The Master of Architecture Program attracts a diverse range of students with undergraduate degrees in liberal arts as well as architecture. The professional, accredited Architecture programs (Paths A and B) offers within its design curriculum a forum for synthesizing parallel studies in history, theory, technology, and representation. In the design of buildings, landscapes and urban infrastructure, the curriculum supports a stimulating and sustainable setting for diverse cultural expression.
A two-semester Post-Professional Master of Architecture Program, (Path C) directly tailored to the interests of each student. An unaccredited Master of Architecture degree is conferred to those successfully completing this program. Admission to this program is limited to those students with an accredited professional degree in architecture.
Admission to all Master of Architecture programs is extremely competitive.
Master of Architecture Curricula
The Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) curricula emphasize strong foundation studies in design with coursework in architectural history, theory, building technology, and construction. To gain broader understanding of the relationships within and parallel to the field of architecture, students may take courses in the departments of Architectural History, Landscape Architecture, and Urban and Environmental Planning. Upper level graduate students are encouraged, through an optional teaching elective, to expand their knowledge by serving as teaching assistants to undergraduate students in design, theory or technology courses. Students who wish to obtain the Master of Architecture degree should have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average with a 3.5 average in design studios.
The Master of Architecture Path A program allows students without pre-professional undergraduate degrees (e.g., B.S. in Architecture) to obtain a first professional degree in a minimum of three years plus an initial summer session. The curriculum follows the prescribed core of foundation studies — history, land, and building and subsequently encourages students to explore individual interests through elective course work. Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. After an introductory summer session, students are expected to complete the program in six semesters.
The Master of Architecture Path B program is typically for admitted students that hold a pre-professional undergraduate degree in Architecture (e.g., B.S. in Architecture). The curriculum follows the prescribed core of foundation studies — history, land, and building. Students are encouraged to develop a planned sequence of electives either independently or through one of the certificate programs. Independent scholarship is encouraged through the thesis option. Students entering with pre-professional degrees in architecture may receive waiver of individual courses by permission of the chair. Students are expected to complete the program in four semesters.
The Master of Architecture Path C (Post Professional) program is open only to those students with an NAAB accredited professional degree in architecture. The program provides an opportunity for two semesters of advanced study with an emphasis on design, research and teaching. The full multidisciplinary resources of the school are available, including a certificate program in Historic Preservation, and coursework in Architectural History, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban and Environmental Planning. The curriculum is tailored to the individual student, typically combining design studios with focused course work and collaboration with faculty members in research or teaching. Collaborative opportunities include advanced research in urbanism, computing, community development and design-build work. Because of the individualized nature of this program, the applicant is encouraged to visit the School of Architecture for an interview. Each student develops a specific curriculum with a minimum of thirty credits in consultation with the chair. The duration of study may be extended beyond one year with permission of the chair.
In the United States, most state 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 US professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a six-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of conformance with established educational standards.
Masters degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, comprise an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional undergraduate degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.
The University of Virginia’s Master of Architecture program received a professional six-year term of accreditation in 2009. This program will be reviewed again in 2015. A professional degree in architecture is a necessary prerequisite for the one-year post-professional Master of Architecture degree.