Architecture Studies Requirements

 Architecture Studies Track

Basis Requirements: 12 half-courses

Architecture Studies is a track within the History of Art and Architecture concentration, jointly administered by the History of Art and Architecture and the Graduate School of Design, it pursues the study of architecture within the spirit of a liberal arts education.

 The track has its own requirements, which are detailed below. A statement of purpose and a proposed course plan is required for Architecture Studies. Interested students should contact the HAA coordinator of undergraduate studies for further information on this process and on the curriculum overall.

Architecture stands at the intersection of creative imagination, practical realization, and social use, comprising not only material structures of human occupation, but also the dynamic processes that shape human action and experience. The study of architecture integrates technical and humanistic methods of inquiry with written and visual modes of representation, in traditional classroom venues and “making”-based studios designed especially for this concentration.

Within the Architecture Studies track, two broad areas of emphasis may be chosen:
(1) History and Theory, which includes the study of architecture, cities, landscapes, designed objects, ornament, architectural photography, and material culture, in diverse places and time periods including Africa, the Americas, China, Europe, India, the Islamic world, and Japan, all from antiquity to the present; and (2) Design Studies, which includes investigations into the social and aesthetic dimensions of contemporary architecture, landscapes, cities, and territories, emphasizing issues of sustainable environments, new forms of urbanism, and the use of digital media for visualization and analysis.

Both the “History and Theory” and the “Design Studies” areas teach architecture within the larger visual culture.

  1. Required courses
    1. HAA 11, Landmarks of World Architecture  - or - HAA 22, The Architectural Imagination.
    2. Three half-courses in architecture or a related field from offered courses numbered HAA 12-89 and 100-199, adhering to the following guidelines: at least one half-course in Asian, Islamic, African, South Asian, or Latin American/Pre-Columbian art or architecture; one half-course in any area of European or North American architecture; and one half-course in architecture before 1800. See the Undergraduate Coordinator for a list of approved courses.
    3. HAA 96a, Architecture Studio 1: Transformations (half-course). Studio may be taken sophomore or junior year. No prerequisite. Studio meets for six hours per week.
    4. HAA 96b, Architecture Studio 2: Connections (half-course). Studio may be taken junior or senior year. HAA 96a must be taken as a prerequisite. Studio meets for six hours per week.
    5. One half-course of HAA 97r (see item 1a).
    6. One half-course of HAA 98ar (see item 1b).
  2. Distribution Requirements for Areas of Emphasis

History and Theory. Four half courses in architecture or a related field, from offered courses numbered HAA 100-299 or related courses at the GSD, with approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies (e.g., GSD 4121, 4122, 4223, 4141, 4142). Courses should be balanced between the two departments. Courses in the HAA 200 range require permission of instructor. Other courses from the HAA or GSD rosters, or courses from other departments, may be substituted with approval of the DUS (see item 6a).


Design Studies. Four half courses from offered courses that investigate design media, and the social, ecological, and aesthetic dimensions of environments, numbered HAA 100-199 or related course at the  GSD with approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies (e.g., GSD  2223, 3241, 3242, 3332). Courses should be balanced between the two departments. GSD courses require permission of instructor.  Other courses from the HAA or GSD rosters, or courses from other departments, may be substituted with approval of the DUS (see item 6a).

  1. Tutorials 
    1. Sophomore year: History of Art and Architecture 97r (one term) required. Letter-graded. History of Art and Architecture 97r is an introduction to the methods and research skills of art and architectural history.
    2. Junior year: History of Art and Architecture 98ar (one term) required. Letter-graded. Tutorial led by individual faculty member, offers concentrators the choice of several topics in the field of art and architectural history.
  2. Thesis: None required.
  3. General Examinations: None.
  4. Other information:
    1. The designation as a concentration course of any course taken outside of those listed above or on the program’s list of approved courses is subject to the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. No more than two half-courses may be “imported” into the concentration by petition over and above those which are already cross-listed; exceptions for coursework done as part of study abroad programs will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
    2. Pass/Fail: Normally, no work taken Pass/Fail will be accepted as part of the concentration; however, the Director of Undergraduate Studies may make an exception for  a Freshman Seminar (graded SAT/UNS).

Architecture Studies Track

Requirements for Honors Eligibility: 14 half-courses and thesis

  1. Required courses: Same as Basic Requirements
  2. Tutorials:
    1. Same as Basic Requirements.
    2. Same as Basic Requirements
    3. Senior Year: History of Art and Architecture 99 (two terms). Graded SAT/UNS. In the fall term, History of Art and Architecture 99 includes several group tutorial meetings with the senior honors adviser, where assignments are aimed at facilitating the writing of a senior thesis.
  3. Thesis: Required, ordinarily written as part of History of Art and Architecture 99. A student who does not complete the thesis but wishes to receive full- or half-course credit for History of Art and Architecture 99 must submit a paper or other substantial piece of work. Only students with a minimum grade point average of 3.00 within the concentration are eligible to write a thesis.
  4. General Examination: None.
  5. Other information: Same as Basic Requirements.


Departmental academic advising is provided by the faculty, and by the director of undergraduate studies, who meets individually with concentrators to discuss course selection, tutorials, and thesis topics (usually at the beginning of each term and by appointment at other times).  Students are reminded, however, that they are each ultimately responsible for the fulfillment of concentration requirements, and should check regularly on the current status of their progress. Procedural information and advice is available throughout the year in the Undergraduate Office. Please contact the undergraduate coordinator, Thomas Batchelder (2 Arrow Street Room 330D, 617-495-2310), who is available on a walk-in basis during most regular office hours.


History of Art and Architecture concentrators benefit from the unusually rich University collections of Harvard’s five museums: the Fogg, Sackler, Busch-Reisinger (-the Harvard Art Museums), Semitic, and Peabody museums containing Western, Asian, and ethnographic art.  Concentrators often have an opportunity to be involved in aspects of museum operations, working with curators and museum staff to research pieces in the collection and/or share in the mounting of exhibitions. Harvard’s library holdings in art and archaeology include more than 250,000 books and more than 1,500,000 photographs and slides.

The Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts are three of Boston’s great cultural resources.  Entrance to these institutions is free to undergraduates who show their Harvard ID cards at the door.


For further information regarding the concentration contact the Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies, Thomas Batchelder, 2 Arrow Street Room 330D, 617-495-2310; email:

Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9–5.