Advice for First Semester Architecture Students



First Day of Semester / Monday, 6/17/2024

Be sure to have your equipment and supplies ready. Check in to each of your classes on the Student Portal. Students in synchronous virtual sections can find class Zoom links on the Student Portal. If you have any questions reach out to


The ARH Blog is our virtual hub for sharing important information and exciting announcements. This frequently updated blog offers valuable resources and is a great way to get to know the ARH community. Find resources specifically for new students, faculty bios, examples of student work, alumni stories, scholarship opportunities, resume and portfolio advice, our diversity equity inclusion efforts, and much much more!

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Your success in online classes relies heavily on the effort you make to communicate. Make it a priority to regularly dialogue with your teachers EACH week during the semester, by attending weekly office hours (many questions get asked and answered there). Correspond with your teachers regarding any challenges or questions you may have in completing or understanding your work. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially if you are not understanding something. Questions count as participation, and everyone in your class will benefit from your questions!



Building a Studio Culture in an online Studio class requires time and effort. Attending live Zoom sessions is the best way to do so. Within a robust Studio Culture, architecture students learn not just from their faculty but also from their peers. Build a relationship with your design studio faculty and contribute to the Studio Culture by attending live Zoom sessions each week. Connecting with faculty and peer students through synchronous interactions will enrich your design education in immeasurable and profound ways.

Read our Studio Culture agreement at this link.

Zoom Meetings in Online Studio Classes

Synchronous Zoom meetings are only offered in Studio classes. Weekly group sessions are held on different days and recordings shared with all students. While our faculty take into consideration student availability when scheduling, it is not always possible to avoid conflicts. Students are encouraged to request individual meetings.

Attendance of Zoom meetings is highly recommended and of great value to students. In online Studio classes, there is a strong correlation between Zoom attendance and student success rates. Receiving live feedback from Studio faculty is a time efficient way to learn for busy online students. Undergraduate students in Studio classes are required to either attend live Zoom sessions OR view recordings each week. 

Credit Hour Requirement

The Department of Education requires universities to design curriculum so that a student spends 9 hours (minimum) per week to earn 3 college credits. A student who is taking a course load of 12 credits must set aside 36 hours (minimum) each week. Architecture is known to be a challenging major – Architecture courses require more hours than the required minimum.

A student who is working full time must set realistic expectations for how many courses are feasible. We recommend a lower course load, especially for the first semester, for students who are balancing work and school.

Architecture courses are fast-paced so missing more than a week of class will make it challenging to get caught up. If students do not have course supplies in hand at the start of module 1, they will fall behind. If students do fall behind due to health or other emergencies, our faculty’s individualized attention will help them get back on track. When it is not feasible to get caight up

Page 5 of this document shows the federal definition for Credit Hour.


First year undergraduate students taking ARH 110 Studio 1 Conceptual Design and/or ARH 170 Projective Drawing and Perspective will need the following equipment, software, and supplies.


Required Equipment

Regular access to a laptop or desktop computer with a webcam, a scanner, and a digital camera or smartphone will be needed the first week and every week of your semester to review course content, submit work, and meet virtually with your teachers and classmates.  Important Note: Your computer must have reliable internet connection – please test BEFORE the first day of classes.

A digital camera or a smartphone is needed to photograph drawings and models so that you can submit your work each week. A tripod is recommended for better quality photography and documentation of your work.

Though a first year student will not require the full capacity of the computer specifications described in the following Guidelines, the investment in a good computer and a large monitor is recommended as soon as possible and before the second year. If you are purchasing a new computer, please refer to this Guidance on Computer Acquisition.


Required Software

  • Zoom is available at no additional cost. Please install the app (or update) before first day of class. We recommend installing the app on your mobile device as well.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud (includes Photoshop) is available to all AAU students at no additional cost – Create an account at using your AAU email address.
  • Conceptboard is used in studio and drawing classes. Please check with your faculty to see if it required. There is no additional cost. You do not need to create an account.

Required Supplies

Supplies for ARH 110 and ARH 170 are very similar so you do not have to purchase anything twice. ARH 110 Studio 1 Conceptual Design Studio requires additional tools and materials for model-making. Please check your courses for the FULL list of supplies for each class.

See the list below if you are waiting for financial aid and can only purchase a partial list of supplies during the first two weeks of classes. You will need the items listed below on your first day of class. As funds become available, you can purchase the full list of supplies.


Drawing Board – Required

The supply lists for both ARH 110 and ARH 170 include a drawing board (one will suffice for both classes). This is NOT the desk for your computer, but a separate desk or table for your drawing and model-making design work. ARH 170 assignments require a larger drawing surface area and therefore the class suggests a larger board – 31” x 42”. Make sure the parallel rule or T-square you purchase runs the same length as your drawing board.


Gently Used Supplies

Students in the Bay Area interested in used supplies, in good condition, can connect with upper year architecture students who no longer need them. Find more information and connect with other architecture students on this Discord for the student group NOMAS. You do NOT have to join the student group to connect with other students.

Supplies Needed for ARH 110 & ARH 170 During the First Two Weeks



Blick Item No.

20442-0009 CretaColor Monolith Woodless Pencil Set Or any sketching pencil and eraser

10322-1003 Canson Universal Sketch Pad, 9″x12″, 100 sheets Or any similar sized sketchbook

20702-2069 (Optional) Sakura Pigma Micron Pens Set of 6, Black, Assorted Sizes 005, 01, 02, 03, 05, 08


Blick Item No.

55968-4009 Blick Portable Tabletop Drafting Board with Parallel Ruler Straight Edge 24” x 36” (recommended for ARH 110 Studio 1)

Alternate 55968-2009 Blick Portable Tabletop Drafting Board with Parallel Ruler Straight Edge 20″ x 26″ (minimum size for ARH 110 Studio 1, may be too small for ARH 170)
Alternate 55968-5009 Blick Portable Tabletop Drafting Board with Parallel Ruler Straight Edge 31″ x 42″ (recommended for ARH 170 Projective Drawing)

Alternate for Drafting Board: A table or desk with a straight edge and a smooth drawing surface used in conjunction with a T-square (see below)

55453-1042 Blick Acrylic Edge T-Square 42″ (Alternative to Drafting Board above)

26808-1002 Staedtler Mars Technico 780 Lead Holder*

22854-1030 Staedtler Mars Lead Pointer*

20624-0019 Koh -I- Noor Duette Lead Refills F, Pack of 2*

22828-2061 Staedtler Lumograph Leads 2H, Pack of 2*

55709-3012 Staedtler Triangular Scale 12″, Architectural

55698-1014 C-Thru Professional Triangle 30°/60°, 14″

24153-1075 Blick Drafting Tape 3/4” x 60 yds Or any non-permanent removable adhesive tape

10530-1218 Blick Studio Tracing Rolls 18″ x 50 yds White

Model Making and Other Supplies for ARH 110 Only

Blick Item No.

58991-1009 Blick Cutting Mat Translucent 18″X24″ or larger (any color)

55952-9318 Alumicolor Non-Slip Straight Edge Ruler 18″

57445-1101 X-Acto #1 Knife

57413-1411 X-Acto #11 Blade, Stainless Steel, 5 pk

23820-1008 Delta Sobo Craft and Fabric Glue  8 oz (or any white craft glue like Elmer’s Glue)

13900-3040 1/8” or 3/16” thick Corrugated Cardboard (30″X40″) ** It is not necessary to purchase this new if you are able to repurpose used boxes. Recycled cardboard is acceptable if it is in good condition and correct thickness.

Brown craft paper about 36 inches wide by about 15 ft long (any other wide rolls of paper can be substituted such as wrapping paper)

Color markers or chalk (5 different colors)

*Note: Students in the in-person section of ARH 110 will be provided with Brown craft paper and markers.