Master of Architecture

This program offers fall admission only.

The School of Architecture offers a three-year, NAAB-accredited* first professional Master of Architecture (MArch) degree to students with either an undergraduate degree in architectural studies, or an undergraduate degree in any other field of study.

Prerequisites for students with non-architecture backgrounds
Applicants without a background in architecture must have completed a calculus course with analytical geometry as well as a year-long survey in art history or architectural history prior to enrolling in the program. Applicants with a bachelors degree in architecture will have fulfilled these requirements during their undergraduate studies and therefore will not be required to take any additional prerequisites.

Advanced placement
Applicants with a four-year, pre-professional degree in architecture may be considered for advanced standing into the second year of the MArch if they have a background that includes a minimum of six design studios (eight preferred) and a portfolio that demonstrates studio work that the admission committee deems equivalent to one year of graduate design studio at UIC. Also required is upper-level course work in theory and history equivalent to Arch 531/532, at least one year of architectural and environmental technology, and one year of structures. Advanced placement is not guaranteed and is highly selective.

For further information regarding MArch requirements and admissions, please review our FAQs.


The studio-centered curriculum is supported by required and elective coursework in architectural technology and theory. The typical three-year course of study proceeds roughly through the following stages:

1. Incorporate the knowledge, techniques, methods and manners of the discipline;

2. Apply disciplinary means to frame and respond to the given problems and requests of external situations;

3. Expand the discipline by conducting advanced design research that identifies and addresses concerns that have yet to be recognized.

Student portfolios from each year of the program are available to review at

Year 1: Discipline

Please note that all students admitted into the first year of the MArch are required to attend an intensive bootcamp course beginning two weeks prior to the start of fall classes that introduces the skills demanded by the curriculum.

The first year studio sequence introduces the knowledge and experience of architectural discipline. Discipline establishes identity and enables variation: the set of concepts, techniques and modes of operating that constitute the field at any point in time, and the manners of unfolding its historical potentials and contemporary opportunities in alternative ways. Discipline is established through repetition, the source of both significance and newness in architecture. As an instigator of qualities and an organizer of quantities, the architectural discipline is an exercise in both control and power.

Fall: control of qualities
Introduction to architecture as a function of technique and geometry, beginning with an understanding of scale, proportion, and formal organization.

Spring: power over quantities
Introduction to architecture as a function of polemic and scenario, beginning as a confrontation with size, number and activity.

Year 2: Conditions

The second year subjects the disciplinary techniques and approaches of the first year to a set of external contexts and conditions of particular importance to the School: the city and technology. As a corollary to this work, one objective across the year is to develop the ability to communicate with diverse audiences: both distilling and projecting information and identity from multiple programs and publics (fall), and issuing instructions and specifications to contractors and collaborators (spring).

Fall: comprehensive design (technology)
Integrating design and architectural technology, this housing studio takes building codes, structural and mechanical systems, and material lifecycles as generative design parameters to achieve the scale of detail development and the representational level of construction documents.

Spring: synthetic design (urbanism)
The studio addresses the issue of contemporary collective space through the development of a large, mixed-use complex on an urban site.

Year 3: Position

While the first year projects are largely abstract and the second year sited in Chicago, the third year transports disciplinary lessons and opportunities elsewhere. Specific design and research agendas of current significance are explored with distinguished visiting faculty (e.g., the Greenwald Visiting Professor) and defined as the result of a year-long course of study (consisting of a fall seminar and spring studio) in a research cluster geared toward publishing its findings and proposals.

Fall: topic studios
These option studios provide the opportunity to work on a contemporary architectural problem through the lens of an internationally-recognized instructor.

Spring: research project
Individual and collaborative design-research that addresses concerns at the edge of the contemporary discipline and results from a year-long course of study.

Laptop Recommendations

For a list of laptops and software recommended by the School, please visit the School's Laptop page.

*Required text from NAAB:
"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.

Master's degree programs may consist of a preprofessional 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."

Prospective students are also encouraged by NAAB to consult these resources:
The NCARB Handbook for Interns and Architects
Toward an Evolution of Studio Culture
The Emerging Professional's Companion

Master of Architecture Curriculum Chart

The Master of Architecture Curriculum

Graduate Admissions Guidelines

Download a .pdf of the Graduate Programs Guidebook (3.5mb)