The State Council for Higher Education for Virginia recently approved changes to the classification of instructional programs for architectural degrees housed within the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

Effective Spring 2020, the graduate and undergraduate architecture programs in the School of Architecture + Design will now hold STEM designations - strong indications of the programs' quality.

"Having the STEM designation will be of great benefit to our graduating students as well as students who have graduated from our Masters program in the past ten years. It will make it possible for students to remain in the United States for a total of 3 years [in optional practical training following graduation] and will make our international graduates more desirable interns for firms seeking high quality graduates from Virginia Tech" says David Dugas, Chair of the Graduate Program in the School of Architecture + Design, who has been instrumental in the programs being reclassified.

Not only will the STEM designation give the university the ability to attract superior talent in both faculty and student recruitment but will also allow international students graduating from these programs to apply for a 24-month extension, known as STEM OPT, to the initial 12-month OPT (Optional Practical Training) that is automatically available after graduation.

Architecture, having always represented the integration of a number of disciplines within the sciences and arts, was officially recognized as a STEM subject in 2018 after years of discussion by architects and educators.

The School of Architecture + Design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies offers a number of study options for professional degree programs in architecture (B.Arch., M.Arch.2, and M.Arch.3) and are fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.