The American College of the Building Arts

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Application Deadline - August 1

If you haven't finished your application yet, get to work, slots are filling quickly! We still have a few spots left in each trade, but once those slots are filled, you'll need to wait until next year to apply! Make sure you complete all of the requirements for admissions below.

Traditionally Un-Traditional

The American College of the Building Arts is unlike any other college in the world. ACBA is the only college in the country to offer an Associate and Bachelor of Applied Science degree in the Building Arts.

Classes in the traditional liberal arts are integrated with architecture, design, historic preservation, drawing and drafting, architectural history, material science, management and construction.

To truly understand what a unique college ACBA is, we strongly urge you to come for a visit. Whether you are graduating high school, college, or changing careers, being able to observe what students are learning on any given day will give you a better idea as to whether ACBA is the college for you.


More Than Just Books

In addition to the traditional liberal arts classes that any traditional college has, ACBA's students spends two-and-a-half days each week in the apprentice labs learning the artistry and hand skills in one of six areas of craft specialization.


Being Unique

ACBA is not for everyone. But for those visionaries who can imagine creating additions to the built environment that will last for generations, saving historic structures for the future, and connecting to our past to bring a new way of thinking into the next century, we welcome you!

The College is designed to have a maximum size of 200 students because we value the apprentice/master relationship. We believe that this centuries old method of education provides the best practice in the formation of educated artisans. Our small class sizes (6:1) and intimate learning environments compel us to keep our freshmen cohort capacity to 48.

The American College of the Building Arts offers rolling admissions. We do not accept students mid-year. We accept applications and make class formation decisions beginning September 1st for the following year.


Requirements for Admission

Required - Admissions Application

Required - Essay

Required - Transcript(s) from all schools attended

Required - SAT or ACT scores

Required - Personal Interview

Recommended - Portfolio (digital or print)

Recommended - Letters of Recommendation


Recommended Application Items

Portfolio: We are interested in seeing a part of your artistic side. Students seeking admissions to ACBA should submit a portfolio of their artisan/craft experience and completed work. This allows you, the applicant, to show your artistic/creative skills and/or experience in the crafts. Experience in your desired program is not a pre‐requisite for the admission to the College. Students with no prior experience may submit a portfolio of artistic work from past projects. If you do not have material with which to submit a portfolio, members of the Admissions Committee may interview the student relative to the craft specialization.

The portfolios become a permanent part of your admission file and will not be returned.

Letters of Recommendation: Choose up to 3 people (not related to you) who know you well and are willing to recommend you as a candidate for admission. Have them submit the letter directly to the Office of Admissions and Educational Services via mail or email.


Visit Our Campus

To understand the unique education that the American College of the Building Arts offers, your first step is to visit our campus. Come meet our remarkable faculty and students at an Open House!


  1. 81%

    32 students have graduated between 2015 and 2017 with 26 employed in their field!

  2. $391,396

    Amount awarded through ACBA scholarships during the past two years.

  3. 6:1

    Student:Faculty Ratio at ACBA.

  4. 65

    Number of students currently enrolled at ACBA across all four years.

  5. 19

    Number of states represented across the student body.


Contact Us

Ms. Hailey Marthaler at
marthalerh@buildingartscollege.us
Phone: 843-577-5245
Fax: 843-764-9832

Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 5:00PM

Mailing Address:

Office of Admissions
649 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29403


Helpful Links

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Financial Aid
Open House Schedule
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