Master of Architecture

The graduate architecture program provides rigorous, accessible, and affordable professional preparation for a variety of careers.

M.Arch Program Description

MassArt's, NAAB accredited, Master of Architecture Program combines professional requirements with hands-on design and build experience focused on community-based teaching and working spaces. The program educates socially aware artisan-architects who, as future leaders in the field, are versatile problem-solvers and skilled collaborators, dedicated to sustainable improvement of the built environment. Students develop a personal language of form and a responsible design ethic from the study of "green", current, visionary, historic, and vernacular architectures and experimentation with the intrinsic properties and geometries of materials and building systems. Frequent critiques by faculty, guests, and visiting design/construction professionals help students further refine their designs and their vision. MassArt encourages applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply.

The full-residency Master of Architecture program (M.Arch) offers two tracks starting in the summer term.

Track I (102 credits) – eight terms of coursework (three pre-professional terms and five professional terms) for applicants with previous bachelor's degrees in disciplines other than architecture, or those students with coursework in architecture who are honing their skills through the integration of structural and environmental systems in their designs. Track I students start in the summer term, in June, unless they have been granted advanced placement during the program placement and transfer credit evaluation. Students in Track I join the Track II sequence after up to three semesters – summer, fall and spring – of pre-professional coursework.

Track II (60 credits) – five terms of coursework for applicants with previous bachelor's degrees in architecture with portfolios that show their experience in architectural design that includes the ability to manipulate structural and environmental systems that reinforce their design ideas. Track II starts in June with a Community Build summer studio semester, continues through fall and spring, and concludes with research and design thesis courses in the subsquent summer and fall. Track II students complete the equivalent of Track I pre-professional requirements prior to entering Track II, or occasionally may complete remaining Track I requirements while enrolled in the Track II program.

M.Arch Program Placement and Transfer Credit Evaluation

MassArt's M.Arch Program Coordinator evaluates all applicants to the M.Arch Track I (pre-professional and professional coursework) and Track II (professional coursework) programs for placement into the appropriate track and for transfer credit or course waivers towards advanced placement. For more information and to submit documentation for this evaluation, see placement and transfer evaluation.

M.Arch Program Features

The Master of Architecture program is designed to provide rigorous and accessible professional preparation for a variety of architecture centered careers, in a world facing serious global challenges. Grounded in energy-conscious building and site design, studio coursework promotes conceptual theory with practical application in building systems, construction technology, ethical practice and cultural traditions in architecture.

In their second summer, Track I students join with incoming Track II students to participate in the Community Build studio. During this intensive summer studio, students design and build a project for a community partner. Several of the Community Build Studio projects have been done in close partnership with local public schools, where students have designed and built outdoor classrooms and improved outdoor educational spaces. This community project promotes interaction between community members, architects, builders, and engineers. The students experience the design and construction of habitable spaces within a local environment, and solve diverse requirements for an actual client. The Community Build studio is particularly helpful preparation for those whose ultimate goal is to practice as design and build architects or in the construction industry.

Students develop as socially aware artisan-architects who are versatile problem-solvers and skilled collaborators, dedicated to sustainable improvement of the built environment. In addition to the Community Build studio, social awareness is built through individual studio coursework and research in the M.Arch curriculum. Seminars in architectural history and the building traditions of different cultures widen frames of reference and introduce techniques students may later require when working in preservation or adaptive re-use of historical buildings or cultural districts. 

MassArt's extensive fabrication shops provide a unique opportunity for students seeking a hands-on architectural education. The curriculum combines professional requirements in architectural planning and environmental concerns with hands-on design and build experience focused on community-based and educational or work spaces. Students work together in shared design studios where classrooms, computer laboratories, and construction workshops are located, providing media and fabrication tools to complement their design work.

Visiting architects and related professionals enrich discussions in design critiques. Critiques stress sensitivity to built form in the urban context, client's needs, ergonomic requirements, structural design, and cultural and environmental considerations. 

In the two thesis courses, the culmination of the program, students focus on personal research topics. The thesis leads to students' expertise in their topic area through design exploration that builds on coursework, experience and personal vision. A board composed of the student's adviser and professional readers reviews each thesis.

Community Build and other Public Projects

For information on projects built in the Greater Boston Metropolitan area by MassArt's M.Arch and BFA in Architecture students, see the MassArt Community Build Program

MassArt M.Arch NAAB Accreditation

The M.Arch program is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

In the United States, most registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectxural Accrediting Board (NAAB) is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree prorams in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation. 

See NAAB Accreditation for more information.
You may also want to to read more about licensure


MassArt is a member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)

phone: (617) 879-7203

View the 2015 MFA Thesis Catalog

2016 MFA Thesis Catalog