Master of Science in Architecture (MSAR)

IMPORTANT: We are not currently accepting any new application for our Masters Program. Please check with the Department frequently to find out when we will be accepting applications again.


The Master of Science in Architecture (MSAR) program is a non-professional academic degree program that offers an opportunity for advanced study and research in specialized subfields of architecture. The program is intended to accompany and enhance degrees related to the built environment and provide a basis for diverse career paths including practice, research, teaching, consulting and entry into a Ph.D. level program.

The ideal student candidate is a critical thinker who is intensely curious about the built environment, is committed to positive change, ecologically sensitive design and who is not afraid to the take risks and to push the design envelope. While an undergraduate degree in Architecture is not required, applicants must demonstrate relevant background and experience, as well as the capability to undertake advanced academic study. All students are required to submit a portfolio demonstrating graphic competency and design thinking skills.

The program is 36 credits taken over three semesters (Fall, Spring, Fall). The M.S. ARCH program provides graduates with the knowledge and leadership skills necessary for a successful career in two concentrations: Technology of Architecture and Urbanism.

All students entering the program take a common core composed of two seminar courses, each designed to enhance research and critical thinking skills. Students also take a set of courses, specific to their concentration, that includes either a research or design thesis.



This curriculum covers a wide range of principles including; urban design theory and planning, spatial analysis, ecological strategies, social ecologies and community and urban practice and strategies.

Technology of Architecture (Sustainable Design)

This curriculum covers a wide range of principles including; global sustainable design strategies, green design concepts and rating systems, energy and environmental quality, materials and assemblies and building performance analytics.

Program of Study

Students pursuing a Master of Science in Architecture must complete all degree requirements as outlined in the current Graduate Catalog.

Graduate Assistantships

Limited and competitively based Graduate Assistantships are available. Please visit the Department of Architecture office (N Building, first floor) for information.


  • Architecture Complete Course Listings- Graduate

    • ARCH 6000 - Critical Inquiries and Discourses

      This course addresses the relevance of research questions in architecture and the assumptions that underlie them. The course emphasizes the essential role of description for formulating theoretical and methodological questions about the built environment and design. Such descriptions assist in the discovery of regularities that can be translated into theoretical questions and research hypotheses. The course is taught in a combined lecture and seminar format.Learning Outcomes: Students will develop analytic and synthesis skills appropriate for generation of original research questions in architectural theory and design practice. Students will demonstrate proficiency in formulating a well structured research hypothesis.

      Prerequisites: Admission to program.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6020 - Collaborative Studio

      This course provides an opportunity to all graduate students admitted in the Program to collaborate in groups of two on real-time and real-life design projects assigned to them.

      Prerequisites: Admission to program.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6030 - Research Methods

      This course is aimed at research methods for graduate students in architecture. The course combines a survey of current qualitative and quantitative approaches to research with the development of visual methods for constructing arguments. The purpose is to prepare students in various techniques of describing and understanding the built environment. It addresses the nature of scholarly research, the types of evidence, critical reading, and presenting and illustrating scholarship in the various disciplines of architecture.Learning Outcomes: Discuss and implement relevant techniques and skills in formulating research approaches in architecture. Understand the mechanics of formulating and conducting a thesis exploration.

      Prerequisites: Admission to program.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6040 - Directed Study

      Special topics of interest to faculty and students. 

      Prerequisites: Admission to the Architecture MS program, and permission by program director.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6100 - Advanced Architectural Practices

      This course investigates creative transitions and transactions in the architecture profession that are giving rise to new critical learning models, knowledge and applications. It will underpin temporal, perceptual and analytical trajectories for anticipating the creative disruptions and innovations at human, architectural, urban and global scales. Students will collaborate and share their cross and inter-disciplinary thoughts using heuristic approaches to facilitate their explorations. The course is about self-learning and letting others know what you have learned through your independent investigations.Learning Outcomes: Students will investigate different relations between architecture and the sciences Students will learn concepts of human perception and innovative technology, integrated practices and 21st century habitats. Students will learn how earlier and existing studies of theoretical and empirical models as programmatic and architectural constructs relate to current practice.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6150 - Applied Skills and Approaches

      Students upon approval of their advisor will choose a course aiding to their skill-base to support their research relevant to their concentration.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6250 - Housing

      This course is a broad investigation of how humankind developed shelter as a function of cultural and physical environmental forces from the recorded dawn of history to our present day. We shall trace the worldwide emergence of diverse forms through pre-urban times and sequentially engage the eastern and western traditions of housing trends in urban settings. The course will marry a study of socio/economic history with a study of complementary design.Learning Outcomes: Able to identify and characterize markets for housing systems. Be familiar with the successes and failures of housing systems in the past. Understand constraints and opportunities for housing systems. Appreciate the dimensions of advanced technology application in systems. Be able to effectively critique systems designs of their peers for given scenarios.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6300 - Urban Design Theory and Planning

      This course investigates the likely urban generators/determinants/transformers that evolved not only from critical formal work but also from social, political, economic, and technological sources. This course critically reviews the contribution of urban forms of these time periods to set the foundations for this course. A factual framework of the events, persons, projects, and critical analysis of theoretical work is one of the essential parts of the course content developed through lectures, seminar discussions and presentations.Learning Outcomes: Learn the variety of research underpinning for diverse urban contexts. Able to critically analyze and explore contextual readings of diverse urban settings. Understand the cultural manifestations of diverse urban settings. Understand national and regional traditions shaping urban contexts. Understand human behavior, diversity and intervention in a city.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6310 - Spatial Analysis

      The course is an intensive survey of advanced analytical methods of built form. It addresses the complex relationship between societal norms and the configuration of build space. The course is centered on two questions of how space influences human perception, behavioral patterns and creation of community, and how to formulate spatial programmatic, concepts based on organizational models. Students will be able to learn the basic techniques of spatial representation, network theory and formal computational analysis.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6320 - Ecological Urban Strategies

      This course will strengthen the student's awareness and analysis of ecological urbanism within architecture and urban design. It will emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of urban ecology introducing various theories case studies and embedded technologies and strategies was well as the related fields of study that contributed to holistic design. Students will be introduced to guest lecturers and content from disciplines such as biology, landscape architecture, urban planning, environmental engineers, wildlife organizations, sociology, public health, and climatology. Topics may include; global population trends, urban ecological science, urban climates and environments, energy flow in and out of a city, urban and brownfield remediation and green infrastructure.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6330 - Social Ecologies and Community

      This course will examine social, political and economic layers of urban environment that shape, interact, follow or coincide with its form and life. The topics would include ideals and utopias shaped urban environments, public realm and right to the city, equality and social justice, environmental perception and cognition, political forces of urban and suburban environments, economic models and ideals embedded in the urban form, social capital, sense of community, human experience and the flaneur. the course requires a research paper that includes analysis of urban environments identifying physical forms and configurations in relation to the course topics.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6340 - Urban Practice and Strategies

      This course will introduce how urban design implementation take place including its stakeholders, processes and procedures. it will cover business models, construction processes, partnerships, stakeholders, community involvement methods, interdisciplinary collaborations, consortiums, as well as the construction methods and processes. It is designed to include guest lecturers with diverse backgrounds of related disciplines presenting successful and recognized case studies of urban design and development. Student work is required to include case study analysis of the course content.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6350 - Urban Development and Policy

      The valued legacy of the past and overlapping design and policy efforts of renewal, redevelopment, revitalization, preservation and conservation of neighborhoods and main urban corridors have always been points of contention, controversy and at the same time indicate a continued resolve to seek solutions to urban problems.This course examines theory and praxis of the redevelopment process using urban redevelopment case studies of recent history. Knowledge of redevelopment precedents provides foundation to understand the fundamental principles of regenerative urban interventions crucial to the redevelopment of a neighborhood, urban park, housing and mixed used developments -- their failures and successes, why and how.Learning Outcomes: Employ and gain expertise in research, critical thinking, and collaborative skills. Gain expertise and understanding in use of precedents and develop skill in analyzing conditions within broader understanding of national and regional traditions. Resolve conflicts between environmental conservation and the formal urban order. Gain knowledge of human behavior, diversity, and traditions in the context of architecture and urban settings.

      Prerequisites: ARCH 6300 

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6400 - 3D Digital Animation and Multimedia

      This course provides students the opportunity to learn and practice effective design presentation techniques through computer generated 3D modeling, rendering, animation and compilation of audiovisual elements through digital editing. This course highlights animation and presentation techniques through a series of projects. The course also focuses on creation of an architectural documentary with information through various audiovisual graphics. From given exercises and projects, students will be expected tolearn 3D modeling, lighting, texturing, and animation. By the end of the semester students will be expected to utilize the skills for animation projects highlighting features of a structure and creating documentary on a topic related to architecture. Learning Outcomes: Gain knowledge of geometrical and generative concepts related to digital design. Explore the role of information in design, project representation and information processing and its impact on working modes in design and construction Explore concepts of digital collaboration among the various design professions Experiment with new digital fabrication technologies

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6470 - Analytical Models of Form

      This course examines the interaction of generative rules and descriptions of form relative to representation, exemplification, metaphor and expression. Shape grammars, transformations in design, rule definition and rule application. The geometry of environment, modular spaces, locations and associations, spatial allocation procedures, network distances and routes, space and symbolic form, & symmetry groups in plane are studied.Learning Outcomes: Apply techniques of network theory and spatial computational analysis. Develop analytical, investigative and synthesis complex urban and architectural forms. Apply spatial analysis to explore solutions to urban problems.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6500 - Global Sustainable Design Strategies

      The course will introduce the student to the wide spectrum of innovative green buildings by looking as design and construction around the world in the context of sustainability. It will establish a platform for the understanding of local-to-regional-to-global sustainability, and highlights the interaction between human and natural ecosystems. The Architect/Engineer/Construction Manager's perspectives will be complemented by specific building examples around the world. Form factors will be discussed and issues of planning, design and construction explored. A few highlights of course subjects would be: Global Environmental Crisis; the Global Notion of Sustainability in the Built Environment; Ecology; Energy Efficiency and the Built Performance; Low Energy - High Energy Systems; Passive and Active Environmental Systems; Waste Management; Pollution/Health/Social Cost; Global Economic Issues; World Population; Basic World Finance; Technology and the Third World; Codes, Regulations and Cost.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6510 - Green Design Concepts and Rating Systems

      The course seeks to outline the common Green Strategies that are found within global and local rating systems for sustainable architectural design. using these common elements, students will be introduced to LEED, Green Globes, Earth-craft, Living Building Challenge, and other rating systems with case studies and experts providing insight to the administration and process to adherence to each. The primary areas of focus in these strategies are topics of: SITE, WATER, WASTE, ENERGY*, ATMOSPHERE/ AIR QUALITY, MATERIAL/ RESOURCES and INNOVATION . *Within this list, overall clarification of benchmarking strategies and energy code (ASHRAE) developments in the US will be provided as an underpinning of the concerns outlined in the rating systems examined in the course.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6520 - Energy and Indoor Environmental Quality Sustainable Design

      This course will foreground Architecture as a building ecology responsive to its surroundings in a symbiotic or reparative relationship. Students will study building systems with an emphasis on the understanding of system performance relative to their immediate and extended contexts. The evaluation of adequate performance will be based upon the nature of human comfort and the support of life beyond the initial stages of design. Using sustainability as an armature the student will become aware of the ethical obligations of the profession through a clear understanding of the inter-relationships between natural and man-made elements at both the macro and micro scale. The final sessions of the course will allow students to determine the impact of these needs related to the integration of Architecture design and Environmental Technologies. Students will perform and understand basic calculations that form the foundation of technological solutions within these areas in preparation of ARCH 6220.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6530 - Materials and Assemblies

      This course will outline the materials and methods of assembly that contribute to reduced environmental impacts. This will involve life-cycle assessment of materials (resource extraction of raw materials for production, processing and industrial processes for refinement and product composition, end-use and waste stream assessment) as well as the assembly of materials for increases building performance in the end use of the product. EPA, European Commission on the Environment, and the International Living Building Institute (along with other authors/ government organizations) have issued a list of materials and material assemblies as red list collections that should not be used in the construction industry. These items will be analyzed and discussed in the course also.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 6540 - Building Performance Analytics

      The course will advance the survey of building performance, taught in ARCH 6218, and carry forward principles within ARCH 6217 as methods of performance prediction and measurement to provide case studies and real-world analysis of performance analytics to existing constructions or proposed student designs. Using modeling software and field measurement instruments, the students will apply learned methods to field research and design proposals (un-built). Technical writing, diagramming, and architectural documentation will be foregrounded as methods of outcome delivery.

      Credits: 3

    • ARCH 7200 - Design Studio I

      Design studio investigates the architectural, urban, communal, technological, historical and sustainable dimensions infused with socio-cultural, contextual and political manifestations that shape urban, communal and physical processes in the synchronic and diachronic development of a city and its architectural edifices. These critical processes are subject to analysis to comprehend planning and design interventions of our time. Urban design and its development must be understood as the unfolding of social, cultural, economic and political processes, and communities are the physical embodiments of these processes within the city. The forms and layout patterns of a block, a neighborhood, a development district, a transportation corridor, a system of open spaces are examined as the physical phenomena and as manifestations of contemporary values, social needs and traditions in communities exiting in urban and suburban settings. Learning Outcomes: Prepare a thesis proposal with a hands on approach to extensive analysis and synthesis. Investigate synchronic and diachronic modus operandi shaping various physical settings within an urban environment. Learn to develop various strategies to examine potential spatial and morphological shifts within an urban or suburban environment and their socio-cultural implications on future developments. Hone skills and craft to present solutions following their critical research agenda, critical design approach and strategies.

      Prerequisites: Approval of advisor.

      Credits: 6

    • ARCH 7300 - Design Studio II

      This studio is a continuation of ARCH 7200 with a strong emphasis on completing a comprehensive urban design supported by appropriate research and presented in a quality professional manner.Learning Outcomes: Carry forward the development of Arch 7200 to thesis level completion or address a new scenario in an individual or collaborative mode. Refine the essential skills developed in Arch 7200 through repetitive application on defensible analysis and design vectors.

      Prerequisites: ARCH 7200 

      Credits: 6

    • ARCH 7400 - Applied Research I (Thesis)

      The applied research thesis provides student an opportunity to develop Research Designs that integrate inter, cross and multi-disciplinary tenets within design and planning and with other non-design disciplines. Students investigate their research question in light of paradigm shifts and changes using epistemological, theoretical and applied body of work. Their research must contribute to the existing body of knowledge and/or provide new insights to the existing body of knowledge to extend further research in a field of study or development of new exploratory frameworks and/or policies.Learning Outcomes: Prepare an applied Research Design followed by a research methodology and a hypothesis contributing to extensive analysis and synthesis to test the research question. Investigate a research question or body of work at a point in time and its significance and its modus operandi to master and contribute to new knowledge. Investigate a research question or body of work that developed over time and its modus operandi to master and contribute to new knowledge. Hone critical thinking and applied research skills to present solutions to defend their critical research agenda and investigative strategies leading to mastery and contribution to new knowledge.

      Prerequisites: Approval of advisor.

      Credits: 6

    • ARCH 7500 - Applied Research II (Thesis)

      This second thesis semester is a continuation of Arch 7400 either as an independent effort or in collaboration to complete a defensible Masters level thesis to include findings.Learning Outcomes: Carry forward development of Arch 7400 to thesis level completion or address a new scenario in an individual or collaborative mode. Refine the essential skills developed in Arch 7400 through repetitive application on defensible analysis and design vectors.

      Prerequisites: ARCH 7400 and approval of advisor.

      Credits: 6

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Graduate Application

Acceptance to the M.S. ARCH program is based on the following criteria:

  • Bachelors Degree from a regionally accredited institution in architecture, allied design disciplines, engineering, humanities and liberal arts.
  • GRE scores: Verbal 159, Quantitative 160, Analytical 3.5
  • Minimum Grade Point Average 3.0
  • Statement of Purpose: A concise narrative of student’s design or research interest (2 pages)
  • Design Portfolio: Applicants coming from design disciplines (15 pages in pdf format).

Note: Applicants with other than design-based degrees may, upon evaluation, be required to take additional courses.

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