Architectural Studies

Welcome to Architectural Studies! One of the unique features of Architectural Studies is that it is a product of a rich liberal-arts philosophy: anything you wish to study about the built environment, the city, space, and even time can be part of Architectural Studies in Amherst’s curriculum.

 A wide variety of courses at Amherst and in the 5 Colleges help you experience the creative process as well as explore the history and theory of architecture and urban design.

  • You can study art history, history, and cultural studies in courses like “The Art and Architecture of India,” “Renaissance to Revolution” and “Cartographic Cultures.”
  • You can delve deeply into urban studies, anthropology, sociology and Black studies in classes like “Architectural Anthropology,” “Racism and the City,” or “The Colonial City.”
  • You can discover fields like environmental studies through “Sustainable Design.”
  • If you want to create and think deeply about the process of creation, consider studio art offerings like drawing, painting, photography and sculpture or a class on performance.
  • If you wish, you can go straight to designing architecture in courses like “Space and Design.”

These are all gateway classes into the understanding of architecture and its environment. They all examine the creative process and its role in societies past and present. You do not need any previous expertise to take these courses: we judge you in good part on your own, personal progress within the class.

So you can take Architectural Studies courses out of curiosity, for the joy of learning something brand new to you; to understand something -- your environment! -- that you took for granted; or to participate, newly knowledgeable, in social justice movements. You might want to learn how to create spaces, gardens, buildings.

You do not have to design architecture to become intellectually immersed in the widely diverse areas that Architectural Studies covers. Instead, thanks to Amherst’s robust liberal-arts curriculum, our students go on to prosper in many different fields. They are well-prepared for them because of the challenging, exciting courses they have taken at Amherst in the Architectural Studies program.