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School of Architecture

Accreditation and Licensure

University Accreditation

Clemson University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the Bachelor, Master, Education Specialist, and Doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097 or call at 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Clemson University.

Architecture Accreditation

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 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.

Clemson University, College of Architecture, Arts & Humanities, School of Architecture offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:

  • M. Arch. I first-professional degree, 90 credit hours (for candidates without an undergraduate preparatory degree in architecture and without a strong portfolio of 6 to 8 semesters of design studio work)
  • M. Arch. II second-professional degree, 60 credit hours (for candidates with preprofessional degrees in Architecture, or its equivalent, and a portfolio of 6 to 8 semesters of strong design work)
  • M. Arch. I first-professional degree, 91 credit hours, Architecture + Health Concentration (for candidates without an undergraduate preparatory degree in architecture and without a strong portfolio of 6 to 8 semesters of design studio work)
  • M. Arch. II second-professional degree, 61 credit hours, Architecture + Health Concentration (for candidates with pre-professional degrees in Architecture, or its equivalent, and a portfolio of 6 to 8 semesters of strong design work.

Next accreditation visit for all programs: 2025 

Architecture Licensure

  • The Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL)

    Today, it can take up to 12.5 years to become a licensed architect. Through Clemson’s IPAL program you can do it in 6.5 years.

    A new initiative - INTEGRATED PATH to ARCHITECTURAL LICENSURE (IPAL) - provides an opportunity to fulfill the requirements for architectural licensure while completing the architectural degree. Clemson University’s School of Architecture has been selected by NCARB as one of the accredited programs to participate in this initiative and has developed a rigorous curriculum track that integrates the academic and experience components essential to architectural licensure. Architecture students selected for the program during their second year of undergraduate study will embark on a 4 ½ year track that integrates the academic components of architectural study with the internship and examination components of architectural practice. Two semesters of undergraduate study and two semesters of graduate study will take place at the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston (CAC.C), and summer internships will be necessary to fulfill the requirements.

    Students selected for the IPAL program will commit to a coordinated work/study program that will include fulfilling Architectural Experience Program (AXP; formally known as IDP) internship credits and preparation for the Architectural Registration Examination (ARE). The IPAL academic track will require students to study both in Clemson and at the Clemson Architecture Center (CAC.C) in the new Clemson Design Center in Charleston (CDC.C), in a coordinated effort. The program is set up to provide a program of study that will include undergraduate and graduate study under the auspices of the IPAL track while at Clemson. This coordinated effort will include a curriculum of study requiring AXP internships during summers both at Clemson and the CAC.C as well as during typical semester breaks. This accelerated approach will begin with a summer internship between the second and third years and each summer thereafter. This structured approach is designed to prepare students to be in a position to successfully complete the program and earn licensing at the time of graduation in the summer of the sixth year. A diagram of the sequence illustrating the course of study is provided on this page.

    Upon completion of the undergraduate degree, successful students will have had the opportunity to satisfy up to 50% of all AXP requirements. Graduate studies will also take advantage of the fluid campus relationship in Charleston and will include preparation for the ARE — to be taken in the summers after the fifth and sixth years, in addition to the internships.

    No program can guarantee outcomes but the Clemson IPAL academic track will provide an opportunity to be successful and to significantly reduce the time between the start of academic study to successful completion of the ARE. Students who successfully complete the program will likely be in a competitive position in the workforce.

    IPAL initiative includes 3 components:

    Education introduces students to design thinking, basic historic and theoretical concepts, and the fundamentals of design.

    Experience provides professional / business context under the supervision of an architect.

    Examination affirms the candidate demonstrates minimal competency to practice.

    Learn About Architectural Licensure from NCARB

  • Architectural Experience Program™ (AXP™)

    The Architectural Experience Program (AXP) provides a framework to guide you through gaining and recording your professional experience. Developed by NCARB, the program is required by most U.S. jurisdictions and is a key step on the path to earning a license.

    Learn About AXP and Download the AXP App

  • Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®)

    As developed by NCARB, the ARE® assesses a candidate's knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide the various services required in the practice of architecture. It has been adopted for use by all U.S. registration boards and the Canadian provincial architectural associations as the registration examination for all candidates seeking architectural licensing.

    NCARB tracks the pass rates for the ARE® in two ways - one by division and the other by NAAB-accredited schools of architecture.
    Passing the ARE and ARE Pass Rates

School of Architecture
School of Architecture | Lee Hall 3-130, Clemson, South Carolina 29634