UCLA Extension

Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) Course Requirements

The Architecture and Interior Design Program CAD courses are fast-paced and complex; absence from any meeting is discouraged. The courses require at least 3 hours of computer work outside of class per week. Lab hours are not available; therefore, students must have access to their own hardware and software for the courses in which they enroll.

All Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) courses assume knowledge of drafting principles and basic PC (Windows) computer skills. Advanced CAD courses assume knowledge of the application as defined in the introductory course.

Students enrolled in the live (on-site) CAD courses will be using computers in the UCLA Extension Computer Labs. Students enrolled in the online CAD courses are required to use their own laptop or desktop computer. All computer courses are taught on a Windows platform. At home Mac users are encouraged to work in a Windows-based application (such as Parallels or Boot Camp) in order to maintain pace with the class. Please see “What you need to know about running Autodesk products on a Mac” as well as “5 Ways to Run Windows Software on a Mac” for more information. Mac users may download Mac-compatible versions of AutoCAD, Photoshop, Illustrator, SketchUp/SketchUp Pro and Podium for laptop or home use, but will be responsible for learning mouse clicks, keystroke conversions, etc. independently.


Students are sent information on how to download a 12-month free student version of Revit or AutoCAD. Students also may be eligible for academic rates on other software for their own home computer. Prices and restrictions are subject to change by the software developers. Software versions should reflect the version used in class; an older version may not possess the same interface or tools demonstrated in class. It is each student’s responsibility to verify that his/her computer meets the software’s minimum system requirements.


System requirements for AutoCAD
System requirements for AutoCAD for Mac
System requirements for Autodesk Revit

Note: Running Revit products on a Mac
There are currently no Mac versions of Revit, therefore students must use the Apple Boot Camp software in order to run Revit on their home Mac computers.  This software enables students to install and run Microsoft Windows (and Windows-based applications) on a Mac computer or with Parallels Desktop, a system utility available from Parallels, Inc. that allows you to run applications in each operating system without restarting your computer.

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In addition to Illustrator and Photoshop, the Arc+ID program requires that students take either AutoCAD classes or Revit classes. It is strictly up to the individual student to decide which software program to use.

AutoCAD has been around for over three decades and has a huge install base of users and consequently a large number of potential employers request this skill set. It also has a large library of furniture and fixtures symbols. Many Arc+ID students use AutoCAD, for construction documents (i.e. floor plans, elevations, sections, details) and SketchUp for quick ways of presenting design models and perspectives. Changes must be maintained in both applications.

Revit is a relatively new BIM (Building Information Modeling) design software from the makers of AutoCAD; it is used by large firms such as Gensler and HOK. It allows users to do construction documents, models and perspectives in one software application plus a variety of analytical studies. BIM tools are considered the wave of the future with more and more firms, particularly large architecture or commercial firms switching every day.


If you need additional help, you can get immediate support through the Autodesk Automated Virtual Assistant or you can submit a request for help through the Autodesk Help Request form, which generally takes 24 hours (or 72 hours on weekends & holidays) to get a response. This help request form is also available via help and support links throughout autodesk.com/education.