Graduate Programs

Masters of Science in Architecture

At every educational level the department is dedicated to the professional practice of architecture. Within this graduate program, the particular challenge is to provide for enhanced professional competency through specialization and research achievement. The Master of Science in Architecture (MS ARCH) degree is a research program that provides an opportunity for specialization, as opposed to a Master of Architecture (M ARCH) degree that would lead to licensing in architecture for persons with a first degree in a field other than architecture. The MS ARCH. Program, therefore, prepares graduates who do not hold a Bachelor of Architecture degree for specialist and consultation positions in the broad field of Environmental Design within the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. (Please note: The MS ARCH degree is not a first professional degree in architecture for licensing purposes.)

The MS ARCH graduate program specializes in six broad areas that are significant to the design and sustainment of the built environment: Innovating Material Practice; Design and Decision Systems; Computer-Aided Design; Building Science; Sustainable Architecture; and, Facilities Management. Each of these areas encompasses a wide range of potential study topics that may be selected for in-depth research subject to the interests and desires of the individual graduate student. However, regardless of the selected research topic students are expected to be knowledgeable of fundamental building science principles, and advanced information technology concepts.

MS Architecture Application Process

Graduate Study Areas

Graduate students are encouraged to build on the knowledge that they have gained from their previous academic studies and/or professional experience, as they acquire and contribute new knowledge in their chosen research specialization within one of the following broadly defined research areas.

Innovating Material Practice: The material practice specialization focuses on design integration through innovations in materials and material assemblies enabled by contemporary modes of digital fabrication and their impact on design and the construction process. Associated with the Digital Fabrication Laboratory, physical prototyping and material testing are integrated into the course of study and research. In addition, sustainable practices in digital fabrication from material economies to cradle to cradle methodologies as well as responsive envelopes are of particular interest. This study area promotes interdisciplinary work as an essential key to innovation in design and construction with connections to other disciplines including: Architectural Engineering, Construction Management, Material Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. Study and research areas include but are not limited to: parametric design and fabrication of material systems, prefabrication, responsive envelopes, and material performance.

Sustainable Architecture: Study of the built environment as a low impact necessary enhancement of the natural environment in the service of man, including: renewable energy
systems; waste recycling; energy conservation concepts and practices; self-contained biospheres; materials of construction and embodied energy considerations; green buildings; and, unhealthy building environment.

Master of Science in Architecture Special Study Areas (pdf)

MBA, Architectural Management Track

Students in their fourth year of design may apply by July 1 of that year to the College of Business to begin the MBA program during their fifth year. Admissions into the program is competitive and performance on the GMAT is very important. Completion of the Master in Business Administration can be accomplished in one year or less after completing the BArch program depending on the number of graduate courses a student completes during their fifth year in the architecture program.

Students should plan their schedule so that all courses required for the Bachelor of Architecture degree are completed by the end of the fifth year design sequence. Students accepted into the MBA Architectural Management Track may start taking graduate courses during their fifth year if there is room in their schedule.

Students are required to spend a minimum of two quarters as graduate students within the MBA program after completion of their undergraduate degree. For information on the MBA, Architectural Management Track, visit the Orfalea College of Business MBA & MS Graduate Degree Programs website. 

To request an appointment to discuss the MBA, Architectural Management Track contact:
Victoria Walls
Assistant Director of Graduate Programs

MCRP: Architecture Planning Track

Students may request permission to enroll in Master of City and regional Planning (MCRP) graduate level courses during their fourth and fifth years of study. Upon completion of the BArch degree, students are eligible to formally apply for graduate student status in the MCRP program, and if accepted will have already completed a significant portion of the program.


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