Students in the fourth year of the curriculum integrate and apply sustainable design strategies to address complex, multiple use design solutions. Issues of sustainability, professional practice and research methods are presented and explored through courses during this year of the curriculum.  Students take two design studios during the fourth year--an option studio and a capstone studio.

The option studio—ARCH 414 Architectural Study Abroad Program, ARCH 450 Community Design Center, ARCH 458 Design/Build Studio, ARCH 498 Architectural Residency Design Program or approved off-campus programs of study—provides students with the opportunity to explore individual interests and expand their understanding of the context and role of architecture in the creative, collaborative and ethical design of the built environment.

Every student must complete the capstone studio, ARCH 457, emphasizing professional responsibility in which the student synthesizes program development, site development, structural systems, environmental controls systems, principles of sustainability and graphic communication.

At the completion of the fourth year of study, students receive a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design.

Major Courses

During the fourth year of the program students take required architecture courses as well as elective courses. For a course to count as either a Degree Requirement or a CORE course toward graduation requirements a student must receive at least a C- or better.

The course load for the fourth year of this program includes:


Option Studio

Summer Semester    Credits
ARCH 414 Architectural Study Abroad 9
ARCH 428 Foreign Study History 3
ARCH 431 Sustainability in Architecture 3
Fall Semester   Credits 
ARCH 431 Sustainability in Architecture 3
  Electives as needed 3-6
ARCH 450 Community Design Center 5
ARCH 458 Architectural Design VI 5
ARCH 498 Arch Residency Design Studio 6
Total   12-15
Capstone Semester    
Spring Semester   Credits
ARCH 413 Professional Practice 3
ARCH 452 Research Methods in Arch 3
ARCH 457 Architectural Design V 5
  Electives 3-6
Total   14-17


Curriculum Degree Plan


Option Studio 

Students may choose from the following options to fulfill the Option Studio Requirement:

Study Abroad 

School of Architecture Faculty-led Study Abroad Programs

  • ARCH 414 Architectural Study Abroad: Rome Studio
  • ARCH 450 Community Design Center: Morocco Sustainable Communities Program. This program, undertaken in partnership with the Atlas Cultural Foundation (ACF) provides students with an opportunity to live in a rural community with the Atlas Mountain region of Morocco. Students work with the local community members and the ACF to undertake design/build projects focused on improving the lives of the local residents. 

MSU Office of International Programs Study Abroad Programs

Students can choose to pursue a study abroad option semester in an architecture program at a wide range of institutions throughout the world. The MSU Office of International Programs provides information on the process and possible locations for this option. 

National Student Exchange

Students can study at other programs of architecture within the United States through the National Student Exchange program. 

Community-Based Design

The School of Architecture's Community Design Center has undertaken work with governmental agencies and non-profit groups throughout Montana and the surrounding states for over 45 years.

Professional Practice-Based Design

  • ARCH 498 Architecture Residency Design Studio

Design Build

  • ARCH 458 Architectural Design VI

Advising Notes

Each semester preregistration occurs around the midterm for the upcoming semester. As a student in the Environmental Design program on receives group advising during either studio or support courses. During this group advising session, Rachael Ortego, the Director of Student Services will discuss the registration process and distribute important advising information such as Registration PDFs and Advising Notes. Each semester the Advising Notes will also be posted on Brightspace (D2L). Students will be notified of their group advising time prior to the second month of each semester.