Master of Architecture I Degree Program
First Professional Degree
Sunil Bald, Director of the Professional Master of Architecture program
The Master of Architecture I curriculum provides a disciplined approach to the fundamentals of architecture in a setting that ensures the flexibility and latitude necessary for students to develop their individual talents and skills.
The School believes that the educational experience of its program is enriched by students who have diverse educational backgrounds and, therefore, embraces students who in their undergraduate education have majored in a wide spectrum of disciplines, from architecture to any of the arts, sciences, or humanities. This program, leading to a degree of Master of Architecture (M.Arch.), is for students holding undergraduate liberal arts degrees, such as a B.A. or B.S., who seek their first professional architectural degree. It typically requires three years of full-time residency to complete the degree requirements.
Entering students, with a sound liberal arts background assumed, are required to follow a curriculum in which their creative, conceptual, analytical, and representational skills are developed through a rigorous and structured four-term core design studio sequence that embraces and integrates the multifaceted complexities of architectural design. Architectural design problems in the first-year fall term focus on the interrelationship of representation, space, and form. Spatial and form-making skills are further developed in the spring term with the integration of materiality, site, and inquiries into dwelling. The first year is complemented by the Building Project, where students work with an institutional client to undertake the design of an affordable single or mutli-family dwelling that is further developed until mid-June, and then realized over the summer. This provides a unique opportunity for carrying the design through the building process to realization. In the fall term of the second year, students explore the interplay of context, community, and architecture through a single term-long project: the design of a public building. The spring term of the second year is devoted to exploring the multi-layered systems that constitute the built environment through an urban design project, where design thinking can extend beyond a single building. In the fall and spring terms of the third year, students, through a lottery system, choose from a variety of advanced design studios, offered by a diversity of leading practitioners, educators, and theoreticians.
The design studios are supported, augmented, and expanded on through required and elective courses from the four area studies that compose the curriculum: design and visualization, technology and practice, history and theory, and urbanism and landscape. In addition, students are encouraged to take elective courses offered by other schools and departments.
Course of Study
In course titles, a designates fall term, b designates spring term, and c designates summer. The School reserves the right to change the prescribed course of study as necessary.
M.Arch. I: Total Requirement: 114 credits
First-Year Required Courses
|Pre-First Year (Summer)|
|ARCH 1000||Architectural Foundations 1||0|
|ARCH 1011||Architectural Design 1||9|
|ARCH 2011||Structures I||3|
|ARCH 3011||Architecture and Modernity I: Sites and Spaces||3|
|Visualization elective 2||3|
|ARCH 1012||Architectural Design 2||9|
|ARCH 2012||Structures II||3|
|ARCH 2016||Building Project I: Research and Design||3|
|ARCH 3012||Architecture and Modernity: Theories and Projects||3|
|ARCH 2017||Building Project II 3||3|
|ARCH 1019||Visualization and Computation 3||3|
Second-Year Required Courses
|ARCH 1021||Architectural Design 3||9|
|ARCH 2021||Environmental Design||3|
|ARCH 4011||Introduction to Urban Design||3|
|ARCH 1022||Architectural Design 4||9|
|ARCH 2022||Systems Integration and Development in Design||3|
|ARCH 2031||Architectural Practice and Management 5||3|
Third-Year Required Courses
|Advanced Design Studio||9|
|Advanced Design Studio||9|
This course is required for those students so designated by the Admissions Committee. Typically, this course will be required for students who do not have significant pre-architectural training. This five-week course ordinarily begins in mid-July and concludes in mid-August.
Students are offered a selection of course options in the fall term of their first year that satisfy the first-term visualization requirement. Selection is made through a student-run lottery.
This course typically concludes in late June.
For students expected to graduate in 2025 or later, one elective must be a qualified Visualization elective (in addition to the required Visualization elective taken during the first year of study), one elective must be in the History and Theory study area and must require one or more research papers totaling at least 5,000 words, one elective must be in the Urbanism and Landscape study area, and one elective must be in the Technology and Practice study area. For students expected to graduate in 2024, one elective must be a qualified Visualization elective (in addition to the required Visualization elective taken during the first year of study), two electives must be in the History and Theory study area and must require at least a fifteen-page research paper, and one elective must be in the Urbanism and Landscape study area. These required electives must be taken within the School of Architecture and may be taken in any term. Students may not substitute independent elective course work to fulfill these requirements.
This course is offered in the fall term of the third year of study for students expected to graduate in 2024, and in the spring term of the second year of study for all following graduating classes.
If an entering student can demonstrate competence and passing grades from an accredited school in the material covered in any of the program’s required support courses (except for ARCH 2031), that student may request a waiver of those courses. A waiver of any required course, however, does not reduce the number of course credits required to fulfill the program’s degree requirements. Support course waivers are granted by the Curriculum and Rules Committees based upon the recommendations of the course’s study area coordinators. Requests for a waiver must be submitted to one of the course’s study area coordinators within one week of the start of the first term of the student’s enrollment. A transcript, course syllabus, and a notebook or examples of work accomplished must be presented to the study area coordinators.
Summer Preparation Courses for Incoming M.Arch. I Students
In the six weeks before the beginning of the fall term, the School offers four summer preparation courses that are required of incoming M.Arch. I students.
- Architectural Foundations (ARCH 1000). This five-week course is offered at no charge for those newly admitted students who do not have significant pre-architectural training. This course is required only for those students who have been informed in their acceptance letter that they must take this course. Students required to take the summer session must satisfactorily pass this course before being admitted to the School’s first-year M.Arch I program in the fall. Classes are held each day, Monday through Friday. The average day is broken into morning and afternoon sessions. Students are expected to complete assignments outside of class.
- Summer Shops Techniques Course. This one-week course introduces incoming students to the School’s fabrication equipment and shops. The course stresses good and safe shop techniques. Students are not allowed to use the School’s shops unless they have satisfactorily completed this course.
- Summer Digital Media Orientation Course. This two-part course, which occurs during the same week as the Summer Shops Techniques Course, covers accessing the School’s servers, the use of the School’s equipment, and the School’s digital media policies and procedures. This course is required only for those M.Arch. I students who did not take Architectural Foundations (ARCH 1000); see paragraph 1 above.
- Arts Library Research Methods Session. This ninety-minute session covers various strategies to answer research questions pertaining to course curricula and topics by using tools such as the Yale University online catalog, architecture databases, image resources, print resources, and archival resources.
In addition to the 114 satisfactorily completed course credits, a student must satisfactorily complete the portfolio requirement (as described under Academic Regulations in the chapter Life at the School of Architecture) in order to receive an M.Arch. degree. The portfolio requirement is administered and periodically reviewed by the Design Committee.
Academic Rules and Regulations
Procedures and restrictions for the M.Arch. I program can be found in the School’s Academic Rules and Regulations section of the School of Architecture Handbook. This handbook is available online at http://architecture.yale.edu/academics/school-handbook.
National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)
Following is information from the National Architectural Accrediting Board, with the date of the next NAAB accreditation visit to be announced in the formal report on the results of the 2022 accreditation visit:
“In the United States, most 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 professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year term, an eight-year term with conditions, or a three-year term of initial accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established education standards.
Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may require a non-accredited undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the non-accredited degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.
Yale University, School of Architecture offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:
M.Arch. (pre-professional degree + 114 credits)
M.Arch. (non-pre-professional degree + 114 credits)”