Program Advisor: Christina Penn-Goetsch

Art to architecture

Recent graduates have been successful in some of the most competitive graduate art and architecture programs in the country, including Washington University in St. Louis, The University of Pennsylvania, Iowa State University, and Harvard. Former students have gone on to study with Robert Venturi and Louis Khan. Another works for I.M. Pei. Cornell has an even larger list of accomplishments of students attending MFA programs throughout the United States.

Cornell has a long and established relationship with Washington University. We think highly of their program, and we have established credibility with them as well. Our students have been well prepared, both in studio work, historical foundations, and theoretical knowledge, so that they can succeed. A few years ago, a Cornell alumnus was given the graduate school's highest honors. We also believe that the One Course At A Time format has assisted students in learning how to work hard and to focus on a singular goal.

This program functions much like a Pre-Med curriculum in that students complete their degrees with a variety of majors and earn a degree from Cornell College. The selection of coursework and preparation of an art portfolio is what allows you to move onto an architecture program. Such a combination meets the needs of students who desire a liberal arts curriculum before focusing their studies on preparing for a single profession.

Cooperative program with Washington University

Washington University in St. Louis recently reinstated their cooperative architecture program. This curriculum allows students to complete three years of preliminary study at their undergraduate institution and then matriculate at Washington University to complete their senior year. The fourth year is then transferred back to Cornell College upon completion and either a BA or a BSS is awarded by Cornell.

Coursework at Washington University involves a summer and a fourth year of architectural study as a preparation for admission into the Master of Architecture (MArch) program. Once admitted, a student studies in the Washington University graduate school of architecture for an additional three years. Students interested in the cooperative program should contact Prof. Penn-Goetsch as soon as possible in their first year.

Suggested Cornell courses for admission to a graduate program


  • Drawing
  • Ceramics
  • Collage/Assemblage
  • Sculpture

Art History

  • Greek and Roman Art
  • Italian Renaissance
  • Medusa’s Art in the Age of Galileo
  • Rome Reborn: Caput Mundi in Ancient, Renaissance and Modern Contexts


  • Europe: 800-1300
  • Europe: 1300-1700
  • Modern Europe and Its Critics


  • Calculus I


  • General Physics I

Submission of a portfolio demonstrating one's work in studio art plays a critical role in the application process; therefore, energy must be devoted to developing the appropriate studio art skills early in an undergraduate career. Also, courses in art history assist in the process of learning how to talk and write about your work.