Architecture

Master of Science

Wurster Hall

The Program

  • 2015-2016 Master of Science Handbool [pdf] Please note: the 2015-16 handbook is currently being updated to integrate the new Student Information System on campus. In particular, the new option for a Plan II Report (see bottom of page) was just recently approved and is not yet in the handbook. In addition, the campus information systems TeleBears, BearFacts, GLOW, and Financial Aid have changed to Cal Central.

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.

Luisa Caldas, Professor of Architecture
Evolutionary Computation, Generative Design Systems in Architecture, Thermal and Daylighting Behavior of Buildings and Development of New Construction Materials.

Stefano Schiavon, Associate Professor of Architecture
Energy Use, Ventilation Strategies, Radiant Systems, Air Movement, Thermal Comfort, Building Performance Simulations, Post-Occupancy Evaluations, Indoor Environmental Quality.

Simon Schleicher, Assistant Professor of Architecture
Flexible Structures, Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, Adaptive Architecture, Compliant Mechanisms, Bio-inspired Design and Fabrication, Rapid Prototyping, Structural Design and Computational Form-finding.

History, Theory and Society

Nezar AlSayyad, Professor of Architecture, City Planning, Urban Design, and Urban History
Traditional Dwelling and Settlements, Cinematic Urbanism, Cultural Heritage, Fundamentalism, Hybrid Urbanism, Islamic Architecture, Middle Eastern Cities, Urban Informality and Virtual Reality.

Greg Castillo, Associate Professor of Architecture
20th Century Architecture with Emphasis on Mid-Century Modernism, Cold War-Era Design, Consumer Culture, Architecture and the History of Emotions.

Galen Cranz, Professor of Architecture
Chairs and Body-Conscious Design, Urban Parks, the Sociology of Taste, Ethnography for Design, Post-Occupancy Evaluation and Qualitative Research Methods.

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)  
Shared Course Requirements - Arch 298 1 course in Fall (2 units) 
Additional breadth (for students without an Arch degree) 2 courses (6-8 units)
Thesis Work, independent study (Arch 299)

5 units


M.S. Alumni

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

Master of Science Alumni - History, Theory, and Society