ACC approves new architecture degree

New transfer program provides affordable entry into growing industry and addresses workforce equity gaps  

Austin Community College (ACC) approved a new degree in Architecture to provide a more affordable pathway for students to transfer to university architectural programs.

The Associate of Science degree program will expand pathways to careers in architecture. Currently, the college offers an Associate of Applied Science degree for students who are seeking a workforce credential and direct job entry. The new degree will focus on creating a transfer pathway for those seeking a bachelor’s degree or higher. 

“This a growing industry, but the pipeline into a career is limited,” says Erlene Clark, ACC Architectural and Engineering Computer-Aided Design program assistant department chair. “This industry has a history of diversity and inclusion problems. Many students are not exposed to architecture as a career choice early enough or often enough. As a community college, we can change that. Our goal is to provide new opportunities that better meet students where they are whether that’s going straight into the workforce or continuing on to become a registered architect.”

The U.S. Department of Labor projects demand for architects will grow eight percent from 2018 to 2028, but to earn a license and become a registered architect, students must earn a university degree accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.   

“We’ve been working closely with our students to learn more about the barriers they face,” says Brandon Whatley, ACC Design, Manufacturing, Construction & Applied Technologies dean. “Many universities require numerous prerequisites; those demands have a suppressive effect on enrollment - particularly among our already underserved populations. As a community college, we can open a wider door.”

In-district students at ACC save approximately 75 percent in tuition and fees on a two-year degree compared with other public four year universities. The cost for two years (60 credits) at ACC is $5,100 compared to $21,124 at Texas A&M. 

The new associate of science degree will provide transfer opportunities through the college’s existing transfer agreements with: 

  • Texas Tech College of Architecture
  • Prairie View A&M University 
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Houston 
  • University of Texas at Arlington
  • University of Texas at San Antonio

Currently, spring 2020 enrollment for the college’s architectural program is full with waiting lists also at maximum capacity. The new degree program would launch in Highland Phase 2 beginning fall 2020 with an initial capacity for 15 full-program students. Afterward, it could grow to serve 30 to 45 full-program students annually. 

For more information, contact Clark at