Master of Architecture


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At a time of significant transition for the architectural profession, the M.Arch. degree program allows for full incorporation of the skills and knowledge critical to the 21st century architect. The program's purpose is to produce broad-thinking architects well grounded in the principles and practices of sustainability who can apply their knowledge and talents to the architectural problems posed by the modern city.

The master of architecture program is designed for students with a broad range of interests and backgrounds who are interested in studying architecture at the graduate level, but whose undergraduate degrees were obtained in fields outside of architecture. The program's curriculum has been shaped by the global emphasis of sustainability, factors that impact urbanism, and the hands-on application of the principles of design and technology on materials and construction.

This degree program is being offered in partnership with RIT's College of Imaging Arts and Sciences.

Early in 2012, the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) granted the program official candidacy status (retroactive to fall 2011). For additional information, see the Statement of Accreditation.

How to Apply
We encourage prospective students to visit the Graduate Admission website to apply, or to contact us for more information and application requirements.

For more information on the M.Arch program, contact:
Donna Podeszek, Staff Assistant
Golisano Institute for Sustainability
Rochester Institute of Technology
111 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623


Our innovative M.Arch. program is geared toward preparation for the practice of architecture in an increasingly inter-disciplinary and inter-professional world. This program is founded upon the principle that the adjective "sustainable" is an integral part of the practice of architecture.

The program emphasizes application and collaboration, and students will learn and practice the skills and methods of architecture through the lens of sustainability, graduating with the ability to contribute meaningfully to the construction of a fully sustainable built environment.

With a global push for more sustainable world, including buildings that use energy and environmental factors more efficiently to lessen an overall carbon footprint, the focus of many courses reflect the conditions of sustainable design and practice.

Because a degraded urban environment has grave implications for social, economic, cultural, and environmental health, the program pays particular attention to urban settings and urban principles. The complexity of the urban environment requires an interdisciplinary approach to architecture education – one that references economics, public policy, sociology, and regional culture. The program will focus on the practices and principles of preservation and adaptive reuse. The city of Rochester, New York, will serve as an active learning environment for students.

Integrated learning/Integrated practice
Like all strong design programs, the program's core education will take place in the studio. However, our studio curriculum integrates construction technologies, material science, and mechanics into design. From the outset, students will approach design problems within teams, learning to value and leverage collective intelligence. The 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 computer science.

Summary of Degree Requirements
Among the required sustainability courses in the curriculum are courses in Sustainability Science, Industrial Ecology, and Sustainable Buildings – all offered through our graduate programs in Sustainability. But beyond these direct forms of exposure, the entire program curriculum is suffused with the principles and practices of sustainability. Every required course – from Integrated Building Systems to Architectural Design to Design Theory – is presented and experienced with a strong focus on sustainability.

Students will also be exposed to the results of cutting-edge research in such areas as material aging, clean technologies, alternative energy solutions, pollution prevention, and green product assessment currently underway in GIS.

Students are required to complete 148 credit hours to successfully complete the program. Designed as a full-time program, courses will be offered on campus, primarily during the day. The majority of the coursework is studio-based, with the exception of some elective and sustainability courses. In addition to three required sustainability courses, students will take one sustainability elective. All students will prepare a thesis in their last year. Students will take three graduate electives, drawn from courses offered by the colleges of Liberal Arts, Engineering, Applied Science and Technology, Imaging Arts and Sciences, and Business.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the M.Arch. program, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree (other than a B.Arch.) from an accredited institution
  • Have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of B (3.0) or higher
  • Have at least one semester of previous coursework in calculus and physics
  • Submit transcripts (in English) of all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work
  • Present a portfolio of creative work, which may include sketches, constructions, graphics, and/or photographs (While student portfolios will likely not include examples of architectural drawing/design, evidence of creative talent will be important in determining admission)
  • Submit a personal statement of educational objectives
  • Submit three letters of recommendation from former instructors and/or professional employers
  • Submit the results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) with a minimum score of 500 (V) and 500 (Q), and,
  • Complete a graduate application.
  • International applicants, whose native language is not English, must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum scores of 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based), and 100 (Internet-based) are required.

Full details and links to application materials are available on the RIT Graduate Admission website.

For more information on the M.Arch program, contact:
Donna Podeszek, Staff Assistant
Golisano Institute for Sustainability
Rochester Institute of Technology
111 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623


Co-op Requirements
All students seeking professional registration as an architect must earn 700 "units" working in an intern capacity under the direct supervision of a registered architect. Students in accredited architecture programs may begin accumulating internship units (8 hours of training = one unit) through domestic or international cooperative education programs offered through their institutions, or through summer employment obtained independently by the student.

RIT's expertise in developing and managing cooperative education programs will greatly facilitate students' ability to obtain these critical training hours. Currently, a number of RIT architecture and engineering firms hire our undergraduate students, and we have every reason to expect that M.Arch, students will be equally attractive to them.

International Experience
All students will spend at least one summer engaged in architecture-related work and/or study abroad. RIT offers a number of international opportunities to its undergraduate and graduate students. Through affiliation with other universities and organizations (Syracuse, Arcadia, CIEE), students may study in western Europe, India, China, and South Korea. Through an arrangement with Syracuse University, RIT M.Arch, students will be eligible to participate in architecture programs offered at Syracuse centers in London and Florence. Further opportunities include faculty-led programs in Germany (Dessau and Marburg), Paris, and Dubrovnik, Croatia.

First Year
First Year (AY 2011/12)
5010-611, 612, 613        Architectural Graphics I, II, III
5010-621, 622, 623        Architectural History I, II, III
5010-631, 632, 633        Architectural Design I, II, III
5010-703                         Understanding Sustainability
5010-741, 742                 Integrated Building Systems I, II

Second Year* (AY 2012/13)
5010-731, 732                 Architectural Studio I: Site, II: Tectonic
5010-743                         Integrated Building Systems III
5010-751                         Architectural Theory or Design Theory Seminar
5010-752                         Urban and Regional Planning
5010-704                         Industrial Ecology Fundamentals
Graduate Elective

Third Year+* (AY 2013/14 and 2014/15)
ARCH-733, 734                Architectural Studio III: Adaptive, IV: Urban
ARCH-744, 745                Integrated Building Systems IV, V
ARCH-753                        Research Seminar
ARCH-711                        Sustainable Building Metrics
ARCH-771                        Professional Practice and Thesis Preparation
ARCH-772                        Innovative Architecture
ARCH-790                        Thesis Studio
Graduate and Sustainability Electives

*  Note: In academic year 2012/13, the program begins conversion to the semester system. During academic year 2013/14, RIT converts fully to semesters. Review and approval of the semester version of the program will occur in the fall of 2011.


How to Apply
We encourage prospective students to visit the Graduate Admission website to apply, or to contact us for more information and application requirements.

For more information on the M.Arch program, contact:
Donna Podeszek, Staff Assistant
Golisano Institute for Sustainability
Rochester Institute of Technology
111 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623


Statement of Accreditation
In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a 6-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture 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 NAAB grants candidacy status to new programs that have developed viable plans for achieving initial accreditation. Candidacy status indicates that a program should be accredited within 6 years of achieving candidacy, if its plan is properly implemented. In order to meet the education requirement set forth by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, an applicant for an NCARB Certificate must hold a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited by the NAAB; the degree must have been awarded not more than two years prior to initial accreditation. However, meeting the education requirement for the NCARB Certificate may not be equivalent to meeting the education requirement for registration in a specific jurisdiction. Please contact NCARB for more information.

The Rochester Institute of Technology Master of Architecture Program was granted official candidacy status - retroactive to fall 2011 - for the following professional degree program in architecture:

M.Arch. (pre-professional degree + 105 ScH equivalent graduate credits).

Visit to establish Initial Candidacy: October/November 2011.

Projected year of initial accreditation: 2015.


2009 NAAB Conditions for Accreditation
NAAB Procedures for Accreditation (current addition)
The NCARB Handbook for Interns and Architects
Toward an Evolution of Studio Culture

Links (The Emerging Professional's Companion)


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1 Lomb Memorial Dr. Rochester, NY

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