Architecture: The UDC Edge

Housed in the home of the only exclusively urban landgrant university in the country, UDC’s Architecture program reflects UDC’s unique commitment to the community by providing students with hands-on opportunities to sharpen their skills in a real-world environment.

We educate the next generation of architects with an emphasis on preparing them to make a significant impact on the sustainable infrastructure and urban sustainability initiatives of the District of Columbia and urban areas around the world.

Bachelor’s Degree (B.Sc. Arch) in Architecture

The program stresses the importance of design as a tool for creating sustainable urban environments through research-based academic collaboration with partners in the health professions, nutrition science, environmental studies, water resource management, agriculture and other programs within the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES). The program resides in the only urban land-grant institution in the nation. A major focus is the relationship between architecture and urban agriculture, as we strive to provide leading edge ideas on farming and food security in urbanized areas.

We believe that urban architecture and design is a rigorous act of creativity, research and scholarship. This process is informed by a desire to improve the lives of the residents of the District of Columbia by providing sustainable and healthy environments. We also recognize the plurality of cultures in the District and the world, and respond in that light.

Our landgrant center, the Center for Architectural Innovation & Building Science (CAIBS) offers a research and community service agenda that utilizes the University’s human resources and capital assets to support the District of Columbia’s mission of providing affordable and energy efficient shelter to its citizens.

As a UDC Academic Center of Excellence, the Department exemplifies the University’s urban landgrant mission. Indeed, in addition to the academic program, the Department provides a city-wide forum for exchange, debate and outreach education about critical cultural and social issues that frame community planning and design.

Learning Objectives:

To capitalize on collaborative opportunities within CAUSES and the University as a whole to:

  • Provide experiential learning, which will position our graduates for employment opportunities immediately upon graduation.
  • Engage the faculty and graduate students in research relevant to the mission and vision of the program.
  • Contribute to the land grant mission of the University and the workforce development efforts through certificate programs, which will prepare participants for national exams leading to professional credentials.

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Curriculum and Requirements in the Architecture Program

The University of the District of Columbia offers both a Bachelor of Science in Architecture pre-professional degree (BSc. Arch.) and a Master of Architecture first professional degree (M.Arch.). The M’Arch program is currently in candidacy for accreditation by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), and anticipates receiving full accreditation in 2017.

The B.Sc. Arch degree program is four years long and requires 120 credit hours to complete. The full program can be viewed here.

Student Organizations and Activities in the Architecture Program

Our students have the opportunity to work closely with the Center for Architectural Research & Building Science (CARBS) is the clinical arm of the architecture program. ARI offers research and community service based program agenda that utilizes the University’s capital assets to support the District of Columbia’s mission of providing affordable and energy efficient shelter to its citizens through services such as housing rehabilitation, home repairs and upgrades, accessibility solutions and energy efficiency improvements.

Faculty Spotlight: Architecture Program

Susan Schaefer Kliman, Ph.D., AIA, is the Chair and Architecture Program Director in the department of Urban Architecture and Community Planning, where she is leading the department’s AIA accreditation efforts. Dr. Kliman oversees the academic programs associated with the BS and Masters in Architecture Degrees. She also provides oversight and leadership for the graduate and undergraduate programs in Architecture and Community Planning, and collaborates closely with the ARI to ensure the successful implementation of UDC’s strategic objectives in experiential and active learning.

Dr. Kliman is an experienced architect, educator and firm principal. With over 25 years industry experience, including more than 20 years as firm principal, overseeing firm financial operations, strategic planning, marketing, personnel, and managing complex architectural projects.  She has taught a variety of courses, including design studio, professional ethics and practice, construction systems and internship, at both UDC and the University of Arizona. Her expertise includes sustainability and high performance architecture, urban heat island effect, quantitative methods/analysis and research methodologies.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

Career Pathways and Prospects

UDC students graduate college ready to make their mark in the industry, equipped with:

  • Marketable IT and computer-assisted design (CAD) skills.
  • A solid foundation in ethical and sustainable community design and planning.
  • Real-world experience through the Architectural Research Institute and the intern development program.
  • The ability to identify, analyze and solve problems—a skillset that transcends the field of architecture.

You may go on to get a master’s degree in architecture in four semesters from UDC, which enables you to seek professional licensure in the field.
More than 90 percent of students find employment in fields such as architecture, construction, drafting, design and sustainability, with the other 10 percent starting their own businesses or continuing on to graduate school.

Contact Information
Dr. Susan Kliman
E: | T: 202.274.5774 | F: 202.274.5062