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, Historic Preservation, Construction Management, Sustainable Design, Geodesign and Interior Architecture majors in 5 undergraduate and 5 graduate programs.
In 1982 the Interior Design Program officially began and by 1991 a professional Bachelor of Architecture Program officially began with eighty first-year students. The program continued to grow, until the 2004-2005 academic year when the University divided the School 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 pre-professional Architectural Studies program offers fields of study related to the built environment in concentrations such as Architectural Design Technology and Historic Preservation. Construction Management is the most recent undergraduate addition to the school having just started in the fall of 2011.
In 2007 the School established its first graduate program in Sustainable Design, followed by subsequent programs in Construction Management in 2009, Interior Architecture in 2011, Geodesign in 2013 and Architecture in 2014. 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.
The five-year Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) program is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Five years of study is the minimum time required for the professional B.Arch. degree.
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 six-year, three-year or two-year term of accreditation, depending on its degree of conformance with established educational standards. Master’s degree programs may consist of a pre-professional under-graduate 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 four-year Bachelor of Science in Interior Design program at Philadelphia University is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).
The field requires extensive knowledge of design, human behavior, construction, material, product and lighting technologies, building codes and much more. In many jurisdictions in North America, these professional responsibilities have led to certification or licensing of interior designers, and as part of that, testing by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ). To assure that interior design graduates are ready to assume the demands of the profession and are prepared to sit for the NCIDQ Exam the CIDA has developed rigorous educational standards. Achievement of CIDA accreditation of an interior design program confirms to the public the quality of the program; “that the program meets the rigor of peer review and develops the skills and knowledge required to practice interior design.”
The Landscape Architecture Program is fully accredited by the Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board (LAAB). The 4-year Landscape Architecture Program is committed to providing leadership in confronting issues that affect urban neighborhoods and ecological systems.