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Major in Architecture and Community Design

USF's Major in Architecture and Community Design combines an introduction to the disciplines of architecture, urban design and planning, and landscape design with a strong emphasis on the social sciences and humanities. The program is grounded in the University's mission and commitment to building community for a more just and humane world. This undergraduate Major draws from the University's diverse resources and faculty to form a unique interdisciplinary program of study. It seeks to engage and foster individual creative talents, informed by a breadth of approaches and strategies for understanding the complexity of the contemporary metropolis. The aim is to comprehend and influence our built environment and its relationship to the macrocosm through the discipline of design. Through this process we train students to become impassioned readers, interpreters, actors and designers of their cities, institutions, and communities. The curriculum has been carefully crafted to satisfy the entrance requirements for graduate programs in architecture and urban design at the nation's top thirty universities.

USF's interdisciplinary Major in Architecture and Community Design program emphasizes the critical role of design in negotiating between individual and collaborative acts of making and the larger framework of political, social, and cultural issues in the community.

Elements of the 48-credit major program include:

  • Four intensive core studio courses addressing metropolitan and global urban design issues;
  • The use of San Francisco and the greater Bay Area as urban laboratories to investigate design issues directly and locally;
  • Training in both abstract and applied design;
  • Integration of the studio core within the context of liberal arts education in social sciences, math, and physics, as a preparation for graduate programs in architecture and landscape, but also appropriate for any number of professional career tracks including government, law, history, business, journalism or the visual arts;
  • An international design, history, and social science semester located in an important city in a developing or evolving nation (including Budapest, Manila, and Puebla);
  • A Bay Area and International community design outreach course and a studio practicum/internship;
  • A small full-time faculty augmented with adjuncts drawn from diverse areas of expertise within the university, government, and design communities;
  • A small cohort model of instruction (maximum 18 students per class).

Requirements for the Major

The Major in Architecture and Community Design requires 48 credits.

Required Courses
Year 1: Tools for Community Design
  • ARCD - 101 History of Architecture 1
  • ARCD - 102 History of Architecture 2
  • ARCD - 110 Architecture Studio 1
  • ARCD - 120 Architecture Studio 2
  • ARCD - 150 Architectonics 1
  • ARCD - 151 Architectonics 2
Year 2: Reading the Context
  • ARCD - 203 History of Architecture 3
  • ARCD - 204 History of Architecture 4
  • ARCD - 230 Architecture Studio 3
  • ARCD - 240 Architecture Studio 4 and ARCD Electives
Year 3: Broadening the Horizon
  • ARCD - 330 Design in Crossroads International
  • ARCD - 350 Architecture Studio 5 and ARCD Electives
Year 4: Into the Community
  • ARCD - 400 Community Design Outreach
  • ARCD - 430 Practicum/Internship and ARCD Electives
Free Electives
  • ARCD - 200 Sustainable Design
  • ARCD - 250 Computer Aided Design and Drawing
  • ARCD - 290 Special Topics
  • ARCD - 300 Computer Aided Design and Drawing 2
  • ARCD - 310 Introduction to Construction Materials
  • ARCD - 320 Introduction to Landscape Design
  • ARCD - 340 International Projects
  • ARCD - 360 Introduction to Structural Engineering
  • ARCD - 370 Construction Innovation Lab
  • ARCD - 390 Special Topics
  • ARCD - 401 (1) Introduction to Architectural Theory and the Written Word 
  • ARCD - 410 Portfolio Lab
Garden Project LLC (Pre-enrolled Freshmen only)
  • ENVA - 130 Community Based Urban Agriculture: Design and Management
  • ENVA - 140 Garden as Art: History, Design & Implementation
  • ENVA - 145 Community Garden Outreach Lab

Learning Goals/Outcomes for the B.A. in Architecture and Community Design

Students who complete the B.A. in Architecture and Community Design will:

  • gain a historical foundation of architecture from pre-history to recent developments in the field, through a broad and inclusive approach to the range of social and economic factors affecting the design of world cities and buildings.
  • develop familiarity with social justice issues in under-served communities and developing regions of the world as well as more traditional perspectives on architectural history.
  • develop critical skills and methodologies of inquiry, analysis, conceptual development, and resolution and presentation of design ideas.
  • Learn to integrate aspects of site, program, space, structure and material to create designs for buildings, which also actively respond to the historical, cultural, social and political exigencies of time and place.
  • develop analytical tools that give attention to the various historic and social forces that intersect to create the built environment.
  • gain a solid foundation in technical and conceptual design skills, enabling them to present their architectural ideas visually, verbally and in writing to clients, associates, and communities at the grass roots and municipal levels.
  • graduate with the knowledge and skills enabling them to facilitate positive change to built environments in the world.