Master of Science

Wurster Hall

The Program

The last two decades have seen rapid growth in the complexity of buildings and the development of specialized knowledge for their design and operation. The building profession now requires a wider range of expertise in design, operation, and management than was required in the past, and new types of professional specialists have emerged to provide this expertise. Often these experts are educated outside of traditional architectural programs, frequently through studies in other disciplines.

The Master of Science (M.S.) in Architecture is an academic, nonprofessional degree program that offers the opportunity for advanced research in the ever-broadening and increasingly complex subfields within architecture. Some students enter with a degree in architecture, or occasionally while here will get an additional Master of Architecture degree (the professional degree accredited for the practice of architecture).  But neither is required, and the undergraduate degrees of our entering M.S. students are diverse.

The Fields of Study

The M.S. degree emphasizes course work and supervised independent research in one the following areas of study:

Research topics outside of these fields or combinations of several areas may be proposed at the time of admission, or developed while in the program, if supported by qualified departmental faculty members, and subject to approval of the architecture M.S./Ph.D. committee.  Course work is individually developed through consultation with an academic adviser.

M.S./Ph.D. Faculty

The following are members of the M.S. - Ph.D faculty. Please also review the current list of all faculty in the Architecture Department. A sampling of their research is described in the Center for Environmental Design Research Projects list.

Building Science, Technology and Sustainability

Gail S. Brager, Professor of Architecture
Passive Design Strategies, Comfort and Adaptation in Naturally-Ventilated Buildings, Post-Occupancy Evaluation and Personal Comfort Systems

Giovanni Betti, Assistant Professor of Architecture
Climate Adapted Building Design, High Performance Building Envelopes, Performance Based Design, Computational Design 

Luisa Caldas, Professor of Architecture
Virtual and Augmented Reality, Immersive Environments, Collaborative Platforms in VR/AR, Sustainable Architecture, Net Zero Buildings, Daylighting in Architecture, Generative Design, Parametric Design

Maria Paz Gutierrez, Associate Professor of Architecture
Natural Materials Innovation and Flood Resilience, Engineered Living Materials,  Functionally Graded Materials and Additive Manufacturing, and Solar Water Regeneration Building Envelopes

Stefano Schiavon, Associate Professor of Architecture and Civil and Environmental Engineering 
Sustainable Architecture, Architectural Engineering/Building Science, Indoor Environment Quality, HVAC Systems, Building Energy Efficiency, Thermal Comfort, Wellbeing, Post-Occupancy Evaluation

Simon Schleicher, Associate Professor of Architecture
Lightweight Design and Biomimetics, Structural Design, Parametric Design, Digital Fabrication and Robotic Manufacturing

History, Theory and Society

Greg Castillo,  Professor of Architecture
20th Century Architecture with Emphasis on Bay Area Counterculture, Mid-Century Modernism, Design as Cold War Propaganda, Architecture and the History of Emotions.

Margaret Crawford, Professor of Architecture
History of Architecture, Urban Design and Planning, Urban History and Theory, US Built Environment Studies, Urbanism in China

C. Greig Crysler, Professor of Architecture
Architecture of Globalization, discourses of Architecture and Urbanism and the Arcus Chair in Gender, Sexuality and the Built Enviornment.

Andrew Shanken, Professor of Architecture
Architecture and Consumer Culture, Memory and the Built Environment, Paper Architecture and the Unbuilt, Expositions, Themed Landscapes, and Architectural Rhetoric.

Neyran Turan, Assistant Professor of Architecture

The Requirements

The M.S. in architecture is earned through a program of study approved by the M.S./Ph.D. committee.  

  • All students must complete a minimum of 36 units, regardless of the degree they have coming into the program, with a minimum of 16 units being graduate courses in Architecture. 
  • For the MS Plan II, 18 units need to be 200-level courses, with 16 being in Architecture.
  • Students are encouraged to work closely with their advisers to select courses appropriate for their academic plan and future career goals. 
  • The culmination of the student’s program is a research thesis or project report, as described below for Plan I and Plan II. Successful students may apply for the Ph.D. program, and are encouraged to discuss this option with their advisors at the appropriate time.

Students have 2 options for a capstone project:

Plan I.  A thesis, representing independent and substantial research, and approved by a three-person committee of faculty (at least one needs to be outside the Department).  The thesis must follow University formatting guidelines and be submitted to Graduate Division.

Plan II.  A project report, representing an independent investigation that should be synthetic, tying together two or more areas of specific content that could come from classes, research, and/or internships.  The report can also be a draft of a journal-quality research paper that has been submitted for publication.  The report would be evaluated by a minimum of two reviewers (at least one being an Academic Senate member), and is submitted to the Department.  

Successful students may apply for the Ph.D. program, and are encouraged to discuss this option with their advisors at the appropriate time.

Requirement Number of Units
Course Requirements for All M.S. Students
Inside field (specialty area) 3 courses (9-12 units)
Research methods course (specialty area) 1 course (3-4 units)
Architecture breadth (outside specialty area)  
Additional breadth (for students without an Arch degree) 2 courses (6-8 units)
Thesis Work, independent study (Arch 299)

5 units

2021-2022 Master of Science BSTS Handbook [PDF] 
2021-2022 Master of Science HTS Handbook [PDF] 

M.S. Alumni

Master of Science Alumni -- Building Science, Technology and Sustainability 

Master of Science Alumni - History, Theory, and Society