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Master of Architecture (M. Arch) Degree

The NAAB accredited Master of Architecture is a holistic professional program offered in two tracks. Dedicated to the relationship of theory, up to date technical developments, advanced architectural design and the practice of making and building, the program has an exceptional profile. Through knowledgeable and practicing faculty, we enable our students to become responsible leaders in their field, who have the skills to envision, design and construct a desirable and viable future, and therefore actively contribute towards the evolution of society.

M. Arch Track I Unit Requirements

Major 48 units
Directed Study 6 units
Electives* 9 units
TOTAL 63 units
*Per director approval

Architecture M. Arch Degree Requirements

  • Successful completion of Final Thesis Project
  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA
  • Minimum grade of C in all required 63 units (Track I) or 87 units (Track II)

M. Arch Track II Unit Requirements

Major 66 units
Directed Study 6 units
Electives* 15 units
TOTAL 87 units
*Per director approval
MARCH Program Learning Outcomes

Graduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:


  • Demonstrate development of design exploration and understanding throughout the program

Visual Communication:

  • Visually communicate ideas through hand sketching/ drawing, including hand drawn concept sketches, design process sketches and diagrams
  • Visually communicate ideas through architectural drawings (digital or otherwise): site plan, plan, section, elevation, and 3D representation
  • Produce accurate physical models of design ideas

Written Communication:

  • Effectively summarize the project and process in a well-crafted proposal and thesis book

Presentation Skills:

  • Professionally present the thesis proposal and final project

Building Systems, Materials and Methods:

  • Demonstrate understanding of material systems and construction details
  • Demonstrate understanding of building systems (including structural systems, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems)
  • Demonstrate understanding of environmental control systems
  • Demonstrate understanding of building codes and accessibility
  • Apply sustainability concepts in their project

Thesis Proposal Development:

  • Clearly define the mission of their project
  • Present research that defines the need and desirability of the project
  • Provide a profile of the user group
  • Comprehensively define and analyze the proposed site area and its context
  • Present and analyze relevant precedents for the project
  • Develop a general project concept related to the site analysis and program
  • Effectively present the suitability of the proposed program on the proposed site
  • Produce a spatial/ functional program online

Thesis Project:

  • Produce a comprehensive architectural and building solution to the mission statement

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Additional Information

For information on the Architecture Registration Exam (ARE) and Intern Development Program (IDP) requirements go to:


Please see Degree Breakdown for requirements for the program. Explore our course catalog and take classes based on your interests, either online or in our world-class facilities in San Francisco.

Graduate Degree Breakdowns

Master of Architecture (MArch)

The Master of Architecture (M.Arch) program prepares the student through the process of critical thinking, designing, and making to provide meaningful contributions to our built environment through the practice of architecture and urban design. We work to develop each student’s individual capacity through critical thought, rigorous exploration and personal design vision. Both the 63-unit and 87-unit degree program tracks are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole authority for accredited professional degree programs for architecture in the United States.

Note: All placement into architecture classes is pending ESL evaluation, ESL 604 placement necessary to start architecture classes.

  1. Applicants who graduate from a NAAB accredited 5 year B.ARCH program or equivalent with international ERES evaluation are eligible for Track I (63 units). Final placement will be determined after portfolio review.
  2. Applicants who graduate from a 4 or 5 year non-NAAB accredited Bachelor’s program in Architecture are eligible for Track I (63 units). Final placement will be determined after portfolio review.
  3. Applicants who graduate with an unrelated undergraduate degree will be placed into Track II (87 units)

As per NAAB applicants are required to provide proof of 45 non-architecture related units from their undergraduate degree. ERES evaluation or official transcripts required to determine unit count. A minimum of 105 undergraduate units are required to enter the Track I (63-units) program and a minimum of 81 units are required to enter the Track II (87-units) program.   


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Mark Mückenheim

Graduate Director–Architecture

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