The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Master of Design

The Master of Design is an advanced degree in architecture and design, designed for mid-career professionals seeking further study of a particular area of technical or scholarly interest, or new graduate students who do not seek a professional architecture degree but, rather, advanced interdisciplinary study in architecture and related fields.  The interdisciplinary program introduces students to knowledge in a specialized area as well as to modes of research/practice in architecture, design, and related disciplines. It also provides mid-career professionals, as well as graduates with degrees in fields related to architecture (such as history or engineering) the opportunity to pursue advanced architectural design and scholarship.

The degree is a 36-credit-hour (minimum) intensive course of study, developed in consultation with the Graduate Program Director for Master of Design students and faculty in the student's area of interest. The program requires each student to develop a research focus that draws from disciplines and departments across the university and the Five Colleges, working in concert with the Program Director, the Graduate Program Director and/or a faculty member who is the student’s designated advisor. The program, designed as a terminal degree, should take a full-time student four semesters. Some exceptionally well-prepared students may be able to transfer in up to six credits of previous course work, and finish the program in three semesters. Funding opportunities are limited, and most students should be financially able to complete the program without relying on assistantships.

Applications are welcome for students who would like to study other areas of faculty expertise at UMass and the Five Colleges.


For the Master of Design degree, students must complete a minimum of 36 credit hours. All students must complete coursework in history, technology, practice or research methods, studios, and electives related to the concentration. All course selections are made on the basis of area specialization and in consultation with the student’s adviser.

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