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Programs / Architectural Studies

Program Summary

Carleton’s Bachelor of Architectural Studies focuses on knowledge, experience, creativity and imagination. Our program encourages you to explore ideas through making, evaluate ideas within the context of the human experience, and exercise creativity through writing, model making, drawing, digital media and presentations.

Carleton’s Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism awards the pre-professional Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) degree upon successful completion of our four-year program of study. If you intend to practice architecture, you can then apply to continue into a professional Master of Architecture program at Carleton, or equivalent professional training at another university. The BAS program is also an excellent degree for a range of careers or for further studies in design, urbanism, or conservation and sustainability.

The program lays a broad foundation on which architectural studies are built. You will take courses in architecture, design, drawing and multimedia applications, as well as specified general studies in engineering, art history and social sciences. You will focus your architectural studies by choosing an area of study in:

  • conservation and sustainability
  • design
  • urbanism

Excellent preparation

At Carleton, you will be prepared for a career in the profession of architecture. You will also acquire an extraordinary foundation for many interdisciplinary and related design fields.

Your imagination will be your greatest asset as an architect. At Carleton, your imaginative abilities will be developed as you learn to balance the craft of imagecarleton University making with the ability “to see” and “to see into” the images that you construct. From the beginning, you will have the opportunity to:

  •  explore ideas through making;
  • think creatively with your hands and mind; and
  • evaluate ideas within the context of the human experience Knowledge and experience.

Knowledge and experience

As a result of this “practical art” approach, you will:

  •  learn to handle the conflicting demands of function, aesthetics, technology and economy;
  •  receive training in various means of expression, including writing, model making, drawing, photography, video, digital media and oral presentations; and
  •  acquire the knowledge and experience you need for the future.

Stimulating setting

At Carleton, we emphasize discovery through making, discipline through craft, imagination through drawing and other media arts, conviction through writing and advocacy through public presentations.

As a Carleton Architectural Studies student, you will be taught by internationally renowned faculty and have the opportunity to participate in or have access to:

  •  a co-op program so you can gain real-world experience;
  •  international exchanges;
  •  design studios with personal work space;
  •  an electronic resource centre;
  •  visiting critics studios and lectures, taught by international architects;
  •  a technical library and reading room;
  •  unique workshop courses such as furniture design, stage design, advanced painting and design, urbanism, material studies and real estate development; and
  •  joint programs with other departments.

Outstanding facilities

The school’s facilities are recognized as the finest in Canada and among the best in North America. You can take advantage of:

  • extensive fabrication facilities for woodworking, metal machining and welding;
  •  an assembly room for projects and models, and design-build studios;
  •  multimedia studio;
  •  extensive computer facilities;
  •  the David J. Azrieli Gallery for architectural exhibits; and
  •  the Carleton Solids and Light Tectonics Laboratory.

International experience

The Directed Studies Abroad option allows you to study architecture on a two- to four-week trip to an international destination, accompanied by a faculty member. The BAS program also offers international student exchanges to countries such as Australia, England, Germany, and France.

Co-op opportunities

Our co-operative education option offers you up to 20 months of paid-work experience and prepares you for a career in architecture. You could find yourself working in a government organization, large international firm or a small local practice. Co-op terms can begin after you have successfully completed the second year of the BAS program.

Carleton students benefit from the proximity of organizations situated in the National Capital Region, such as:

  •  National Research Council Canada
  •  Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  •  National Capital Commission
  •  The National Arts Centre
  •  The National Gallery of Canada
  •  The Canadian Museums of History, Nature, Contemporary Photography, Aviation, and Science and Technology

Your choice of one of three majors will allow you to specialize in a particular aspect of the architectural profession. If you intend to enter the profession of architecture, you can apply to continue your studies in a professional Master of Architecture (MArch) program or equivalent professional training at another university.

The curriculum

The program’s first-year core courses consist of drawing, studio design, multimedia, history/ theory and technology. In subsequent years, you will take courses in professional practice, and electives in conservation and sustainability, urbanism, and philosophy and criticism.

Core courses are supplemented by electives drawn from other disciplines, such as art history, industrial design, urban geography and engineering.

The BAS program offers students the opportunity to complete a major in an area of particular interest:

  •  A major in Design will appeal to those interested primarily in a professional career in architecture with an emphasis on design.
  •  A major in Urbanism explores architecture in the larger context of the city and raises awareness and promotes stewardship of the built environment through an examination of mass urbanization in the 20th century.
  •  A major in Conservation and Sustainability is offered to students interested in the conservation of historical architecture and the principles of sustainable design of buildings as well as the urban fabric.

Additional requirements

A portfolio is also required as part of your application. Visit for more information about the portfolio.

The workplace

Carleton graduates work around the globe in traditional and nontraditional architectural practices, as well as in disciplines ranging from film-making and fashion design to highly technical fields such as computer animation, building science, environmental design and project management. Most graduates choose to practise in the field, while others go on to graduate work and teaching. Others are the founders of design/build firms who specialize in crafting their own designs.

Graduate school

The Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism offers four graduate programs in Architecture: an accredited two-year Master of Architecture Professional (March) program, a 3.5-year Master of Architecture Professional program (March 1), a Master of Architectural Studies (MAS) and a PhD program in Architecture. Graduates within the school can also pursue a Graduate Diploma in Architectural Conservation.

The Master of Architectural Studies is a research-based (and non-accredited) Master’s degree for students interested in pursuing in-depth architectural research. The Master of Architecture Professional is a studio based degree program. Students entering the program with a BAS in Design will follow an 8.0 credit curriculum. Students entering with a BAS in Urbanism, a BAS in Conservation and Sustainability, or a non-architectural honours degree will follow a 15.5 credit curriculum (March 1). Carleton University’s PhD in Architecture is an advanced and internationally competitive program that addresses the history, theory, and practice of architecture through insightful and exacting scholarship.

More information on all our graduate programs can be found on our website at carleton. ca/architecture.


What students are saying about Architectural Studies

In architecture, you learn by making. You are constantly encouraged to push yourself beyond the theory, to construct models and details, and to examine how components and materials come together.
Tom Svilans, Architectural Studies student