Adobe Construction Program

About the Adobe Construction Program

Adobe construction has been used in New Mexico and in surrounding states since the eleventh century. As one of the world's oldest forms of building, it produces solid, long lasting structures. The great mass of adobe walls absorbs heat and releases it when the temperatures drop. It is straightforward to create a passive solar structure with this mass available to store heat. Northern's Adobe Construction Program is unique - the nation's only full-fledged certification program in building with adobe. It generally takes two semesters of classroom and field work to earn a Certificate in Adobe Construction. While offering a hands-on, apprenticeship-type experience, the program includes sufficient classroom instruction to ensure complete, critical coverage of all aspects of building adobe structures.

Students receive hands-on experience through working at home-construction sites, renovating houses and buildings and working on individual projects. The program will appeal particularly to the nature student, who is seeking such an experience out of the love of working with natural materials.

Certificate ADOBE CONSTRUCTION (El Rito)

Provides the instruction necessary to design and build an adobe structure. The program emphasizes the traditional Northern New Mexico and Southwestern designs and dwelling accessories, such as kiva fireplaces, hornos, corbels, carved columns, and vigas with latillas. Modern and emerging technologies and material are also covered. As a graduate, you will be capable of being employed with construction firms, being self-employable in specialized subcontractor trades, or you can build your own traditional or modern Southwestern structures using adobe.


Communications (3)

  • ENG 108N Basic English I (3)

Mathematics (3-4)

  • MATH 100N (4) or a higher level math course (3)


  • ADOB 100 Adobe Construction Basics (3) or ADOB 101 Adobe Design and Construction Worldwide (3)
  • ADOB 102 Adobe Wall Construction (4)
  • ADOB 103 Roof Design and Construction (4)
  • ADOB 104 Floor Design and Construction (4)
  • ADOB 105 Interior Finish Practices (4)
  • ADOB 106 Exterior Finish Practices (4)
  • ADOB 107 Heating (2)

Choose one elective from the following courses:

  • ADOB 110 Adobe Preservation, Conservation, and Renovation (2)
  • ADOB 111 Horno Design/Construction (2)
  • ADOB 112 Arches, Domes, and Vaults (2)
  • CONS 155 Construction Math and Blueprint Reading (3)
  • CONS 158 Foundation Theory and Construction (2)


Choose us for our value, our quality degree and continuing education programs in diverse areas of study, our experienced faculty, and NORTHERN provides students with unique opportunities for academic, personal and professional growth. “You will have personalized attention, something difficult to get at larger colleges. We provide strong hands-on experiences from day one.” –Dr. Ivan Lopez, Dean, College of Engineering & Technology
The Northern Foundation remains committed to stimulate leadership, promote equity, and grow resources and philanthropy in the Española Valley and surrounding rural areas. Over the past twenty years, we have granted $1.3 million to support over 1,250 NNMC students.