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Master of Architecture

The first professional Master of Architecture degree is for individuals with a pre-professional degree in architecture, environmental design, or equivalent program of study. The professional Master of Architecture (M.Arch) degree based on the national "4+2" model which consists of the pre-professional Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architecture degree and the professional M.Arch degree. The post-professional Master of Architecture degree is for individuals already holding a professional degree in architecture who are interested in pursuing opportunities for research, teaching, and independent studies.   The M.Arch degree is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).  The BFA in Architecture is a pre-professional degree and is therefore not accredited by the NAAB.  Please see below for important information on accreditation.

In the United States, most registration boards require a degree from  an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture.  A program may be granted an eight-year term, an eight-year term with conditions, or a two-year term of continuing accreditation, or a three-year term of initial accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established education standards.  Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may require a non-accredited undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the non-accredited degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

The University of Memphis, Department of Architecture, offers the following NAAB-accredited degree program:
M.Arch. (pre-professional degree + 60 graduate credits)
Next accreditation visit: 2024

The Department of Architecture is a member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.

Program Objectives:  The program of study for the Master of Architecture encompasses both the art and the science of design and is structured to engage students in the processes and professional standards of architecture and design.  Through a series of professional core and elective courses, students (1) become competent in a range of intellectual, spatial, technical, and interpersonal skills; (2) understand the historical, socio-cultural, and environmental context of architecture; (3) are able to solve architectural design problems, including the integration of technical systems and health and safety requirements; and (4) comprehend the roles and responsibilities of the architect in society.  The culturally diverse Memphis and Mid-South region serves as an urban and non-urban issues laboratory.

All graduate students must comply with the general requirements of the Graduate School (see Admission Regulations, Academic Regulations, and Minimum Degree Requirements) as well as the program requirements of the degree being pursued.  Admission to the Graduate School does not guarantee admission into the M.Arch degree program.

Evaluation of Credentials:  Applicants whose highest degree is from a foreign university must have their credentials evaluated.  The university will accept evaluations done by any credentialing agency listed on the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services web site (www.naces.org).  A course by course report is required.  Applicants must submit course descriptions in English, or directions to where the course descriptions may be found on the university website, for all architecture coursework, to the Director of Graduate Studies in Architecture to verify program pre-requisites are met.

Program Prerequisites

  1. Persons making application to the first professional M.Arch degree program must have completed an approved pre-professional undergraduate degree in Architecture or the equivalent.
    1. In assessing the pre-professional degree, the following course content or evidence of equivalent experience is required. Otherwise, the appropriate courses must be taken at the undergraduate level:
      1. Architectural Graphics (both technical and freehand drawing), 6 semester hours
      2. Architectural History (ancient through modern), 6 semester hours
      3. Structural Design Principles (statics; strength of materials; gravity and lateral load tracing; design in timber, steel, concrete), 6 semester hours
      4. Building Materials and Assembly (light construction), 3 semester hours
      5. Environmental Systems (heat, light, sound, human comfort), 3 semester hours
      6. Architectural Design Studio (in addition to “design fundamentals” courses), 20 semester hours
    2. Where slight deficiencies in preparation exist, applicants may be admitted with the stipulation that they complete additional design studio or supporting courses. These may not count toward the required graduate plan of study.
  2. Persons making application to the post-professional M.Arch degree program must have completed a NAAB-accredited professional undergraduate degree in architecture. The Director of Graduate Studies in Architecture may approve a maximum of 30 semester hours in architecture course work from the professional degree. Registration as an architect in the United States may be substituted for the professional degree.
  3. Persons making application to the M.Arch degree program must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on their undergraduate degree.  Execeptions may be granted based on prior work experience in an architecture office, as documented in the portfolio.

Program Admission

In the application to the Graduate School, all persons making application to the M.Arch degree program must submit the following materials:

  1. Portfolio:  Applicant portfolios are reviewed for demonstration of aesthetic judgment, basic design ability, visual investigation skills, and abilities in architectural design, including identification of building elements and an understanding of their assembly, integration of building systems, a knowledge of building structure, and other evidence of understanding and abilities conforming to NAAB performance criteria.  In any project completed as part of a group, the applicant must cleaqrly indicate their role.
  2. Letters of Recommendation:  Three letters of recommendation are required.
  3. Statement of Intent:  Applicants must submit a two-page essay describing professional background, objectives, and motivation for pursuing graduate study in Architecture. This brief statement should reflect an individual interest in this graduate program and provide some indication of professional goals or intentions.

The GRE is not required for admission into the M.Arch degree program. Admission documents and portfolio may be submitted throughout the year.  However, completed applications go under review only at three points within the year:  August 15 for Spring entry; January 15 for Summer entry (if aapplicable); March 15 for Fall entry.  Students who, in the judgment of the faculty, have adequate preparation may be given advanced standing.  All admissions questions should be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies in Architecture, Professor Jennifer Barker.

Graduate School Admissions
Additional Information for International Students

Program Requirements

  1. A minimum of 60 semester hours, including 6 hours of design-research studio, thesis studio, or professional project studio.
  2. A total of 42 semester hours of Architecture core courses, consisting of 18 semester hours of advanced architectural design studios (ARCH 7711, ARCH 7712, ARCH 7713), 9 semester hours of architectural seminars (ARCH 7011, ARCH 7012, ARCH 7013), and 15 semester hours of architectural theory and advanced professional and technical courses (ARCH 7211, ARCH 7222, ARCH 7232, ARCH 7421, ARCH 7431)
  3. A minimum of 3 semester hours of Architecture Research (ARCH 7930) and 6 semester hours of Architecture Design-Research Studio (ARCH 7994) or Professional Project Studio (ARCH 7995). The design-research project, thesis, or professional project must be approved by a faculty committee. Students pursuing the thesis should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before starting to write.
  4. A minimum of 9 semester hours of Architecture or approved electives.

Master of Architecture Courses
Master of Architecture Program of Study

Transfer of Credits

The Director of Graduate Studies in Architecture may recommend to the Graduate School acceptance of no more than 12 semester hours of credit for architecture course work successfully completed at another institution.  For students formerly enrolled in programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board, a maximum of 30 semester hours in architecture course work may be approved.

Graduate Catalog (M.Arch)

Master of Architecture Information