Master of Architecture

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

Program Description

MassArt's 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 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 design and build summer studio semester, continues through fall and spring, and concludes with a research and design thesis which is completed in two terms (summer and fall, or fall and spring). Thesis focuses on individual research leading to expertise in their topic through a design exploration that builds on coursework, experience and personal vision. 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.

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.

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.

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 teaching and working spaces, so that students develop as socially aware artisan-architects who are versatile problem-solvers and skilled collaborators, dedicated to sustainable improvement of the built environment. The community design and build studios are particularly helpful preparation for those whose ultimate goal is to practice as design and build architects or in the construction industry.

Frequent critiques stress sensitivity to built form in the urban context, client's needs, ergonomic requirements, structural design, and cultural and environmental considerations.

Students are expected to develop a personal language of form and a responsible design ethic through the study of "green," modern, historic, and vernacular architectures, and experimentation with the intrinsic properties of materials and building systems.

Building Social Awareness

The M.Arch curriculum includes a community project that 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.

Individual studio coursework and research complements the M.Arch curriculum. Seminars in architectural history and the building traditions of different cultures widen students' frames of reference and introduce techniques they may later require, working in preservation or adaptive re-use of historical buildings or cultural districts. Individual theses allow students to focus on personal research topics solved through design, leading to mastery. A board composed of the student's adviser and professional readers reviews each thesis.

Community-based Design and Build Studio

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.

For information on these and other projects, see MassArt Community Build Program.

Visiting Professionals

The department lecture series brings in architects, engineers, and fabricators to talk about their own work. Many local architects and related professionals also enrich the discussions in design critiques.

Collaborative Approach

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.

NAAB Accreditation

The M.Arch program is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Please visit NAAB Accreditation for more information.

MassArt is a member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). The ACSA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, membership organization founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education. The association maintains a variety of activities that influence, communicate, and record issues of import to education and architectural profession that include scholarly meetings, workshops, publications, awards and competition programs, support for architectural research, policy development, and liaison with allied organizations.

Architects must be licensed before they can practice as an architect or call themselves an architect. There are three main steps to becoming an architect: education, internship and examination. The National Council of Architecture Boards (NCARB) regulates reporting through an internship program, and through the state boards, administers the licensing examination. In Massachusetts, the Board of Registration of Architects protects the public through regulation of the practice and the title of Architect in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in accordance with the statutes. The Board establishes the conditions and qualifications required for architectural registration and determines eligibility for admission to examinations.

Read more about licensure.

phone: (617) 879-7203