Architecture

Master of Architecture

ARCH Studio

UC Berkeley’s excellence as a research institution is indisputable, and the Berkeley Master of Architecture contributes to this stellar international reputation.

Three frameworks underpin the Berkeley M.Arch.:

  • An emerging position in the application of digital-design media.
  • Studios and seminars that embrace an international perspective.
  • A continued commitment to our emphasis on design and ecology.

These frameworks, together with our tradition of outstanding scholarship in architectural history and theory, offer new directions for architectural education that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. Our faculty are leaders in the fields of design, theory, and building technologies, and are joined each year by endowed professors who teach design studios related to their professional interests. A sampling of their research is described in the Center for Environmental Design Research Projects list.

The Program

The M.Arch. program provides students seeking their first accredited professional degree with a comprehensive and challenging education leading to the practice of architecture. Graduate students have the flexibility to choose a variety of paths within a two-to-three-year rigorous program, depending upon previous education and experience. The department makes no restriction as to the field of undergraduate preparation. However, the length of the required residence period, the number of required semester course units, and the specific list of required courses may vary depending upon undergraduate major, professional and other work experience, and previous graduate study, if any.

The basic course leading to the Master of Architecture degree takes three academic years and requires the completion of at least 72 units during that period of residence. Persons who hold a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree with a major in architecture may receive up to one year of advanced standing. The Master of Architecture Committee of the department will determine the specific amount of advanced standing individually for each student at the time she or he first registers for graduate study in the department. Special one-year Master of Architecture programs are available to persons holding the five-year, professional undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Architecture, from an accredited school, or comparable five-year degrees from foreign universities and technical institutes.

Undergraduate Degree Program Required Units Maximum Elective Units
Bachelor of Architecture (five-year professional) degree Studio One (one-year post-professional program) 24 16
Four-year non-professional degree with a major in architecture. This advanced standing is at the discretion of the Admissions Committee. Option 2 (two-year professional program) 48 25
B.A. or B.S. degree in any field Option 3 (three-year professional program) 72 12

Final Year

During the final year, M.Arch. students have the option of participating in an intensive research studio or developing an individual thesis. Both options include a required seminar component in the fall followed by a spring studio.

Accreditation/Licensure

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 pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

The University of California, Berkeley, College of Environmental Design, Department of Architecture, offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:

  • M.Arch. (pre-professional degree (120 credits) + 48 graduate credits)
  • M.Arch. (non-pre-professional degree + 72 credits)

The next accreditation visit for all programs is 2016.