assists architects by preparing comprehensive technical blueprints and building construction papers. They utilise software to convert design thoughts into precise drawings and work with others to ensure projects are completed effectively.

Salary - USD 60,422/year

  1. Interior and Spatial Designer

An interior and spatial designer's goal is a functional and visually pleasant indoor area. To improve the user's experience inside a place, they create layouts, choose furniture, colors, and materials, and consider variables such as lighting and spatial flow. They work with customers, architects, and contractors to realize their design ambitions.

Salary - USD 86,305/year

  1. Architectural Drafter

Using specialised software, an architectural drafter translates architects' design thoughts into comprehensive technical drawings and blueprints. They provide exact drawings that guide the building process, assuring correctness and regulatory compliance.

Salary - USD 65,000/year

  1. Production Designer

A production designer oversees the visual and creative components of a film, television show, theatre performance, or other visual media production. They collaborate closely with directors, producers, and art departments to design and construct the production's overall look and feel. This includes creating sets, picking props, selecting colors and styles, and maintaining visual storytelling consistency. Production designers are critical in establishing a project's visual identity and bringing the director's vision to life.

Salary - USD 145,899/year

  1. Historic Preservation Architect

A historic preservation architect specializes in preserving and restoring historical structures and buildings. They evaluate a site's historical significance, create preservation plans, and guarantee that restoration work is done with historical accuracy and cultural heritage norms. They work with historians, craftspeople, and local governments to conserve and preserve historic places' architectural and cultural history for future generations.

Salary - USD 90,484/year

  1. Structural Engineer

A structural engineer develops and analyses building and other structures' structural systems to guarantee they are safe, stable, and capable of withstanding diverse loads and forces. They collaborate with architects and other experts to create a project's structural framework, which includes calculating load distribution, selecting appropriate materials, and developing precise drawings and specifications.

Salary - USD 92,848/year

  1. Retrofit Architect

A retrofit architect specializes in improving existing structures' usefulness, energy efficiency, and safety. They evaluate older buildings' structural integrity and systems, identifying areas for improvement and designing ways to improve their performance. Retrofit architects frequently prioritize modern technology, environmental practices, and code compliance.

Salary - USD 86,918/year

  1. Senior Project Architect

A Senior Project Architect is in charge of architectural projects. They supervise and manage the design and construction processes, collaborating with clients, team members, and stakeholders. Conceptualizing designs, making strategies, collaborating with engineers and consultants, managing budgets and timetables, ensuring code compliance, and monitoring project execution from start to finish are among their tasks. Senior Project Architects frequently mentor junior personnel, give direction, and guarantee that complicated architectural projects are completed successfully.

Salary - USD 113,158/year

  1. Architectural Project Manager

An architectural project manager is in charge of monitoring and managing architectural projects from start to finish. Their responsibilities include project coordination, design, planning, budgeting, scheduling, and team management. They work with clients, architects, engineers, contractors, and other stakeholders to guarantee seamless and efficient project execution. Architectural project managers are also in charge of communication, risk assessment, issue solving, and quality control to ensure that the project fulfills the customer's needs and is completed on time and within budget.

Salary - USD 145,844/year

  1. Commercial Architect

A commercial architect specializes in designing and planning commercial buildings and spaces. They create functional and visually pleasant surroundings for companies, retail rooms, offices, restaurants, hotels, and other commercial institutions. Commercial architects collaborate directly with customers to understand their demands, establish design concepts, comprehensive blueprints, and supervise the building process. They consider traffic flow, branding, space utilization, accessibility, and zoning requirements when designing places that are physically beautiful and beneficial to company operations and consumer experiences.

Salary - USD 105,927/year

Scholarships to Study Architecture in USA

Various scholarship options are available for Indian students pursuing education in the USA. The scholarships are government-funded, program-specific, subject-specific, and organization-funded.

List of Scholarships to Study in the USA for Indian Students -

  1. Tata Scholarship for Cornell University

Provided by Tata Education and Development Trust for undergraduate students.

  • Scholarships for 20 students accepted by Cornell University.
  • Open to Indian residents who completed secondary school in India.
  • Varies in amount, renewable annually till graduation.
  1. Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarships
  • Funded by a private organization offering three types of scholarships.
  • Available to citizens of countries with Rotary Clubs.
  • Open to those who completed 2 years of college or its equivalent.
  1. Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program
  • Designed for master's or doctoral degree students.
  • Covers tuition fees, monthly expenses, and living costs.
  • Aimed at minority students or citizens with weak English skills.
  1. Fulbright – Nehru Fellowships
  • Available for international students applying for masters or doctoral programs.
  • Covers tuition, living expenses, and medical costs.
  • Requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited Indian college, at least 55% marks, and 3 years of work experience.
  1. AAUW International Fellowships
  • For women students pursuing research in the US.
  • Available for graduate and postgraduate studies.
  • Scholarship duration can extend up to 5 years.
  1. Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship
  • Started by Reliance Industries for Indian students studying in the USA.
  • The scholarship covers $150,000 and aims at students returning to work in India after their studies.

How to Get a Scholarship in the USA for Indian Students -

  1. Research and Shortlist Scholarships
  2. Gather Required Documents:
  3. Prepare Application:
  4. Follow Up
Visa

Visa Requirements

  • Current Passport Valid up to 6 months
  • I-20, issued by SEVP. You'll have to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee for SEVP to issue your I-20 form. That form should then be signed by you and your institution granting you an admission offer.
  • DS-160 confirmation
  • Recent Photographs
  • Digital Fingerprint scans before F-1 interview.
  • F1 Visa fee - application payment receipt
  • Educational Certificates
  • Proof of Financial Stability
  • Details of your health insurance policy (Overseas Student Health Cover)

Process

Step 1 - After you've been accepted to your preferred university, your institution will issue you a letter of confirmation of enrollment. Now, you are eligible to apply for an F1 visa.

Step 2 - Visit the USA Visas and Immigration website and fill out the online visa application, i.e. Form DS-160

Step 3 - Upload Photographs – on white background (taken within 6 months of applying)

Step 4- Pay the application fee - $160

Step 5 - You will receive the Reference Number once the fee is paid. This will allow you to keep track of your trips to the visa centre.

Step 6 - At the visa centre, you will be required to provide your "biometric information" as part of your visa application.

Step 7 - According to university policy, you must attend a visa interview.

Step 8 - Wait for your visa. The visa application procedure might take anywhere between 3 and 4 weeks.

Post Study Work Visa

The post-graduate work visa option for international students who have studied architecture in the USA is the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. Here's how it works for architecture graduates:

Optional Practical Training (OPT) for Architecture Graduates -

Eligibility - To be eligible for OPT, you must have completed a degree in architecture from a U.S. institution and enrolled full-time for at least one academic year. You can apply for OPT either before completing your studies (pre-completion OPT) or after completing your studies (post-completion OPT).

Duration - Most students are eligible for up to 12 months of OPT. However, students with a degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) field, including some architectural specializations, may be eligible for a 24-month STEM OPT extension.

Application Process

  1. Request an OPT recommendation from your university's Designated School Official (DSO).
  2. Your DSO will recommend OPT in the SEVIS system and provide you with a new Form I-20.
  3. Submit Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with the required documents and fee.
  4. USCIS will process your application and, if approved, issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card.

Employment

During the OPT period, you can work for any employer in an architecture-related role. This could include positions in architectural firms, construction companies, urban planning agencies, etc. You can work either part-time or full-time.

STEM OPT Extension

If your architecture degree falls under a STEM category (some architectural specializations may qualify), you may be eligible for a 24-month STEM OPT extension after your initial 12-month OPT period. This allows for a total of 36 months of OPT.

Travel and Re-entry

You can travel internationally during your OPT period, but ensure you have the necessary documents, including your valid EAD card, Form I-20 with a travel signature, and any other required items for re-entry.

Path to Employment

OPT provides practical experience in your field, which can be valuable for securing long-term employment in the USA. Many students use OPT as a stepping stone to H-1B work visa sponsorship or other employment-based visas.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Yes, architecture is a promising career in the USA, offering diverse roles like Architectural Technician, Interior Designer, and more, with competitive salaries. Graduates from top architectural schools enjoy exceptional opportunities, skill development, and the chance to contribute to innovative projects, making architecture a rewarding and impactful profession.

Yes, the USA is an excellent choice for architecture students due to its diverse course curriculum, renowned universities, high-quality education, career opportunities, emphasis on innovation, practical application, architectural diversity, and the chance to build a global network.

To become an architect in the USA, you must complete a professional architecture degree, gain practical experience through internships, pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), meet state licensure requirements, and engage in continuing education for maintaining your license.