Graduate Programs

Master of Architecture

Programs

Two Master of Architecture programs are offered: the “+2” track in Architecture for students with pre-professional architecture degrees, and a post-professional program for students who already hold a professional Bachelor of Architecture or its equivalent.

Master of Architecture +2 Program

Admitted students must have a four-year architectural studies degree from: a U.S. school with an accredited professional architecture program; a U.S. school that is accredited by a regional accrediting body, without an accredited professional architecture program; or an international program that is deemed equivalent. A minimum of four semesters of Architectural Design studio, five of the Basic Studies course equivalents from the list outlined below (or approximately 15 units), and 40 of non-architectural content must be completed in the previous degree. All students must matriculate in the fall semester and be in residence for a minimum of two years (four semesters).

Degree Requirements

To meet NAAB accreditation requirements, all graduates must complete a combined total of 168 credit hours of study at the undergraduate and graduate level, of which at least 30 semester credit hours must be at the graduate level as well as a minimum of 45 units of non-architectural content. Master’s students must meet established standards for graduate study at USC, and complete a total of 64 credit units, which may include Basic Studies not completed at the undergraduate level as well as Advanced Studies and approved electives.

(1) Basic Studies (the following may be met by an equivalent course taken in an undergraduate program or as a Basic Studies requirement at USC): ARCH 213ab Building Structures and Seismic Design, ARCH 214ab World History of Architecture, ARCH 215 Design for the Thermal and Atmospheric Environment, ARCH 313 Design of Building Structures, ARCH 315 Design for the Luminous and Sonic Environment, ARCH 410 Computer Transformations, ARCH 511L Building Systems, ARCH 514 Contemporary Issues in Architecture: A Critical Dialectic, ARCH 525 Professional Practice: Pre-Design, Project and Office Administration, ARCH 526 Professional Practice: Legal Economic Context Project Documentation, and ARCH 611 Advanced Building Systems Integration.

If a student has completed the equivalent of the ARCH 213ab Building Structures and Seismic Design, ARCH 313 Design of Building Structures sequence in his or her undergraduate studies, yet this work did not include Seismic Design, the student must then take ARCH 313 for its seismic content or ARCH 573 Seismic Design, if offered.

(2) Advanced Studies courses include: ARCH 505abL Graduate Architecture Design, ARCH 532 Elements of the Urban Landscape, ARCH 533 Urban Landscape Case Studies, ARCH 543 Research Methods, ARCH 561 Architecture in the Urban Landscape: Projects and Places, ARCH 563 Architecture in the Urban Landscape: Comparative Theories, and ARCH 605abL Graduate Architecture Design.

(3) Electives: courses may be taken at the 400, 500 or 600 level. If the total 45 units of non-architectural content, as required by NAAB, have not been completed during undergraduate studies, students will be expected to take those units during the course of the Master of Architecture +2 program.

Thesis or Directed Design Research Option

M.Arch. +2 students may elect to complete an independent thesis or a directed design research project (DDR). An independent thesis or DDR option will allow students to substitute ARCH 693abL or ARCH 695abL for 10 credit units of electives. This option requires residency of a minimum of five instead of four semesters.

Sample Curriculum
First Year, First Semester Units
ARCH 505aL Graduate Architecture Design 6
ARCH 532 Elements of the Urban Landscape 2
ARCH 543 Research Methods 1
ARCH 561 Architecture in the Urban Landscape: Projects and Places 2
Basic Studies or Electives 5
16
First Year, Second Semester Units
ARCH 505bL Graduate Architecture Design 6
ARCH 533 Urban Landscape Case Studies 2
ARCH 563 Architecture in the Urban Landscape: Comparative Theories 2
Basic Studies or Electives 6
16
Second Year, First Semester Units
ARCH 605aL Graduate Architecture Design 6
Basic Studies or Electives 10
16
Second Year, Second Semester Units
ARCH 605bL Graduate Architecture Design 6
Basic Studies or Electives* 10
16
Optional Third Year, First Semester Units
ARCH 693bL** M.Arch. Thesis, Option I, or
ARCH 695bL** M.Arch Thesis, Option II 8

*Students electing the independent thesis/DDR option should take ARCH 693a or ARCH 695a at this time.

**For students who have elected the independent study option.

Master of Architecture: Post-Professional

Candidates for admission must have a five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree or its equivalent. Completion of the degree requires 49 units, including 23 units of required courses, 10 units of thesis or directed design research, and 16 units of approved electives.

The required courses are ARCH 410 Computer Transformations; ARCH 543 Research Methods; ARCH 605abL Graduate Architecture Design; ARCH 606 Advanced Architectural Theory; ARCH 607 Advanced Computation; ARCH 608 Urban Theory: Los Angeles Case Study; and ARCH 609 Advanced Fabrication.

Thesis or Directed Research Option

In addition to the opportunity to initiate an independent thesis, students are provided the option to undertake independent design research related to important urban projects already in progress within the school. Whichever option is taken, students are supported in their work by a three-member faculty advisory team including a principal critic.

49-Unit Sample Curriculum
First Year, First Semester Units
ARCH 410 Computer Transformations 2
ARCH 543 Research Methods 1
ARCH 605aL Graduate Architecture Design 6
ARCH 606* Advanced Architectural Theory 2
ARCH 607* Advanced Computation 2
ARCH 608* Urban Theory: Los Angeles Case Study 2
ARCH 609* Advanced Fabrication 2
17
First Year, Second Semester Units
ARCH 605bL Graduate Architecture Design 6
ARCH 693aL M.Arch. Thesis, Option I, or
ARCH 695aL M.Arch. Thesis, Option II 2
Elective 8
16
Second Year, First Semester Units
ARCH 693bL M.Arch. Thesis, Option I, or
ARCH 695bL M.Arch. Thesis, Option II 8
Electives 8
16

*ARCH 606 and ARCH 607 will be taken the first eight weeks of the semester and ARCH 608 and ARCH 609 in the latter half of the semester.

Advanced Standing

Students may apply for advanced standing based on their general qualifications and any unusual strengths or experience. Applicants who have completed a five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree and at least five years of teaching or practice (or a combination of) may be qualified for advanced standing. Each student will be considered individually. Qualified students will be admitted to a two-semester program at the time of review for admission. Students with advanced standing must complete 33 units.

33-Unit Advanced Standing Sample Curriculum
First Year, First Semester Units
ARCH 543 Research Methods 1
ARCH 605aL Graduate Architecture Design 6
ARCH 606* Advanced Architectural Theory 2
ARCH 607* Advanced Computation 2
ARCH 608* Urban Theory: Los Angeles Case Study 2
ARCH 609* Advanced Fabrication 2
ARCH 693aL M.Arch. Thesis, Option I, or
ARCH 695aL M.Arch. Thesis, Option II 2
17
First Year, Second Semester Units
ARCH 693bL M.Arch. Thesis, Option I, or
ARCH 695bL M.Arch. Thesis, Option II 8
Elective 8
16

*ARCH 606 and ARCH 607 will be taken the first eight weeks of the semester and ARCH 608 and ARCH 609 in the latter half of the semester.