New degree will debut at SDSU in fall 2010

Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson

SDSU will offer an architecture degree starting in fall 2010, the first such bachelor’s degree in the state.

SDSU will offer a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Sciences in architectural studies. There will also be a master of architecture degree available following the bachelor’s. The first full student load in the program will be in fall 2015, with the first graduating class in the master’s program in spring 2016.

South Dakota is one of only seven states not to have an accredited architecture degree available.

“We are recruiting students right now, and there is a lot of interest,” said Jerry Jorgenson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Board of Regents approved the degree unanimously in June. It was a two-year long process to get everything planned and to develop a proposal.

“We had to show the BOR that there was a need for this degree,” Jorgenson said. “Once the students leave the state to pursue the architecture degree, it is hard to get them to come back and work in the state.”

The program will focus on sustainable and renewable design, which goes along with the “Green” movement. This program will help South Dakota stand out in the Midwest, Jorgenson said.

The College of Arts and Sciences is in the process of interviewing for a department head for the architecture program. Once hired, the department head will take over hiring positions in the program. Seven full-time faculty positions will be hired as the program grows and adjunct professors will be hired as well, said Jorgenson.

The architecture program will start with 60 freshmen in the pre-architecture major. The following year, about 30 students will be accepted into the major. After that, 16 will be chosen to continue on to the master’s program.

“The degree will have a positive impact on the university,” Jorgenson said. “It will grow and be a competitive program. The program will grow every year with staff and facilities.”

The Founders Group – an organization made up of several architectural and engineering firms in the state, along with SDSU alumni – will contribute funds to start the program and will serve as the board of directors. The architecture program will also be funded by student fees.

“The Founders Group is an advisory board to the architecture program, but the curriculum is handled by SDSU,” said Larry Crane of Perspective, Inc. and vice president of American Institute of Architects.

Some companion degrees for the architecture degree are graphic design, interior design, landscape architecture, construction management and structural engineering.

In the first six years, the program will spend more money than it makes. The students will pay more for the architecture major than other majors, but it will still be less expensive than going out of state, said Jorgenson.

Plans for a permanent location for the department is underway, said Jorgenson, but existing facilities will be used next fall when the program starts.

“I’m extremely excited about the degree,” said Crane. “As the Founders Group, we have the opportunity to be guest professors. If students make projects and get them displayed nationally, then we can get recognition as a state. People would know who we are as a state since we have the architecture degree.”