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Architecture and Design

Program | Faculty | Master's | Courses

The Master of Architecture degree is the first and only accredited architecture degree at a public institution in New England.

The course of study consists of three main components: core requirements, area of knowledge concentration, and a culminating degree project. Course offerings are organized around an interdisciplinary curriculum involving faculty and students from architecture, interior design, studio art, art history, public history, landscape architecture and regional planning, building materials and wood technology, civil engineering, environmental engineering, environmental sciences, computer science, and management. Students may also take classes through the Five College consortium, also including Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith colleges.

In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The NAAB, which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the bachelor, master, and doctor of architecture. A program may be granted a six-, three- or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Master’s degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

The Master of Architecture degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst was fully accredited in 2007.

Requirements

Prerequisites for admission to the three-year program are college physics and calculus. Recommended is an introduction to architectural history. Applicants who hold a four-year pre-professional degree in architecture from an institution with an NAAB program (or equivalent) may be admitted with advanced standing and may be able to graduate in two years. The minimum requirement for graduation is 87 credits or 57 credits with advanced standing.

Core Requirements
Students are required to satisfactorily complete a core sequence in these areas: Studio, Technical, History and Theory Practice.

Studio Sequence
Studio, Analysis, and Representation courses are required. A total of 36 credits can be earned in this area (18 credits for students with advanced placement).

Technical Sequence
Technical courses in Building Physics, Tectonics, and Architectural Integration are required. A total of 21 credits can be earned in this area (15 credits for students with advanced placement).

History and Theory Sequence
A minimum of 9 credits is required in the History and Theory sequence.

Master’s Project
A two-semester sequence of Research Forum (3 credits) is followed by Master’s Project (9 credits).

Areas of Knowledge

Each student in the Master of Architecture program is also required to assemble a coherent, faculty-approved study plan in an Area of Knowledge. The study plan comprises three electives for a total of at least 9 credits, the Research Forum, and the Master’s Project Architecture in which this knowledge is developed and integrated. The following interdependent groupings contribute to each Area, which is defined by a viewpoint of interiority and/or architecture.

Agency: Anthropology and Cultural Studies, Archeology, Assistive Technology, Economics, Gender Studies, Legal Studies, Resource Economics.

Inhabitation: Anthropology and Cultural Studies, Assistive Technology, Economics, Gender Studies, History, Mechanical Engineering, Performance Arts, Physics of Sound, Planning, Psychology, Sociology.

Legacy: Archeology, Art/Architectural History, History, Legal Studies, Public History, Politics, Religion.

Material: Visual Arts, Construction, Building Materials and Wood Technology, Materials Science, Structural Engineering, Resource Economics.

Sustainability: Anthropology and Cultural Studies, Building Materials and Wood Technology, Environmental History, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Geosciences, Landscape Architecture, Legal Studies, Resource Economics.

Terrain: Landscape Architecture, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Geosciences, Urban and Regional Planning.

Students have access to rich and diverse course selections to design their Area of Knowledge through a network of courses and resources across the University and the Five College consortium, also consisting of Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith colleges.