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Renamed undergraduate degree celebrates architecture’s evolution at Texas A&M  

The Texas A&M School of Architecture’s core architecture undergraduate degree, the Bachelor of Environmental Design – Architectural Studies – which has graduated thousands of successful students since the 1970s, will now be updated to the Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree as of Sept. 1, 2023.  

The name change reflects the Department of Architecture’s commitment to evolving the degree program over time and its shift from more generalized, traditional approaches to the combination of artistic, scientific and technical aspects required across design studios, structural and systems-based courses, as well as computational design and fabrication, building technology and resilience and sustainability courses required of its students that prepares them for the challenges of contemporary architecture. 

“The Environmental Design Degree emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but including the phrase “environmental design” as a titled discipline now has come to create confusion as to whether the program focuses only on climate change, natural resources, and resource management, rather than the complete design of the built environment,” said Dr. Greg Luhan, head of the Department of Architecture.  

“Changing the name to reflect ‘architecture’ alleviates that confusion while still maintaining the comprehensive nature of the discipline, practice, and profession of architecture. It also allows us to showcase the flexibility of our minor options such as product design, user-experience design, fabrication, historic preservation, museum studies, design for health, and interiors that serve as critical intersections for our contemporary art and science-based pre-professional architecture degree; in keeping with the emerging trend of a research focus in undergraduate education.” 

Prospective students will benefit from this change as the new degree program more accurately reflects the curriculum’s emphasis on architecture design and implementation.  

The Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree offers a rigorous sequence of STEM-designated courses, providing students with a solid foundation of math, science and physics. Since architects lead projects using engineers as consultants, they must know technical and engineering concepts and principles, understand structures, building systems (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, daylighting principles and system design) and go beyond the core curriculum to ensure they are well-prepared to lead architectural projects and collaborate effectively. 

To complement the change in degree program, the Department of Architecture has also renamed all Environmental Design (ENDS) courses to Architecture (ARCH) designations. This alignment of course content further reinforces the analytical foundation of the curriculum, integrating generative software, analytical tools, and computational methods while emphasizing more STEM-focused courses.  

For current students, the department offers the option to remain in the Bachelor of Environmental Design – Architectural Studies program or transfer to the new Bachelor of Science in Architecture program.  

However, all students entering the degree program from August 2027 onwards will be enrolled exclusively in the BS-ARCH program under the new name. The expected date of graduation for incoming students will be May 2027. 

The School of Architecture’s decision to change its undergraduate degree program reflects its commitment to providing a comprehensive and forward-thinking education in the field of architecture. By aligning the curriculum with the evolving needs of the profession, the department ensures that graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in their careers and contribute meaningfully to the built environment. 

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