Bachelor of Design in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urbanism

In the Bachelor of Design in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urbanism program, you will explore the connectedness of design across multiple scales. You will learn how design impacts society and the environment, and how the shape and form of space can effect cultural changes. You will build a strong foundation in critical thinking and the practical skills necessary to create environments that are socially and ecologically sustainable.

The program revolves around a core design studio sequence that begins with foundational skills and culminates in the design of complex spaces. In each studio, you will explore design at one of many scales: from the body to the city. Courses in history, theory, media, technology, and professional practice round out the curriculum. Students have ample opportunities to combine classroom- and studio-based learning with fabrication experiences, community-based fieldwork, and the opportunity to study or gain work experience abroad through the Coordinated International Experience (CIE) program or the Co-operative Education Program.

The Bachelor of Design is not a professional degree. However, it does prepare you for a number of possible futures including graduate studies in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, and other allied fields of design.

Why study design here?

Our BDes program is shaped by our engagement with Vancouver, and the strength of our faculty. The degree is a unique combination of courses in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design throughout all four years, with an emphasis on cross-disciplinary collaboration. Community engagement, leadership, and entrepreurship are also core elements of our program, and are applied throughout students' time at SALA. Our low student-faculty ratio means we know our students by name, and we're proud of our small studios, intimate seminars, and personalized learning opportunities. 

We take full advantage of Vancouver's position as a locus for innovative sustainable design. In addition to our internationally-renowned faculty, we routinely bring in local practitioners to lead studios and courses, as well as offer insight into the contemporary profession. Study topics often require our students to deeply engage with the diverse communities in our city, as well as those further afield. 

Our programs are closely connected, and share many core courses and electives, including design build and study abroad opportunities.This cross-pollination of ideas fosters a holistic design culture within the school; one increasingly reflected in the profession. 

Outside the classroom, students have a number of opportunities to develop their leadership skills. We offer well over 100 course support positions every year, from teaching assistantships to researching in faculty-led labs. Frequent professional development workshops cover networking, interviews, and portfolio development. An active student group provides a connection between students, faculty, and industry through hosting social, wellness, and academic events.

What can I do with my BDes degree?

Our Bachelor of Design prepares you to take a number of routes into the design world. Your degree can be the first step towards earning your accreditation as an architect or landscape architect. In large numbers, our graduates go on to earn a professional degree at the graduate level. Your courses in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design are great preparation to continue your education in those fields. Your UBC degree is recognized across the world, and carries a reputation for strong design skills.

Continuing in a professional graduate program is far from your only option. Your experience in studio-based work and placemaking practice are integral to spatial design fields. Over the course of your studies here, you’ll gain invaluable skills in:

  • critical thinking
  • design and visualization
  • a variety of digital media tools
  • communication and presentations
  • project management and organization

There are a number of careers that benefit from an education in design:

  • architecture
  • landscape architecture
  • urban design
  • urban planning
  • historical building restoration
  • industrial design
  • set design
  • graphic design
  • furniture design and fabrication
  • game design
  • UI/UX design

Advising is available at the SALA office located in Macmillan 379, 2357 Main Mall. The office is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments are recommended, and can be made by calling 604.822.6916, or emailing des@sala.ubc.ca.

Learn about the application process for the Bachelor of Design in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urbanism program here.