Physical Education Requirements for Architecture students?


Hi! I don't know if anyone here can help me here, but why not try?

I am a high school student who wants to become an architect. I want to apply for Cornell University's B.Arch or BFA in Architecture degree that is within the College of Architecture, although I noticed that in Cornell's regular Arts & Sciences College requries students to pass physican education tests, a swim test, and take PE classes. I have always hated PE and swimming. I am terrible at and have always hated sports, and I don't like swimming and am not good at it either. Do you think students in the College of Architecture, Art, & Planning have Physicial Education requirements? I like MIT, they have a BS in Architecture degree but I know for a fact that you have to pass a swim test and take Physical Education classes or play a sport. Is there a way to get out of this? I know that Harvard stopped their swim test and fewer and fewer schools require physical education and swim tests. I plan on earning another degree prior to going into an architecture program so do you think they might stop requiring it then? Thank you!

Aug 5, 11 5:52 pm

Once around the refrigerator after the 1 am pizza delivery?

Aug 5, 11 5:56 pm  · 


Physician test ? for what ?

I do believe there is generally some PE classes that is part of general education requirements in many states with some exceptions applies for ADA / DDA Acts reasons - people who have documented physical disabilities may fall into an exception rule.


Aug 5, 11 5:57 pm  · 

Yes i'm sorry I meany Physical Education

Aug 5, 11 6:03 pm  · 

If I would be going to school for Architecture which relates to design theory and science, why would they force Physical Education requirments onto me. It doesn't relate to architecture at all. I undertand that in a liberal arts education they want you to have a broad understanding of the world but why physical education.

Aug 5, 11 6:05 pm  · 

It doesn't say it on the Cornell College of Architecture, Art, & Planning website that they have physical education requirements. It does however say it on the College of Arts & Sciences, which is the regular college. Do you think they would still have Physical Education requirements in the seperate Architecture College?

Aug 5, 11 6:09 pm  · 

I usually had my exercise - 75ft. elevation to 300 ft. elevation in 1450 ft. If you really wanted to exercise, go from downtown Astoria (Liberty Theater) to top of the Astoria Column and back and repeat that 10 times a day - with a big tube of a complete 150-sheet construction (24x36 sheets) document on your back and have your portle 18x24 portanle drafting table and the entire set of ICC I-Codes 2009 edition. Now that is P.E. credit.


Aug 5, 11 6:20 pm  · 

yes, PE is required for all students at cornell. i think the swimming test is more a safety measure since the campus is surrounded by rivers and waterfalls...

cornell offers some awesome PE courses like ice climbing, archery, dancing, name a few. why wouldn't you want to meet other people outside of studio, get some much needed healthy physical exercise, and learn something new?

Aug 5, 11 6:45 pm  · 

PE is a good thing, Sooner or latter bad habits of not exercising will catch up to you, and you will have to do some good old activities to keep fit.  All in all it will help you become more active and healthy, and hopefully have a more balanced life.

Aug 5, 11 7:50 pm  · 

Its not that I don't want to be healthy its just that I have Asthma, have no athletic ability, and get tired very easily. Do you think it would be a problem if I attempted the swim test and didn't completely meet the goal but still attempt it and do my best at it? Do you think that I could take a simple and easy exercise class to fufull the requirement?

Aug 5, 11 8:21 pm  · 

You will really want to do something active as you get older and be more of an architect.  You should look at your health as a reflection of your practice and your profession.  I personally think everyone should be healthy and active.  I even would go as far as to say that you should do some push ups, sit ups, and swim everyday.  


And it's kind of interesting that you picked Cornell in the first place.  They have issues all around.  I think Cal Poly would be a much better choice. 

Aug 5, 11 8:48 pm  · 

A healthy body is a healthy mind.  Good architecture isn't made by sluggish minds.

Don't worry about it.  Not everyone is on the same level at different athletic activities.  Those college level PE classes are all about showing up, participating, and improving, not about who can run the fastest mile or whatever.

Aug 5, 11 11:33 pm  · 

Thank you! That least comment made me feel better about this situation. And in response to the post before the most recent one. What sort of "issues" are you referring to about Cornell? You had mentioned Cal Poly, Cal Poly is a great school but I was raised in the Northeast and really love the Northeast. Cornell has a beautiful campus and is a very good school. It is also probably the easiest ivy league school to get into.

Aug 6, 11 11:43 am  · 

The school can care less if someone is one twinkie away from having a heart attack or if one can run a mile under 3 minutes. they do care if you fall into a creek and hope you don’t sue them for $$$$$$. So I imagine it’s a liability thing that they administer to prove to their insurance company that you can pull yourself out of the water like a champ. They’re not looking for any Michael Phelps but they’re just trying to cover there a$$es on all ends. Of course the safety of students is a concern and nobody wants to go to a campus where they’re known to have fat people mopping around on scooters just to go 20 feet away.    

Aug 6, 11 8:30 pm  · 
Token AE

Any of the architecture studios that I took always tested to make sure that we met the minimum 40-yard dash time and could hit the minimum number of bench press reps at 225 lbs. Pull-ups were always the deciding factor for most.

Maybe that's just a state school thing, though.

Aug 7, 11 12:26 am  · 

Cornell, MIT, Harvard - sounds like you're a pretty smart kid with great goals! If you are looking for an architecture school in the northeast, you may also want to look into RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). It's a 5-yr accredited undergrad program, so you'll be graduating with a professional B.Arch degree. No PE requirements, although the fitness center and pool are open and free for all students.

And yeah, I just graduated from RPI. The School of Architecture is currently making a switch to greater emphasis on 3D computer modeling, parametrics, and scripting.

Aug 7, 11 1:50 am  · 


Since you asked on another thread...

Cornell being sort of a private college vs. a state college/university they may term things a little differently.

B.FA in Architecture is essentially the same as a B.Arts in Architecture. It is a PRE-PROFESSIONAL degrees of Architecture until you complete the 5th year's curriculum.

The B.S. in the History of Architecture seems to be more a History degree with emphasis around history vs. preparing a person to be an Architect but is more to prepare a person to becoma an Architectural Historian.

HOWEVER, if I were you (and to avoid being forced to take a 2-yr. M.Arch. (Professional) anywhere else or finishing the 5th year of the course curriculum at Cornell, I would seek the B.Arch. It is 5 years long. ( Ok can take you longer depending on how many classes you take and if you have to repeat any classes ).

Do keep in mind that Cornell probably isn't cheap to attend. Anyway, It isn't a bad place but it is highly competitive. If you have questions, talk with Cornell for further details about their programs and the difference between the B.Arch and B.FA and if you took the B.FA. what do you have to do to get the professional degree. Find out before you head there. You may decide B.Arch is the way to go. In my opinion, it would be the way to go then there be no question.



Aug 7, 11 2:39 am  · 

The physical education portion, particularly the stamina and speed exercises, are very useful during budget discussions with aggressive clients. You may also need good upper body strength to apply proactive pressure to various contractors. 

Aug 7, 11 10:46 pm  · 

Thank you for all of your help. At this point  guess I will just deal with the Physical Education requirements and use it as a different learning exsperience. Based on your responses it doesn't seen like the universities really care about how you perform athletically, they just seem to care that you show up. Again, thank you.

Aug 7, 11 11:47 pm  · 

There are alot of different types of PE classes. Classes like Yoga and some others are more about personal fitness vs. how to be a sports team star. Most of the time, it is about self-improvement and they mostly care about those on the sports team then those who are doing it more for personal enrichment but for credit.

You can select your classes, I am pretty sure. A required swimming class maybe for safety reasons and they want to know that you can swim your way to safety not necessarily for swim competition. Remember, college is more about personal choice not "you just have to do it because it is the law". No! You get out of thr class that you put into it and it is your money.

Because you have asthma (sp?) - If I recall correctly, that can possibly be seen as a physical disability depending on severity and you may note that so you don't get over worked. If it is medically diagnosed by a doctor then it probably can be declared as such.



Aug 8, 11 12:33 am  · 

just take bowling for two semesters like most of the other cornell arch students. the bowling lanes are closest to studios (and north campus dorms)...and the prof is chill. just go, throw a few balls and by defult you will improve. also, you can nap a bit and not get too sweaty before a swift return to your desk at rand. swim test is super one likes to do it, but its part of being on a campus with a lake and gorges that drunk frat boys like to slip into at night...

Aug 8, 11 4:12 am  · 
On the fence

Taking PE for an architecture degree is as worthless as taking calculus.  It will have no bearing on your job function.  That said, wouldn't you want to be physically fit and know a little something about math?

Don't forget that monday will be your turn to bring in the doughnuts.

Aug 8, 11 12:25 pm  · 

all part of a well balanced education : calc is also a req for structures at cornell...yay!

Aug 8, 11 12:33 pm  · 

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