Skip to main content

Architectural Studies Major (Art Program)

Architectures of Air: Environments in Movement class tour the construction site of Sharples, November 2023.

Architectures of Air: Environments in Movement class tour the construction site of Sharples.  November 2023.

Architectural Studies at Swarthmore is undergoing an administrative and pedagogical reconfiguring to better respond to student interest in the design of the built environment. Beginning with Sophomore planning in January 2025, students may elect Architectural Studies as a major, choosing between either a “studio” track within the Art Program, or a “history” track within Art History. Students considering the Architectural Studies studio track should contact Sony Devabhaktuni, Assistant Professor of Art [Architecture] in the Department of Art and Art History. Students graduating in 2026 or earlier may continue to elect the Architectural Studies Special Major in Art at the College.
Students graduating before Spring 2027 may continue to pursue architectural studies as a special major; those with a particular interest in studio practice and the design of the built environment are encouraged to make art their primary program. The architectural studies special major in art focuses on the skills and methods needed to undertake an architectural design project. Projects vary in scale and research agenda, but share a conception of architectural studies that aligns making, craft and materials with humanistic inquiry and social urgency. Students in the special major are encouraged to make interdisciplinary links with studies throughout the College and to rigorously document their work in a design portfolio that reflects their interests and capacities. 
The existing architectural studies special major in art comprises 11-credits. Students craft their program of study in consultation with their advisor. An architectural studies special major in art includes a total of seven credits in art (five credits from art courses in architectural design, architectural making, sculpture, painting, photography and drawing plus the two-credit Senior Capstone), at least two credits in relevant architectural history courses, and at least two credits in additional departments that meet the student’s particular interests in the built environment (these could include math, physics, sociology & anthropology, environmental studies, philosophy, Black studies, theater, and engineering, among many possibilities). 
In the two-credit Senior Capstone, architectural studies special majors in art identify a research program and develop a design project over the course of the year-long, two-semester course. This work culminates with a group exhibition of all Senior Capstone art majors in the List Gallery. Architectural Studies special majors in art are granted individual studios in Whittier Hall, alongside other art majors, to complete work for their Capstone projects. Students may also elect to combine the Senior Capstone with others courses for evaluation in the college Honors program. Students graduating as an Honors major are granted a solo show in one of the List Gallery’s two rooms. 
An architectural studies special major in art prepares students for graduate school in architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, urban planning, historic preservation, and architectural history and theory. Students are also equipped with design and critical thinking skills that can be applied to non-professional roles in design, policy, curation and beyond.