University of South Florida

School of Architecture & Community Design

USF College of The Arts

Our School

Love of design meets love of constructing at the University of South Florida's School of Architecture & Community Design.

Transform your vision into tangible designs. Explore and enhance your creativity with a supportive community. Through a thriving design culture and strong work ethic, students emerge from our programs with the skills, education, and experience to launch their careers. Our graduates practice throughout Florida and across the United States, as well as abroad.

Founded in 1986 as a graduate program, the USF School of Architecture & Community Design (SACD) was the first state school of architecture in Florida to be located in a major metropolitan center. As the population in Florida grew, the state legislature recognized that research and leadership at the university level was needed to help manage the impact on the environment. Thus it cofounded the school's research arm, the Florida Center for Community Design and Research (FCCDR), thereby linking SACD to an urban mission from our very establishment. Today, SACD and FCCDR are under the umbrella of the College of The Arts, the creative center of the University of South Florida's Tampa campus, where real-world opportunities abound for students who want to be part of a rich, interdisciplinary creative community.

SACD offers two degrees: the Master of Architecture and the Master of Urban and Community Design. Our curriculum prepares graduates for a full range of professional activities. The Master of Architecture is fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board and is a professional degree required for licensure.

Fostering collaboration and mentorship, our community of students, faculty and professional architects is close-knit. Our holistic and rigorous curriculum reflects SACD's commitment to providing the very best education and opportunities for students. All faculty members are passionate about teaching a new generation of visionaries, and several have active architectural practices or consultancies and maintain licensure.

Design Culture

The design studio is the heart of the School of Architecture & Community Design. It's the place where students and faculty come together to explore and problem-solve. We emphasize the craft of making for its own sake and as a design tool, because to us making is both a means of inquiry and a process of discovery. A visit to our design studios reveals our deep interest in building – the crafting of place and the construction of context.

We encourage our students to explore and redefine what architecture means to them. To delve into the full scope of what architecture can do across various arenas: from urban issues to the individual experience, from social activism to personal development.

Community Engagement

In line with our mission to develop sustainable and resilient communities, SACD has long been involved with the Tampa Bay community. We continue to contribute through topical design charrettes, pro-bono projects, grant and contract work, scholarly research and multiple design/build projects. Recent efforts include:

  • Mini-Homes for Vets: The design and pending construction of several small-scale homes in the city of St. Petersburg, Florida for military veterans.
  • Faith House: The master plan design for the Faith House, a residential program for individuals recovering from substance abuse issues.
  • Revitalizing Oldsmar: The master plan and visioning studio for the city of Oldsmar, Florida.

Around the university, SACD strives to create an environment where students can enjoy learning and also connect with peers in comfortable communal spaces. Through the SACD Design Workshop, SACD students (in teams of three to five) collaborate with university faculty, leadership, and the USF Foundation on speculative projects around campus. Led by faculty, these teams develop architectural programs and proposals that enlighten prospective user groups and assist with fundraising. To date, the SACD Design Workshop has developed 14 projects, all funded by USF colleges or USF Academic Affairs.

Our students have also contributed to international community engagement projects. As part of our Study Abroad Research Studio, the school partnered up with our research arm, the Florida Center for Community Design and Research, to collaborate with the Planning Council of the city of Aberdeen in Scotland. Visit the Study Abroad and Travel Opportunities page for more information on this program and our other educational travel opportunities.

  • Curator's Tour of an exhibition at the USF Contemporary Art Museum

    About the College of The Arts

    The College of The Arts is the creative center of USF's Tampa campus. We prepare students for careers in architecture, community design, art, art history, music, theatre and dance.

    Learn more

  • Bull statue in front of the USF Marshall Student Center on the Tampa campus.

    About USF

    Founded in 1956, the University of South Florida is a preeminent university located in Tampa, Florida. Learn about history, careers, facts, traditions, visiting campus and more.

    Learn more

  • Profile of the Tampa Museum of Art located directly in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park at the heart of downtown Tampa

    Tampa Bay Arts Community

    Outside USF, the Tampa Bay area offers a rich variety of creative and cultural activities. Follow this link to learn more about our local arts community.

    Learn more