May 21, 2022  
Graduate Record 2011-2012 
Graduate Record 2011-2012 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Master of Architectural History

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Applicants must hold an approved baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. Admission to graduate study will normally require an average of B or better and a command of at least one foreign language. Candidates admitted to the program must, before beginning their work for the degree, have taken the equivalent of ARH 1010 (History of Architecture Ancient to Medieval) and 1020 (Renaissance to Modern) and one semester of architectural design studio (ARCH 2010). These prerequisites may be satisfied by taking ARH 1004 and ARCH 2040, or the equivalent, during the school’s summer session. (Students do not normally enter the program in the spring semester, although this is permitted in special circumstances with approval of the chair.)


The program’s purpose is to equip the student with a sound background in architectural history, including its principles and interpretation. The degree requires a minimum of 36 credits at the graduate level.

The degree requirements should be considered as a minimum core program. Thus, the student should expect to take more than the required minimum courses during the normal four semesters of residency usually totaling 48 credits. Qualified students interested in historic preservation can complete the requirements for the Certificate in Historic Preservation and the Master of Architectural History within a two-year period.

Historic Preservation Certificate Program

Students wishing to enter the Historic Preservation Certificate Program must be admitted to one of the graduate degree programs in the School of Architecture. In order to ensure proper academic advising and program coordination, students interested in the Historic Preservation Program should attend the program meeting at the start of the fall semester. Upon arriving at the Architecture School they should also file a program participation form with the Architecture School’s registrar. Students who complete the required 21 credits of preservation course work receive a Certificate in Historic Preservation, in addition to their master’s degree. There are individual courses that fulfill the requirements of the historic preservation certificate curriculum that also fulfill requirements within the architectural history department curriculum. Thus, students normally complete the course work for the historic preservation certificate during the same period in which they complete their degree program. For example, the course in the Theory of Historic Preservation counts as one of the 7000-level seminar courses required by the department. The overall certificate program fulfills the degree program’s requirement for minor field of study. The courses in Group B of the Foundations of Preservation Core can count towards a major field requirement in American architectural history. 

Placement Examination

Students with diverse backgrounds and from different disciplines are admitted to our program. For those students who lack adequate undergraduate preparation in the field, the curriculum has been structured to allow them to remedy this situation.

Upon entry into the program, candidates will take a placement examination composed of two sections. Section one is Renaissance to the Present.  Both Sections include non-western material. Students whose exams show gaps in one or more of these fields are required during the first year to take the appropriate course or courses during the first year. Only one such course may be used to satisfy the degree requirements; it would take the place of an open elective.

Language Qualification

Candidates are required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language, preferably French, Italian, or German. This requirement may be satisfied by earning the grade of B or better in an intermediate-level university course in the language within two years of admission, by a score of at least 550 on an ETS Graduate School Foreign Language Test, or by a language departmental reading test.

Course Distribution

Three credits must be in ARH 8001 (Methods in Architectural History), one credit in SARC 6000 (The Common Course), and three thesis credits. In addition, each student must have at least nine credits at the 8000 level or above, and at least one course from four of the following distribution areas: Ancient and Medieval Architecture, Renaissance and Baroque Architecture, European Architecture since 1700, American Architecture, and non-Western Architecture. Open Electives can be either additional course in ARH Graduate Courses, elsewhere in the university or used toward in fulfilling the requirement for the Historic Preservation Certificate. Courses taken at other institutions are normally not accepted. Under special circumstances a petition for an exception of one or two courses might be granted.

Major and Minor Field Areas

Each student must complete a major field of nine credits and a minor field of six credits selected from among the distribution areas listed above. Students enrolled in the Historic Preservation Certificate Program may select historic preservation as their six-credit minor. Of the 36 credits required for the degree, 33 must be in ARH courses or ARAH courses with appropriate architectural history content, although in extraordinary circumstances, and by prior approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, the student may substitute other courses, e.g.,history or english.


The thesis is a major piece of independent work undertaken under the supervision of a committee from the Department. The committee is normally composed of two full-time Departmental Faculty, one of whom serves as Chair, and a third member who maybe from outside the department. The thesis represents three credits, normally taken during the student’s fourth semester. It is possible to explore the thesis topic more broadly by enrolling for an independent research course in conjunction with the thesis course.

Typical Program of Study

First Year

First Semester - Credits: 13

  • ARH ___ - Major field area Credits: 3
  • ARH ___ - Elective Credits: 3

Second Semester - Credits: 12

  • ARH ___ - Elective Credits: 3
  • ARH ___ - Other distribution areas Credits: 3
  • Open Elective Credits: 3
  • Open Elective Credits: 3

Second Year

First Semester - Credits: 12

  • ARH ___ - Major field area Credits: 3
  • ARH ___ - Minor field area Credits: 3
  • ARH ___ - Other distribution Credits: 3
  • Open Elective Credits: 3

Second Semester - Credits: 12

  • ARH ___ - Major field area Credits: 3
  • ARH ___ - Thesis Credits: 3
  • ARH ___ - Elective Credits: 3
  • Open Elective Credits: 3

Additional Information

The preservation program requirements for students in the Department of Architectural History are listed in the description of the Historic Preservation Program.

Architectural History students may, with approval, attend the summer programs in Vicenza or Jamaica.

A semester in England is also offered through the Courtauld Institute at the University of London for second year students.

A Venice program is offered through the School of Architecture for second year students.

Architectural History Course Descriptions

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