The school of architecture is committed to instilling in its students the values of craft, visualization and stewardship. To implement the mission for the program, the school of architecture has adopted a curriculum focusing on conceptualization, use and content, building technologies, professional responsibilities and developing a critical position in regard to the environment and architecture.

The MSU School of Architecture’s Viewbook publication, v17, contains program information, student work, school activities and events.

First Year

The first year is intended to encourage students to explore the opportunities and expectations of an environmental design education. Students acquire the fundamental math, science, writing, and design skills that are the foundation of their future learning as well as develop their knowledge of contemporary practices and philosophies in architecture. Particular emphasis is placed on conceptualization in the first year of the curriculum with open enrollment into first year of the program. At the end of the First year of the Architecture program students are required to apply for formal admission to the Environmental Design program. Acceptance into the program is based on a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a portfolio submission of work from the first year design studio courses. Ninety-one students are accepted each year into the second year of the Environmental Design program.


Second Year

The second year requires that students complete their university core to ensure a broad perspective from which to engage their environmental design education. Within the School’s curriculum students acquire a broad historic understanding of architecture in both its cultural and technical imperatives as well as the ability to design structural systems and utilize architectural graphics to communicate design concepts. The design studio introduces fundamental strategies of precedent analysis, the organization of human activities and sustainability while applying the knowledge acquired in structures and graphics courses. Particular emphasis is placed on use and context during the second year of the curriculum.


Third Year

Throughout the third year students develop the ability to design environmental control and integrated building construction systems as well as the ability to utilize advanced graphic communication strategies. A professional practice course provides students with an understanding of the strategies by which design concepts and business strategies are resolved in terms the architect’s responsibilities for the health, safety and welfare of both individuals and communities. The design studios are intended to develop the student’s understanding of ways to integrate environmental control systems and building construction systems. In the third year, particular emphasis within the curriculum is placed on building tectonics.


Fourth Year 

Built upon the foundations of the first three years, the fourth year consists of one required studio course during one semester and a selection from one of the option studios in the other semester. Every student must complete a capstone studio emphasizing professional responsibility in which the student synthesizes program development, site development, structural systems, environmental controls systems, principles of sustainability and graphic communication. During the other semester—whether summer, fall or spring—all students choose among the Foreign Study Program, completing an approved Internship, working in the School of Architecture Community Design Center, enrolling in a Design/Build Studio or completing an approved off-campus program of study. With the satisfactory completion of the fourth year of study, students receive a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design.