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National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)

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 6 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.

The Alfred State Bachelor of Architecture program was granted initial candidacy status – retroactive to Jan. 1, 2014 – for the following professional degree program in architecture:

  • BArch (157 credit hours).
  • Projected Visit for Continuation of Candidacy: Spring 2016
  • Projected year of Initial accreditation: 2018/2019

Student Performance Criteria:

Under NAAB, accredited degree programs must demonstrate that each graduate possesses the knowledge and skills defined by specific Student Performance Criteria (SPC).

The NAAB established SPC to help accredited degree programs prepare students for the profession while encouraging education practices suited to the individual degree program. The SPC are organized into realms.

Realm A: Critical Thinking and Representation

Graduates from NAAB-accredited programs must be able to build abstract relationships and understand the impact of ideas based on the study and analysis of multiple theoretical, social, political, economic, cultural, and environmental contexts. Graduates must also be able to use a diverse range of skills to think about and convey architectural ideas, including writing, investigating, speaking, drawing, and modeling. Student learning aspirations for this realm include:

  • Being broadly educated
  • Valuing lifelong inquisitiveness
  • Communicating graphically in a range of media
  • Assessing evidence
  • Comprehending people, place, and context
  • Recognizing the disparate needs of client, community, and society

The accredited degree program must demonstrate that each graduate possesses the following:

A.1 Professional Communication Skills: to write and speak effectively and use representational media appropriate for both within the profession and with the general public.

A.2 Design Thinking Skills: to raise clear and precise questions, use abstract ideas to interpret information, consider diverse points of view, reach well-reasoned conclusions, and test alternative outcomes against relevant criteria and standards.

A.3 Investigative Skills: to gather, assess, record, and comparatively evaluate relevant information and performance in order to support conclusions related to a specific project or assignment.

A.4 Architectural Design Skills: to effectively use basic formal, organizational, and environmental principles and the capacity of each to inform two- and three-dimensional design.

A.5 Ordering Systems: to apply the fundamentals of both natural and formal ordering systems and the capacity of each to inform two- and three- dimensional design.

A.6 Use of Precedents: to examine and comprehend the fundamental principles present in relevant precedents and to make informed choices about the incorporation of such principles into architecture and urban design projects.

A.7 History and Global Culture: of the parallel and divergent histories of architecture and the cultural norms of a variety of indigenous, vernacular, local, and regional settings in terms of their political, economic, social, ecological, and technological factors.

A.8 Cultural Diversity and Social Equity: of the diverse needs, values, behavioral norms, physical abilities, and social and spatial patterns that characterize different cultures and individuals and the responsibility of the architect to ensure equity of access to sites, buildings, and structures.

Realm B: Building Practices, Technical Skills and Knowledge

Graduates from NAAB-accredited programs must be able to comprehend the technical aspects of design, systems, and materials and be able to apply that comprehension to architectural solutions. In addition, the impact of such decisions on the environment must be well considered. Student learning aspirations for this realm include:

  • Creating building designs with well-integrated systems
  • Comprehending constructability
  • Integrating the principles of environmental stewardship
  • Conveying technical information accurately

The accredited degree program must demonstrate that each graduate possesses skills in the following areas:

B.1 Pre-Design: to prepare a comprehensive program for an architectural project that includes an assessment of client and user needs; an inventory of spaces and their requirements; an analysis of site conditions (including existing buildings); a review of the relevant building codes and standards, including relevant sustainability requirements, and an assessment of their implications for the project; and a definition of site selection and design assessment criteria.

B.2 Site Design: to respond to site characteristics, including urban context and developmental patterning, historical fabric, soil, topography, ecology, climate, and building orientation, in the development of a project design.

B.3. Codes and Regulations: to design sites, facilities, and systems that are responsive to relevant codes and regulations, and include the principles of life-safety and accessibility standards.

B.4 Technical Documentation: to make technically clear drawings, prepare outline specifications, and construct models illustrating and identifying the assembly of materials, systems, and components appropriate for a building design.

B.5 Structural Systems: to demonstrate the basic principles of structural systems and their ability to withstand gravitational, seismic, and lateral forces, as well as the selection and application of the appropriate structural system.

B.6 Environmental Systems: to demonstrate the principles of environmental systems design, how design criteria can vary by geographic region, and the tools used for performance assessment. This demonstration must include active and passive heating and cooling, solar geometry, daylighting, natural ventilation, indoor air quality, solar systems, lighting systems, and acoustics.

B.7 Building Envelope Systems and Assemblies: of the basic principles involved in the appropriate selection and application of building envelope systems relative to fundamental performance, aesthetics, moisture transfer, durability, and energy and material resources.

B.8 Building Materials and Assemblies: of the basic principles used in the appropriate selection of interior and exterior construction materials, finishes, products, components, and assemblies based on their inherent performance, including environmental impact and reuse.

B.9 Building Service Systems: of the basic principles and appropriate application and performance of building service systems, including lighting, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, communication, vertical transportation, security, and fire protection systems.

B.10 Financial Considerations: of the fundamentals of building costs, which must include project financing methods and feasibility, construction cost estimating, construction scheduling, operational costs, and life-cycle costs.

Realm C: Integrated Architectural Solutions

Graduates from NAAB-accredited programs must be able to demonstrate that they have the ability to synthesize a wide range of variables into an integrated design solution. Student learning aspirations for this realm include:

  • Comprehending the importance of research pursuits to inform the design process
  • Evaluating options and reconciling the implications of design decisions across systems and scales
  • Synthesizing variables from diverse and complex systems into an integrated architectural solution
  • Responding to environmental stewardship goals across multiple systems for an integrated solution

The accredited degree program must demonstrate that each graduate possesses skills in the following areas:

C.1 Research: of the theoretical and applied research methodologies and practices used during the design process.

C.2 Integrated Evaluations and Decision-Making Design Process: to demonstrate the skills associated with making integrated decisions across multiple systems and variables in the completion of a design project. This demonstration includes problem identification, setting evaluative criteria, analyzing solutions, and predicting the effectiveness of implementation.

C.3 Integrative Design: to make design decisions within a complex architectural project while demonstrating broad integration and consideration of environmental stewardship, technical documentation, accessibility, site conditions, life-safety, environmental systems, structural systems, and building envelope systems and assemblies.

Realm D: Professional Practice

Graduates from NAAB-accredited programs must understand business principles for the practice of architecture, including management, advocacy, and the need to act legally, ethically, and critically for the good of the client, society, and the public. Student learning aspirations for this realm include:

  • Comprehending the business of architecture and construction
  • Discerning the valuable roles and key players in related disciplines
  • Understanding a professional code of ethics, as well as legal and professional responsibilities

The accredited degree program must demonstrate that each graduate possesses skills in the following areas:

D.1 Stakeholder Roles in Architecture: of the relationships among key stakeholders in the design process—client, contractor, architect, user groups, local community—and the architect’s role to reconcile stakeholder needs.

D.2 Project Management: of the methods for selecting consultants and assembling teams; identifying work plans, project schedules, and time requirements; and recommending project delivery methods.

D.3 Business Practices: of the basic principles of a firm’s business practices, including financial management and business planning, marketing, organization, and entrepreneurship.

D.4 Legal Responsibilities: of the architect’s responsibility to the public and the client as determined by regulations and legal considerations involving the practice of architecture and professional service contracts.

D.5 Professional Conduct: of the ethical issues involved in the exercise of professional judgment in architectural design and practice and understanding the role of the NCARB Rules of Conduct and the AIA Code of Ethics in defining professional conduct.

Accreditation Reports and Responses:

Hard copies of reports can be found in the office of the Department of Architecture and Design, Engineering Technologies Building, Room 360

National Architectural Accrediting Board Documents:

Career Development Information:

The NCARB Handbook for Interns and Architects (http://www.ncarb.org/publications.aspx)

Toward an Evolution of Studio Culture: http://www.academyart.edu/content/dam/assets/pdf/AIAS-Toward-an-Evolution-of-Studio-Culture_2008.pdf

The Emerging Professional’s Companion (http://www.epcompanion.org/)

NCARB ARE Pass Rates: http://www.ncarb.org/ARE/ARE-Pass-Rates.aspx