Preparing for a Career in Architecture

Tiger Tracks for careers in Architecture


Architecture requires a strong sense of the physical world and keen spatial intelligence. The profession can appeal to those students who excel at geometry and those who think systematically. It is a cooperative, practical, and applied art form. Strong communication skills are essential, as architects are required to turn abstract concepts into real world spaces where people live, work, and play. Oral Rhetoric is a key part of building effective client relationships. The growth and contraction of architectural work is very closely tied to economic cycles, which offers opportunity for growth and change that correspond with the ebb and flow of financial markets. Careers that engage with the built environment also include landscape architecture, urban and environmental planning and development, construction, and real estate.

This advice is meant as guidance; it is not a formal program in architecture, so you'll want to ensure you're staying on track with College wide requirements.


Our curriculum will prepare you for graduate study in the field of architecture regardless of which undergraduate major you pursue. In fact, for success in graduate studies we encourage you to find an undergraduate major that you truly enjoy as good grades are a better way to ensure entrance to the graduate program of your choice than a specific major. However, if you identify your interest in architecture early in your career, the following classes will be helpful in your application to graduate school:

  • 2 semesters of Physics; consider Fundamentals of Physics I as your lab science.
  • Calculus I and II
  • History of Western Art I or History of Western Art II
  • Roman and Greek Art and Architecture and/or Medieval Art and Architecture
  • Introduction to Photography
  • Beginning Drawing
  • Color and Two-Dimensional Design
  • Theatre Design and Technology
  • FINA304 Topics in Art History (American Domestic Architecture)

Programs and Extracurricular Activities

  • Join the Architectural Society, which is a student organization that meets regularly, organizes guest lectures, and takes field trips to architectural sites.
  • Volunteer your time and talents on set design and construction for H-SC Theatrical productions.
  • Volunteer your time and talents to the Atkinson Museum of the College by joining the Student Museum Board.
  • Consider study abroad experiences.  Study-abroad trips are great avenues through which to study architecture. Additionally, knowledge of French or German can be very helpful in studying architectural history.
  • Stay in touch with your academic advisor and Professor Mary Prevo.  It's best to contact her during your first or second semester at H-SC.  Contact Professor Prevo at

Preparation for Employment

Develop a course of study with faculty advisors in the Fine Arts Department, both in visual arts and art history. Faculty members can also be good sources of advice on internships. Work with the Career Education and Vocational Reflection Office to explore the architecture field, create a resume, get advice on seeking internships, and prepare for life after college.  Career Education can also help you establish contact with alumni in the field. Finally, seek out and attend alumni panels in Architecture, History, and Fine Arts.

Graduate Study

The Master's in Architecture degree (MArch) is the recognized credential for advancement in the field. Applying to MArch programs requires that you take the Graduate Record Exam, or GRE. The Office of Career Education offers a number of GRE preparation resources, as does the Bortz Library. You can schedule a GRE test date online and take it at a number of test centers nationwide. Seeking further education in Historic Preservation is another way to explore architecture.  The Hampden-Sydney campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so you will have a good start! Some schools offer full graduate degrees in Historic Preservation; others offer just courses or certificates. The focus of programs varies from History to Conservation Science. We have also had students pursue graduate work in urban and environmental planning and development.

Alumni with careers in architecture