The College of Architecture and the Built Environment evolved from a single interior design course in 1980 to its current status with enrollment of over 800 Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Environmental Design & Visual Studies, Construction Management, Sustainable Design and Interior Architecture majors in 5 undergraduate and 3 graduate programs.

In 1982 the Interior Design Program officially began as part of the Evening Division. The Program continued to grow, and in 1985 the School of Textiles introduced a full-time day program leading to a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. In 1990, an initial proposal was refined into an implementation plan for a Bachelor of Architecture Program. Gary Crowell, AIA, was selected as the Founding Director in 1991. In the fall of 1991, the Bachelor of Architecture Program was initiated with eighty first-year students. That semester also marked the opening of the Ravenhill Studios and the Architecture and Design Center, providing immediate proximity to the new library and created new office, conference, exhibit/gallery, review space and new dedicated studios for over 200 upper level architecture and interior design students. During the academic year 2004-2005, the University divided the School into two to create the School of Architecture and the School of Design and Media.

A Landscape Architecture program was added to the School of Architecture in 2005 to provide for instruction in design of the environment. The long-standing Architectural Studies program offers fields of study related to the built environment in concentrations such as Architectural Design Technology, Historic Preservation and Photography and New Media. Construction Management is the most recent undergraduate addition to the school having just started in the Fall of 2011.

In 2007 the School established it's first graduate program in Sustainable Design followed by subsequent programs in Construction Management in 2009 and Interior Architecture in 2011. These programs are housed in the SEED Center, a LEED-rated building converted from an existing athletic gymnasium.

As part of a university restructuring in 2011, the school became the College of Architecture and the Built Environment and celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Interior Design Program and the 20th anniversary of the Architecture program.