Applied Studies (APST) 255

Computer Aided Design (Revision 1)


Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

APST 255: Computer Aided Design is intended for students enrolled in the BSc (Architecture) program at the RAIC Centre for Architecture at Athabasca University. For those students interested in pursuing a career as a registered architect, this course also contributes to the RAIC Syllabus Diploma.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: Basic trigonometry and algebra are recommended

Centre: RAIC Centre for Architecture

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

This course has a challenge for credit option.

Credit may be transferred for previous work considered equivalent.

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APST 255: Computer Aided Design explores the fundamentals of Computer Aided Design (CAD). In this course, you will explore the use of computer technology to develop your ability to create innovative design solutions using critical thinking.

APST 255 is one of three communications courses that introduces the basic techniques and drawing systems of graphic representation in architecture. Together, these three courses are designed to help you develop a process of visualization, analysis, practice, and representation for the purpose of graphic communication.

Course Outline

APST 255 is comprised of the following projects:

  • Project 0: The Architecture of Computer Aided Design
  • Project 1: Massing in Three Dimensions
  • Project 2: Drafting in Two Dimensions
  • Project 3: Building Information Modeling
  • Project 4: Implementing CAD
  • Project 5: CAD and the Future of Architecture – Reflecting on What You Have Learned

Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing this course, you will acquire proficiency in the following areas:

  1. Ability to use representational media, specifically computer technology, to convey essential information at each stage of the pre-design and design process. This will include techniques for two- and three-dimensional representation.
  2. Ability to articulate a design process grounded in theory and practice, an understanding of design principles and methods, and the critical analysis of architectural precedents.
  3. Ability to assess, as an integral part of design, the appropriate combinations of materials, components, and assemblies in the development of detailed architectural elements through drawing and modeling.
  4. Ability to make technically precise drawings in order to document a design project.
  5. Understanding of how computerization is affecting architectural practice.
  6. Ability to raise clear and precise questions; record, assess, and comparatively evaluate information; synthesize research findings and test potential alternative outcomes against relevant criteria and standards; and reach well-supported conclusions related to computerization.
  7. Ability to write, speak, and use visual media effectively to appropriately communicate on structural matters related to the architectural discipline within the profession and with the general public.


Your work in this course will be evaluated based on five projects. A final course grade of 67% or higher is required to pass the course. Grading information is summarized in the following table:

Collection Weight
Collection 1: Massing in Three Dimensions 25%
Collection 2: Drafting in Two Dimensions 25%
Collection 3: Building Information Modeling 25%
Collection 4: Implementing CAD 15%
Collection 5: CAD and the Future of Architecture – Reflecting on What You Have Learned 10%
Total 100%

Note: Students who wish to be certified by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board must achieve and maintain a grade point average of 67% or greater.

Course Materials

Each project may include required reading or online resources linked through the Study Guide.

Students must also have access to the following CAD packages (which are available as student versions at no charge):

  • SketchUp
  • AutoCAD
  • Revit

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the APST 255 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on each collection.

Collection Weighting
Examples of 3D Massing Models 25%
Examples of 2D Drafting 25%
Examples of Building Information Models 25%
Summary of Student CAD Experience 15%
Reflections on the Future of CAD + 2 images for the Online Gallery 10%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, October 18, 2019.