International Programs

With nearly 50% of College of Design students participating in a study abroad experience, international programming plays a large role in the comprehensive education of students in architecture, historic preservation and interiors. In fact, the College of Design has the most students on the University of Kentucky campus who graduate with an education abroad experience.

With annual opportunities in such locations as Berlin, Netherlands, Spain, Italy and more, students gain a global perspective in their design thinking, allowing them to solve design challenges with a broader outlook.

Emails are regularly sent out to notify you of all upcoming international program opportunities, so stay tuned.

Go to the Global Map

The Field School

In summer 2017, students in the College of Design wrapped up some of the first research collected on a mid-century neighborhood as part of the nation’s first hybrid Field School in Historic Preservation.

UK Department of Historic Preservation’s HP 676: Field Methods in Heritage Conservation is designed to provide online students the opportunity to enhance their studies in a course offering a hands-on experience documenting and interpreting the geographical, architectural, socio-cultural, economic and historical aspects of a regional neighborhood.

The Field School, part of an online 12-hour graduate certificate available in Historic Preservation at UK, gives its students a rare opportunity to apply their lessons in a real-world scenario. While there are other field schools in the country for historic preservation, we are the first hybrid field school in the country to offer one as part of an online course, said Karen Hudson, visiting assistant professor of Historic Preservation.

Studio Louisville

College of Design Expands Into Louisville With New Architecture Studio

In partnership with the City of Louisville and Portland Investment Initiative (Pii), the College of Design at the University of Kentucky will host its first satellite studio in West Louisville beginning with the Fall 2017 semester.

After meeting with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Pii founder Gill Holland in spring 2016, Dean Mitzi Vernon set the wheels in motion for the inaugural studio away experience that immerses UK’s School of Architecture students in a targeted yet underdeveloped community. Having this in situ perspective allows students to physically work in the environment while engaging with the residents, community organizations and other key groups to address the needs of the area.

Thanks to the College of Design’s Brown Forman Visiting Chair Endowment, the studio will be able to sponsor a keynote figure for each year of the studio. For this inaugural year, Jeanne Gang and her office, Studio Gang, has been named the recipient.

Currently titled Studio Louisville and run by Associate Professor David Biagi, this is just the first iteration of this pop-up studio approach. Future plans are to migrate to new cities with a need for community transformation.

Design Build

The College of Design extends an immersive approach to students, providing hands-on opportunities to see a project from its initial design phase all the way to the final build. In past studios, students have been able to design, build and fabricate installations for: MoonTower, a Lexington music festival; Exhibit Columbus, which celebrates the modern architecture in Columbus, Ind.; and Connect, an art and science event at Bernheim Arboretum in Clermont, Ky.

These are just a few examples of projects students have literally had their hands in designing, which develops their design skills that much further.

UK Design students building a structure for the MoonTower Festival on Wednesday August 16, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Mark Cornelison / UKphoto

Humanitarian Architecture

A call to help build a Haitian orphanage in Professor Bruce Swetnam’s Spring 2017 studio has evolved into a project driven by a passion for humanitarian architecture.

Students from Swetnam’s studio last semester as well as those in the current studio have created the Big Blue Crowdfunding project “Humanitarian Architecture: Empowering Haitian Orphans” as a means to raise funds for travel to Haiti and additional building materials. They met their initial goal of $5,000 but the more funds they raise, the more building materials they can purchase for the renovation, according to Professor Swetnam. Also, “The more travel money that comes means more students can go to the orphanage and be a part of this humanitarian effort,” he said.

Architecture / Practice Preview

Architecture students have the opportunity to work at design firms over spring break each year. These programs place students in firms for 1-2 weeks to garner professional experience, develop professional networks, and contribute to the firms’ projects. The firms range from large, multi-national corporate offices to small, boutique design practices offering a variety of experiences in cities across the United States and sometimes the world.  

The programs provide a conduit for students to engage in a variety of collaborative, design-related assignments including executing research, attending staff or client meetings, making site visits, producing drawings and models, selecting materials and/or products. These tasks extend the students’ educational opportunities beyond the classroom and expose them to possible career paths.

Participating Architecture Firms (varies per year):

Barkow Leibinger, Berlin
Bernard Tschumi, New York
Brooks + Scarpa, Los Angeles
Bureau Spectacular, Los Angeles
Studio Libeskind, New York
Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, New York
Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, New Orleans
Future Cities Lab, San Francisco
Griffen Enright, Los Angeles
HWKN, New York
IwamotoScott, San Francisco
Kennedy + Violich, Chicago
LTL, New York


Morphosis Architects, New York + Culver City
NMDA (Neil Denari), Los Angeles
Olson Kundig, Seattle
OMA, New York
Oyler Wu Collaborative, Los Angeles
P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, Los Angeles
RUR (Reiser + Umemeto), New York
Snohetta, New York + Oslo
SO-IL, New York
Studio Gang, Chicago
SHoP, New York
Urban Lab, Chicago

Interiors Externship

As a part of the professional practice sequence, Interiors students have the opportunity to work at design firms over their spring break each year through the unique externship program. The objective of this program is to bridge the gap between formal education and professional practice; the program also offers cultural exposure in new cities over the course of the students’ spring break to better experience the practice of design.

The week-long externship offers students firsthand exposure to the professional workings of design firms. As part of the experience, students participate in client meetings, site visits, product and material selections, and even presentations.

Participating Interior Design Firms (varies per year, not all listed):

Perkins + Will
Perkins Eastman
Deborah Berke & Partners
FRCH, Design Worldwide


Cannon Design
Veenendaal Cave Inc.
PDR Design Corp.
Blackline Studio