About the Five College Programs

While the FCAS major is a collaboration of three of the colleges, each of the Five Colleges offers a major in architecture and design. The FCAS program allows students to share courses, programming and resources from all of these programs.

Hampshire College: Architecture and Environmental Design

In architecture we find elements of art history, critical theory, engineering, design, and the studio arts, as well as urban planning, sociology, economics, and political science. Hampshire College is a member of the Five College Architectural Studies Program, and students have the option of obtaining a Five College major. The program is fiercely interdisciplinary, combining the history, theory, and design of the built environment. Students design their own concentration for their Division II and can combine any number of fields of interest, from topics such as spirituality and space, to ecology and design, to sustainable transportation systems, to memorialization and urban planning. Many of our students choose to concentrate in sustainable practices and community design, working in the studio and in the local community. Indeed, our goal is nothing less than to change the way in which we live in the world.

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Mount Holyoke College: Architectural Studies

The program blends studio and academic work to explore the intersections between built forms and the natural landscape, as well as the interactions between architecture and culture throughout history. Anthropology, computer science, environmental studies, history, psychology, and sociology all come into play, alongside art, math, and physics. Architectural Studies lays a foundation of creative practice, technical skill, problem solving, and critical thinking that prepares students for graduate study and professions in a variety of fields including architectural, industrial, and landscape design, urban planning, construction, education, sustainability, and project management with international development organizations. Mount Holyoke College is also a member of the Five College Architectural Studies program which offers access to the collective courses, faculty, and resources of the Five Colleges. Additional funding opportunities for Architectural Studies students and alumnae support research projects, internships, and graduate study.

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Amherst College: Architectural Studies

Our courses firmly place the study of architecture within the liberal arts by encompassing the history, theory, philosophy, design and science of the built environment.The Amherst Architectural Studies Program emphasizes not the techniques of architecture, but rather the ideas behind it. Students choose among courses in areas such as sustainable design, urban planning and architectural history, theory and criticism.

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Smith College: Architecture & Urbanism

Smith’s architecture program combines studio work with courses in architectural history. In studios, students explore the built environment "as a person experiences it," building models by hand, using laser cutters and designing with sophisticated computing technology. Classes on urban space, public architecture and landscape design complement studio work. Often students work on local projects and at the MacLeish Field Station in Hatfield.

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University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Department of Architecture

Our interdisciplinary, collaborative department embraces spirited, socially progressive, and environmentally responsive design. As New England’s first public architecture program, the faculty and students engage the region for integrated teaching, research, and outreach.The department is part of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. The department is responsible for an undergraduate pre-professional degree (Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architecture), a graduate professional degree (Master of Architecture), and graduate post-professional degrees (Master of Design and Master of Design in Historic Preservation).

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About the Program

The FCAS program engages in myriad of questions about architecture and design. It encourages students to define and engage with the aspects of history, theory and design that they find most compelling. The program provides the essential concrete foundations, but an open-ended curriculum.

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The Major

The FCAS major is a liberal arts degree designed to provide students the essential foundations in architectural history, theory and studio design, but allows students to develop their own area of study with the broader discipline of architectural studies.

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The Five College program provides a wide array of creative resources for students. There are studios on all five campuses, digital fabrication maker spaces and advanced computer labs open to all students. As well, student have access to five full library collections and research materials, delivered to their home campus library.

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The Five College Architectural Studies program is an interdisciplinary course of study that bridges five campuses and is available to students currently enrolled in Hampshire College, Amherst College or Mount Holyoke College.