The buildings all around you, the parks and landscaping, and the interiors of homes, offices, schools, and stores all need to be designed. Making the environment that we live in both beautiful and functional is the job of architects, designers, and the teams that work with them. To become one of these professionals, consider online architecture degree programs that allow you to get a top-tier education no matter your geographic location.
If you have a creative streak, and want your inspirations to be enjoyed by many people every day, a career in one of many architectural fields may be just the right combination of elements to provide you with a satisfying professional life.
Maybe you want to pursue a career in architecture, interior design, or landscape design, whether you are switching from a different career or just starting out. Perhaps you already work in a related field, and want to increase your skills while still working in your current job. Whatever you reasons, if you have both creative and practical dreams, an online degree in architecture may be the best way to get you on your way.
Top Careers in Architecture & Design
Just as styles of buildings change with the times, so do the materials and methods that are used to make them. The current trend of green or sustainable architecture is here to stay, and innovations in technology and materials require architects that have the education and practical skills to use them effectively. This is why new graduates from design schools are in demand—not only do newly minted architecture graduates have up-to-the-minute knowledge of the industry, but they also have learned the technical skills to accomplish many of the tasks that are required in designing our living environments.
Thefor architects is projected to be better than average, with job opportunities expected to increase by 8% between 2018 and 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But job options for architecture school graduates are far more varied. Related careers in landscape architecture, interior architecture and design, town planning, historic preservation, and construction are just a few of the directions you may take with a degree in architecture or design.
Education for architects and designers is now coming online, and the range of online architecture degree programs available to students all across the US and even around the world give excellent options for students who wish to pursue these degrees from wherever they live. Most programs don’t require much, if any, time on-campus, and the training involves a mixture of skills and technical knowledge along with design principles and professional practice.
For a quick route to jobs in the profession, an associate degree in architecture can lead to various jobs in architecture. There are numerous opportunities for people with skills in drafting or other related areas to work in construction, engineering, and architecture firms. In addition, most associate degree programs will easily lead to completing a bachelor’s degree or higher as your career progresses. But an associate degree program is a great way to get a basic education and start working to see if this is the right career for you. For students who are more certain that design holds promise for their career satisfaction, an associate’s degree may be a step along the path, but a bachelor’s degree is usually the goal.
Most aspiring architects will enter the field with a bachelor’s degree. While an associate degree can prepare a student to work in an architecture office, most students will plan to get their bachelor’s degree to get a leg up on becoming full professionals. There are different types of bachelor’s degrees for architecture, with Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.), Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS), and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) being the most common. All of these degrees will give aspiring designers and architects the skills and creative practice to work in the field, but each one may have a different focus. Whatever your interests are, whether in landscapes, interiors, or structures, there are different online architecture degree options to meet your educational goals.
All online architecture degree programs include some form of studio practice in the curriculum, but many also incorporate some field work. As part of the training to become an architect, most graduates spend time interning in their chosen area. For those who want to become licensed architects, three years of internship is usually required before sitting for the exam.
Master’s degrees, though not required for every position in architecture, will help graduates advance their careers and take on roles where leadership and advanced skills will come into play, such as becoming architectural and engineering managers or in teaching at the university level. For students with a bachelor’s degree in architecture or design, the pathway to getting a master’s degree can be very fast, with most programs requiring little over 30 credits to complete the master’s. But if you have an undergraduate degree in any subject, you can still enter the profession at the master’s degree level with one of the programs designed for those switching into architecture. The programs will take a bit longer, but they will assure career-changers a thorough design education.
Whatever level of education you want to attain in architecture can be done in an online program. Check out your options to see what programs might fit best with your interests, your schedule, and your budget. The sooner you apply, the sooner you can begin creative projects that will help you make the world a more beautiful and functional place for everyone.
17 Best Online Architecture Degree Programs
Navigate to the level of degree you’re interested in to learn more about the online architecture degree options (offered at least 80%, and up to 100%, online).
Online Associate Degrees
Nash Community College
AAS in Architectural Technology
The AAS in Architectural Technology from Nash Community College offers students many different schedules, from a compressed 5-semester plan to an 11-semester plan for those who have less time to study while pursuing their degree. Spring starts are possible as well. In-state tuition for North Carolina residents is a great bargain, at less than one third of out-of-state rate, while non-resident tuition is already very reasonable. The application process requires submitting scores on standards tests, or high school graduation with minimum GPA and four math courses, or you can opt to take a placement test from the college. Once in the program, students will learn how to prepare construction documents, including building codes and the use of computer applications. The school works with active duty service members and veterans to obtain educational benefits, and financial aid is available for other students as well. This is a great program for those who wish to work in construction, engineering, or architecture.
Academy of Art University
AA in Interior Architecture & Design
The Academy of Art University’s AA in Interior Architecture & Design is designed to help students meet industry standards in design theory, technique, and technical skills, and allows students to transition seamlessly into the BFA program if they wish. Online courses include beautifully produced videos, slideshows, livestreams, and all the other traditional components of an online program. The custom course content, dedicated student support, and an active online community of students and graduates provide a uniquely rigorous and interactive design education. Application fees are waived for military applicants, and there are grants and scholarships available. For a high quality design education online, Academy of Art University has worked hard to make the student experience engaging, including regular instructor feedback, interactive assignments, and innovative curriculum.
AA in Landscape Architecture
Also available from Academy of Art University is their AA program in Landscape Architecture, which provides students with the design and technical skills to apply for entry-level jobs in landscape architecture or to seamlessly transition into the BFA program. With courses in digital graphics, ecological design, sustainable practice, people and the environment, and grading and drainage, the program covers the bases for this creative and practical field of study. Online students benefit from the well-designed online curriculum, robust community of students, and the same rigor as on-campus students, all while studying flexibly around their schedules from anywhere in the world. Students complete projects with instructor feedback, and are required to get at least a C- in most of their courses to complete the program.
Online Bachelor Degree Programs
Academy of Art University
Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.)
The Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) from Academy of Art University is designed to be a first professional degree and focuses on developing critical thinking and artistic vision. The program has 36 credits of core courses and 69 of major courses, plus 12 humanities and 45 liberal arts credits for a total of 162 credits to complete the degree. The recommended program takes 10 semesters to complete. With the serious concentration on architectural skills and design, this is a great degree program for those who want to really delve into the profession and lay a foundation for a career as an architect. Academy of Art University is devoted to excellence in online arts education, and they have numerous innovative ways to engage students and foster community. For students who want a distance B.Arch. from a well-regarded school, this is an excellent choice.
BA in Architectural Design
Academy of Art University’s BA in Architectural Design provides a strong undergraduate education while still investing time in architectural design, art, urban history, materials, building construction, sustainability, and design tools. With a credit breakdown that includes 3 in humanities, 36 in core courses, 48 in major courses, and 45 in liberal arts, this 132 credit degree program is a bit more relaxed than the BArch, but still allows students to delve deeply into architecture and design while gaining a broad-based liberal arts education. The program is designed to be completed in eight semesters of full-time study. The online learning experience includes collaboration with peers, detailed feedback from instructors, and high-quality original course content.
BFA in Interior Architecture & Design
The BFA in Interior Architecture & Design from Academy of Art University prepares graduates for entry-level positions in interior design, membership in professional interior design organizations, or for advanced study. The program is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, meeting the educational requirements to sit for the National Council for Interior Design Exam. With 132 credits, students can complete the program in eight semesters. An emphasis on function and beauty combined with training in sustainable and innovative technologies makes this a practical program geared for today’s aesthetic and ethical concerns. The program incorporates a solid liberal arts education with foundational studies in visual perception and design principles. With a robust online interface that includes original video content, peer interaction and instructor feedback, Academy of Art University is a great choice for distance learning for aspiring interior architects and designers.
BFA in Landscape Architecture
Academy of Art University offers the BFA in Landscape Architecture as an interactive and well-designed online curriculum. Focusing on the skills that will lead to creating relevant, sustainable, innovative and artistic solutions to outdoor design problems, the program encompasses 132 credits. The BFA includes a solid foundation in liberal arts, along with core and major courses, and some electives as well. Students learn about the natural environment, technical processes, historical perspectives, research and design, and are prepared to seek professional opportunities in landscape design. This strong art and design school offers a great online education in visual perception and design fundamentals in an engaging and well planned online format that includes videos, slideshows, interaction, community, and instructor feedback. For a high-quality professional preparation in landscape architecture, Academy of Art University has much to offer its online student community.
Bachelor of Science in Architecture (BSc Arch)
Athabasca University has Canada’s first online architecture program, granting the Bachelor of Science in Architecture (BSc Arch) to students from anywhere in the world. Students can finish their degree in a traditional four-year time frame, or at their own pace in this flexible program. The school offers transfer credits for prior coursework, and the program can be taken as a post-graduate certificate for those who already have a degree. Tuition rates for international students are very reasonable, and for Canadian students, the rates are even lower. The program focusses on environmental and community sustainability is great for those pursuing careers in urban planning, construction, and design. For those who want to achieve licensure in Canada, there is a syllabus route in conjunction with Royal Architectural Institute of Canada that will include internship and lead to certification. With strong support for online learning and a mission to train people anywhere with an interest in architecture, this program is a very welcoming and professional program for students who need to maintain their current employment and residency during their education.
Online Master Degrees
Lawrence Technological University
Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)
Earning a Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) online from Lawrence Technological University can be completed almost entirely online, with just one academic course, the Critical Practice Studio, requiring weekend on-campus classes offered during the summer. The online program offers synchronous courses that include real-time critiques and interaction, with non-synchronous elements that students can complete on their own schedule. For students who already have an undergraduate degree in architecture, the program offers a 36-credit track that can be completed in as little as 15 months. Students with a different undergraduate major are also welcome, with a 90-credit program to bring them completely up to speed on the professional requirements in architecture. Small class sizes and very reasonable tuition make the Lawrence Tech online programs an attractive option for US and international students alike. Admission requires a 3.0 GPA in undergraduate coursework, although exceptions are made for those with professional experience.
MS in Interior Architecture
The online Master of Science in Interior Architecture from Chatham University is designed for professionals with an undergraduate degree in interior design or interior architecture. With the option of taking the 30-credit program entirely online or hybrid with some on-campus classes, this program can be completed in as little as about one year. The scheduling is flexible for part-time study for those who wish to continue their jobs while completing the degree. Credit for prior learning is available, and students can gain supervised teaching experience if they desire. The curriculum has been recognized as a leader in sustainability, and provides an excellent foundation for applied practice or a career in higher education.
Boston Architectural College
Master of Architecture
Boston Architectural College’s online Master of Architecture is designed for those with an undergraduate degree in architecture and who are currently working in the profession. Working professionals will appreciate this low-residency program that only requires one 8-day on-campus learning experiences in Boston each semester. Students proceed through this two to 2.5-year program with a cohort of peers, gaining their practical experience by working in their home community. The 36-credit program also requires 3,000 hours of practice which can be completed at the students current job, along with rigorous online coursework including text, graphic, and audio interaction. This accelerated program can help students achieve licensure more quickly. Boston Architectural College has a commitment to mentoring students to succeed academically and professionally and has been training architects since 1888. With a welcoming and diverse student body and reasonable pricing, this is a great program for working professionals.
University of Missouri – Columbia
MA in Architectural Studies
The online Master of Arts in Architectural Studies from University of Missouri-Columbia has an emphasis in environment and behavior studies. This program focusses on the connection between people and environments, and can be completed 100% online at the student’s own pace. The program is 30 credits long and culminates in a professionally reviewed final project to demonstrate learned skills. University of Missouri also offers an MS in Architectural Studies for those with more of a research interest. The tuition for this program is quite affordable and the flexible scheduling can allow students to complete this short program in a finite time period. Courses cover aesthetics of design, facility management, housing and neighborhood design, plus inclusive and sustainable design. For students who wish to teach, consult, or work in environmental design, this program offers a cost-effective route to a graduate degree in architecture.
Academy of Art University
Academy of Art University offers the online Master of Architecture in two optional tracks: Track I is a 63-credit program designed for those with a pre-professional degree and Track II offers an 87-credit program of study for those without a pre-professional degree in architecture. Both programs are accredited and offer extensive advanced training for those seeking a professional career in architecture. In addition, there are advanced-standing options for students who have extensive experience and training in architecture, and who may be able to complete a program in a shorter period of time. Students will present their thesis projects to demonstrate an understanding of all technical and design concerns and relate their design to the mission statement of the project. With a robust online curriculum, original video content, and sophisticated design education, Academy of Art University offers students two great options for completing their M.Arch. online.
MA in Interior Architecture & Design
Academy of Art University’s online Master of Arts in Interior Architecture & Design is a 36-credit program that prepares students for professional practice. The custom online content that Academy of Art University provides to graduate design students is dynamic, interactive and multi-faceted. The curriculum includes videos, interaction with instructors and peers, interviews with experts, narrated slideshows and livestreams. Coursework includes programming, design analysis, human social and spatial interaction, planning, use of color and materials, preparation of construction specifications and documents, site observations, building codes and regulations, building systems, fixtures, furnishings, and equipment. This collaborative and challenging program can be completed in as little as three semesters, giving students the real-world skills to apply their knowledge professionally in the interior design industry.
MFA in Interior Architecture & Design
For those who want a professional choice for interior design education, the Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture & Design from Academy of Art University is just the program. This accredited program contains 63 credits of instruction and qualifies graduates to sit for the National Council for Interior Design Exam. With advanced coursework covering techniques, materials, design, and global issues, the MFA prepares students for entry-level practice, further advanced study or research. Students will be required to complete and defend a thesis project and produce research and professional documents in the course of their studies. For those seeking professional membership after graduation, as well as a vibrant community and well-designed online curriculum, the MFA is a great choice for those wanting to work in interior architecture and design.
MFA in Landscape Architecture
The Master of Fine Arts in Landscape Architecture from Academy of Art University has two tracks of study: Track I is for those who hold a B.Arch. or BLA and comprises 63 credits of instruction, while Track II is for those with little or no design experience and an undergraduate degree in a different field. Students in either track will need to complete an MFA thesis project that demonstrates command of a professional level of competence in design, research, communication, and materials for the field. Track I can be completed in six semesters, and Track II, with 87 credits of coursework, in eight semesters. The high-quality design education, innovative curriculum, and collaborative network of this art school make this program a great choice for landscape architecture professionals.
MA in Landscape Architecture
The online Master of Arts in Landscape Architecture from Academy of Art University offers an introduction to landscape architecture for students who work in other fields. The 36-credit program has courses in digital imaging, environmental design, site engineering, designing public spaces, and people and the environment. Not intended as professional preparation for landscape architects, this program is great for students who wish to add knowledge and skills in landscape architecture to their career in a related field or satisfy a sincere interest in the processes, materials, and theories of landscape architecture. By taking three courses per semester, students can complete the degree in four semesters.
Start an Online Architecture Degree Today
It is easy to pick an online architecture degree program when the choices all have high-quality faculty, excellent online interfaces, and training devised to meet the changing demands of the architecture and design industry. With flexible options for scheduling to complete a program in the shortest amount of time or at a more leisurely pace, there are degree possibilities for every aspiring architect and designer. For a career that combines your creativity with your desire to make your visions a reality, find an online degree program in architecture and make your dreams a reality.