MA Experience 

The MA experience in the Department of Architecture is crafted into four phases:

1.      Foundation Curriculum

The MA curriculum provides a common base of understanding and appreciation for design theory and research methods through a set of Foundation Courses. The Foundation Courses will be required of all students, and are composed of 12 credit hours of graded coursework.  These courses are:

Arch 931

Theories of Architectural Inquiry

Arch 951

Methods of Inquiry in Architectural Research

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Graduate Level Architecture Course

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Graduate Level Architecture Course

2.      Major Area of Study

This part of the MA experience is designed for the student to develop an expertise in a particular area of emphasis through a minimum of 12 credits of focused coursework.  Students need to define a major area in keeping with the philosophical position of the program and create a coherent curriculum.  This curriculum is to be planned in consultation with the student’s Major Professor.  Every MA student must submit a program of study, which identifies the Major Professor, the Comprehensive Oral Examination and Thesis/Project Committee, and the developed curriculum for the major areas for approval by the MA/PhD Committee of the Department through the Progress to Degree Form (See Appendix) by March 01 each year.

3.      Comprehensive Oral Examination

The Comprehensive Oral Examination exam of a MA student will be tailored by the Major Professor to address the student’s areas of research interests.

For MA students who plan to write a thesis, the Comprehensive Oral Exam will be held as a public thesis proposal presentation and defense.

For MA students who plan to do a project instead, the Comprehensive Oral Exam can be conducted as a written exam. Each Committee member will be responsible for drafting two or more questions, so that each area of expertise represented by the committee will be represented in the exam. 

Evaluation of the thesis proposal defense or the examination will be conducted by the Comprehensive Oral Examination Committee following the policies and procedures outlined in a later section.

4.      Thesis/Project

The MA thesis presents a rigorous study on a particular topic that the student identifies in consultation with the Major Professor and the Thesis Committee.  The purpose of the thesis is to encourage original research work on a problem or research area. The thesis is to be a coherent body of work, not a collage of separate, distinct pieces. It must show some original accomplishment, but it should also demonstrate the candidate’s potential to make future contributions to knowledge and understanding. 

The thesis is to be defended publicly, providing an opportunity for the members of the Thesis Committee, faculty and students to question the student’s research.  The defense needs to be scheduled in accordance with the Departmental and/or University policies.  If the Thesis Committee determines that the thesis has been successfully defended, the student is able to apply for the degree of MA in Architecture.

A student may choose to do a final project instead of a thesis. The student must determine the topic and scope of the scope in consultation with the Major Professor and the Project Committee. Like the thesis, the final project is to be defended publicly, providing an opportunity for the members of the Project Committee, faculty and students to question the student’s project performance.  The defense needs to be scheduled in accordance with the Departmental and/or University policies.  If the Project Committee determines that the project has been successfully defended, the student is able to apply for the degree of MA in Architecture.


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