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Model plane in architecture studio

Master of Architecture Degree

The accredited M.Arch. program is designed primarily for students with a broad range of interests and backgrounds who are interested in studying architecture at the graduate level, and whose undergraduate degrees were obtained in fields both inside and outside of architecture. The program’s curriculum emphasizes the importance of sustainability (energy and environmental), state-of-the-art technologies for improved design and construction, and the impacts of policy and culture on urban design.

At a time of significant transition for the architectural profession, the Master of Architecture degree incorporates the skills and knowledge critical to the 21st century architect. The program’s purpose is to produce architects who can think outside the box to apply their knowledge and talents to solve unique architectural problems posed by the modern city.

The core education takes place in our architectural design studios, and goes beyond design theory to integrate construction technologies, materials science, and building systems into projects. In addition, projects are complemented by laboratory investigation, shop work, field study, lecture, and seminar courses for a well rounded education. All students also complete a global study abroad achitecture experience, a professional co-op or internship with an architectural firm, and comprehensive thesis project before graduating and earning an architectural license.

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Co-op Opportunities

Cooperative Education, or co-op, gives you the opportunity to gain meaningful work experience while you are earning your degree. A co-op experience will help you further define your career path and fully realize the potential of what you are learning in the classroom. All students seeking professional registration and licensure must earn 700 "units" prior to becoming eligible to sit for the Architectural Registration Examination (ARE).

An intern works under the direct supervision of a registered architect. RIT Architecture students may begin accumulating internship units (8 hours of training = one unit) through domestic or international co-op programs offered in partnership with RIT or through summer employment obtained independently by the student.

For more information, or to get help finding a co-op, contact the Office of Career Services.

Student Resources:

How to Apply

Before you apply, please visit and carefully read the Admissions Requirements, Admissions FAQ, and Portfolio Requirements pages on this site. These pages contain a significant amount of important information and will help to answer many of your questions about the program and the application process. Most of all, this information will help you to assemble your very best application package.

We offer a number of open house opportunities from September–May and guided tours periodically throughout the year for students interested in visiting the RIT Architecture facilities. To arrange a tour, please contact RIT Graduate Enrollment Services or click the department link below.

Once you are ready to apply, please visit the RIT Graduate Enrollment Services website to begin your application.

If you have additional questions or have a concern not addressed on this website, please contact us (link to Contact Us page – prospective student version, with Master of Architecture selected).


In the United States, most 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 professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year, three-year, or two-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 require a preprofessional undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the preprofessional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Master of Architecture Program is what is often referred to as a Type I program whereby students enter with a non-architecture related undergraduate degree and normally earn the degree with 3+ years of study. Those with undergraduate backgrounds in architecture may qualify for some advanced standing status.

The RIT Master of Architecture Program offers the following NAAB Accredited degree:

Master of Architecture
(pre-professional degree + 105 ScH graduate credits)
Initial Candidacy granted: 2011
Initial Accreditation: 2017
Next Accreditation Visit: 2020

Program Goals include:

  • Instilling critical thinking concepts in course material to produce broad-thinking architects that are well-grounded in the principles and practices of sustainability.
  • Providing a comprehensive set of tools to shape students into adept contributors that can effectively create building and planning projects that solve problems at the intersection of architecture and sustainability.

Students and prospective students may find The NCARB Handbook for Interns and Architects and Toward an Evolution of Studio Culture helpful.

NAAB Conditions and Procedures

Program Reports


These incredible donors have made this program what it is today, and continue to support us and our students:

  • Bergmann Associates
  • Christa Construction
  • SWBR Architects & Engineers
  • The Pike Company
  • Welliver McGuire, Inc
  • HBT Architects
  • IBC Engineering
  • Chantreuil Jensen Stark Architects
  • Dr. Wesley L. Hicks, Jr
  • Peter Drago Fund
  • FXFowle Architects
  • Hunt Engineers Architects and Land Surveyors
  • Rochester Area Community Foundation
  • Charles G. Woodcock
  • American Institute of Architects - Rochester
  • Frank S. Grosso
  • Edge Architecture
  • T. Budgeon-Bakeer
  • EBS Architecture


Architecture Program Advisory Council (APAC)
In pursuit of academic excellence, discovery of new knowledge, advancement of the future of the profession, and overall support of the program mission - the Architecture Program Advisory Council (APAC) serves in an oversight capacity to guide, advise, review, inform and renew the make-up and construct of the Master of Architecture professional degree program. Current Council Members include:

Jonathan Bahe, AIA
Former Design Futures Council member and AIAS National President. Currently, Jonathan is an emerging professional at NBBJ Architects in Seattle.

James B. Durfee, AIA
Principal, Bergmann Associates - Architects and Engineers, Rochester, NY. Jim is the recipient of the 2013 AIA Rochester Medal of Distinction for lifelong service to and advancement of the profession.

Jessyca Henderson, AIA
Managing Director, Policy and Community Relations, AIA National Headquarters. Jessyca oversees Code Advocacy, State Relations and Community Resilience. She works closely with the AIA Strategic Initiatives in Sustainability.

Richard J. Jackson, MD, MPH, Honorary AIA
Joan H. Tisch Distinguished Fellow in Public Health, 2013. Richard is a professor and chair of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, UCLA. He is also the host of a PBS Series: Designing Healthy Communities.

What Our Students Say

  • Catherine Lange

    What Our Students Say

    The M.Arch. program provided a well-balanced foundation so I was ready to hit the ground running when I started my first job. Collaborating with scientists, designers, and the Rochester community on projects provided a very interesting and rich education that I continue to draw from in my architecture career.

    Catherine Lange
    Intern Architect at Freeman French Freeman, Architects
  • What Our Students Say

    The complex problems of our generation call for trans-disciplinary and multi-faceted solutions, and the GIS program certainly offered a highly interactive and creatively stimulating environment to develop the skills necessary to be successful.

    JD Harper
    Architectural Designer, HYL Architecture
  • What Our Students Say

    Coming from a technical mechanical engineering background RIT Architecture department has played a transformative growth role in the last two years in bringing the best of me as a design individual by pushing me to new limits every day and bringing life to my visions.

    Sabyasachi Das
    M.Arch. Student
  • Samuel Elliot, alumnus, Rochester Institute of Technology

    What Our Students Say

    My architectural education at RIT helped to give me a solid foundation in the principles of sustainability and the design process. Even prior to graduation, I felt comfortable applying my knowledge within a professional setting as an intern. The faculty and staff have gone above and beyond to create a challenging and rewarding sustainable architecture program.

    Samuel Elliot
    Architectural Designer, SWBR Architects
  • What Our Students Say

    The RIT GIS Master of Architecture degree will help me to better evaluate current processes and trends in my building designs.  Its emphasis on the fundamentals of architecture combined with technology and life cycle analyses, will help me to design more efficiently and more conscientiously of our ecological systems.

    Joseph J. Nicholson III
    Assistant Manager of Virtual Design and Construction, The Pike Company

Student-Centered Research

About Rochester, NY

Rochester, NY location on map of USA

Rochester, New York is a metropolitan area near Canada inhabited by a little more than one million people. Small enough to be welcoming, but large enough to be lively, Rochester is known for its many lakes, festivals and craft brewers, as well as its low cost of living and sizable high-tech startup community. Get to know the area ›

Most classes will take place in our state-of-the-art LEED platinum building, a living, learning laboratory, where pioneering R&D is happening with some the biggest names in business and industry. Tour our building ›