Bachelor of Architectural Studies


Program Description

Carleton’s Bachelor of Architectural Studies focuses on knowledge, experience, creativity, and imagination. Our program encourages you to explore ideas through making, evaluate ideas within the context of the human experience, and exercise creativity through writing, model making, drawing, digital media, and presentations.

Carleton’s Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism awards the pre-professional Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) degree upon successful completion of our four-year program of study. If you intend to practice architecture, you can then apply to continue into a professional Master of Architecture program at Carleton, or equivalent professional training at another university. The BAS program is also an excellent degree for a range of careers or further studies in design, urbanism, or conservation and sustainability.

The program lays a broad foundation on which architectural studies are built. You will take courses in architecture, design, drawing and multimedia applications, as well as specified general studies in engineering, art history, and social sciences. You will focus your architectural studies by choosing an area of study in:

  • Design
  • Urbanism
  • Conservation and Sustainability

The Carleton advantage

Excellent preparation

At Carleton, you will be prepared for a career in the profession of architecture. You will also acquire an extraordinary foundation for many interdisciplinary and related design fields.

Your imagination will be your greatest asset as an architect. At Carleton, your imaginative abilities will be developed as you learn to balance the craft of image-making with the ability “to see” and “to see into” the images that you construct. From the beginning, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Explore ideas through making;
  • Think creatively with your hands and mind; and
  • Evaluate ideas within the context of the human experience.

Knowledge and experience

As a result of this “practical art” approach, you will:

  • Learn to handle the conflicting demands of function, aesthetics, technology, and economy;
  • Receive training in various means of expression, including writing, model making, drawing, photography, video, digital media and oral presentations; and
  • Acquire the knowledge and experience you need for the future.

Stimulating setting

At Carleton, we emphasize discovery through making, discipline through craft, imagination through drawing and other media arts, conviction through writing and advocacy through public presentations.

As a Carleton Architectural Studies student, you will be taught by internationally renowned faculty and have the opportunity to participate in or have access to:

  • A co-op program so you can gain real-world experience;
  • International exchanges;
  • Design studios with personal workspace;
  • An electronic resource center;
  • Visiting critics studios and lectures, taught by international architects;
  • A technical library and reading room;
  • Unique workshop courses such as furniture design, stage design, advanced painting and design, urbanism, material studies, and real estate development; and
  • Joint programs with other departments.

Outstanding facilities

Carleton students benefit from the best facilities of any school of architecture in North America. These include extensive wood and metal shops, computer and video editing labs, digital fabrication facilities (laser cutters, 3D printers, and CNC milling machines). All are housed within our world-renown, purpose-built School of Architecture in the heart of Carleton’s campus.

International experience

Students in Carleton’s BAS program have several options for studying abroad. Carleton maintains exchange agreements with numerous schools of architecture around the world. Many students spend a full term abroad at one of these institutions. In their third year of studies, all BAS students also have the option of participating in a one- to two-week Directed Studies Abroad (DSA) program, led by their studio professor. Recent DSA trips have included China, Japan, Europe, and India.

Co-op opportunities

While not mandatory at Carleton, co-op is available to all Architecture students. Our co-operative education option offers you up to 20 months of paid work experience and prepares you for a career in architecture. Co-op students normally complete four work terms: the first in the summer between their second and third year of studies and the balance between their third and final year. You could find yourself working in a government organization, large international firm or small local practice.

The capital advantage

Ottawa is an exceptional place to learn and live. Especially for students from the GTA, Canada’s capital and Ontario’s second-largest city represents an opportunity to step away from the familiar and experience a new environment. Home to a vibrant architectural community, a dedicated cadre of urban designers, world-class museums, galleries and performing arts venues, Ottawa is an excellent laboratory for learning about design and city building.

Carleton students also benefit from the proximity of organizations situated in the National Capital Region, such as:

  • National Research Council Canada
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • National Capital Commission
  • The National Arts Centre
  • The National Gallery of Canada
  • The Canadian Museums of History, Nature, Contemporary Photography, Aviation, and Science and Technology

The program

While different in emphasis, all three majors are studio-based, share a common first year and converge again for design studios at the fourth-year level. Graduating with the same degree, students from all three majors are equally prepared for a range of careers or to continue to professional studies at the Master's level. The diversity of emphases promotes a level of discourse and specialization that is not possible in other undergraduate architecture programs. It increases the range and richness of the exploration that goes on in the School.


The BAS program offers students the opportunity to complete a major in an area of particular interest:

  • A major in Design focuses on the design of buildings. The major in Design will appeal to those interested primarily in a professional career in architecture with an emphasis on design.
  • A major in Urbanism focuses on urban design and sustainable development. The major in Urbanism explores architecture in the larger context of the city and raises awareness and promotes stewardship of the built environment through an examination of mass urbanization in the 20th century.
  • A major in Conservation and Sustainability focuses on the preservation and adaptive transformation of the existing building stock. The major in Concentration and Sustainability will appeal to students interested in the conservation of historic architecture and the principles of sustainable design of buildings as well as the urban fabric.

The curriculum

The program’s first-year core courses consist of drawing, studio design, multimedia, history/theory, and technology. In subsequent years, you will take courses in professional practice, and electives in conservation and sustainability, urbanism, and philosophy and criticism.

Core courses are supplemented by electives drawn from other disciplines, such as art history, industrial design, urban geography, and engineering.

Additional requirements

A portfolio is also required as part of your application.

Future opportunities

The workplace

Carleton graduates work around the globe in traditional and nontraditional architectural practices, as well as in disciplines ranging from film-making and fashion design to highly technical fields such as computer animation, building science, environmental design and project management. Most graduates choose to practice in the field, while others go on to graduate work and teaching. Others are the founders of design/build firms who specialize in crafting their own designs.

Graduate school

The Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism offers four graduate programs in Architecture: an accredited two-year Master of Architecture Professional (March) program, a 3.5-year Master of Architecture Professional program (March 1), a Master of Architectural Studies (MAS) and a Ph.D. program in Architecture. Graduates within the school can also pursue a Graduate Diploma in Architectural Conservation.

The Master of Architectural Studies is a research-based (and non-accredited) Master’s degree for students interested in pursuing in-depth architectural research. The Master of Architecture Professional is a studio-based degree program. Students entering the program with a BAS in Design will follow an 8.0 credit curriculum. Students entering with a BAS in Urbanism, a BAS in Conservation and Sustainability, or a non-architectural honors degree will follow a 15.5 credit curriculum (March 1). Carleton University’s Ph.D. in Architecture is an advanced and internationally competitive program that addresses the history, theory, and practice of architecture through insightful and exacting scholarship.


  • Architectural History
  • Architecture
  • Design
  • Education
  • Furniture Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Heritage Conservation
  • Interior Design
  • Multimedia Design
  • Project Management
  • Urban And Rural Planning

What students are saying about Architectural Studies

"In architecture, you learn by making. You are constantly encouraged to push yourself beyond the theory, to construct models and details, and to examine how components and materials come together."

Tom Svilans, Architectural Studies student

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

Carleton University, Canada’s Capital University, is a dynamic and innovative university with a strong commitment to teaching, research and learning. Our academic programs, campus community, capital l ... Read More

Carleton University, Canada’s Capital University, is a dynamic and innovative university with a strong commitment to teaching, research and learning. Our academic programs, campus community, capital location and global possibilities provide countless opportunities for learning to happen both inside and outside of the classroom. Read less