M.Arch Program Overview

The architectural profession and the practice of architecture is changing. The RIT Architecture program was designed with this significant change in mind, and provides for full incorporation of skills and knowledge critical to the 21st century architect. The purpose of the program is to produce broad-thinking architects well grounded in the principles and practices of sustainability who can apply knowledge and talent to emerging architectural problems around the world. The RIT Architecture program is designed especially for students with a broad range of interests and backgrounds who are interested in studying architecture at the graduate level. The program curriculum has been shaped by a unique emphasis on sustainability, societal responsibility, factors that impact urbanism, and the hands-on application of the principles of design and technology on materials and construction.


Sustainability is not only concerned with the natural environment. The built environment shapes and can shape sustainable practice and responsible intervention in the natural world. As global civilization reaches the limit of natural resources, pragmatic and creative sustainable solutions will reign. Environmental responsibility coupled with economic feasibility and responsible attention to residents and stakeholders are the hallmarks of sustainable architecture. From the design of buildings that use energy and environmental factors more efficiently to lessen an overall carbon footprint to the design of neighborhoods that help to create safe, vital spaces to grow, the focus of many RIT Architecture reflect the conditions of sustainable design, thinking, and practice.


Design exploration is enhanced through the understanding of the implication of technology on both design process and product. State-of-the art technology is available to all RIT Architecture students and allows for specialization and collaboration to explore systems of technology, engineering, digital modeling, imaging science, materials and construction, and remanufacturing as a means to developing new and different modes of architectural enquiry and thought.


Urban centers are one area of future growth in both developing as well as more established areas of the world. A degraded living environment has grave implications for social, economic, cultural, and environmental health, the program pays particular attention to urban settings and inclusive urban design principles. The complexity of the urban environment requires an interdisciplinary approach to architecture education—one that references economics, public policy, sociology, and regional culture—as a means to engage and include our partners in the community. The RIT Architecture program focuses on the practices and principles of preservation and adaptive reuse and Upstate New York serves as an active and engaging learning environment for our students.

Integrated Learning/Integrated Practice

Like all outstanding and leading design programs, the core of the RIT Architecture experience takes place in the studio. However, our studio curriculum integrates construction technologies, pre-professional practice, citizen and client engagement, material science, and tectonics into the design experience. From the outset, students approach design problems collectively, learning to value and leverage collective intelligence and draw upon diverse experience and backgrounds. This integrated learning model prepares students for the increasingly integrated practice of architecture, where integrated project delivery is fast becoming the dominant model, and architects are orchestrating teams of professionals from a variety of fields, including engineering, management, science, and materials science. Studio-based instruction is complimented by laboratory investigation, shop work, field study, lecture, and seminar courses. All students complete a comprehensive thesis project before completing the program.