Master of Architecture 3-year

Students who have completed or are completing a bachelor's degree and who wish to pursue professional careers as licensed architects may apply for admission to this program.  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 is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor Architecture, 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 conformity with established educational standards.

Master's 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.

This Master of Architecture degree is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).  Students who have completed previous course work in an approved NAAB architecture curriculum or a pre-professional architectural degree program may achieve advanced standing.  All requests for advanced standing are evaluated using the minimum qualifications for graduate study at KU, the student performance criteria established by NAAB, and procedures approved by the architecture graduate studies committee.  This degree requires a sequence of 6 semesters and 2 summers of architectural design studio/synthesis experiences, each of which is accompanied by associated professional graduate courses, constituting a total of 118 credit hours.  The program also has a required study abroad component, planned to occur during a student's second summer.

There are 4 typical entry points to this curriculum:

1.  Students without backgrounds in architecture who hold bachelor's degrees in non-design-oriented disciplines enter the first year of the curriculum which begins in the summer session.  The first year of the curriculum is 2 academic semesters and 2 summer sessions.  The total number of credit hours required is 110-116 depending on the student background.

2.  Students without backgrounds in architecture who hold bachelor's degrees in a design discipline usually begin course work with the fall semester of the first year.  Other curricular requirements may potentially be waived after a careful vetting of the student's educational background.  The total number of credit hours required for graduation is likely to be approximately 100.

3.  Students with a pre-professional degree in architecture, such as a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies, are likely to be placed in the second year of the curriculum if they have a background in design studio.  This is commonly referred to as the 4+2 option.  Students interested in being placed in this way should make this clear in their statements.  These students normally are asked to complete four studios (synthesis experiences), a study abroad summer experience, and architecture support courses whose number and content are determined on a case-by-case basis.  The total number of credit hours required for graduation depends on the student's previous preparation and is highly variable, but is likely to be approximately 70 hours.

4.  Students who already possess an accredited professional Bachelor of Architecture degree generally enter a three-semester program that requires a study abroad experience during a summer session as well as the final year of the curriculum.  The total number of credit hours required for graduation depends on the student's previous preparation and is highly variable, but a minimum of 36 hours is required.

Joint 3-Year M.Arch.-B.S. in Architectural Engineering Option

This program is for students who have completed all requirements for the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in architectural engineering. (See specific degree requirements in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering section of the online catalog.) The B.S. in architectural engineering is an ABET-accredited professional degree that requires a minimum of 5 years and 164 credit hours to complete.

Architectural engineering students who wish to complete an accredited Master of Architecture degree in addition to the B.S. in architectural engineering should apply for admission to the school’s 3-year M.Arch. program by February 1 of the final year in architectural engineering. The application includes the completed application form and appropriate fee, a statement of purpose, and a portfolio of work. Assuming good performance in previous design studios, students are likely to receive advanced placement into the M.Arch. curriculum (normally into the second year of study).

Dual Master of Architecture and Master of Business Administration Degree Program

The Master of Business Administration/Master of Architecture dual degree program is designed particularly for students intending to pursue leadership opportunities in architecture, development, or construction. The M.B.A./M.Arch. program requires 4 years of study, 1 year less than it would take to earn each degree separately.

Students completing the dual degree program earn an M.B.A. from the KU School of Business and an M.Arch. from the KU School of Architecture and Design. Students complete 112 credits in the 3-year Master of Architecture program and 37 credits in the School of Business. Prospective dual degree students must already be students in the Master of Architecture program and must apply and be accepted by the School of Business. New students must complete the first year of the architecture curriculum before starting the M.B.A. curriculum and must declare their intention before completing the second year of the architecture curriculum.

For information, consult the school websites and program chairs. See also the Master of Business Administration section of the online catalog.

Joint Master of Architecture and Master of Urban Planning

This joint degree combines in a 4-year program the normal 2-year Master of Urban Planning degree and the 3-year M.Arch. degree, both offered through the School of Architecture and Design and Urban Planning Department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences ( The program is intended for students interested in careers in urban design. A total of 133 credit hours is required, comprising 39 hours in urban planning and 94 hours in architecture. Applicants must meet admission requirements of both the Department of Architecture and the Department of Urban Planning. Students pursuing the M.Arch. may apply to the joint degree program during, but not after, the second year of study. Students pursuing the M.U.P. may apply to the joint degree program during, but not after, the first year of study.

Graduate Admission

Regardless of background or career goals, a person whose previous records indicate the ability to succeed with advanced work may be admitted to one of the graduate programs. Admission requires a bachelor’s degree and a grade-point average of 3.0 from KU or another accredited institution or foreign university with substantially equivalent requirements for the bachelor’s degree.  A complete application for admission consists of the following materials:

  1. Graduate application.
  2. One unofficial transcript where the undergraduate degree is confirmed and one copy of the transcript where any graduate degree/credit was earned (if applicable).
  3. Three letters of recommendation from persons qualified to comment on the applicant’s intellectual abilities and probable success in graduate study.
  4. Application fee, nonrefundable check or money order payable to the University of Kansas (See Admission in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog for further information).
  5. Students whose native language is not English must follow the policy for English Proficiency Requirements for Admission to Graduate Study.
  6. A statement of interest indicating the applicant’s career goals and the relationship of these goals to the specific option chosen (Those seeking advanced placement in the M.Arch. program should make this clear in this statement.).
  7. A portfolio of work demonstrating the candidate’s strengths. Examples may include design or creative work and writing samples. The portfolio is limited to 10 megabytes (not zipped) in PDF format. Upload under other documents.
  8. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test results (not required but preferred).
  9. For international students, a financial statement showing minimum financial support for the first year of study (see the admissions page on the school’s website).

Submit your graduate application and upload all application materials online. Please contact the Admissions Coordinator if you have any questions:

The University of Kansas
Department of Architecture
Marvin Hall
1465 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 206
Lawrence, KS 66045

Be sure to check the school’s website for updates to the admission process or requirements.

Master of Architecture Degree Requirements

M.Arch. Curriculum (3-year)

The curriculum is designed in 3 parts. The first 2 semesters plus 2 summer sessions offer an accelerated education in the foundations of architecture as a professional discipline. The second academic year emphasizes professional development, with the comprehensive studio as a capstone experience. The third and final year offers students a choice of options for an inquiry of enhanced depth typical in graduate education. This allows students to develop a specialization by the time they complete the professional degree. The timing of course offerings is subject to change. Please visit the school’s website for the most current information.

Plan (3-year)

Year 1
ARCH 5016ARCH 508 or 5096ARCH 509 or 5086
ARCH 5026ARCH 510 Architectural Detailing or ARCH 630 Theory of Architecture3ARCH 510 Architectural Detailing or ARCH 630 Theory of Architecture3
ARCH 6053ARCH 5243ARCH 5313
 ARCH 5303ARCH 6243
 ARCH 6263ARCH Professional Enrichment Elective3
 15 18 18
Year 2
ARCH 6906ARCH 6086ARCH 609 Integrated Design6
 ARCH 5403ARCH 5413
 ARCH 6583ARCH 5523
 ARCH Professional Enrichment Elective3ARCH 610 Integrated Design Documentation3
 6 15 15
Year 3
 ARCH 800 Level Professional Option 16ARCH 800 Leven Professional Option II6
 ARCH Professional Enrichment Elective3ARCH Professional Enrichment Elective3
 ARCH Professional Enrichment Elective3ARCH Professional Enrichment Elective3
 ARCH Professional Enrichment Elective3ARCH Professional Enrichment Elective3
  15 15
Total Hours 117