There are limited schools in the US that offer the Doctor of Architecture (D.Arch.) degree, and 100% online programs are not available. Architectural school can be demanding in that your actual presence is needed to experience 3D art forms. While a D.Arch degree is not a prerequisite to becoming an architect, it can help you grab a higher position.

The common stereotype says “architects are engineers who can’t do math”. However, architects are more than structural artists and surely, they are not ignorant of math. An architect is the one you need to build your dream house.

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What does an architect do?

Architects design buildings, houses, lawns, and other real properties. They initially draw concepts on paper and then make 3D representations in plastic, cardboard, or virtual software. Aside from the structures themselves, architects pay much attention to how the interior looks. They divide space into rooms and compartments and suggest appropriate furniture that fits the overlying theme. Sometimes, they work in teams to provide the best service for their clients.

The construction team is not only composed of architects but also engineers and other professionals. During a project, the architects decide what materials to use in construction. They heed the advice of clients regarding cost limitations. They rely on engineers on matters of wiring, plumbing, and piping. Thus, they work hand in hand with engineers to formulate the blueprint.

Apart from the lighting, painting, and finishing, architects also pay close attention to the surrounding structures and areas. For instance, in designing a condominium complex, they take into account a lot of natural factors such as shadows, sunrise, sunset, airflow, water presence, and disaster risks like fault lines and coastal hazards. Recent architectural trends nowadays emphasize sustainability, wherein designs aim to minimize pollution and public disturbance.

Contemporary architects not only conceptualize stand-alone buildings but communities that function as a single organism. Here, architects ventures into urban planning. An urban planner classifies districts in a city or town into residential, commercial, industrial, recreational, institutional, or a mixture of these classifications. They look at the grand design of a city from above, connecting public and private spaces through transportation routes and mobility facilities. Moreover, architect participates further in societal transformations by drafting laws and policies that govern the establishment of buildings.

What sort of accreditation should I look for in a school?

The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited architecture schools in the US. The accreditation body oversees quality education for undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate programs in architecture. In 2018, only one school in the US is accredited to open a Doctor of Architecture (D.Arch.) degree.

How do I earn my D.Arch. Degree?

After finishing your 5-year undergraduate program in architecture, you may proceed to take a licensure exam and enroll in architecture school. The D.Arch program lasts for three to four years. It might be shorter if you have a master’s degree. For beginners in architecture, pre-requisite subjects from undergraduate architecture can be taken in one semester. Another semester will be added for the boot camp.

The D.Arch program requires a capstone project under the supervision of an adviser from the institution. The capstone project might be an actual design for a specific project somewhere. It could also be an avant-garde endeavor that may advance current architectural practices.

In contrast to the “Ph.D. in Architecture” degree, the D.Arch program does not require a dissertation. Ph.D. in Architecture programs are more research-oriented and aim to formulate a new theory or criticize existing theories in the field. Nonetheless, both titles belong to the doctorate level – Ph.D. learning more on the academic sphere and D.Arch on the professional sphere.

What type of degree do I need to pursue research or educate others in architecture?

To teach in architecture, the professor must at least have a Ph.D. in Architecture or D.Arch degree. To teach in an undergrad school, a masters degree may suffice. In some cases, a bachelor’s degree holder may teach in colleges given that the architect has proficient achievements in his/her field.

Research architects work on enriching architectural knowledge. They study the history of designs from ancient civilizations to modern megalopolises. Also, many architects share their work in academic journals, magazines, and fancy coffee table books.

How do I earn a transitional or bridge D.Arch. Degree?

Unfortunately, no online program as of the moment is available for a D.Arch degree. Also, architectural coursework requires so many hands-on activities that an online setting is not conducive for learning.

What kind of career and salary can I expect with my D.Arch. Degree?

As mentioned before, architects works along with engineers for the technical aspects of construction. Most especially, they work closely with clients. In special cases, architects work on the preservation of old structures and heritage monuments. They can also work as urban planners employed by either private corporations or government institutions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US, the median salary of an architect $78,470 per year, but that is with just a bachelor’s degree. Architects with more credentials can easily earn six figures. Prices may vary depending on the client and the project.

Do I need a license to be an architect?

A D.Arch degree is not required to have a license in the US. After passing a 5-year architecture program in an accredited school by the NAAB, the graduate will take the Architectural Registration Examinations (ARE) sponsored by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

What schools offer Doctor of Architect degrees?

In 2018, only the University of Hawaii at Manoa offers a D.Arch program. They require students to be on campus and have an accredited program for overseas students. You may also take advantage of their “Global Track Dual Degree” with Tongji University College of Architecture and Urban Planning (Shanghai, China). The D.Arch. program of the University of Manoa exposes its students to the latest architectural practices particularly in the Asia Pacific Region.

Currently, most schools offer a “Ph.D. in Architecture” as doctorate-level titles for architects. Examples of these schools are: the University of Illinois in Champaign, IL: University of California Berkeley in Berkeley, CA; Yale University in New Haven, CT; and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. These schools adopt traditional classroom learning with a touch of online communication with professors.

Do you want to build your own dream house, or make others’ dream houses a reality? Be an architect and earn your D.Arch degree now!





School Highlights: According to the program website, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Architecture offers the only doctoral degree accredited by the NAAB. The curriculum provides a strong focus on the critical interrogations of architectural approaches, as well as significant applications, concepts, and praxis. There are numerous tracks available for students with varying levels of education, such as a bachelor’s or a master’s in architecture, or a baccalaureate degree in a separate area. Due to its location, this school also includes extensive educational components in Asian and Pacific architecture and the subsequent cultural, social, and interdisciplinary studies. Graduates go on to work as architects and professional consultants internationally and have a strong understanding of current architectural issues affecting the globe today.

Coursework Sample:

  • Asia-Pacific Architecture History and Theory
  • Environmental Technology, Sustainability, and Analysis
  • Design Research Studio

Campus Location: Honolulu, HI


  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
    533 Airport Boulevard, Suite 200
    Burlingame, California 94010, (650) 696-1060
  • National Architectural Accrediting Board

Acceptance Rate: 84% Retention Rate: 81% Graduation Rate: 58%






School Highlights: The doctor of philosophy degree offered through the University of Illinois includes a unique focus in Landscape Architecture. Students can choose to specialize in one discipline or work collaboratively in both architecture and landscape architecture to fulfill the requirements for the Ph.D. The Departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois are two of the oldest in the entire country. Each is maintained by faculty members with international acclaim and fabulous connections. This excellent school also has one of the most impressive libraries of architecture, with over ten million volumes available in print and electronically. This degree is perfect for students seeking careers in teaching and research or roles in government agencies and consultants.

Concentration Options:

  • History and Theory
  • Social and Cultural Factors in Design
  • Technology and Environment

Campus Location: Champaign, IL


  • Higher Learning Commission
    230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
    Chicago, Illinois 60604, (800) 621-7440

Acceptance Rate: 62% Retention Rate: 92% Graduation Rate: 85%




uc berkeley


School Highlights: The Ph.D. in Architecture curriculum at UC Berkeley provides a vast breadth of course topics in design, sustainability, environmental history, resource management, behavioral sciences, design theory, and cultural processes. Students choose coursework from these seven areas and personalize their class lineup to meet their professional goals. They do so in coordination with individual academic advisers who help develop the perfect degree. There is also an independent research component that requires students to conduct a project in either Building Science, Technology, and Sustainability, or in History, Theory, and Society. UC Berkeley also offers numerous master’s programs in architecture and landscape architecture for those who are still on their journey toward a doctor of philosophy.

Coursework Sample:

  • Design Thinking and Innovation
  • The Social and Cultural Processes in Architecture and urban Design
  • Daylighting in Architecture

Campus Location: Berkeley, CA


  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
    533 Airport Boulevard, Suite 200
    Burlingame, California 94010, (650) 696-1060
  • American Society of Landscape Architects

Acceptance Rate: 15% Retention Rate: 90% Graduation Rate: 92%






School Highlights: Given that Yale University is one of the most renowned, well-endowed, and prestigious schools in the country, it is no surprise that it also provides one of the best Schools of Architecture. This program offers two concentration options, each of which leads to vastly different areas of the profession. Despite students’ specializations of choice, this is an excellent degree for future researchers, educators, and government experts. Both tracks include an enormous amount of flexibility when selecting coursework, and students can align their personal goals with relevant topics. Graduates from the Yale School of Architecture have gone on to achieve amazing professional goals, and many have published their findings in prominent publications, journals, and books!

Concentration Options:

  • History and Theory
  • Ecosystems in Architectural Sciences

Campus Location: New Haven, CT


  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
    3 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100
    Burlington, MA 01803, (781) 425-7700

Acceptance Rate: 6% Retention Rate: 99% Graduation Rate: 94%






School Highlights: The Weitzman School of Design’s Ph.D. in Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania has a strong focus on the development of knowledge in landscape architecture and historic preservation. Coursework pulls from multiple departments to create an in-depth curriculum that has educated students for more than five decades. This doctoral program is an excellent choice for students interested in an interdisciplinary approach to architecture and is quite flexible and allows students to explore various relevant topics. Students generally finish this on-campus program in about four to five years, depending on their master’s degree and transfer credits. Graduates go on to produce fascinating research in history and theory and find connections all across the world through the outstanding faculty members.

Coursework Sample:

  • Theories of Architecture
  • Methods in Architectural Design
  • Qualifying Research

Campus Location: Philadelphia, PA


  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    3624 Market Street, Suite 2 West
    Philadelphia, PA 19104, (267) 284-5000

Acceptance Rate: 8% Retention Rate: 98% Graduation Rate: 95%