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Practice: Learn Through Experience

Practice is more than just earning hours for real-world work: It’s an innovative, self-guided learning method that helps you individualize your academic journey so that you emerge with the career and life skills that will serve you best in the future.


How Practice Works

Throughout your program, you’ll meet your Practice requirements through professional growth and development in the curriculum, earning Practice hours, completing one-on-one Practice assessments  with accomplished design professionals, and (if eligible) by getting credit for prior professional experience.


During your first two semesters (known as Foundation), you will complete two practice-based courses that help you grow your professional and personal development in areas related to design thinking, critical problem-solving, communication, and collaboration skills through applied learning.

City Lab Intensive is a four-day immersive experience separated over two weekends that starts on a students' first day at the BAC. During the Intensive, all incoming graduate and undergraduate students (except MDS and Online M.Arch students) engage in a series of field-based exercises centered on the exploration of systems, structures, places, and populations that make up the city of Boston.

  • Interdisciplinary student teams are taught by a range of experienced instructors and design practitioners.
  • Sketching + analysis of the City is guided by five design lenses: 1. Human Comfort, 2. Mobility, 3. Open Space, 4. Building Patterns, and 5. Social/Cultural Systems.

Inspiration is derived through the process of curiosity, serendipitous discovery, and cultivating an appreciation for learning outside the classroom in an applied manner where collaboration and communication are essential.

Building on the twin foci of communication and collaboration, Community Practice serves as an introduction to professional design practice at the BAC. During this course, students begin to contextualize not only the place of their learning, but also the complex challenges and opportunities presented to designers in the continual making and remaking of a design intervention.

  • Applied learning through group-based design projects, lectures, interdisciplinary engagement, and interaction with project stakeholders outside a classroom setting.
  • Communication, collaboration, and critical thinking skills are developed and strengthened to help students practice design professionally
  • Final group projects serve as a catalyst for exploring design lessons and concepts learned throughout the semester.

Once you have successfully completed the Community Practice course, you may choose to apply your skills to a Gateway Project, gaining professional design experience showcased through portfolio documentation while providing services to non-profit, municipal, and community partner organizations.


Number of students in each graduating class employed in the design field on the day they graduate


of current students are working

Meet BAC Student Fatima

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