Degree Programs

Students may pursue a Masters Degree, Bachelors Degree, Associate Degree or a Technical Certificate through distance learning. All courses are completely self-paced and may be started at any time and finished at any time.

Textbook-Based Study

All courses are textbook based, and at least one textbook is required for each course. Students read the specified books for each course and respond to each textbook chapter with a checklist summary “tell back” of the chapter content. This is an efficient method of learning, and is far more effective for retaining content than the traditional lecture/exam method. The average cost through book services is $30-$50 per book, plus shipping. Since all courses are textbook based, students can find content by reviewing the books at or other online book dealers. Textbook titles are shown with each course description. A complete list of textbooks is listed under the Textbooks Tab in the Courses Section.

Distance Study Procedures

New students receive a new student packet via email, with study instructions and a log for recording study time. SFIA faculty members respond to the first course work submittal, then add ongoing feedback as appropriate. All course assignments and communications between SFIA faculty members and students are by email or regular postal mail. Studio design and graphics work is submitted by email or postal mail.

Advanced drawing and computer drawing skills are not required prior to studying architecture or ecological design. These skills are acquired during the course of study. Computers are not required, but are highly recommended, to expedite course work and communication with SFIA.

All distance learning programs are self-paced. The average study time for each course ranges from 36 to 48 hours, so if one were able to study 6 hours a week, the total time per course would take roughly from 6 to 8 weeks. If one could study 12 hours a week, a course could be finished in 3 to 4 weeks. Some students who have ample time to study finish a degree program in a year or less.