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The duration of the RIT Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) program spans 3.5 years and includes 105 semester credit hours. The program has been designed as a full-time program, and courses are offered on the RIT campus, throughout the day and evening. Below is a sample course matrix that shows the typical course load per year.

Curriculum

Architecture, M.Arch. degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ARCH-611
Architectural Representation I
This course introduces the range of architectural representation skills necessary to effectively document geometric forms and simple architectural form and space. Skill development will be both manual and digital and include free-hand sketching, 3-D modeling, 2-D drafting, paraline drawings, perspectives, and presentation techniques.
3
ARCH-621
Architectural History I
Students will study the history of architecture for both western and non-western traditions from the beginning of human shelter and the patterns of early communities through the end of the Medieval period in Europe. The sub-theme of sustainability will be explored by illustrating how ancient building designs modified the effects of climate without the use of large amounts of wealth or energy.
3
ARCH-631
Architectural Design I
Students will develop acuity of formal/spatial principles, and will develop presentation and self-critique skills. Projects articulate coherent sets of architectural intentions and aim to develop the spatial, structural, and organizational tools of the beginning designer. Students will also have the opportunity for basic synthesis and application of visual and tectonic communication skills necessary to convey architectural design concepts.
6
ARCH-761
Understanding Sustainability
This course will introduce graduate students to the fundamental concepts related to interaction of industrial and environmental/ecological systems, sustainability challenges facing the current generation, and systems-based approaches required to create sustainable solutions for society. Students will understand critical thinking and the scientific method as it applies in a systems-based, transdisciplinary approach to sustainability, and be prepared to identify problems in sustainability and formulate appropriate solutions based in scientific research, architecture, or applied science.
3
ARCH-612
Architectural Representation II
This course deepens the study of architectural representation skills necessary to effectively document more complex architectural form and space. Skill development will be both manual and digital and include free-hand sketching, 3-D modeling, 2-D drafting, paraline drawings, perspectives, and presentation techniques.
3
ARCH-622
Architectural History II
Students will study the history of architecture for both western and non-western traditions from the Renaissance to the present day. The sub-theme of sustainability will be explored by illustrating how ancient building designs modified the effects of climate without the use of large amounts of wealth and energy.
3
ARCH-632
Architectural Design II
With a focus on residential and small scale design, students will communicate and analyze building based architectural design concepts. Students will continue to develop acuity of formal/spatial principles, and will further develop presentation and self-critique skills. Projects articulate coherent sets of architectural intentions and aim to further develop the spatial, structural, and organizational tools of the beginning designer.
6
ARCH-641
Fundamentals of Building Systems
In this course, students will receive an overview of the various systems that comprise a building project but also focus on residential construction. Systems studied will include architectural material and methods, land use, site, climate, human factors, building structure systems and active and passive support systems. The constraints that control these systems will also be studied such as building and zoning codes, construction costs, and sustainability factors.
3
Second Year
ARCH-731
Architectural Studio I: Site
Building on the 1st year studios that explored basic communications between form and space this introduction to the 2nd year will investigate in greater depth the complexity and integrated nature of the architectural object and design process. Students will explore the artistic, conceptual, creative, and experiential side of architecture as a way of developing a rigorous process of architectural form-making. By developing methods, parameters, and alternatives of form-making, issues such as expression, perception, and representation will be explored. Although site design will be the focus of the course, full building designs will be examined in response to site parameters. Students will be expected to work in teams to explore communally a broad spectrum of design strategies at every opportunity.
6
ARCH-741
Integrated Building Systems I
This course presents the various systems that comprise a projects site work; architectural materials/methods, civil engineering, and landscaping architecture as well as site constraints.
3
ARCH-751
Architectural Theory
A survey of architectural theory and criticism with emphasis on the period from the mid-twentieth century to the present. This course offers students the opportunity to investigate, learn, and apply critical thinking in the context of architecture and communicating these findings to others.
3
ARCH-734
Architectural Studio II: Urban
This studio builds upon and expands the students design skills in architecture through the lens of urban design and landscape architecture, and introduces the new dynamic of community leadership and urban planning. The approach to urban design engages the city as an integrated design problem that is best solved through a participatory and engaged design process. Drawing on expertise from a variety of disciplines and skill sets, students will study the process of working directly in the community to create visions for future change. The studio is intended to inform an understanding of building design in relation to the urban context. The course is devoted to expanding and developing design skills at the block and neighborhood scale.
6
ARCH-742
Integrated Building Systems II
The major tectonic components of a building will be studied in this course focusing on the building envelope and typical structural configurations. Structural inquiry will fully cover the field of statics.
3
ARCH-752
Urban and Regional Planning
This course immerses students in the field of urban and regional planning as individuals as well as part of a team. By working with area planning organizations/and or agencies, teams of students will provide community service in the design process for neighborhoods, small towns/villages, or regions.
3
ARCH-762
Industrial Ecology Fundamentals
Industrial ecology is the study of the interaction between industrial and ecological systems. Students in this course learn to assess the impact and interrelations of built environments on the natural environment by utilizing life-cycle assessment tools and principles of sustainability.
3
 
Graduate Elective
3
Third Year
ARCH-733
Architectural Studio III: Adaptive
This course examines the adaptive reuse of existing spaces, with implicit exposure to the basics of historic preservation. Students will examine and document an existing real space within the region, and propose coherent and rational architectural interventions for that space.
6
ARCH-743
Integrated Building Systems III
Typical interior building components will be studied in this course from subdivision of space down to selection of material finishes as they realate to building code regulations. Structural inquiry will continue with full coverage of strength of materials.
3
ARCH-753
Research Seminar/Thesis Prep
This seminar experience exposes architecture students to a range of contemporary architectural, social and urban issues along with the historical content that underlies the development of these issues. Selected readings from current periodicals, critical writing, group dialogue, presentations, and guest lectures will be integrated into the course as appropriate. In preparation for the culminating studio experience students will also engage in seminar format-research, through analysis of precedent, site investigation, critical readings and exploration of technique. Through this, each student will be required to develop a hypothesis as the basis for their thesis proposal.
3
ARCH-763
Sustainable Building Metrics
This course addresses the measurement science, performance metrics, assessment tools, and fundamental data critical for the development and implementation of building systems associated with the life-cycle operation of buildings while simultaneously maintaining a healthy and productive indoor environment. Certification processes and design guides, such as LEED, Labs21®, and the Whole Building Design Guide, among others will also be reviewed.
3
ARCH-735
Architectural Studio IV: Integrative
This studio provides the opportunity for students to execute a comprehensive andintegrative project from schematic design through design development.
6
ARCH-744
Integrated Building Systems IV
Various building core and sub-systems will be studied in this final course of the sequence including acoustics and illumination. A deeper inquiry into mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems will also occur.
3
ARCH-771
Professional Practice
Students will study the role and responsibilities of architects engaged in professional practice. One focus will be on the various players and the process of project delivery and management. Affiliated issues of ethics, professional development, and legal responsibilities will also be covered.
3
 
Graduate Elective
3
Fourth Year (fall only)
ARCH-790
Thesis 
This course is the culminating studio experience for the M.Arch. program. Students will propose, design, and defend an architectural design or research problem, while working closely with a selected faculty committee.
6
 
Sustainability Elective
3
 
Graduate Electives
6
ARCH-699
Cooperative Education
This course provides a ten-week (350-400 hours) work experience in the field. Note: Second year program status
0
 
Global Experience
0
Total Semester Credit Hours 105