History and Theory of Architecture Minor

A minor in history and theory of architecture will provide students who have an interest in architectural history the opportunity to develop an understanding and appreciation of architecture as a basic component of human society. Students will gain an insight of diverse architectural cultures as well as apply diverse research methods in order to understand architectural phenomena in a broad context. The History and Theory of Architecture minor is ideal for students in Architecture and Art History. Students in other majors will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

From its roots in art history and archeology, architectural history has evolved into a dynamic and polyvalent discipline that overlaps with urban and social history, cultural studies, geography, and landscape studies. It provides frameworks for understanding the built environment: how it has been shaped over time, and how it actively shapes cultures and societies.

With a minor in architectural history and theory, you will learn to think like historians as well as architects. You will learn rigorous methods of historical inquiry and design research, from formal analysis of style to cross-cultural comparison, which will allow you to both understand design as a process and the complex relationship between architecture and culture. You will be able to choose from a wide range of courses focusing on different parts of the world (United States, Europe, Middle East/North Africa, Latin America). Many courses have a thematic focus and are cross-cultural in scope. Such themes include urbanism and urban process; building cultures and practices; adaptation and change over time; monuments and memory; and architectures of oppression, resistance, and coexistence. Some courses are offered abroad, where you will apply the skills of analysis and interpretation of historic buildings on site.

As a Minor in the History and Theory of Architecture, you will apply the tools and perspectives of “design thinking” to historical architecture, from description to sketching, diagramming and digital modeling. This will not only hone your skills as a designer by helping you analyze precedents and mine the past for ideas, but also prepare you for careers in historic preservation or teaching the history of architecture.


Questions? Contact Assistant Professor Joseph Williams at jcwillia@umd.edu.