As a student in the Cummings School of Architecture, you will be part of an educational community dedicated to the creative, collaborative and ethical design of the built environment. Students are guaranteed multiple opportunities for hands-on learning and professional experience throughout each of your four years.
From collaborating on projects in top-notch design studios, to working with real clients in paid internships and partnering with communities to make positive change, our graduates are well prepared for leadership in professional practice, service and individual creative pursuits upon graduation.
Teaching Firm in Residence
The Teaching Firm in Residence is a highlight of the Cummings School of Architecture, which brings the highest quality educator practitioners from Boston, New York and elsewhere in the region, across the country and abroad to the Bristol campus to work directly with students for an entire semester. They participate in teaching graduate design studios, studio lectures, design review critiques at both RWU and on-site at the firm.
Success By The Numbers
Placement of 2020 Grads
Even with the challenges of the pandemic, our 2020 Cummings School of Architecture graduates found success in employment or in graduate school within 6 months of graduation.
With Our Accelerated Master’s Degree
Our students have the opportunity to efficiently earn an M-Arch degree in 5 1/2 years with the highest, most prestigious accreditation.
Cummings Students participate in the Career Investment Program, providing paid student assistantships on or off campus, with firms, organizations and government agencies.
To read more about our academic offerings, or to view full course descriptions, please refer to our University Catalog.
A portfolio of two and/or three-dimensional work demonstrating evidence of an applicant’s creative potential is required for all applicants for admission to the B.S. in Architecture program.
The Architecture Design Core Studios I, II, III, & IV are crafted in a progressive learning sequence based on themes. The themes have basis in the humanities, where architecture and its various modes of expression can be understood as means to document, record, process and re-cast the human experience to the built environment. Students are immersed in the studio learning environment where they develop critical thinking, design communication and representation skills, building practices, technical skills, professional practices and asked to contribute to the making of a global knowledge of architecture. Through this understanding we approach the studio as place to practice, to ply one's craft, and develop the discipline necessary to lead the profession of Architecture. Studios include Core Design Studios, Advanced Option Studios, Urban Studios, Graduate Option Studios, Integrated Design Studio, and Thesis Design Studio.
Dedicated Studio Space
Every Architecture student benefits from their own studio space with individual Samsung flat-panel monitors and access to more than 100 software packages in a state-of-the-art virtual environment called rCloud.
Career Investment Program
All Architecture students participate in the Career Investment Program, provides students with paid assistantships on-campus or off-campus in partnership with a variety of firms, organizations or government agencies. These funded opportunities provide students with valuable research and professional experiences as they approach their advanced study and future career placements.
Study Abroad in Italy or Spain
Spend a semester in Italy during your junior or senior year studying Architecture in Florence at the Palazzo Rucellai, or in Barcelona at the Barcelona Architecture Center. Roger Williams University’s Florence study abroad program includes classroom, art studio and design review space at the Palazzo Rucellai, a landmark of the Renaissance, designed by the renowned humanist and architect Leon Battista Alberti and erected between 1446 and 1451.
The Cummings School of Architecture assigns two upperclass mentors to help first-year students adjust to college life and specifically the architecture program and studio space. With additional from faculty and administrators, the mentorship program is a critical component of community-building within the Architecture program.
Your study at RWU will include working on the Earth’s most pressing problems to develop a deeper understanding of the complex relationships among environmental, social and economic issues that will help guide your decision-making in your future architectural career and as a 21st century citizen.
The Women’s Leadership Network (WLN) connects students and alumni with leading faculty members and practitioners to provide mentorship, host events, and support female Cummings School of Architecture students and alumni in program success, career placement and advancement. The WLN supports female graduates and young professionals through career placement, advancement and satisfaction.
RWU has one of the largest chapters in the country of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), which organizes lectures, programs, conferences, and excursions.
The Roger Williams University National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS) Chapter advocates for the growth and implementation of justice and equity within the architectural profession and the campus. NOMA's mission, rooted in a rich legacy of activism, is to empower our local chapters and membership to foster justice and equity in communities of color, through outreach, community advocacy, professional development, and design excellence.
The Architecture Library collection includes more than 24,000 books and 60,000 slides, a digital collection comprising over 80,000 images, and subscriptions to over 200 periodicals and journals. The Historic Preservation collection, considered one of the best of its kind in New England, includes the H.R. Hitchcock Collection of American Architecture books on microfilm, the complete HABS photographic collection and international serials.
Student Athlete Mentor Program
The Cummings School of Architecture has a specific mentorship program that is the only one of its kind in the country — the Student Athlete Mentor Program for Architecture students. The program works closely with student-athletes, the athletic department and the faculty to coordinate time management and scheduling, facilitating the balance of each individual student’s academic studies and their intercollegiate athletic activities.
Master’s In Architecture Program
The NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture program prepares students to enter and advance both the discipline and the profession of architecture, providing a rigorous professional training in design, history, planning, and technology while helping students develop critical strategic thinking and communication skills to tackle a range of issues from sustainability and urbanism to historic preservation.
Learn from Faculty Experts
Roberto Viola Ochoa
Assistant Professor of Architecture, Director of Advanced Studies in the Architecture Program
Viola Ochoa works on a wide range of projects, both academic and mixed-use residential, nationally and all over the world. In parallel to his 22 years of professional practice, Roberto had an active private practice focusing on smaller-scale residential interventions and competition projects. He brings a global perspective to his work, and involves his students with architecture around the world through study abroad opportunities and collaborations with international architects.
"Roberto Viola Ochoa has a fantastic way of teaching where he brings in leading national and international consultants to his design studio each semester," said Dean of Architecture Stephen White.
Viola Ochoa is one of 10 full-time faculty who speak more than one language, including Spanish, French, Turkish and Italian. This provides students, especially in advising sessions, the opportunity to speak fluently with faculty who speak the same language.
Graduates Share Their Experiences
“Roger was the only school I applied to. I did a summer Architecture program here in high school. What stood out before I came here: there is an extreme level of personalness between student and professor. They do a great job setting all Architecture students up for whatever career path they want to pursue. They teach you to understand how design works and how spaces influence people.”
Grayson Scanlon '22
Junior Architectural Designer and Drafter at A4 Architecture in Newport, R.I.
More: Architecture Program Prepares Student Leader for Job as Architectural Designer
“I underestimated how my professional network would expand from being a student. I was fortunate enough to now have two internships with two different professors, as well as do freelance work for others. In professional architecture community, Roger Williams has some serious name recognition and firms have always told me that they've had great experiences hiring and working with Roger Williams students and alumni.”
Elias Christo '18 '20M
Designer at Hutker Architects, Inc. In Falmouth, Mass.
“A Liberal Arts education teaches you how to think, not what to think. The critical inquiry that I’ve learned has helped me know how to progress to the next steps in my career. Roger helped me learn how to question the world around me and not just take things at face value, and showed me there is always room for improvement and ways to evolve.”
Shannon DeFranza '21
Vice President at American Institute of Architecture Students in Washington, D.C.
“The best experience is that the school brings in professional architects from different businesses and different firms to teach. Roger has a successful program because we get to work with actual architects who are working in the field.”
Juan Osorio '19 '20M
Designer at Summit Design and Engineering Services in Cary, N.C.