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.

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.


As an applicant, you must meet Graduate School requirements plus these Department of Architecture requirements to be eligible for consideration for admission to the program:

  1. Undergraduate cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0 scale).
  2. Three letters of recommendation from people familiar with your academic and/or professional work.
  3. Resume, Curriculum Vitae, or Biographical Statement.
  4. Portfolio/Work Samples (examples of professional work, design work, research, teaching, and/or other work relevant to advanced research).
  5. For international applicants whose first language is not English, a minimum TOEFL score of 100 iBT, or 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 may be considered for admission with the stipulation that further coursework in English be taken.

In addition, the Reasons Statement submitted to the Graduate School must also incorporate the following information:

  1. Your proposed area of investigation.
  2. A clear description of your intentions.
  3. Why you believe the program is appropriate for your course of study.
  4. How your proposed area of study fits with faculty interest areas.

Credits and Courses

The minimum degree requirement is 30 graduate credits, of which 24 credits must be coursework in Architecture taken at the 500-level or above. Of the total 30 credits, each student is required to satisfy each of the four content areas below.

Content Areas

Research Methods and Techniques 6
Select at least 6 credits of approved courses regarding research methods and techniques
Applied Practice6
Select at least 6 credits related directly to the application of the student’s area of specialization to practical applications in architecture and/or related disciplines
Independent Work 3-6
Select 3-6 credits from one or both of the following related to the student’s area of specialization:
Master's Level Directed Research
Master's Level Independent Studies and Research
Related Elective(s)3-6
3-6 credits of electives related to the student's area of specialization
Pre-Thesis or Master's Project Research3
ARCH 794Pre-Thesis or Master's Project Research3
Master’s Thesis or Master’s Project 6
ARCH 890Master's Thesis
or ARCH 891 Master's Project
Total Credits30-36

Course requirements vary substantially depending upon the student’s individualized program of study, which is developed in consultation and agreement with the student’s faculty advisor.

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

Upon admission, each student is assigned a faculty advisor to advise and supervise the student’s studies.

Master’s Thesis or Project

The student must submit an acceptable master’s thesis or master's project and orally defend it.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.