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Your Master of Architecture degree includes small group courses with diverse and talented faculty in architectural design studios in our LEED platinum building and out in the real world.

Without an architectural background, you’ll start with courses that build your technical knowledge, such as learning powerful software applications and other modeling tools. If you have experience, you’ll move straight into classes about integrated building systems, urban planning, industrial ecology, and more. Your required professional co-op will help you put these theoretical skills into applied practice.

You’ll also have the flexibility to choose electives based on your unique talents and career goals, such as business, engineering, energy, or additional design skills—either within the Institute or throughout RIT’s various colleges.


Architecture, M.Arch. degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
Architectural Representation I
Introduction to the range of architectural representation skills necessary to effectively document basic architectural form and space. Skill development will be both manual and digital. Class 2, Studio 4, Credit 3 (F)
Architectural Representation II
Further study of architectural representation skills necessary to effectively document more complex architectural form and space. Skill development will be both manual and digital. (Pre-requisite ARCH- 611 Architectural Representation I) Class 2, Studio 4, Credit 3 (S)
Architectural History I
Students study global architecture from pre-history to the 15th century, including form, technology, urban context, and how architecture reflects social, cultural, and political concerns. Class 3, Credit 3 (F)
Architectural History II
Students study global architecture from the 15th to the 21st century, including form, technology, urban context, and how architecture reflects social, cultural, and political concerns.
Architectural Design I
Exploration of basic architectural space and form through studio design problems. Problems require understanding of elements such as spatial relationships, circulation, light, and orientation. (Co-requisite, ARCH-611 Architectural Representation I). Classroom 3, Studio 9, Credit 6 (F)
Architectural Design II
Students will analyze and solve building based architectural design problems with a focus on residential design and other wood based structures. (Pre-requisite, ARCH-631 Architectural Design I, Corequisite, ARCH-621 Architectural Representation II). Classroom 3, Studio 9, Credit 6 (S) ARCH-
Fundamentals of Building Systems
ARCH-641 Fundamentals of Building Systems Students will receive an overview of the various passive and active architectural and engineering systems that comprise a building project while focusing on wood frame construction. (Co-requisite ARCH- 632 Architectural Design II) Class 3, Credit 3 (S)
Understanding Sustainability
Students will study the interaction between industrial, environmental/ecological and social systems in the built environment by introduction of systems thinking and the multiple disciplines comprising sustainability. (acceptance into M. Arch. program or permission of instructor) Class 3, Credit 3. (F)
Second Year
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.
Architectural Studio II: Urban
Investigation of architectural design as a response to the modern urban context. This includes an understanding of urban design and planning, as well as community involvement.
Integrated Bldg Systems I
This course presents the various systems that comprise a project’s site work; architectural materials/methods, civil engineering, and landscaping architecture as well as site constraints.
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.
Architectural Theory
A survey of architectural theory and criticism with emphasis on contemporary architecture. Students will investigate, learn, and apply critical thinking, as well as communicate it to others.
Urban and Regional Planning
This course immerses students in the field of urban and regional planning by studying and actively engaging in the planning process through projects with community agencies. (Pre-requisite, ARCH-632 Architectural Design II) Class 3, Credit 3 (S)
Industrial Ecology Fundm
Students will learn how to assess the impact and interrelations of built environments on the natural environment by utilizing life cycle assessment tools and principles of sustainability. (ARCH-761 Understanding Sustainability) Class 3, Credit 3 (S)
Sustainable Building Metrics
The measurement science, performance metrics, assessment tools, and fundamental data critical for the development and implementation of building systems associated with life-cycle operation of buildings while maintaining a healthy indoor environment.
Third Year
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.
Architecture Studio IV: Integrative
This studio provides the opportunity for students to execute a comprehensive and integrative project from schematic design through design development.
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.
Integrated Building Systems IV
In conjunction with the co-requisite course, students will document a building design with design development drawings, including MEP with a focus on environmental systems and lighting. (Pre-requisite ARCH-743 Integrated Building Systems III, Co-requisite ARCH-733 Architectural Studio IV: Comprehensive) Class 3, Credit 3 (S)
Research Seminar/Thesis Prep
Students frame individual thesis proposals through various research approaches, critical readings, presentations and examinations of architecture; physicality, socially, culturally, historically and technologically. (Prerequisite, 60 credit hours in the program) Class 3, Credit 3 (F)
Graduate Sustainability Elective
Graduate Electives
Fourth Year (fall only)
Professional Practice
Students will study the roles of stakeholders involved in architecture within the context of project management and business practices including legal responsibilities, and professional ethics. (Second year courses) Class 3, Credit 3 (S)
Students will propose, design, and defend an architectural design or research problem, while working closely with a selected faculty committee. (Prerequisite, ARCH-753 Research Methods/Thesis Preparation) Class 3, Studio 9, Credit 6 (F, W, Su)
Graduate Electives
Global Experience
Masters-level Global Experience by the candidate under the direction of an RIT instructor, a program with another academic institution, or an independent travel experience for no credit. Students may enroll once for a maximum of 3 credits towards their degree requirement. The subject of each offering varies depending on the location and focus of the faculty member’s or student’s interest.
Coop Architecture
ARCH-699 Co-op Architecture This course provides a ten-week (350 hour min.) work experience in the field. (Second year program status) Credit 0 (Su)
Total Semester Credit Hours 105