Deciding which subjects to study in school can be challenging, especially if you want to keep your options open. Fortunately, if you plan to pursue architecture, it is advisable to continue studying a diverse range of subjects.
However, it is essential to meet the minimum requirements for university admission, including any specific requirements for architecture programs.
In this article, we will explore the fundamental, advanced, and elective subjects that students need to study in order to pursue a career in architecture.
What subjects are required to study architecture?
To be able to design and construct buildings that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing, architects need to have a strong foundation in fundamental subjects. These subjects provide the basic knowledge and skills necessary for architects to understand the principles of building design, construction, and management.
Fundamental subjects for studying architecture
In this section, we will discuss some of the fundamental subjects that are essential for studying architecture.
Arithmetic and science
- Mathematics with Calculus: Mathematics with calculus is a subject that focuses on the study of mathematical concepts and their applications, including differential and integral calculus. In mathematics with calculus classes, students learn about mathematical modeling, functions, equations, and graphs, as well as how to apply these concepts to solve real-world problems. Full on article on math and architecture here
- Statistics & Modelling: Statistics and modeling is a subject that focuses on the use of statistical analysis and mathematical modeling to understand and analyze data. In statistics and modeling classes, students learn about probability theory, statistical inference, and data analysis, as well as how to use mathematical models to make predictions and solve problems.
- Physics: Physics is a subject that focuses on the study of the laws of the physical universe, including motion, energy, and matter. In physics classes, students learn about mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, and other concepts, as well as how to apply these concepts to real-world situations. Physics is a fundamental subject for many fields, including engineering, medicine, and computer science. Full article on physics and architecture here.
Overall, these math and physics subjects provide students with a strong foundation in quantitative reasoning and problem-solving skills, which are essential for success in many fields. They help students develop critical thinking and analytical skills, and provide a deep understanding of the natural world and its laws.
- Painting: Painting is a visual art form that involves the application of pigments to a surface, such as canvas or paper, using brushes, palette knives, or other tools. It is an important subject in art education and provides students with an understanding of color theory, composition, and various painting techniques.
- Design: Design is the process of creating something that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. In art education, design focuses on graphic design, product design, and interior design, among others. Students learn about layout, typography, color theory, and other design principles.
- Photography: Photography is a visual art form that involves capturing images using a camera. In art education, photography focuses on the technical aspects of photography, such as exposure, shutter speed, and aperture, as well as the aesthetic aspects, such as composition and lighting.
- Sculpture: Sculpture is a visual art form that involves creating three-dimensional objects using various materials, such as clay, stone, or metal. In art education, sculpture focuses on techniques such as carving, casting, and welding, and helps students develop spatial awareness and an understanding of form and texture.
- Graphics: Graphics refers to the creation of visual images using computer software. In art education, graphics focuses on digital design and illustration, and students learn about software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
- Technology: Technology refers to the use of tools and techniques to create, develop, and improve products and processes. In art education, technology focuses on the use of digital tools and software to create art and design, as well as traditional tools and techniques such as printmaking and screen printing. Students learn about computer-aided design (CAD), 3D printing, and other technologies used in art and design.
These visual art subjects provide valuable knowledge and skills for architects, from developing their creativity and understanding of color and form, to understanding the technical aspects of building design and construction.
- English: English is a subject that focuses on the study of literature, language, and writing. In English classes, students analyze and interpret literary works, develop critical thinking and writing skills, and learn to communicate effectively through written and oral presentations.
- History: History is the study of past events, people, and societies. In history classes, students learn about major historical events and their impact on society, as well as how to analyze and interpret primary and secondary sources.
- Art History: Art history is the study of art and visual culture throughout history. In art history classes, students learn about the styles, techniques, and movements of different artists and periods, as well as the social and cultural context in which they were created.
- Classics: Classics is the study of the literature, language, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. In classics classes, students learn about the myths, literature, and philosophy of these ancient civilizations, as well as their influence on modern culture and society.
These subjects provide students with a deep understanding of language, literature, history, art, and culture, and help them develop critical thinking and communication skills that are essential for success in many careers.
To round up…
When transitioning from high school to university, it is important to keep in mind that what you learned in high school may not directly align with what you will learn at university. High school education provides a broad foundation, while university encourages you to expand your thinking and approach subjects in new ways.
Simply taking the most relevant subjects may not guarantee success at university. For instance, students who were taught strict drawing rules in graphics may have difficulty unlearning them and thinking beyond, even if they have advanced technical drawing skills compared to their peers.
When uncertain, it is advisable to focus on subjects that encourage engagement with concepts and critical thinking, instead of memorizing rules or specific presentation methods. For instance, subjects like Calculus, Painting, and English can provide such opportunities. Otherwise, it’s crucial to be aware that one may need to unlearn certain rules or techniques once they move past high school.
Advanced subjects for architecture
In addition to fundamental subjects, students studying architecture must also delve into advanced subjects that are more specialized and focused. These subjects are designed to provide students with a deeper understanding of the various aspects of architecture and to equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle complex design problems.
In this section, we will explore some of these subjects that are essential for studying architecture.
- Building Technology: Building technology is the study of the materials and methods used in building construction. Students learn about the properties of different materials, such as concrete, steel, and wood, and how they can be used in various building applications. They also study building systems, such as plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems, and how they work together to create a functional and efficient building.
- Environmental Science: Environmental science is the study of the natural world and the effects of human activity on it. In architecture, students learn about sustainable design practices and how to create buildings that are environmentally friendly. They study concepts such as energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, and green building materials.
- Structural Engineering: Structural engineering is the study of the principles of structural design and analysis. Students learn about the behavior of different structural elements under different loads and how to design safe and efficient structures. They also study the properties of different materials and how to choose the right materials for different applications.
- Landscape Architecture: Landscape architecture is the study of the design and planning of outdoor spaces. Students learn about site analysis, environmental factors, and how to design functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor spaces.
- Urban Planning: Urban planning is the study of the design and management of cities and other urban areas. Students learn about zoning, land use, transportation, and other factors that affect the design of urban areas.
- Project Management: Project management is the study of the principles of managing projects, including scheduling, budgeting, and risk management. In architecture, students learn about the various stages of a construction project and how to manage them effectively.
Overall, these advanced subjects in architecture provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle complex design problems and create innovative solutions.
Elective subjects for architecture
In addition to fundamental and advanced subjects, students studying architecture may also have the opportunity to take elective courses that allow them to specialize in a particular area of interest. These subjects are not necessarily required, but they can provide valuable knowledge and skills that are relevant to a career in architecture.
- Interior Design: Interior design is the study of designing the interior spaces of buildings. Students learn about color theory, lighting, furniture design, and other aspects of creating functional and aesthetically pleasing interiors.
- Construction Management: Construction management is the study of managing construction projects from start to finish. Students learn about project planning, scheduling, budgeting, and risk management, as well as construction methods and materials.
- Sustainable Design: Sustainable design is the study of designing buildings that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. Students learn about green building materials, renewable energy sources, and energy-efficient design practices.
- Building Codes and Regulations: Building codes and regulations are the rules and standards that govern the design and construction of buildings. Students learn about local, state, and federal regulations and how to ensure that buildings meet these requirements.
- Cultural Studies: Cultural studies is the study of the social and cultural aspects of architecture. Students learn about the history and cultural significance of different architectural styles and how to design buildings that reflect the values and beliefs of a particular culture.
- Business and Marketing: Business and marketing courses can provide valuable skills for architects who want to start their own firms or work in a management position. Students learn about marketing strategies, business planning, and financial management.
Elective subjects allow students to explore areas of interest and gain specialized knowledge and skills that are relevant to their career goals. While these courses may not be required, they can provide a competitive edge in the job market and enhance the overall education and training of an aspiring architect.
To sum up…
In conclusion, architecture is a multidisciplinary field that requires a broad range of knowledge and skills. To become a successful architect, students must study a variety of subjects that cover both the artistic and technical aspects of architecture.
Fundamental subjects such as mathematics, physics, art and design, history of architecture, technical drawing, and computer-aided design provide the basic knowledge and skills needed for architectural design.
Advanced subjects such as building technology, environmental science, structural engineering, landscape architecture, urban planning, and project management provide students with a deeper understanding of the various aspects of architecture.
…and elective subjects such as interior design, construction management, sustainable design, building codes and regulations, cultural studies, and business and marketing allow students to explore areas of interest and gain specialized knowledge and skills.
Continuous learning is also essential, as new technologies and design concepts are constantly emerging. Architects must be adaptable and willing to learn throughout their careers in order to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in the field.
By gaining a strong foundation in these subjects and staying up-to-date with new developments, aspiring architects can create innovative and sustainable designs that shape the built environment for generations to come.
FAQ’s relating to “what subjects do I need to study architecture?”
What A level subjects are best for architecture?
There are several A-level subjects that are highly recommended for students who want to study architecture at university. These subjects will provide students with a strong foundation in the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for architectural design.
- Mathematics – Mathematics is essential for architecture, as it provides the basis for understanding structural engineering and building technology. It also helps with developing skills in geometry and spatial reasoning.
- Physics – Physics provides an understanding of how forces and materials work together, which is essential for designing and constructing buildings.
- Art and Design – Art and design A-levels such as Fine Art, Graphic Design, or Product Design can help students develop their creativity and design skills, which are critical for architectural design.
- History of Art or Architecture – This subject provides an understanding of the history of architecture and the evolution of design styles over time. This knowledge can help inform the design process and enable students to create buildings that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
- Design and Technology – This subject provides an understanding of technical drawing and computer-aided design (CAD) skills, which are essential for creating architectural drawings and models.
Other useful A-level subjects for architecture include Environmental Science, Geography, and Economics, which can help students understand the impact of buildings on the environment, as well as the economic and social factors that influence building design and construction.
It is also worth noting that universities may have specific A-level requirements for architecture courses, so students should research the entry requirements for their preferred universities before choosing their A-level subjects.
What subject are most important in architecture?
Several subjects are essential for studying architecture and becoming a successful architect. These subjects provide the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for architectural design, as well as the advanced knowledge needed to tackle complex design problems. Here are some of the most important subjects in architecture:
- Mathematics – Mathematics is crucial for architecture as it provides the basis for understanding structural engineering, building technology, and other technical aspects of design.
- Art and Design – Art and design skills are essential for creating aesthetically pleasing designs that meet the functional requirements of a building.
- History of Architecture – Knowledge of architectural history and design principles can help architects create buildings that reflect the cultural and social context in which they are built.
- Building Technology – Building technology encompasses the materials, methods, and systems used in construction, and understanding these is essential for designing functional and safe buildings.
- Structural Engineering – Structural engineering involves the design and analysis of structural systems, and is critical for ensuring the safety and stability of buildings.
- Environmental Science – Environmental science provides an understanding of the impact of buildings on the environment and how to design buildings that are sustainable and environmentally friendly.
- Urban Planning – Urban planning involves the design and management of cities and other urban areas, and is important for architects who want to design buildings that fit into a larger urban context.
- Project Management – Project management skills are essential for architects who want to oversee the design and construction of buildings, and involve skills such as budgeting, scheduling, and risk management.
Overall, a well-rounded education that includes a variety of subjects is important for studying architecture and becoming a successful architect.
Is it hard to study architecture?
We have a full article on this very topic here.
What subjects do you study in 1st year of architecture?
The specific subjects studied in the first year of architecture may vary depending on the university or program, but generally, first-year architecture students are introduced to the fundamental concepts and skills of architecture. Here are some of the common subjects studied in the first year of architecture:
- Architectural Design Studio – This is the core subject of the first year, where students learn the basics of architectural design through hands-on projects and exercises.
- Architectural History – Students study the history of architecture, learning about different styles and movements throughout history and how they have influenced contemporary design.
- Building Technology – This subject covers the materials, construction methods, and systems used in building design and construction.
- Digital Tools – Students learn to use digital tools such as computer-aided design (CAD) software and building information modeling (BIM) software to create 2D and 3D models of buildings.
- Structural Engineering – This subject covers the principles of structural engineering, including the behavior of structural elements under different loads and the properties of different materials.
- Environmental Science – Students learn about the impact of buildings on the environment and how to design buildings that are sustainable and energy-efficient.
- Drawing and Graphics – This subject teaches the fundamental skills of architectural drawing, including technical drawing, sketching, and rendering.
The first year of architecture is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in the fundamental concepts and skills of architecture, preparing them for more advanced subjects in the following years of study.
What skills do you need to be an architect?
We break down the necessary skills here.