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Career Explorations in Architecture

Career Explorations in Architecture is a summer pre-college program for high school students interested in exploring the fundamentals of design and thinking at the architectural scale. This studio-based architecture program provides a fun and rewarding experience, and encourages participants to explore the world around them from the design perspective. No specialized knowledge or background is needed, beyond a serious interest in architectural design.

Preparing students for positions of leadership in their communities.


By exposing students to the unique urban landscape of New Orleans, students begin to see how architecture blends history and culture. Over the course of the program, Tulane design faculty will work with each student to develop a set of projects through models and drawings resulting in a portfolio of work they can use for their college applications.

Architecture students

Program Highlights

  • Hands-on coursework
  • Learn from talented faculty in the heart of New Orleans
  • Explore potential careers in architecture
  • Receive college credit

Reasons to Choose the Tulane Pre-College Architecture Program

As high school students consider careers, they may not yet have been exposed to the unique blend of visual orientation, creative process, academic investigation, and professional training that forms an architectural education. Tulane Pre-College students will explore architectural ideas, methods, and issues with Tulane faculty and local practicing architects. Lectures, studio time, digital workshops, field trips, discussions, and critiques will be supplemented with regular design exercises to be completed outside class time.

The Tulane School of Architecture's location in uptown New Orleans provides an unmatched cultural and urban context within which to study architecture as a creative, cultural and social practice.


For Summer 2022, the Tulane School of Architecture is offering two studio based summer courses that introduce high school students to the study and practice of architecture. Each course is offered as both a two-week on-campus session and a two-week online session. Students who are not local to the area can opt into a residential experience. The on-campus and online courses will run simultaneously, but be taught by professors with separate sets of students. Students can enroll in one or both courses.

shoe sketch

At the completion of each course, high school students will receive 3 credit hours and an official Tulane transcript. Students who opt to participate in both sessions will receive 6 credits along with a great introduction to the full spectrum of design and making.

Architecture: Tactile Design (July 5-15)- this two-week course embraces the tactile facets of the creative design process utilizing hand drawing, mixed media exploration, and physical model making. Students will explore the city with their sketchbook, experiencing the spatial, environmental, and cultural context of New Orleans.

Architecture: Digital Design (July 18-29)- this course explores the realms of digital design, representation, and production as a means of communicating information in a visual and compelling way. Students will learn the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign) as well as 3d modeling software to express their design ideas. Students will have the opportunity to work with innovative digital tools within our digital laboratory to compile a portfolio of work that is lively, relevant and professional.

Students who pursue a degree in architecture at Tulane may use up to 3 credit hours toward major requirements in the Bachelor of Architecture or Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree.

2022 Session Information

Two Sessions July 5-15, July 18-29
Who's eligible? Rising 11th & 12th grade students
College Credit Up to 6 credits and a Tulane transcript
Cost (Day) 2-week Session: $1,995.00
Cost (Residential) 2-week Session: $4,495.00
Cost (Online) 2-week Session: $2,095.00

Applying to Career Explorations in Architecture

The Career Explorations in Architecture program is a program designed for students entering the 11th and 12th grades. A completed application consists of an essay, transcript, and letter of recommendation.

The School of Architecture offers a special tuition rate - a 10% savings - to all students who enroll in both courses.

Tulane's School of Architecture offers scholarship opportunities to students with demonstrated need. In order to be considered for scholarship opportunities, you must submit your scholarship application by the financial aid application deadline. If you need assistance completing your application or have questions about scholarships, email summer@tulane.edu for more information.

On-Campus Program Information

Sample Daily Schedule

Architecture student

Classes meet daily, Monday thru Friday. Below is a typical schedule:

  • 9:00am-9:45am College Workshop
  • 9:45am-10:15am Sketching
  • 10:15am-11:30am Lecture
  • 11:30am-1:00pm Lunch and Open Studio time
  • 1:00pm-3:30pm Design Studio Instruction
  • 3:30pm-5:00pm Open Studio Time (TAs available in studio for help sessions)

Some field trips and academic excursions have been planned during class time.


There will be projects to complete each day in preparation for a final presentation at the end of each week. The studio is available during the times listed above for students to work on their projects outside of class.

Field Trips

The class takes several field trips to learn about the city of New Orleans, visit different neighborhoods, see important architectural works, and sketch from observation. Trip destinations may include the French Quarter, the Garden District, City Park, the Tulane URBANbuild houses, and Laura Plantation. Depending on the field trip destination, we will either take the streetcar or a Tulane shuttle. On field trips we will bring Tulane boxed lunches or provide meals for you on site.

Algiers neighborhood

A few things to keep in mind:

  • When we leave campus, you will be asked to bring your sketchbook, pencils and pens for sketching and taking notes; so you’ll want to bring a bag or backpack to carry these items.
  • NOLA (New Orleans, LA) summers can be HOT and HUMID so please be prepared for hot weather. Bring water bottles, hats, sunscreen, bug spray, and anything else you may need to stay comfortable outdoors.
  • We will be doing a lot of walking on field trips. Bring comfortable shoes and clothes as well as an umbrella or rain jacket in case of a summertime rain shower.

On the first day we will show you around your new "home away from home" in the Architecture building and you will settle in to your individual studio desks. Just like in architecture school, you will have your very own desk for the duration of the program. We will provide all materials needed for the program and they will be waiting for you at your desk - except for the item used for the project described below.


At the root of the architecture discipline is the study of design. Any scale of design considers the program (what something is used for), the occupant (who uses it), and the context (how/where it is used). We will begin studio lessons with the documentation and analysis of an ordinary object - a shoe - in order to unravel the layers of complexity within a small designed object before translating these lessons to a much larger scale— the scale of a building! Deconstructing the shoes will give us the opportunity to study and explore design through careful representation and abstraction. This project will serve as the point of departure for the design of an architectural space! So stay tuned for more information about this project - we may ask you to bring an old pair of shoes with you that can be destroyed.

Portfolio Prep & Documentation

We will discuss portfolio preparation throughout the program, look at sample portfolios and help students assemble their own portfolio of work they can use for their college applications. We will help students scan drawings and photograph models; all files are taken home on a thumb drive. The FedEx office on campus can help students ship their work home if necessary.

Course Credit

At the completion of the course, students will have earned three Tulane credit hours. Participation in both the tactile and digital courses will earn students a total of 6 credits, 3 of which can be used as an architectural elective towards a degree in the Tulane School of Architecture.

Final Exhibition

Final Exhibition students

The program culminates is an exhibition on the final day of each session followed by a reception for students, faculty, parents and the Tulane School of Architecture community. The exhibition dates are Friday, July 15 and Friday, July 29.


Career Explorations Teaching Team

Emily Parsons

Emily Parsons, Assistant Dean of Academics and Advising

Emily Parsons serves as the Program Director for the Career Explorations in Architecture summer program. During the year she works with the student body on all matters outside of that classroom including course planning, student organizations, and student health and wellness.

Emily received her Bachelor of Architecture from Mississippi State University and her Master of Science in Education from University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. She is particularly interested in understanding the cognitive development of students in a studio based curriculum and how interventions in student affairs can impact success in Architectural education and the profession.

Frequently Asked Questions

I do not have any architecture experience. Can I participate?
You do not need any prior experience in or have studied architecture to participate in CEA - just an interest in architecture and design.

Are there any specific math or computer skills necessary?
Students who wish to enroll in CEA are not required to have specific skills beyond basic math and general computer literacy.

What equipment and/or materials will I need to bring?
We will provide all materials needed for the program. You may be asked to bring a commonly used item (like an old shoe) for the project.

What happens after the program ends?
The CEA program culminates in a professional portfolio that can be used for applying to colleges.

Can I take both courses?
Yes! Students who complete both sessions will receive 6 credits and a great introduction to the full spectrum of design and making.

I want to apply to the online courses. Is there any difference between the online and on-campus options? 
Though taught by separate professors, our online courses cover the same material as the on-campus courses. Students in both the on-campus program and online program will complete homework, attend lectures, and complete final projects. Any differences between the program are a result of adjusting assignments and schedules for in-person vs. online experiences.

Do I still receive college credit for the online courses?
Yes, students who complete either an on-campus or online course will receive 3 hours of college credit per course.