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Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) Degree Program Overview

Majors Overview April 24, 2015

Get information about master’s degree programs in architecture and their educational requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education and licensure choices.

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) Programs

Schools offer Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) programs to serve students interested in the field, but that have completed a pre-professional program in architecture or hold an undergraduate degree in an area other than architecture. Students enrolled in these graduate programs take one to two years to complete them; coursework focuses on issues such as architecture history, architectural technology, and design.

Students that seek licensure are required by most state boards of architecture registration to have graduated from an accredited professional degree program. Two types of professional degrees, the Master of Architecture and the five-year Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.), are recognized by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), the sole accrediting agency for professional degree programs in architecture.

Students enrolled in some M.Arch. programs are allowed to specialize in areas such as green design and sustainability. Schools may give students the opportunity of participating in study abroad semesters and internships during an architecture program. The program also includes fieldwork devised to test the architectural skills of students.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold an architecture-related bachelor’s degree. In the absence of which, the applicants must have completed courses in building science, studio, architectural history, computers, physics, and calculus. Submission of portfolios of previous work pertaining to architecture is a requirement for admittance to some programs.


Students enrolled in the program engage in the exploration and identification of the significance of architecture in relation to society and culture. Courses related to these areas are available in order to help students understand the history, technology, design, and theory related to architecture. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Technology for architects
•Computer-aided design
•Spatial dialects
•Architectural design
•Structural design
•Environmental engineering

Career Choices

Armed with an M.Arch. degree, graduates may seek employment as the following:

•Environmental designers
•Real estate developers
•Museum curators

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, job growth rate of 17% have been predicted for architects (except those working in the naval or landscape fields) (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2013, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $73,090, with the highest paid among them earning more than $119,370 (BLS).

Continuing Education and Licensure Choices

Licensure is mandatory for architects in all U.S. states. Apart from graduation from a professional architecture program, licensure requires completion of formal training or an internship, in addition to passing the Architect Registration Examination. In most states, continuing education is required for maintenance of licensure.

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