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What subjects are needed for Architecture?

To be an architect, what subjects should I take in high school?

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Question:To be an architect, what subjects should I take in high school?

Answer: While still in high school, you should plan a strong college preparatory program, because you will want to go to college to become a registered architect.

Academic Courses to Take in High School:

  • English, history, and other humanities subjects
  • mathematics, including geometry, trigonometry, algebra, and pre-calculus
  • science, especially physics
  • art, such as sketching and sculpting

Humanities courses will sharpen your communication skills and your ability to put ideas into words and concepts into historic context. Math courses help develop problem-solving techniques and logic. Studying physics will get you familiar with important concepts related to force, such as compression and tension. Tensile architecture, for example, "stands up" because of tension instead of compression. The PBS website for Building Big has a good demonstration of forces.

Art courses—drawing, painting, sculpture, or photography—will be helpful in developing your ability to visualize and conceptualize, which are both important skills to an architect.

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Elective Courses to Take in High School:

Elective courses will be extremely helpful in preparing for a career in architecture. Consider the value of these classes:

  • computers, especially keyboarding and the way software works
  • business, especially economics and marketing
  • band, orchestra, chorus, or team sports—architecture is a collaborative process, so learn to work with many to make one product

Develop Good Habits:

High school is a good time to develop positive skills to use your entire life. Learn how to manage your time and get your projects done well and promptly. Project management is a huge responsibility in the architect's office.

Travel and Observation:

Everyone lives somewhere. Where do people live? How do they live? How are their spaces put together compared with where you live? Examine your neighborhood and document what you see in a journal that combines sketches and descriptions. Give your journal a name, like L'Atelier, which is the French word for "workshop." Along with art projects you may do in school, your sketchbook could be part of your portfolio. Also, take advantage of family travel and be a keen observer of your surroundings—even a waterpark has organization and Disney theme parks have architecture.

What Others Say:

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture suggests that "Aspiring architects should learn as much as possible about the field of architecture, by talking to architects and by visiting architectural offices." When you have a research project for a humanities course, keep in mind the profession of architecture. For example, a research paper for English Composition or an interview project for History is a good opportunity to get in touch with architects in your community and research historic architects of the past and present.

Architecture Camp:

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