Architectural Studies

Architectural Studies: Self-Designed Major, Self-Designed Minor

Understanding and assessing the process and impact of the human-built environment is a key question of the 21st century. What kind of world have we built, and is it sustainable? How does architecture not only reflect but also condition our values and responsibilities to each other and to our environment? The interdisciplinary program in Architectural Studies at Holy Cross draws attention to these and other issues by investigating the history, theory, and practice of building around the world.

Responsible citizenship — a primary emphasis of Jesuit, liberal arts education — is an underlying principle of Architectural Studies. More than structural form or aesthetic shape, architecture is a true liberal art. It is a transformative agent informed by politics and economics that shapes history, society, and culture.

The Architectural Studies Program at Holy Cross explores many far-reaching questions. For example, if building is a necessity, how can we construct in harmony with our existing natural and human-made surroundings? How do we understand the production and use of architecture in its historical and cultural specificity as well as its global contexts and universal aims? How is building an expression of power, and how does the built environment give meaning to our lives? We all inhabit space, and by better understanding its design, we gain insight both into other societies and ourselves.

Program Highlights

  • Students interested in pursuing a professional career in one of the design fields (e.g., architecture, architectural history, landscape architecture, urban planning, historic preservation) may choose to develop their particular thematic focus through a customized selection of courses.
  • In their senior year, majors participate in the Concentration Seminar in which they complete a capstone project, such as a research paper or a studio project generated by an internship in a professional office or government agency.
  • In addition to courses offered at Holy Cross, students may opt to take courses at other local colleges, architecture summer schools, or in study abroad programs. 


Capstone Project

Majors participate complete a capstone project such as a research paper or a studio project.

Student on a bike
Study Abroad

Students can study and witness some of the world’s best architecture by studying abroad.


Internships provide students with career experience and hands-on learning opportunities.