Architecture Program Accreditation Information
Naab Accreditation Badge 2022 B.arch M.arch.

In the United States, most 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 professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may require a preprofessional undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the preprofessional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

The Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:

  • B Arch (160 undergraduate credits)
  • M Arch (non-preprofessional degree + 108 credits)

Next accreditation visit for all programs: 2025.

NAAB Conditions and Procedures, Including Student Performance Criteria

The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) requires that the following documents are made publicly available:

2020 Conditions for Accreditation

2014 Conditions for Accreditation

The Procedures for Accreditation, 2020 Edition

The Procedures for Accreditation, 2015 were in effect at the time of last visit.  

The following has been excerpted from the NAAB 2014 Conditions for Accreditation, which applied to all programs seeking continued accreditation, candidacy, continuation of candidacy, or initial accreditation beginning April 1, 2015:

The entire document may be read or downloaded from the NAAB web site here.


The accredited degree program must demonstrate that each graduate possesses the knowledge and skills defined by the criteria below. The knowledge and skills defined here represent those required to prepare graduates for the path to internship, examination, and licensure and to engage in related fields. The program must provide student work as evidence that its graduates have satisfied each criterion. The criteria encompass two levels of accomplishment:

  • Understanding—The capacity to classify, compare, summarize, explain, and/or interpret information.
  • Ability—Proficiency in using specific information to accomplish a task, correctly selecting the appropriate information, and accurately applying it to the solution of a specific problem, while also distinguishing the effects of its implementation.

II.1.1 Student Performance Criteria (SPC): The NAAB establishes SPC to help accredited degree programs prepare students for the profession while encouraging education practices suited to the individual degree program. The SPC are organized into realms to more easily understand the relationships between each criterion.

Realm A: Critical Thinking and Representation. Graduates from NAAB-accredited programs must be able to build abstract relationships and understand the impact of ideas based on the study and analysis of multiple theoretical, social, political, economic, cultural, and environmental contexts. Graduates must also be able to use a diverse range of skills to think about and convey architectural ideas, including writing, investigating, speaking, drawing, and modeling.

Student learning aspirations for this realm include

  • Being broadly educated.
  • Valuing lifelong inquisitiveness.
  • Communicating graphically in a range of media.
  • Assessing evidence.
  • Comprehending people, place, and context.
  • Recognizing the disparate needs of client, community, and society.

The accredited degree program must demonstrate that each graduate possesses the following:

  • A.1 Professional Communication Skills: Ability to write and speak effectively and use representational media appropriate for both within the profession and with the general public.
  • A.2 Design Thinking Skills: Ability to raise clear and precise questions, use abstract ideas to interpret information, consider diverse points of view, reach well-reasoned conclusions, and test alternative outcomes against relevant criteria and standards.
  • A.3 Investigative Skills: Ability to gather, assess, record, and comparatively evaluate relevant information and performance in order to support conclusions related to a specific project or assignment.
  • A.4 Architectural Design Skills: Ability to effectively use basic formal, organizational and environmental principles and the capacity of each to inform two- and three-dimensional design.
  • A.5 Ordering Systems: Ability to apply the fundamentals of both natural and formal ordering systems and the capacity of each to inform two- and three-dimensional design.
  • A.6 Use of Precedents: Ability to examine and comprehend the fundamental principles present in relevant precedents and to make informed choices about the incorporation of such principles into architecture and urban design projects.
  • A.7 History and Global Culture: Understanding of the parallel and divergent histories of architecture and the cultural norms of a variety of indigenous, vernacular, local, and regional settings in terms of their political, economic, social, ecological, and technological factors.
  • A.8 Cultural Diversity and Social Equity: Understanding of the diverse needs, values, behavioral norms, physical abilities, and social and spatial patterns that characterize different cultures and individuals and the responsibility of the architect to ensure equity of access to sites, buildings, and structures.

Realm B: Building Practices, Technical Skills, and Knowledge. Graduates from NAABaccredited programs must be able to comprehend the technical aspects of design, systems, and materials and be able to apply that comprehension to architectural solutions. In addition, the impact of such decisions on the environment must be well considered.

  • Student learning aspirations for this realm include
  • Creating building designs with well-integrated systems.
  • Comprehending constructability.
  • Integrating the principles of environmental stewardship.
  • Conveying technical information accurately

The accredited degree program must demonstrate that each graduate possesses skills in the following areas

  • B.1 Pre-Design: Ability to prepare a comprehensive program for an architectural project that includes an assessment of client and user needs; an inventory of spaces and their requirements; an analysis of site conditions (including existing buildings); a review of the relevant building codes and standards, including relevant sustainability requirements, and an assessment of their implications for the project; and a definition of site selection and design assessment criteria.
  • B.2 Site Design: Ability to respond to site characteristics, including urban context and developmental patterning, historical fabric, soil, topography, ecology, climate, and building orientation, in the development of a project design.
  • B.3. Codes and Regulations: Ability to design sites, facilities, and systems that are responsive to relevant codes and regulations, and include the principles of life-safety and accessibility standards.
  • B.4 Technical Documentation: Ability to make technically clear drawings, prepare outline specifications, and construct models illustrating and identifying the assembly of materials, systems, and components appropriate for a building design.
  • B.5 Structural Systems: Ability to demonstrate the basic principles of structural systems and their ability to withstand gravitational, seismic, and lateral forces, as well as the selection and application of the appropriate structural system.
  • B.6 Environmental Systems: Ability to demonstrate the principles of environmental systems’ design, how design criteria can vary by geographic region, and the tools used for performance assessment. This demonstration must include active and passive heating and cooling, solar geometry, daylighting, natural ventilation, indoor air quality, solar systems, lighting systems, and acoustics.
  • B.7 Building Envelope Systems and Assemblies: Understanding of the basic principles involved in the appropriate selection and application of building envelope systems relative to fundamental performance, aesthetics, moisture transfer, durability, and energy and material resources.
  • B.8 Building Materials and Assemblies: Understanding of the basic principles used in the appropriate selection of interior and exterior construction materials, finishes, products, components, and assemblies based on their inherent performance, including environmental impact and reuse.
  • B.9 Building Service Systems: Understanding of the basic principles and appropriate application and performance of building service systems, including lighting, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, communication, vertical transportation, security, and fire protection systems.
  • B.10 Financial Considerations: Understanding of the fundamentals of building costs, which must include project financing methods and feasibility, construction cost estimating, construction scheduling, operational costs, and life-cycle costs.

Realm C: Integrated Architectural Solutions. Graduates from NAAB-accredited programs must be able to demonstrate that they have the ability to synthesize a wide range of variables into an integrated design solution.

  • Student learning aspirations for this realm include
  • Comprehending the importance of research pursuits to inform the design process.
  • Evaluating options and reconciling the implications of design decisions across systems and scales.
  • Synthesizing variables from diverse and complex systems into an integrated architectural solution.
  • Responding to environmental stewardship goals across multiple systems for an integrated solution.

The accredited degree program must demonstrate that each graduate possesses skills in the following areas:

  • C.1 Research: Understanding of the theoretical and applied research methodologies and practices used during the design process.
  • C.2 Integrated Evaluations and Decision-Making Design Process: Ability to demonstrate the skills associated with making integrated decisions across multiple systems and variables in the completion of a design project. This demonstration includes problem identification, setting evaluative criteria, analyzing solutions, and predicting the effectiveness of implementation.
  • C.3 Integrative Design: Ability to make design decisions within a complex architectural project while demonstrating broad integration and consideration of environmental stewardship, technical documentation, accessibility, site conditions, life safety, environmental systems, structural systems, and building envelope systems and assemblies.

Realm D: Professional Practice. Graduates from NAAB-accredited programs must understand business principles for the practice of architecture, including management, advocacy, and the need to act legally, ethically, and critically for the good of the client, society, and the public.

  • Student learning aspirations for this realm include
  • Comprehending the business of architecture and construction.
  • Discerning the valuable roles and key players in related disciplines.
  • Understanding a professional code of ethics, as well as legal and professional responsibilities.

The accredited degree program must demonstrate that each graduate possesses skills in the following areas:

  • D.1 Stakeholder Roles in Architecture: Understanding of the relationships among key stakeholders in the design process—client, contractor, architect, user groups, local community—and the architect’s role to reconcile stakeholder needs.
  • D.2 Project Management: Understanding of the methods for selecting consultants and assembling teams; identifying work plans, project schedules, and time requirements; and recommending project delivery methods.
  • D.3 Business Practices: Understanding of the basic principles of a firm’s business practices, including financial management and business planning, marketing, organization, and entrepreneurship.
  • D.4 Legal Responsibilities: Understanding of the architect’s responsibility to the public and the client as determined by regulations and legal considerations involving the practice of architecture and professional service contracts.
  • D.5 Professional Conduct: Understanding of the ethical issues involved in the exercise of professional judgment in architectural design and practice and understanding the role of the NCARB Rules of Conduct and the AIA Code of Ethics in defining professional conduct.
Architectural Registration

Architectural Registration Examination statistics, including those for Spitzer School architecture programs, are available at the NCARB web site.

Architectural Career Development

In order to assist students, parents, and others as they seek to develop an understanding of the larger context for architecture education and the career pathways available to graduates of accredited degree programs, the Architecture Programs at Spitzer make available the following list of resources.

In addition, the Spitzer School administration and program Advisors provide relevant programming to provide career guidance, and are available to students for advice and direction to further resources.

The ARCHCareers blog discusses the process of becoming an architect:

Architects must be licensed before they can practice architecture as or call themselves an architect. The steps to becoming an Architect are described on the site of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB):

You may download a copy of the NCARB ARE 5.0 Handbook:

For specifics on the practice of the profession of Architecture in New York State, see:

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is a professional organization for architects in the U.S. Headquartered in Washington, D.C. The AIA offers education, government advocacy, community redevelopment, and public outreach to support the architecture profession:

The Center for Architecture, the AIA New York Chapter, provides resources to both the public and building industry professionals, through exhibitions, programs, and special events:

The American Institute of Architect Students (AIAS) is a student-run organization that has been working for the betterment of the Architectural Education Community for over 50 years:

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) is a nonprofit membership association founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education and to provide a forum for ideas on the leading edge of architectural thought:

Architecture Accreditation Documents
Architecture Registration Exam (ARE) Pass Rates

NCARB publishes pass rates for each section of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) by institution. This information can help prospective students who may be seeking higher/postsecondary education in architecture. Programs are required to make this information available to current and prospective students and the public by linking their websites to the results.

Landscape Architecture Program Accreditation Information

The Master of Landscape Architecture Program at the City College of New York’s Bernard & Anne Spitzer School of Architecture is fully accredited by the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board. Click here for full accreditation details and other public information.