Degree Requirements

Master of Architecture

Professional Degree Program

The Master of Architecture is an accredited first professional degree, with graduate professional courses designed to prepare the student for advanced work in architecture and to apply for registration with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) as an architect in the United States. The coursework required is prescribed individually on the basis of the student’s previous college work as shown by transcripts, the portfolio, the statement of intent, and references. For students entering with degrees other than professional degrees in architecture, the professional degree program requires at least sixty semester hours of prescribed coursework. For students entering with a professional degree in architecture (B.Arch.), a minimum of forty-eight hours of prescribed coursework is required. Before progressing into the advanced architectural design sequence, all Master of Architecture professional degree candidates must demonstrate proficiency in design and communication through a qualifying portfolio review conducted by the faculty. Students entering without a background in architecture normally complete the professional degree program in approximately three and one-half years of study in residence; the academic records of students holding preprofessional bachelors degrees (i.e. in architectural studies) are individually evaluated for course credit toward the professional degree program requirements.

Students may earn a Certificate of Specialization in Historic Preservation, Sustainable Design, or Urban Design by completing the relevant sequence of courses. Additional information is available from the graduate adviser.

Postprofessional Degree Programs

For students entering with a professional degree in architecture, the Master of Architecture is a postprofessional degree. It requires either thirty semester hours of graduate work, including the six-hour thesis; or thirty-six hours of work, including a final six hours of master's design study or a terminal design studio. Based on the student’s interests and an evaluation of the statement of intent, portfolio, and transcripts, specific degree requirements are established for the postprofessional program offerings:

  • Design and Theory: A postprofessional program providing an opportunity to examine and refine design philosophies and techniques. Participants may develop an individual program of study based on their specific design interests.
  • Historic Preservation: A postprofessional program designed to provide knowledge and skills appropriate for architects who are engaged in preservation practice and policy, written and graphic documentation of historic structures, building pathology, materials conservation, and sensitive design for restoration or adaptive reuse.
  • Interdisciplinary Studies: Postprofessional graduate study aimed at acquiring and integrating knowledge from specific fields outside of architecture into the practice of architecture.
  • Sustainable Design: A postprofessional program emphasizing the integration of natural systems, building systems, and cultural systems into architectural design.
  • Urban Design: Postprofessional graduate study designed to develop the student’s understanding of the urban environment and its users’ needs, and to promote the design skills he or she needs to improve the quality and efficiency of city life.

Master of Arts

The degree program consists of at least thirty semester hours of coursework, including a thesis. Students must demonstrate reading knowledge of French, Spanish, German, or another language appropriate to their area of study. An individual plan of study is defined for each student by the program director.

Master of Science in Architectural Studies

The Master of Science in Architectural Studies degree program consists of advanced academic work with a focus on interdisciplinary studies. This degree program is tailored to applicants who wish to pursue research and advanced academic study. It is available to students with or without a professional degree in architecture.

The program requires at least thirty semester hours of work and includes a thesis. An individual plan of study is defined for each student by the program director.

This degree does not fulfill the professional degree requirements for registration as an architect.

Master of Science in Historic Preservation

The degree program consists of at least forty-eight semester hours of coursework, including a thesis, professional report, or coursework-only option. An individual plan of study is defined for each student by the program director.

Master of Science in Sustainable Design

The degree program consists of at least forty-two semester hours of work, including a thesis or professional report. Up to twenty-four semester hours of coursework may be chosen in the student’s area of concentration. An individual plan of study is defined by each student in conjunction with the program director. 

Master of Science in Urban Design

The degree program requires at least thirty-six semester hours of work, including either a terminal design studio or a thesis. Additional hours may be required for students without a prior degree in either architecture or landscape architecture. An individual plan of study is defined for each student by the program director. 

Doctor of Philosophy

The doctoral subcommittee of the Architecture Graduate Studies Committee determines course requirements, prescribes qualifying examinations, and approves dissertation topics. The degree plan requires a minimum of thirty semester hours. These include twenty-one semester hours of seminars, independent research, and reading courses leading to the qualifying examination. Nine of these hours must satisfy the program’s core requirements, as specified by the doctoral subcommittee (credit may be awarded for core courses taken as part of a School of Architecture master’s program). After passing the qualifying examination, the student registers for a three-semester-hour dissertation colloquium to develop a dissertation topic. Continuous registration is required through the writing, oral defense, revision, and final acceptance of the dissertation. All tracks require experience in design, which may be gained through design studio coursework or professional practice, reading proficiency in two foreign languages, and/or proficiency in qualitative or quantitative analysis as determined by the doctoral subcommittee. 

Dual Degree Programs

The following dual degree programs are offered within the School of Architecture. More information is available from the graduate adviser in each program.

Field(s) of Study Degree(s)
Community and regional planningMaster of Science in Community and Regional Planning
Sustainable designMaster of Science in Sustainable Design
Community and regional planningMaster of Science in Community and Regional Planning
Urban designMaster of Science in Urban Design