Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Architecture is a fine art devoted to the design of the human environment. The architect is concerned with the aesthetic, social, environmental, technological and psychological factors that influence the design of a building and determine its success, quality and appearance within the context of community.

Background Information
To become an architect, you must learn to make use of science and technology, and develop sensitivity for beauty in the design of space and form with material. You also must develop a deep understanding of people and their surroundings. Because this work encompasses so many different fields of interest, the architect is best thought of as a professional who bridges different areas of study and blends them into a single significant activity.

Career Opportunities
Architects work in architectural firms or accept positions with government, corporations or institutions. Some architects become highly specialized; others remain generalists in the profession, working on all facets of a project. Whichever path your career may follow, it is necessary to first build a firm background that includes essential architectural knowledge and skills.

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 six-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 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.

North Dakota State University’s Architecture program offers the following NAAB-accredited degree program:
M.Arch. (pre-professional degree + 32 graduate credits)

Next accreditation visit: 2018

The Program
The architecture program at North Dakota State University is a five-year professional course of study leading to a Master of Architecture degree. This degree is nationally accredited and recognized by all state architectural licensing boards. You may elect to receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Architecture, a pre-professional degree, at the end of four years. The course work during the freshman year develops your understanding of how designers make decisions and how architecture relates to the determination of our built environment. This is accomplished through lectures, assigned readings and design-related projects. In the third and fourth year, you complete four concentrated years of architectural design studio work. Additional courses range from the History of Architecture to Mechanical and Structural Systems. It is in the design studio that this knowledge is applied. Projects in architectural design, whether done individually or by groups, are often assigned much as a practicing architect would receive them from a client. 

In the design studio the functional and environmental requirements of a project are carefully studied, along with the social and visual conditions that determine the solutions. Analytical diagrams, schematic layouts and design studies are prepared in close cooperation with faculty and classmates. Models, sketches and diagrams are used to investigate aspects of design and to test the integration of all systems that are part of it-such as movement of people, site development, and systems that heat, cool and light spaces. At the same time, and with equal emphasis, students study the social, psychological and aesthetic conditions that result.

In the fourth year of study, students begin graduate course work. The fifth year is dedicated to graduate course work and a design thesis project.