Master of Science in Architecture

A flexible, research-oriented graduate program for students seeking in-depth knowledge in areas relating to architecture and the built environment.

Pair your passion for the built environment with expertise and guidance from leading architecture researchers at the University of Arizona.

The Master of Science in Architecture (MS Arch) is a STEM-designated graduate degree devoted to applied research in the built environment with a flexible curriculum of approximately three semesters.

Program Structure

The first semester includes a common course experience: all students are part of a single cohort, where you'll get to know faculty in different concentration areas, the multicultural Sonoran desert and each other through a graduate research studio, research methods seminar, core elective and core skills development architecture course.

These first-semester courses feed into a research experience leading to your master's project.

Concentrations may include design and energy conservation, emerging building technologies, health and built environment, heritage conservation, sustainable market transformation and urban design. Learn more below.

This program exposes students with degrees from disciplines other than architecture to areas of research within the realm of architecture and the built environment.

Why the MS Arch is Right for You

The MS Arch expands the breadth and depth of expertise of those who have already completed a post-graduate degree in architecture and wish to explore specific areas of study. And for those whose workload in practice has slowed and who desire an additional credential to differentiate themselves when business picks back up, the MS Arch is a smart choice.

Our dynamic, research-focused program provides opportunities for leadership, scholarship, entrepreneurship and innovation across private, public and academic arenas.

The ability to conduct research on the built environment distinguishes our graduates from those who have professional degrees in architecture.

Many students publish research findings or develop and execute funded research as part of their degree.

Funding is available for qualified students.

From the West? Get Arizona Resident Tuition Pricing!

If you're from one of 15 Western states, you're now eligible for Arizona resident tuition pricing for the MS Arch.

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Application Deadlines

January 1: Early Decision
March 1: Round 1
May 1: Round 2
July 31: International Deadline UPDATED
July 31: Final Deadline

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Can't make it to Tucson in time to begin in person this fall? No problem—it is possible to take your fall 2020 courses online.

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Concentration Areas

The Master of Science in Architecture Design and Energy Conservation (MS Arch DEC) program is aimed at advanced understanding of the theory and principles relating to design, energy conservation, and research methods applicable in different climatic regions throughout the world. The methodologies include climate responsive design, energy conservation, passive solar design, natural ventilation, and Net-Zero energy design. Research activities include development of site survey methods, field test instruments, and new computer programs for specialized research methods and energy systems.

The goal of the program is to expand the breadth of technical expertise available to architects and increase the range of job opportunities across the private, public and academic arenas. This is achieved by incorporating research on the built environment and sustainability into a design specialization.

Facilities and Resources
Theoretical learning is verified by empirical research in the appropriate School facilities: the Center for Design & Energy Conservation, the House Energy Doctor (HED) program, the Heliodon (24-ft. hemisphere for solar simulation), an outdoor thermal comfort test site with advanced instrumentation and state-of-the-art wireless sensor technology, a boundarylayer contractionless wind tunnel, and an Artificial Uniform Overcast Sky Simulator for daylight testing and photometric measurements.

In addition, the program emphasizes hands-on learning experiences based on laboratory teaching and field investigation formats. Applied research is furthered by students who master computer simulation methods specific to the Sonoran Desert yet adaptable to diverse climates in other regions of the world. Interdisciplinary research is pursued in collaboration with the UA Office of Arid Land Studies and Department of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering.

The Master of Science in Architecture Emerging Building Technologies (MS Arch EBT) program encourages students to pursue research that envisions a hypothetical, potential architectural design solutions developed in tandem with expanding scientific knowledge. The curriculum for this program is situated within a realm of discovery by means of innovative hypotheses and rigorous scientific inquiry around the subject of emergent design processes, materials, and methods. Students interested in pursuing the Emerging Building Technology option are uninhibited, ambitious, and creative design-thinkers who will critically challenge prior knowledge in their respective fields of inquiry in order to envision innovative solutions for our built environment futures. The technological focus of student research incorporates emerging material investigations that may emphasize any or all of the following: environmental performance, digital fabrication, structural performance, response for resilience, ecological integration, and socio-cultural dynamics.

Knowledge formation in the EBT program occurs in three major areas: theory development, technical skills, and an independent research project. Depending upon a student's career interests, a particular aspect may be emphasized to a greater extent through the selection of courses. The potential outcomes of the MS.Arch EBT degree include employment in design and construction or in a consulting specialty, teaching or academic doctoral research, invention and commercialization of a building technology, industry specialization, socio-environmental technical assistance to underserved communities, and other, as yet uncharted, grounds for building technology careers or entrepreneurial endeavors.

The Master of Science in Architecture Health and the Built Environment (MS Arch HBE) program arms degree candidates with the knowledge and skills needed to capitalize on design principles that have an impact on people’s physical, mental, and social wellbeing.

Every design decision may impact an individual’s health—positively or negatively. Design practitioners, therefore, can have a profound impact on the people who inhabit their buildings. In the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Design and Health initiative of 2014, the AIA Design and Health Leadership Group identified six evidence-based approaches to health: environmental quality, natural systems, physical activity, sensory environments, safety, and social connectedness. The Master of Science in Architecture subplan in Health and the Built Environment curriculum addresses these areas and takes a human-centered, systematic approach to understanding the relationship between people and their environments.

Students will learn not only to understand existing research, but also to translate it into practice, making them more competitive in the marketplace and facilitating their impact on people’s everyday lives. The MS.Arch HBE is an interdisciplinary program that will teach students to evaluate and design healthy private, public, and community spaces. Students will have the opportunity to participate in the research, outreach, and policy activities of the UA Institute on Place, Wellbeing & Performance, a unique partnership between the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, and the UA College of Medicine.

The purpose of the Master of Science in Architecture Heritage Conservation (MS Arch HC) program is to educate students in the preservation of the built environment as part of a comprehensive ethic of environmental, cultural, and economic sustainability. The curriculum is holistic in its approach to problem-solving within an integrated environment of natural and cultural resources, drawing on the disciplines of anthropology, archaeology, architecture, art history, history, landscape architecture, materials science, and planning.

The learning outcomes of the Heritage Conservation concentration balance theory and practice, as well as research and outreach in a non-studio based curriculum. They foster awareness of geographic, cultural, technological, economic, and political factors that shape the built environment and the building traditions of cultural groups and historic periods that define the Greater Southwest. They also build understanding of heritage conservation terms, concepts, and philosophical foundations; of legal, regulatory, and economic development tools; of treatment standards for historic properties; and of cultural resource management business and ethical principles. Students learn to conduct research using primary and secondary information resources; to survey, document, and communicate cultural artifacts, buildings, sites, districts, and cultural landscapes according to professional (Secretary of Interior) standards; to analyze building construction systems, components, and materials to make conservation treatment recommendations; and to interpret the meaning of built environments.

The Master of Science in Architecture Independent Option (MS Arch IO) allows students to pursue research interests in areas that fall outside the other specific subplan options. Students interested in pursuing this option must develop a clearly-defined research proposal to submit with their application for admission to the MS.Arch degree program. Prospective students should initiate contact with those members of the faculty possessing expertise relevant to their research interests. School of Architecture faculty research experience and interests are described in the faculty profiles.

The School of Architecture faculty represents a broad spectrum of research expertise. In addition, many faculty research interests are interdisciplinary, with connections to a number of other fields including archaeology, anthropology, art history, civil engineering, computer applications, cultural studies, gerontology, geography, history, material science, advanced computing applications to design and fabrication, visual and performing arts, theater architecture and scenography, neuroscience and natural resources. Faculty in the School of  Landscape Architecture and Planning may also serve as advisors and resources for students pursuing the Independent Research Option.

Prospective students may also develop proposals that leverage the School of Architecture's world-class Materials Laboratory. The Lab supports student and faculty research exploring diverse traditional (glass, ceramics, wood, metal, etc.) and emerging materials, and advanced fabrication technologies.

The Master of Science in Architecture Sustainable Market Transformation (MS Arch SMT) program builds on core social science concepts to describe and analyze systems for sustainable market transformation to advance design innovation.

Students will learn how to make innovation happen by taking classes from experts in architecture, sustainable built environments, and real estate within the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, as well as fast-paced, challenging courses alongside MBA students at the University of Arizona's acclaimed Eller School of Management. Students will develop the tools acquired in these courses through individual, original research on sustainable market transformation, focusing on the past, present, and future conditions of the building industry.

The program's goal is to grow a passionate, research-driven community of researchers and industry professionals who share an interest in making our built environment better. SMT is an excellent fit for those seeking tools to make bigger impacts within the building industry, or for mid-career professionals looking to gain skills and move into leadership positions as sustainability advocates. The program is also designed for people with a business bent who have a special interest in the built environment or building industry, such as building product sales representatives who seek more information on the fundamentals of sustainability, or those working in marketing or sales, client development, or management in industries advancing sustainability, such as building science and building envelope consultants, high-performance window designers, and third-party certification organizations.



The Master of Science in Architecture Urban Design (MS Arch UD) program is a specialized, multi-disciplinary field of inquiry and practice that encompasses multiple scales of analysis and potentials of implementation.

With over half of the world’s population living in urban areas and 28 mega-cities of 10 million or more inhabitants (accordng to the United Nations), the need to understand urban areas and propose solutions for urbanized and urbanizing areas is imperative. Our curriculum integrates research and design by allowing graduate students to learn methods in urban research; to understand the interdependencies among buildings, landscapes, infrastructure, public spaces, and society; and to design innovative solutions that improve the quality of life. Required courses introduce the study of urban, social, economic and environmental conditions; visual simulation, and urban design, history, and theory. Elective courses permit students to pursue individual interests related to urban research and design, such as sustainable urbanism, housing, transportation, and contemporary theories of urbanism. Students interested in pursuing the Urban Design option may have a professional degree in architecture or landscape architecture or come from other disciplines with the capacity to engage in focused urban research.



school of architecture

Our faculty practice what they teach! 60% of our faculty are registered architects and over half also work in professional practice.

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