Graduate Architecture M. Arch

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The Master of Architecture, a first-professional degree, is a NAAB accredited, STEM, 84-credit, three-year (or 56 credit, two year advanced standing) program that maintains a mission to train students as leaders in the professional practice of architecture with substantive methods of design and inquiry. The program is intended for students holding a four-year undergraduate, non-professional degree in any field. Applicants with degrees from a four-year, BSc in Architecture or BScEng in Architecture may qualify for Advanced Standing (AS).

This program aims to expand a student’s undergraduate education (architecture, design, or non-design related) by imbuing them with the disciplinary and technical precision to engage in evolving design methods, design research, design thinking, and professional practice. Central to our mission as educators, the Department of Graduate Architecture and Urban Design (GAUD) is committed to a balance of knowledge and understanding, enhancing our student’s individual capacities to ask often difficult and challenging questions facing the profession and discipline; specifically through design and with audiences outside of architecture and urban design.

The Master of Architecture curriculum is comprised of two primary stages, the Core Curriculum and the Advanced Curriculum, and four primary areas of course work: Design, History-Theory, Technology, and Media.

The focus of the Core Curriculum sequence is for students to develop the necessary skills, as well as an in-depth understanding of integrative methods and disciplinary issues at the forefront of the profession and discipline. The content in Core Design Studios, Core History-Theory courses, Core Architectural Mediums courses, and Core Building Technologies courses in the first three semesters becomes increasingly cross-coordinated, fostering “circular” learning and a broad range of modalities and methods of design. These initial semesters progressively introduce more technical, media-based, and theoretical complexity, are supported by a distinctive cohort of Co-Teachers (many of whom are recent GAUD graduates and/or top graduates and Ph.D. candidates in the region), and coalesce to intensively prepare students for the Integrative Studio project in the fourth semester. Unique to the GAUD and critically hailed by the NAAB accreditation committee in its most recent accreditation report, the Integrative Studio is a combined design and integrative building-systems course and brings together a number of related disciplines into a single project, which students develop in teams. An ensemble of technical consultants from world-leading firms in New York City work directly with GAUD faculty and students on their design projects engaging in subjects including but not limited to facade design, structural design, and energy design.  In the first, second or third year students may elect to participate in one or both of our International Programs.

The final two semesters and Advanced Curriculum are dedicated to GAUD Directed Research studios and electives. Among the studios students can elect to take is the Studio of Experiments. This studio (to which students are admitted by application only) is run in three sections of four students. It is an option in the final semester of the program to work closely with a visiting faculty member (often international and/or from outside of the region) on a Directed Research topic set out by the Department Chair. 

The ensemble of learning throughout the entire M.Arch curriculum complements and reinforces the studios where the understanding, comprehension, and integration of design methods, theoretical, and technical knowledge is tested, pushed to its limits, and discussed in a critique format with faculty, guests, partners, and the GAUD Critic at Large. In addition, a dense array of Lectures and Events is coupled with each semester, focused on Directed Research themes, and are discussion-oriented, include student participation, and engage prominent scholars. Exhibitions and Publications include student work, in addition to the student publication, which offers students opportunities to engage in theoretical, editorial, and writing activities.

Learning objectives for the Master of Architecture program:

  • Design is approached as an integrated discipline and established throughout the curriculum paying special attention to linkages across categories of knowledge and action.
  • Design is a cultural act. Given the breadth and depth of contemporary culture, students and faculty are expected to participate fully within global culture and design culture specifically.
  • Professionalism involves the innovative and evolving relationships between theory and practice. Innovation extends to all forms of technology, computation, fabrication, communication, and theory.
  • Design research generates new forms of knowledge emergent with the environmental, ethical, technological, political, and professional situation of contemporary culture.
  • Industrial and natural ecologies are addressed beyond the boundaries of each, where they merge and exceed the anachronistic bounds of sustainability.
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