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Obtaining a doctor of architecture (D.Arch) degree typically involves first completing a master’s degree, though some doctoral programs may accept a bachelor’s degree. The prerequisite degree typically can be in any subject, but you usually will need to take more classes once you're in the doctoral program if your initial major is unrelated to architecture. After acceptance into the program, you will need to enroll in the required courses, which typically include those that teach design methods and ways to use computer programs in relation to an architecture career. A final requirement is the dissertation, which tends to demand skills in research, writing and presenting.
In most cases, you need to have a master’s degree to enter a doctor of architecture program, though some schools accept those with a bachelor’s degree. It often helps if the prerequisite degree is in architecture or a related field, because the program usually is shorter if you already know the basics, though you still may be able to get in with an unrelated master’s degree. You usually are required to have taken at least a few courses in computer literacy, math and visual arts, because this program tends to incorporate most of these skills. In addition, you likely will be expected to have taken courses in the history, theory and design of architecture.
Once you are accepted into a doctor of architecture degree program, you will need to enroll in certain courses, which may vary depending on your previous degree. If that degree is not related to architecture, then you typically will need to take courses that teach the basics of this field, which usually means you will be required to take more credits than someone with a related degree. In most cases, nearly everyone in the doctor of architecture program can expect to learn about the different methods of design, visual studies and environmental design, among other topics. You also may be encouraged to enroll in courses that teach you how to use computers to design, as well as the basics of the materials you would use to construct buildings.
Toward the end of the doctor of architecture program, you likely will be expected to complete a doctoral dissertation. You may be offered classes that help you learn how to research and write on topics in this field, and you probably will be able to choose an adviser from a range of professors. Once you complete the research and writing portions of the dissertation, you likely will have to present it to several faculty members; as long as it is considered high quality and relevant to the field, you typically will receive your doctor of architecture degree.