Master of Architecture
The graduate curriculum is structured to allow flexibility and to accommodate diverse student needs. This is accomplished by offering a combination of choices of studies available within the various program options. The M.Arch.1 option results in a post-professional degree, while the M.Arch.2 and M.Arch.3 options result in the conferring of a first professional degree, fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.
Central to the academic structure of these several options is the design laboratory. The various design laboratories are oriented toward formulation and resolution of design questions at a broad range of scales. In addition to fostering a mastery of the design process, the design laboratory is intended to cultivate a foundation for design through the study of concepts and principles of form generation, through education of an environmental awareness and aesthetic judgment, through study of the syntax of architectural language, and through the development of technical knowledge of the processes of fabrication and construction. These learning-oriented laboratories encourage the use of previously acquired knowledge, skills, and experience gained in the architectural profession and in other academic disciplines.
M.Arch.1, Advanced Research and Design:
The M.Arch.1, Advanced Research and Design Program is a graduate degree program intended for students who have previously obtained a five-year, professional degree in architecture (B.Arch.). Students in this program may receive advanced standing, as determined by the graduate program faculty, for up to 24 credit hours toward the completion of the 54 semester credit hours required for graduation, resulting in a typical program of study of 30 semester credit hours (minimum), generally requiring approx. one calendar year of study. Students are provided the opportunity and academic resources necessary to pursue a definitive, experimental, design investigation or research in a design-related subject area, according to their special interests. Students in the M.Arch.1 program may elect to enroll at the Washington-Alexandria Center for all or a portion of their required studies.
The one-year Master of Architecture from Virginia Tech is a post-professional degree and does not constitute an accredited first professional degree in architecture. International applicants who hold architecture degrees from schools outside the U.S. and who aspire to professional licensure in the U.S. are normally advised to apply to the M.Arch.2 program.
M.Arch.2, Advanced Professional Studies:
An Advanced Professional Studies option (M.Arch.2) is offered for the student who has previously obtained a four-year, pre-professional baccalaureate degree in architecture. The first year of study continues the student’s professional building design education and related technical and history/theory studies. The second year is reserved for preparation of a design thesis demonstrative of the student’s academic accomplishment and professional potential. Students in this program typically complete 54 (min.) credit hours, normally requiring at least two academic years (four semesters) of study. Students in the M.Arch.2 program may elect to enroll at the Washington-Alexandria Center for all or a portion of their required studies and/or may spend a semester participating in the Europe Study Abroad Travel Program or in residence at the Center for European Studies and Architecture (CESA) in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland.
Virginia Tech undergraduate students in the Bachelor of Architecture program who are committed to pursuing a Master of Architecture degree may apply for admission to the Combined program.
A Comprehensive Professional Studies option (M.Arch.3) is provided for graduate applicants with degrees in fields other than architecture. The student is presumed to have undertaken little or no concentration in architecture prior to enrollment in the program. In addition to the 54 (min.) graduate credit hours required for the degree, students in the M.Arch.3 option complete 30 credit hours of qualifying year academic work, engaging in studies to provide a foundation of environmental design experiences and to promote a basic understanding of the discipline. Upon successful completion of the qualifying year, students advance through a sequence of studies providing for development of building design skills and knowledge of building systems and the technical processes of construction. During the final year of the curriculum, students pursue individual study interests and prepare a thesis. This program usually requires at least three and one half years (three academic years, plus one required summer) of study. Students in the M.Arch.3 program may elect to enroll at the Washington-Alexandria Center for the final, thesis year and/or may spend a semester participating in the Europe Study Abroad Travel Program or in residence at the Center for European Studies and Architecture (CESA) in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland.
The first professional degree programs in architecture (B.Arch., M.Arch.2, and M.Arch.3) at Virginia Tech are fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.
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 6-year, 3-year, or 2-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 preprofessional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.
Virginia Tech, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, School of Architecture + Design offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:
- B.Arch. (160 undergraduate credits)
M.Arch.2 (pre-professional degree + 54 graduate credits)
M.Arch.3 (non-pre-professional degree + 84 credits)
Next accreditation visit for all programs: 2018