All about studying Architecture

Degrees, Specialisations, Eligibility, Entrance Tests, Top Colleges, Fees, Scholarships, Career Prospects

All about the stream: What is Architecture?

Architecture is the stream of engineering and design dealing with the conceptualisation, planning, creation, and construction of buildings and other edifices. 

The architecture stream is wide-ranging and comprises various styles, such as classical, contemporary, neoclassical, and industrial as well as various specialisations like residential architecture, landscape planning, environmental design, and restoration architecture.

Undergraduate Architecture Degrees Offered

Undergraduate degrees offered in Architecture include the following- 

  • Bachelor of Architecture (B Arch)- five years
  • Bachelor of Planning (BPlan)- four years
  • Diploma (3 years)

Each degree comes with a gamut of specialisations in different sectors. 

Specialisations in Architecture

Specialisations in Architecture degrees include the following:

  • Building Construction Technology- deals with the conceptualisation, management, and evaluation of technologies employed in the construction and maintenance of various structures. 
  • Commercial Architecture- deals with the design and construction of commercially-viable buildings and structures such as offices, malls, offices, hospitals, schools, etc.
  • Green Building Design- is a sub-category of sustainable architecture that deals with the design and construction of “green” structures to alleviate the negative impact of man-made structures on the environment and enhance the natural environmental conditions.
  • Industrial Architecture- deals with the design and construction of buildings and structures in the industrial sector.
  • Interior Design and Planning- deals with the design and planning of interiors of buildings and houses to aesthetically enhance enclosed spaces to the needs of the client and sector.
    • Sub-specialisations in the purview of interior design include the following-
    • Interior and Furniture Design | Interior and Retail Spaces | Interior and Space Planning Design | Interior Design | Interior Design and Decoration | Interior Environment and Design Hons | Interior Space Design
  • Landscaping Architecture- deals with the planning, design, management, and creation of both, natural and man-made outdoor spaces. 
  • Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture- deals with designing and executing the various components of floating vessels and marine crafts. 
  • Public Works- deals with the design, planning, construction, and maintenance of structures and components to design, beautify, and aestheticize public spaces such as fountains and parks. 
  • Residential/Housing Architecture- focuses on the design, planning, construction, and maintenance of functional and practically-viable home spaces.
  • Restoration Architecture- deals with the conservation and revival of historically and culturally significant edifices/cities to preserve the history and integrity of the original structures.
  • Sustainable Architecture- focuses on planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining environmentally conscious and sustainable structures to reduce the negative impact of man-made structures on the environment. 
  • Urban Design and Planning- deals with the design, conceptualisation, and execution of the layout and framework of individual elements of a street/town/city.

Eligibility and Requirements for Architecture

Students can enrol on architecture colleges by appearing for architecture entrance exams held across the country. The eligibility criteria are as follows-

  • Candidates enrolling on architecture entrances and programmes must have passed their 10+2 (or equivalent) examinations from a recognised Indian board with a minimum aggregate of 50% marks.
  • Candidates must have opted for the science stream with English, Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry as compulsory subjects.

Admission Procedure for Architecture

  • Candidates applying for architecture courses must qualify for the minimum eligibility to appear for architecture entrance exams. Candidates can apply for JEE/NATA/other examinations by registering in the online portal and submitting the required documents.
  • After appearing for the entrance exams, candidates will be shortlisted based on scores, ranks, and merit lists in the JoSAA counselling session for the respective colleges/entrances. 
  • Shortlisted candidates may subsequently finalise their admission at the concerned college by paying the fees and submitting the required documents for verification.

Architecture Entrance Tests

There are two main entrance tests prescribed by the Council of Architecture offering admission to architectural colleges in India: JEE-Main Paper 2 and NATA.

JEE-Main Paper 2

The Join Entrance Exam (JEE) is the centralized entrance exam in India for admission to engineering and architecture colleges and courses in India. Conducted by the National Testing Authority (NTA), papers 2A and 2B of the JEE-Main examination are the entrances conducted for B Arch and B.Plan. courses.

The JEE entrance exams are conducted twice each year in two sessions in January and April; candidates may appear for a maximum of two attempts per year. 

JEE-Main paper 2A is a three-hour computer-based (CBT)-cum-drawing test for B Arch and is independent of JEE-Main paper 1. It is composed of three sections of 82 questions and 400 marks in total:

  • Mathematics: 30 questions, MCQ format
  • Aptitude test: 50 questions, MCQ format
  • Drawing test: 2 questions, pen-and-paper format

JEE-Main paper 2B is a three-hour computer-based (CBT)-cum-drawing test for B.Plan. and is also independent of JEE-Main paper 1. It is composed of three sections of 105 questions and 400 marks in total:

  • Mathematics: 30 questions, 20 MCQ format and 10 numerical-based (out of which candidates only need to attempt five)
  • Aptitude: 50 questions, MCQ format
  • Planning: 25 questions, MCQ format

National Aptitude Test in Architecture (NATA)

NATA is the nationally-conducted architecture aptitude test conducted by the Council of Architecture.

NATA is conducted twice a year and offers admission to several prestigious institutions such as selective IITs and NITs, BIT Mesra, Sir J J College of Architecture, and CEPT University. 

The question paper is composed of 200 marks, and candidates are allotted three hours to complete the exam. The paper has 125 questions and is composed of PCM and aptitude MCQs and drawing tests.


Some architecture colleges in India also have their respective institute-specific entrance 

  • IIT AAT- Architecture Aptitude Test for admission into the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee and Kharagpur. Only candidates ranking up to 2,50,000 in JEE-Main can qualify for IIT AAT.
  • HITSEEE- for admission into Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science.
  • KITEEE- for admission into Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology
  • JNTUPACET- Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Planning And Architecture Common Entrance Test
  • Common/joint entrance tests for respective states (KCET, WBJEE, UPSEE, TANCET, MAH M.Arch CET, etc.)

The syllabi for architecture entrance tests cover topics including mathematical concepts, architectural history and general knowledge, logical and mathematical reasoning, perspective, and drawing/sketching aptitude.

Top 30 Architecture Colleges in India

The top 30 architecture colleges based on the rankings of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2022 are as follows-

  1. Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
  2. National Institute of Technology, Calicut
  3. Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  4. School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi
  5. National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli
  6. Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur
  7. School of Planning & Architecture, Vijayawada
  8. Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur
  9. Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
  10. School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal
  11. S.R.M. Institute of Science and Technology
  12. Lovely Professional University, Phagwara
  13. Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
  14. College of Engineering, Trivandrum
  15. Manipal School of Architecture and Planning, Mahe
  16. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Katra
  17. M. S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bengaluru
  18. BMS College of Architecture, Bengaluru
  19. Chandigarh University, Mohali
  20. Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, Bhopal
  21. Nirma University, Ahmedabad
  22. Chitkara University, Rajpura
  23. Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai
  24. Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi
  25. Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi
  26. National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur
  27. Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science (HITS), Chennai
  28. Dr. M. G. R. Educational and Research Institute, Chennai
  29. Anna University, Chennai
  30. National Institute of Technology, Patna

Aptitude for Architecture

Students with an artistic and aesthetic knack interested in designing and construction will find architecture the perfect career for themselves. Students may gauge their aptitude for architecture with the following criteria:

  • Creativity and design skills
  • Mathematical proficiency
  • Spatial mapping reasoning
  • Understanding of perspectives and colour schemes
  • Logical reasoning
  • Analytical thinking
  • 2D and 3D rendering ability
  • Interest and preliminary knowledge in building and construction

Top Architecture Specialisations for the Future

The most promising and lucrative architecture specialisations to opt for are-

  • Environment and Green Building Architecture
  • Sustainability Architecture
  • Extreme Architecture
  • Commercial Architecture
  • Preservation Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urban Planning

Architecture Assessment

Architecture programmes in India span five years and 10 semesters. Students are assessed on a percentage/grade-point average (GPA) basis through internal assessments and end-semester written exams.

The B Arch course material comprises subjects such as the history of architecture, architectural graphics, building materials, mathematical concepts, structural design, housing, computer technology, pricing and cost estimation, and environmental studies among several more. Besides written assessments in the form of unit tests, theses, and dissertations, architecture students are also assessed through practical evaluations in the form of drawing and rendering assessments, field trip reports, practical work experience, and working drawings/designs. There are16  mandatory working weeks of practical training during the 8th or 9th Semester as mandated by the Council of Architecture.

Each semester/year contains a fixed target of grade points which must be completed for promotion to the next year and acquiring the degree. 

Fees for Architecture Courses

The fee structure for architecture colleges in India ranges between 3-5 lakhs per annum for a four-year architecture course. The fee structure may vary depending on the college and course/specialisation of the student’s choice.

Scholarships in Architecture

Central/state governments, private organisations, and several universities offer scholarships, fellowships, and financial aid to help support less-privileged students aspiring toward an architecture degree. Here are some of the popular scholarships provided to students wishing to pursue architecture courses in India:

  • Swami Dayanand Education Foundation- Applicable to students with family income less than 6 LPA and conditional to scoring at least 85% in 10+2/7.5 GPA in the first year of college.
  • The J. N. Tata Endowment- Applicable for candidates aspiring towards postgraduate/research courses abroad with a consistent academic record.
  • TATA Housing Scholarship- Offered to women pursuing B Arch in India.
  • Architecture Construction Surveying Merit Scholarships- Offered to 10 architectural masters (international) candidates.
  • Nurture Merit-cum-Means Scholarship (Vodafone India Foundation)- Applicable for underprivileged students pursuing B Arch in India. 
  • Geddes Fellowship- Offered to architectural students between the age of 20 and 30 from a recognised institution. 
  • Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation- Offered to Indian-citizen students aspiring towards postgraduate and research courses abroad.
  • T.U. Delft Architecture and the Built Environment Scholarship- Postgraduate architectural scholarship for international students. 

Internships/Industry Experience in Architecture

An internship under the tutelage of a licensed architect is a mandatory requirement for receiving a professional degree in architecture from a university in India.

The Council of Architecture has mandated compulsory internships/practical training at architectural practices/government architecture departments under the tutelage of licensed architects registered with the Council. 

The mandatory internships are designed to facilitate the understanding of the evolution of an architectural project from design to execution, where students will be inducted into the development of conceptual ideas, presentation skills, client meetings, tendering procedures, site supervision, etc. Candidates must also present and defend their portfolio before a jury/panel at the end of their internship period. 

Architecture students will not be permitted to enrol for the tenth-semester architectural design thesis/dissertation/project course until they complete their practical training/internship. 

Post-graduate study/research opportunities in Architecture

After completing undergraduate architectural courses like B Arch/B Plan, students may opt for higher education with Masters/PhD degrees. Here are a few postgraduate study and research opportunities in India:

  • Master of Architecture or M Arch (General)
  • Master of Architecture or M Arch (Specialization)
  • Master of Planning (M Plan)
  • Master of Philosophy or M Phil in Architecture
  • PhD (Doctorate) in Architecture

Popular entrance examinations held across India to offer admission into postgraduate architecture courses include the following–

  • The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE)
  • Karnataka Post Graduate Common Entrance Test (PGCET)
  • Telangana State Post Graduate Engineering Common Entrance Test (TSPGCET)
  • Tamil Nadu Common Entrance Test (TANCET)

Study Abroad Opportunities in Architecture

Several universities and institutions abroad offer excellent architectural, design, and planning programmes. Here are some of the best global architectural institutions for students wishing to pursue a degree abroad:

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, United States

2. Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands

3. UCL, London, United Kingdom

4. ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology / Zürich, Switzerland

5. Harvard University, Cambridge, United States

6. National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore

7. Manchester School of Architecture, United Kingdom

8. University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Berkeley, United States

9. Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

10. Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

Career prospects/Placements in Architecture

Acquiring an architecture degree opens several avenues and career prospects in both the public and private sectors. Architecture students are offered placement opportunities by their college’s Training And Placement (T&P) cells from their final/penultimate year. Students may practice as professional architects only after registering with the Council of Architecture.

Top architectural companies recruiting from leading organisations in India include:

  • Cadence Architects
  • Abin Design Studio
  • Larsen & Toubro (L&T)
  • VSA Architect
  • Edifice
  • C.P. Kureja Architects
  • Somaya & Kalappa Consultants.
  • Oscar & Ponni Architects.
  • Kembhavi Architecture Foundation.
  • Morphogenesis.

Some of the leading architecture companies and practices in the world include-

  • Gensler, USA
  • Jacobs, USA
  • Nikken Sekkei, Japan
  • IBI Group, Canada
  • Woods Bagot, Australia
  • AEDAS, China
  • DP Architects, Singapore
  • Sweko, Sweden
  • Foster + Partners, UK

After completing their architecture degrees and registering with the Council of Architecture as licensed architects, students may choose from various career prospects depending on their specialisations. Some of the popular and lucrative career prospects in architecture include:

1. Project Architect

2. Architectural Designer

3. Architecture Engineer

4. Principal Architect

5. Construction Manager

6. Industrial Designer

7. Landscape Architect

8. Interior Designer

9. Urban Planner

10. Environment and Sustainability Architect

Starting Salaries in Architecture

The average starting salaries for architecture graduates range between 2 to 3 lakhs per annum and can go as high as 40 LPA for senior architects. 

Urban Planning, Sustainability Architecture, Commercial Architecture, and Industrial Architecture are some of the specializations which have reported the highest starting salaries in India.  

Subjects Similar to Architecture

Architecture is a creative and technical field combining aspects of engineering and designing to plan and construct structures and edifices. Students who are interested in architecture may also find an affinity for similar subjects such as- 

  • Planning
  • Design Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Structural engineering
  • Building Services Engineering
  • Interior Designing
  • Statistics and Modelling
  • Product Designing 
  • Graphic Designing
  • Construction Technology

Architecture FAQs

Do IITs offer Architecture courses?

Only two IITs in India offer B Arch- Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee and Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Candidates may obtain admission into these IITs by clearing the IIT AAT (Architecture Aptitude Test).

What is the difference between JEE-Main paper-1 and JEE-Main paper-2?

JEE-Main paper-1 is the entrance exam offering seats for engineering programmes in various science and technology institutes. JEE-Main paper-2 is the entrance exam offering seats in architecture programmes across architecture and planning colleges in India. 

The two papers are independent, and a candidate may appear in either or both of these papers. 

Which is the most lucrative specialisation in Architecture?

Architectural technicians, landscape architects, urban planners, and historical preservation architects have been reported to earn the highest wages in the architecture sector. 

However, an architect’s salary also depends on their experience as well as the sector (public/private/government/non-profit) in which they work.

What services do architects provide?

An architect’s responsibilities range from reconnaissance and negotiations with the client and evaluation and analyses of the construction sites and funds to the design, execution, and inspection and evaluation of the final structure.

Which are the best colleges in India for B Arch?

The best colleges in India for B Arch are the IITs (Roorkee and Kharagpur), the Schools of Architecture and Planning (SPAs) and selective BITs and NITs. 

Some of the leading private colleges for studying architecture include Sir J J College Of Architecture, CEPT University, Chandigarh College of Architecture, and Sushant School of Art and Architecture. 

What is the difference between B Arch and B Plan?

B Arch or “Bachelor of Architecture” is a five-year undergraduate degree where students learn theoretical and practical principles of architecture to design, conceptualise, construct, and evaluate various physical structures.

B.Plan. or “Bachelor of Planning” is a four-year undergraduate degree where students learn the principles of planning, environmental, and sustainable development. Planning is a branch of engineering with commonalities in design, environmental management, and natural and human resource preservation. 

What is the difference between the job roles of an architect and a civil engineer?

An architect works on the design, planning, and creation of buildings and other physical structures whereas a civil engineer deals with all the technical processes of the creation of civil structures, from design to execution. A civil engineer’s scope is wider as it covers not just buildings and similar structures but also sanitation systems, drainage processes, waterworks, and transportation infrastructure, to name a few.