The Master of Architecture, the first professional degree offered by the Department of Architecture, is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The degree program requires two to three years of graduate study, depending on the applicant’s previous academic background and qualifications. It offers a wide range of courses, with particular strengths in the areas of architectural design and integrated practice, ecological/sustainable design, digital design and fabrication, preservation, urban design, and design as a response to the physical, cultural, and social environment.

The Master of Architecture curriculum emphasizes design studio courses. Each of these studios is taught by faculty members who also offer courses in selective subjects.

A study abroad program allows students to combine international travel and study under the tutelage of a departmental faculty member for program credit. The location of the program may vary from year to year. Additional costs of travel, lodging, etc., must be borne by the student.

In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. NAAB, which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. Accreditation of architectural programs takes place on a cycle that may range from every few years to as many as eight years.

Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Department of Architecture, offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:

MArch (pre-professional degree + 60 graduate credits)
MArch (non-pre-professional degree + 90 credits)

The Master of Architecture is an approved field of study within the U.S. government’s official STEM fields list.

Master of Science in Architecture (MS)

This 30-credit non-professional degree program is appropriate for students who want to develop a personalized and specialized program of architectural studies centered on scholarly studies and research. Graduates will bring specialized knowledge to diverse professional settings that involve collaboration, interaction and communication with other professionals. Students propose their own course of study, to be reviewed and approved by faculty in accordance with the program requirements. Students may use the degree to explore their chosen field of research prior to continuation with PhD studies or, if they are mid-career professionals, may shape or extend their expertise in a particular field relevant to their area of practice.

PhD Program

The PhD Program in Architecture is a community of scholars, practitioners, activists, and educators who are committed to advancing the discipline and practice of architecture. Situated within a professional school of architecture, the program is both curiosity-driven and action-oriented. The faculty and students at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning seek to advance architectural discourse and knowledge at multiple levels of inquiry. They embrace intellectual inclusiveness and critical examinations of society, culture, ecology and technology, while pursuing questions related to architectural history, theory, and criticism, human experience, social justice, and environmental advocacy.

MArch/MUP Program

In cooperation with the Department of Urban Planning, the Department of Architecture offers a Master of Architecture/Master of Urban Planning program that prepares students for careers requiring preparation in both fields. Both the MArch and MUP degrees are awarded simultaneously upon completion of this program. For more detailed information on this program see Credits and Courses section below.

Additional Notes

Individuals seeking to use the School’s Shop must first provide evidence of personal accident and health insurance to the Dean’s office. Since no accident or health insurance is provided to any user by the University, access to this resource will be prohibited to uninsured individuals.

Admission Requirements 

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program, please review the application deadline chart for specific programs. Other important dates and deadlines can be found by using the One Stop calendars.

Admission to 2-Year Program

An applicant with an undergraduate major in architecture from UWM or a school with an accredited program in architecture similar to the BS in Architectural Studies at UWM must meet Graduate School requirements plus these Department of Architecture requirements to be considered for admission to the program:

  • Undergraduate cumulative grade point average in architectural studies of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale).
  • Completion of at least five undergraduate design studios.
  • Three letters of recommendation from three previous faculty and/or members of the profession.
  • Submission of test results from the General Test portion of Graduate Record Examination.
  • Portfolio of architectural studies work.
  • For international applicants whose first language is not English, a minimum TOEFL score of 100 iBT, or a score of 7.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam is required. Applicants with TOEFL scores from 79-99 iBT, or an IELTS score of 6.5 will be considered for admission only with the stipulation that further coursework in English be taken.

Admission to 3 Year Program

An applicant with an undergraduate degree in a field other than architecture is normally admitted with two semesters of foundation courses (30 credits) required.

Admission to the 3 year program requires, in addition to general Graduate School requirements, an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale), submission of test results from the General Test portion of the Graduate Record Examination (and TOEFL or IELTS, for international students), three letters of recommendation, and a portfolio of written and/or visual work.

Admission to MArch/MUP Program

Candidates seeking admission to the MArch/MUP program must apply to and be admitted to both programs. The requirements for admission to the Urban Planning Master’s degree program are detailed in the Urban Planning section of this Catalog.

Credits and Courses

2-Year Program

The minimum degree requirement is 60 graduate credits, 48 of which must be in architecture.

Design 1
ARCH 825Comprehensive Design Studio:6
ARCH 850Advanced Design Studio:6
ARCH 850Advanced Design Studio:6
ARCH 581Law and Professional Practice for Architects3
Select one additional course 23
ARCH 510Survey of Structural Analysis and Design3
ARCH 516Building Construction3
ARCH 520Environmental Systems: Illumination and Thermal Comfort3
ARCH 533Topics in Architectural Theory:3
Select one additional course 23
Graduate Electives (M.Arch 3 students must take at least 6 credits in architecture)12
Capstone Requirement
A 500-level or higher architecture elective3
ARCH 850Advanced Design Studio:6
or ARCH 825 Comprehensive Design Studio:
Total Credits60

3-Year Program

Consult Student Advising Office for sequencing of courses, (414) 229-4015

An applicant with an undergraduate degree in a field other than architecture is normally admitted with 30 credits of foundation courses required.

The first-year requirements totaling 30 credits are as follows:

Foundation Courses
ARCH 300Architectural History and Theory3
ARCH 301Architecture Systems 13
ARCH 302Architecture and Human Behavior3
ARCH 303Architecture Systems 23
ARCH 782Visualization 13
ARCH 783Visualization 23
ARCH 810Architectural Design I6
ARCH 820Architectural Design II6
Total Credits30

Some of these requirements may be waived by the M.Arch Committee upon an applicant’s acceptance to the program or upon appeal, based on equivalent work. The requirements in the remaining two years include 60 graduate credits, 54 of which must be in architecture.

Transcript-Designated Concentration in Ecological Design

Students wishing to pursue this concentration must be enrolled in the Master of Architecture program and complete a minimum of 21 credits from the following groups of courses:

Ecological Design Required Core
ARCH 723Fundamentals of Ecological Architecture3
Ecological Design Electives 19
At least 3 credits taken outside architecture
Capstone Requirement 2
500-level or higher architecture elective 1 3
ARCH 850Advanced Design Studio:6
or ARCH 825 Comprehensive Design Studio:
or ARCH 891 Master's Project
Total Credits21

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

The student must have a professor to advise and supervise the student’s studies as specified in Graduate School regulations.