Transfer Students

Course Waiver/Transfer Instructions


Welcome to the School of Architecture!

We conduct a thorough review of your portfolio and transcript(s). Our goal is to match as many of our courses with those you have taken at previous institutions. To ensure this goal,

  • Please list the course numbers on your portfolio pages so that we can understand in which course the work was created.
  • Please list all software used to create the work on your portfolio pages.
  • Please submit a completed Course Waiver/Transfer Request form.

For placement into architecture studio and media classes, please submit as many of the following as possible:

  1. Floor plans, sections, site plans
  2. Physical models
  3. Freehand sketches
  4. Diagrams used as a conceptual design tool – Diagrams can be drawings or models, 2D or 3D
  5. Representation of topography in a drawing and/or model
  6. Site analysis
  7. Program diagrams
  8. Precedent analysis
  9. List all software programs used – We are looking for Photoshop, Illustrator, AutoCad, Rhino, Revit, Enscape, Twinmotion

If you are transferring from a NAAB-accredited program, most of your architecture courses will transfer. To aid the review process, please attach a degree break down and highlight the courses you have taken. Most architecture schools publish a semester-by-semester breakdown of required courses on their websites.

Course Waiver/Transfer Request Form


Download and complete the PDF form at this link Waiver/Transfer Request Form

Student Work Examples


Our department blog includes many examples of our students’ work. Please take advantage of this resource to determine what to highlight in your portfolio.

  1. Go to and click on the filter “Undergraduate Courses.” Browse through the courses one by one. Most studio and media courses include student work.
  2. Or go to this link for a quick preview of just the architectural design studio courses:
  3. Or go to this link to view student portfolios from the first 2 years of our program:

Academy of Art Semester Breakdown and Course Descriptions


BArch Semester Breakdown

BArch Course Descriptions

Studio Placement for BArch Transfer Students


Our design studio curriculum has a heavy emphasis on process work that explains how and why design decisions were made in a project. This is most commonly shown in the form of diagrams such as concept diagrams, circulation diagrams, site analysis diagrams, etc. Studio placement into our program depends on the quality of process work and the complexity of the project. For example, if you have completed 4 semesters of architectural design studios but lack process work, your placement will not be in our 5th semester studio. This is to ensure that transfer students are successful in our rigorous design studio courses.

In our BArch program, there are 10 required studio courses. To complete the program in 5 years, a student must take a studio course each semester. This means a student can transfer enough credits to attain a 3rd year standing, but be placed into a 2nd year studio which determines the graduation date.

For students whose goal is to attain architectural licensure, and are planning to work while in school, we offer the IPAL BArch program. Architectural licensure requires education, experience, and exams. In a non-IPAL BArch program, students must wait until graduation to take the licensing exams. IPAL BArch students have the advantage of taking the exams before graduation to shorten the time to licensure. Setting architectural licensure as the goal, rather than graduation, helps our IPAL BArch students focus on maximizing their learning and being well-prepared to enter the profession. We advise our students to gain work experience in architecture firms starting in their 3rd year.

The Academy of Art is the only IPAL program in Northern California.

Here are the states that accept the IPAL path to licensure. This, and other licensure information, can be found on the NCARB website.

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 work.

The course pace is fast so missing more than 1 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.

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