Getting Started

College: HFA

Information below is meant to guide first year students in getting started with this major and choosing appropriate courses.  More advanced students interested in this major would also likely start with proposed foundation/pre-requisite courses.  Please refer to the Major page located in the left menu bar to learn about the full major requirements.

How to Explore the Major 

Suggested General Education Courses:

All Undergraduates are required to satisfy the General Education Requirements. Guidelines for students are available at Students should choose a wide variety of Gen Ed courses, providing breadth of experience.

Suggested Major and Pre-requisite Courses:

Incoming freshmen already accepted by portfolio review into the BS Architecture Program are advised to take the following Art and Art History courses as part of a year-long Foundations sequence:

ART 110: Basic Studio / Drawing (4 credits)   ART 120: Drawing Composition (3 credits)
ART 131: Foundations Studio I (3 credits)   ART 142: Foundations Studio II (3 credits)
ART-HIST 115: Visual Arts, Artists, and Cultures (4 credits) (students may also take ART-HIST 100 OR ART-HIST 110)   ART-HIST 118: History of Architecture and the Built Environment (4 credits)—if offered

NOTE: Students cannot begin the upper division Architecture courses until they complete the Foundations sequence or the equivalent. In addition, it is strongly recommended that students complete all or a majority of their General Education Requirements including the following required courses during the freshman year: MATH 127 (Calculus); PHYSICS 131.

How to Declare/Change Into the Major

For current & accepted students:  This major is restricted, which means students must apply through an on-campus process to be accepted into the major. The majors may have criteria for admission/acceptance into the major (e.g., specific courses, GPA)

For on-campus students, application deadlines are Fall: October 1, Spring: March 1 (March 1 is the priority deadline, although the application period remains open through April 15). Students must submit a visual arts portfolio and a statement of interest. Application information, portfolio requirements, and a link to the online portfolio submission site are available on our website ( Students may also contact the Undergraduate Program Director or Department Secretary for more information.

Students without portfolios or those who wish to strengthen their portfolio prior to applying should register for ARCH 100, ART 104 and/or ART 105. These are non-major equivalent courses which can be taken in lieu of the Foundations sequence listed above. ART 120 and ART 142 are recommended when available. If unable to register in advance, students should attend the first class session. They should also take ART-HIST 110 (or ART-HIST 100 or ART-HIST 115) (all of which are offered in both Fall and Spring) and ART-HIST 118 (when offered).

High school seniors

High school seniors with exceptional visual arts backgrounds can apply directly to the Architecture major when they apply for admission to the University, subject to portfolio review.

Transfer students

Current UMass Amherst students in other majors (or undeclared/exploratory status) can apply directly to the Architecture major while taking foundations level studios and art history survey courses, subject to portfolio review. Due to the requirements of the program, current UMass students must apply during their first year at UMass.

External transfer students with strong visual arts backgrounds can apply directly to the major when applying to the University, subject to portfolio and transcript review.

MassTransfer Students should refer to the UMass Amherst MassTransfer web page. They should also consult with their community college transfer advisor or contact a transfer counselor in the UMass Amherst Admissions Office.  MassTransfer applicants must also submit a portfolio and transcript directly to the Architecture Department.

Summary of Requirements for the Major

Minimum number of required credits in the major ranges from 67 (Design Studies subplan) to 79 (Architecture Studies subplan).

The Architecture major requires successful completion of the Foundations Art courses; the three-year Architecture Program course sequence; the art/architecture history course sequence; Calculus, Physics, and additional courses in building technologies.

Refer to the Major page located in the left menu bar to learn more.

Is there a minor? If so what are the requirements?
Yes! But the minor can be completed only by attending the 15-credit “Semester in Sustainable Design/Build,” an intensive UMass Amherst program that is offered each Fall in collaboration with Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont. The program includes studios, technical courses and history. See the Architecture Undergraduate Program Director for details.

Undergraduate Program Director
Erika Zekos, Senior Lecturer

For further information or to make an appointment, contact:
Jean Crossman
Department of Architecture, Secretary
John W. Olver Design Building, Room 210
(413) 577-0943