School of Architecture

Marywood University has committed significant resources to create a new School of Architecture- the first to open in northeast Pennsylvania.

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Mission Statement

Professional Education in a Liberal Arts Setting: The mission of the School of Architecture is to educate a new generation of architects and interior architects who engage the world passionately and intelligently. As a professional school in a liberal arts university, our programs set a rigorous studio-based curriculum within an educational environment that encourages critical thinking, collaboration, and speculation.

Architecture as a Disciplined Practice: From interior objects to urban environments, we value architecture as a disciplined practice -- the means by which we engage the world at a range of scales with conceptual and formal clarity, disciplinary consciousness, social agency, and material speculation. We believe that architectural education offers a way of making and thinking that enables our students and graduates to do good in the world. Our shared values allow differences between and among our programs to become opportunities for productive exchange, collaboration, and growth.


Architects and interior architects shape the physical environments in which we live, work, worship, play, and shop. They design physical worlds that directly impact people at many different scales and in many different contexts—from interiors, buildings, and streetscapes to consumer products, graphic designs, and furniture. As licensed practitioners, they are entrusted with the health, safety, and welfare of those they serve.

Students pursuing their architectural studies at Marywood’s School of Architecture are educated to recognize the important leadership roles they may assume as design professionals. At the undergraduate and graduate levels, our curricula are designed to reinforce this sense of social responsibility. For our graduates to deal effectively with the many future challenges they will inevitably confront, our programs include the study of the significant intellectual, cultural, and historical antecedents of the varied disciplines and their appropriate application to the needs of contemporary society.

The School offers students curricula that are values-based and professional in their objectives and content. While students are exposed to courses necessary in their individual disciplines, their programs of study also include a core curriculum of Liberal Arts courses to provide a well-rounded professional education. These core courses augment the student’s professional studies and collectively furnish an enriched context in which to better understand architecture’s important societal role.


Architects must be educated to think critically, to assess holistically, to synthesize comprehensively, and to design with environmental responsibility. The School’s programs—in both Architecture and Interior Architecture/Design—recognize that architecture, as both a discipline and a profession, engages the realms of art and science. Buildings and spaces created by architects involve design and aesthetics, along with laws of gravity and requirements of constructability. When designing, therefore, architects must consider spatial organization, building program, proportion, and beauty, as well as materials, budgets, codes, and structural/environmental systems.

The School of Architecture has programs in Architecture and Interior Architecture/Design, and offers the following degree tracks:

• Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture (B.E.D.A.) (Four-Year Pre-Professional Degree)
• Bachelor of Architecture (B.ARCH.) (Five-Year Professional Degree)
• Master of Architecture (M.ARCH.) (One- to Two-Year Post-Professional Degree)
• Bachelor of Fine Arts-Interior Architecture/Design (B.F.A./I.A.) (Four-Year Professional Degree)
• Master of Arts in Studio Art (Concentration in Interior Architecture/Design) (M.A./I.A.) (One- to Two-Year Post-Professional Degree)

The Center for Architectural Studies 

The School of Architecture occupies The Center for Architectural Studies, the spacious, extensively-renovated former Health and Physical Education Building located in the heart of the campus next to the University’s highly acclaimed Insalaco Center for Studio Arts. The close proximity of these two places of creative exploration encourages cross-disciplinary learning and discovery, and students in our programs are encouraged to pursue art courses as electives.

Because the School is committed to the ethic of environmental stewardship, The Center for Architectural Studies has been designed to showcase a number of sustainable design features, including a geothermal passive cooling system, daylight harvesting, roof water capture/reuse, and a green roof. The Center features a primary circulation/exhibition area connecting two sides of the campus, two levels of studios, classrooms, shop facilities, and a central three-story-high Commons with clerestories that admit abundant natural light throughout the day. The Commons which runs the entire length of the building and is located on both sides of the building’s major cross axis, serves as the building’s agora (in ancient Greece, the place of public assembly), open, shared, central spaces for exchange among all faculty and students. Here, learning is dynamic and often un-programmed—flexible places for formal and informal design critiques, serendipitous encounters, collective discussions, debates, displays, and exhibitions.

Special Features

Design Studios—Centers of Holistic Learning

Architecture education must seek, generate, transfer, and question knowledge with breadth and imagination. The fundamental place of learning is the design studio —long considered the armature of an architect’s education. It is the place of creative exploration, research and discovery, and the testing of ideas, theories, and concepts. Through a sequence of studio projects, students develop means of critical thinking and a design process that enables them to effectively address various design issues, from problem-solving and aesthetics to building assemblies and environmental systems.

The School’s curricula favor the notion of quilted knowledge—the idea that students learn most effectively when concepts are woven together with their meaningful applications and that learning is both interwoven and holistic. Consequently, both classrooms and studios form the contexts in which interdependent learning should occur.

Each student has an individual, custom-made work space designed to accommodate a laptop computer, drawing board, personal storage cabinet for equipment and supplies, and integral pin-up space.

Shop Facilities

The School of Architecture maintains a deeply-rooted commitment to the act of making (material fabrication) as a means of understanding material properties and their applications to design. To support this understanding, well-equipped wood and metal shop facilities are available to extend and enrich any design explorations that might begin in the studio and/or the classroom. Studio projects are often formulated to involve the use of these shop facilities to investigate material, form, connection, joinery, detail, and space. Digital media courses may also use the shop facilities to investigate the relationships between digital media and analog representation/ fabrication.

The materials currently used in these facilities include plaster, wax, paper, concrete, wood, composite boards, cardboard, plastic, steel, and aluminum. The shop facilities also include a large CNC router, 3-D printers, laser cutters, spray booth, sandblasting room, and a space for material demonstrations and assembly. Metal shop facilities include an MIG welder, a shear break and roller, bench grinder, bandsaw, angle grinder, 16-ton hydraulic pipe bender, and a manual tubing roller.

All School of Architecture students are allowed access to the shop facilities upon completion of a safety orientation and tool-specific training sessions. The shops are managed by a full-time shop technician who oversees safety training and skills development, and is responsible for machinery maintenance.


The School’s CAD Lab, located on the second floor of the adjacent Visual Arts Center, provides computing equipment and facilities necessary for students to explore virtual design. The 24-seat lab operates with all site licenses required for classroom teaching in basic and advanced digital media classes. Output devices for student use include laser printers, plotters, and scanners.

Study-Abroad Program

The School’s Study-Abroad Program is available to students in the spring of their third year or the fall of their fourth year. The venue for this educationally- and culturally-enriching program is the International Studies Institute (ISI) in Florence, Italy. Headquartered in the Palazzo Rucellai located in the heart of the historical center of Florence, this program has an international faculty, and design studios are taught by local practicing architects.

Students have opportunities to take courses unique to their foreign experience in Italy while being pertinent to their growth and maturation as architects and designers. Students must apply to this program, have a 2.75 GPA or above, and be accepted by both Marywood and the ISI.

Studio Reference Library

A reading area surrounded by reference books and monthly periodicals is positioned at one end of the first floor studios and provides students with immediate access to information materials that augment the University’s central Learning Commons.

Student Laptop Program 

All first-year Architecture and Interior Architecture students are required to purchase their own laptops for use in the spring semester of the first year of studies. Computers function as important digital tools in the design process, and they have become nearly as omnipresent as textbooks. As computer software becomes more varied and sophisticated—offering programs ranging from two-D drafting and three-D modeling to rendering and energy performance analysis—the computers required to run these programs demand certain specifications for optimal performance. Our laptop program is similar to that in many schools of architecture and ensures that students will be suitably equipped with a flexible, portable means of basic computing in the classroom, dormitory, and/or apartment, as well as in the studio to work on design projects. Student desk storage modules have an adjustable shelf for the secure storage of a laptop.

For current laptop specifications, please see the School’s website.

Additional Enrichment Opportunities

The School of Architecture believes that students must be exposed to ideas, designs and viewpoints occurring beyond the confines of the campus. We are therefore committed to bringing diverse people and ideas to the Marywood campus, while we also introduce our students to new urban/cultural experiences.

In addition to public lecture series each semester, exhibitions, guest critics, visiting faculty, and field trips to New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other locales expose our students and faculty to new points of view, cities, building designs, theoretical positions, and a wide range of professional achievements. Together, these opportunities serve to heighten the students’ awareness of the built world and the breadth of professional challenges and opportunities they will encounter upon graduation.


In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a 6-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

The NAAB grants candidacy status to new programs that have developed viable plans for achieving initial accreditation. Candidacy status indicates that a program should be accredited within six years of achieving candidacy, if its plan is properly implemented. In order to meet the education requirement set forth by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, an applicant for an NCARB Certificate must hold a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited by the NAAB; the degree must have been awarded not more than two years prior to initial accreditation. However, meeting the education requirement for the NCARB Certificate may not be equivalent to meeting the education requirement for registration in a specific jurisdiction. Please contact NCARB for more information.

Marywood University’s School of Architecture was granted candidacy for the following professional degree in architecture:

B.ARCH degree (165 credits) — 2012

Continuation of Candidacy Granted: 2014

Projected Year of Initial Accreditation: 2016

Interior Architecture

The B.F.A. degree in Interior Architecture/Design is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

School of Architecture Website