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Bay Area Architecture Schools

by Christopher Cascio, studioD

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to six colleges and universities where you can study architecture. These schools span the full range of higher learning institutions, from community colleges to large universities and art schools. Depending on whether you choose to pursue a certificate program or a doctoral degree, you can find a program in the Bay Area that suits your needs.

Art Schools

Schools dedicated to the arts offer two possibilities for studying architecture in the San Francisco Bay Area. The School of Architecture at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco offers bachelor's- and master's-level degrees in architecture, both of which are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. The School of Architecture aims to help you balance creativity with critical thinking skills so you can become a leader in your field. The California College of the Arts offers both Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture programs -- including master's degrees in Advanced Architectural Design and Urban Design and Landscape -- that are NAAB-accredited, and prides itself on alternative methods of material fabrication, architectural design and practice.

Public Universities

The only public university in the Bay Area with an architecture program is the University of California at Berkley. The College of Environmental Design's Department of Architecture prides itself on multidisciplinary studies that incorporate a traditional knowledge base with forward-thinking, experimental ambitions. The school offers undergraduate majors and minors in architecture, a Master of Architecture, a Master of Science in Architecture as well as a Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture. Furthermore, they offer a wide range of graduate concentrations, from Building Science and Sustainability to Social and Cultural Processes in Architecture and Urbanism.

Private Schools

As is the case with public universities, only one private university near San Francisco Bay has an architecture program: the University of San Francisco. The Department of Art and Architecture offers a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Community Design that incorporates the humanities and social sciences into a broad, interdisciplinary study of architecture. The program at USF takes four years to complete and is considered to be pre-professional, in that it aims to prepare students for graduate study in the field. Furthermore, to apply you need only to meet the university's general admission requirements; you do not have to submit a portfolio.

Community Colleges

Two community colleges in the Bay Area offer programs in architecture. Fresno City College offers an Associate of Science in Architecture with an accompanying certificate of achievement that takes two years to complete. College of the Sequoias' Industry and Design division offers five different skill certificate programs in architecture: Architecture, Architectural Design, Architectural Drafting, Architectural History and Architectural Visual Communication. These certificate programs range from 6 to 39 credits in length and prepare you for either entry-level employment in the architectural field, or for further study at the undergraduate level.

About the Author

Christopher Cascio is a memoirist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and literature from Southampton Arts at Stony Brook Southampton, and a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in the rhetoric of fiction from Pennsylvania State University. His literary work has appeared in "The Southampton Review," "Feathertale," "Kalliope" and "The Rose and Thorn Journal."

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