Certificate Topics include Social and Environmental Equity Design, Digital Technologies, Sustainable Design, and More
In today’s rapidly changing world, one in which many of society’s most pressing issues are impacted and shaped by the built environment, schools of architecture have an urgent responsibility to provide students with the knowledge and resources to tackle these complex challenges. To this end, the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin has launched a new initiative designed to provide students with opportunities to pursue specific interests and develop targeted skill sets in their graduate studies.
Starting this fall, the School of Architecture will begin offering ten stackable graduate certificates open to all UT graduate students interested in pursuing a more in-depth study in different areas of specialization, with additional certificates added in Fall 2022. Each of these certificates will be transcriptable, will require only three classes to complete, and will provide students with marketable experience in topics that are relevant, pressing, and in demand by employers. Given the existing flexibility of the School of Architecture’s degree requirements, students could complete one or even two certificates and still graduate on time.
“As far as we know, this stackable certificate program is unique among schools of architecture in the United States, so this is an exceptional opportunity for students to demonstrate specific areas of expertise within our fields,” Graduate Adviser for Architecture Kory Bieg said. “By stacking certificates, students can also connect two or more seemingly disparate specializations—like building technology and social equity, or sustainable design and historic preservation—to give them a competitive edge in their future careers.”
With three programs ranked in the top five of DesignIntelligence’s 2019 “Most Hired From” rankings, the UT School of Architecture has a proven record of preparing students for success. As a non-departmentalized school with disciplines spanning all scales of the built environment, its approach to education better reflects the professional experience – where architects, landscape architects, interior designers, planners, and developers, work alongside one another to realize projects. These stackable graduate certificates capitalize upon this non-departmentalized structure, as well as existing faculty expertise.
“These certificates represent a line of expertise that we are fortunate to have on our faculty,” Michelle Addington, dean of the School of Architecture said. “The diversity of our faculty’s research interests and the fact that we have so many instructors who are also practitioners sets us apart from many other schools. Our faculty are leaders in multiple fields: We have innovators in emerging technologies, preeminent historians, we have a strong group of faculty who teach sustainable design courses, others who work with the community and focus on public interest design, as well as more experts in Latin American architecture than any other school. These certificates consolidate and highlight these distinctive strengths.”
The new certificates that will be offered beginning this fall include:
Architecture: Building Technology — Designed for students interested in the role of building technology within the design process. Students will focus on systems integration, structural design, construction materials and processes, and issues of sustainable design.
Architecture: Community Equity Design and Architecture: Environmental Equity Design — Intended to help designers and diverse professionals develop tools that can engage and foster design as a collaborative effort grounded in public interest design methodologies. Participants will not only become experts in Community Equity Design, but they will also become better equipped to address the world’s most pressing concerns regarding social, economic, and environmental issues of the built environment
Architecture: Digital Technology — Designed for students interested in using advanced and emerging digital technologies for design at multiple scales. Courses will include instruction on software, computational design methods, digital fabrication, and digital design theory. Students will be exposed to a variety of different computer programs and design processes, and they will learn how to leverage computational design to create new objects, buildings, and cities that would otherwise not be possible.
Architecture: Latin American Architecture — By enhancing and promoting a regional focus that already exists within the school’s graduate curriculum, this certificate allows students to develop a comparative approach to architectural education and scholarship and equip them with tools to engage in the effect that globalization has on architecture and place more broadly.
Architecture: Political, Social, and Cultural Histories in Architecture — With an emphasis on macro structures in relation to historically marginalized groups, this certificate asks students to deeply contextualize “sites” and “architectures.” To complement the work and the role of the architect, the focus explores the users and makers of ordinary built environments, as well as canonical works of architecture. Beyond developing a specific historic framework to view and analyze architecture, students will also learn how to conduct their own architectural histories of everyday environments, and how to ask questions about architecture that address the pressing social issues of our time.
Community and Regional Planning: Introduction to City Planning — This certificate provides an overview of the theoretical foundations, specific skills, and practical experience that constitute the context of professional planning.
Historic Preservation: Cultural Heritage: History and Research — Like other sustainability efforts, the study of cultural heritage helps to conserve resources for society’s betterment in the present and the future. Understanding historic cultural heritage and historical research are crucial for a thoughtful design strategy when dealing with historic buildings. Students will gain foundational skills and knowledge to approach cultural heritage from a historical point of view.
Interior Design: Theories of Interiors and Spatial Design — This certificate is for students interested in developing a deeper understanding of contemporary concepts, projects, and methods that underlie the design process and theorization of interior environments and spatial design.
Sustainable Design: Technology and Environment — This certificate is for students interested in sustainability at various scales and within a diverse set of concepts. Participants will focus on issues of performance, primarily at the building scale, considering both technical components such as daylight modulation and thermal factors within larger systems, as well as philosophical questions about sustainability and its potential boundaries or lack thereof. Building science and phenomenological experience are both considered throughout the coursework.
For more information about these stackable graduate certificates, including eligibility and requirements, visit the Stackable Graduate Certificates page on the School of Architecture website. Students interested in learning more should contact Natalia Morgan, the school’s Graduate Program Coordinator.