About the Program
The Master of Architecture program at the University of Cincinnati has two curricular tracks: one is for students with bachelor's degrees in other fields (M Arch 1); the other supports those who currently hold undergraduate degrees in architecture (M Arch 2).
Four things distinguish the Cincinnati M Arch from those at most other schools: our long tradition of co-operative professional education (co-op), our open curriculum encouraging an individual choice of research focus, our location in a top-tier interdisciplinary design/arts college in a leading design city, and our consistently strong Design Intelligence program rankings. Read more about these features below.
The study of architecture at the master's level requires a commitment to the design and production of buildings that are useful, durable, meaningful, inspiring, and responsibly engaged with their physical, cultural, and social contexts. Architecture is a useful art, a technical craft, and an ethical practice. Cincinnati's professional, design-centered approach encompasses this range of issues, preparing graduates for licensing and a critical engagement with the world of practice. This critical spirit does not simply accept presumptions and practices at face value, but examines their provenance and consequences with a wary eye and an open mind. The program seeks to promote leadership, collaboration, intellectual depth, flexibility, innovation, and teamwork - elevating professional esteem and multiplying career opportunities for our graduates. The discipline of architecture is continually changing. Graduates encounter an information-intensive professional world, full of situations demanding critical and imaginative thinking. The Master of Architecture program engages fundamental knowledge and skills, and emphasizes comprehensive design, while affording students the opportunity to expand horizons through flexibility, experimentation, and risk-taking. The program provides substantial opportunities for guided investigations of individual architectural interests, building intellectual rigor as well as skill development through a collegial atmosphere emphasizing mentoring, coaching, and advising.
The Co-op Program: Cooperative education is a century-long tradition at the University of Cincinnati, and is the envy of the field. Within the curriculum, students cross back and forth between the academic and commercial worlds of architecture, strengthening their understanding of the integration of theory and practice, discipline and profession. At the graduate level, the co-op experience includes specific learning experiences that operate between these two traditional sites of instruction, linking our 700-firm employer network into academic course work and research objectives through a guided, 26-week graduate co-op experience related to each student's thesis topic.
Research Concentrations: Your individual choice of research focus will dominate the latter part of the curriculum. Courses provide mentorship and guidance in developing an area of focus to inform and accompany your final thesis project, working with faculty members one-on-one and in small groups. Graduate elective studios involve independent, student-led research in support of design work; you'll learn to articulate clearly your theoretical position, methodology, and design intentions. With faculty advisers, you'll define an area of academic concentration, and tailor your research efforts, co-op experiences, and elective choices to inform the extensive written and design components of your final-year thesis investigation.
The Cincinnati Context: We're situated in a leading design college, in a distinguished research university, in a vibrant design city. Cincinnati's internationally acclaimed College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) supports a multidisciplinary design and art culture that comes alive within our Eisenman-designed building. The proximity of programs in interior design, graphic design, digital design, industrial design, fashion design, art history, art education, fine arts, urban planning, and urban studies, offers you many opportunities to take elective or collaborative course work in these fields and to develop areas of expertise that leverage partnerships among diverse faculty and students. The city of Cincinnati offers a pleasant physical and cultural environment, and is home to many internationally-known design firms and Fortune 500 companies. It has world-class performing and visual arts, distinguished urban neighborhoods and rich traditions, and one of the largest concentrations of world-renowned contemporary architecture in the world.
The Rankings: Our consistently high Design Intelligence rankings reflect our long-standing tradition and durable reputation for producing the nation's most practice-ready architectural graduates. Unlike other national program rankings, Design Intelligence polls the employers of recent graduates, so their results directly reflect the quality of our students' professional preparation. DAAP's long-time commitment to high-quality professional education (and the huge number of our alumni and co-op employers who are now leaders in the design fields), will ensure that the top-tier reputation of your Cincinnati degree will be sustained throughout your career.
A Career in Architecture: Most architectural graduates work in architectural firms, which often employ other design professionals as well. While the great majority of architectural offices have fewer than 10 employees, who typically assume a wide range of responsibilities, architects in large firms may focus on more specialized roles such as design, technical support, business management and marketing, facility programming, or historic preservation. An architectural degree can also lead to a career in interior design, urban design and planning, engineering, construction, real estate development, or university teaching. In recent years, the field of architecture has been in the midst of several important transformations around issues such as environmental sustainability, new building and modeling technologies, new design vocabularies, and new approaches to urbanism and the city.
Two Curricular Tracks: Students enter one of two curricula based on their prior academic and professional experience. These are diagrammed on the next page. The M Arch 1 is for students with an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than architecture, and the M Arch 2 is for students with a prior degree in architecture. For more information on the components of each of these curricula, such as option quarter, research and thesis years, elective guidelines, etc., please refer to the "Frequently Asked Questions" below.
Our M Arch 1 Curriculum: Students coming from another discipline begin with an intensive accelerated foundation in professional skills and knowledge, coupled with a broadly interdisciplinary introduction to architecture and its role in the world. There are eleven academic quarters, four co-op work quarters, and an Option Quarter; requiring 181 total quarter credit hours including advanced standing credits. The M Arch 1 curriculum begins in the summer quarter (mid-June). The above chart gives an overview of the curriculum, and the sequence of courses and co-op quarters.
Our M Arch 2 Curriculum: This shorter track is for students with a B.S. in Architecture or an equivalent degree that partially fulfills NAAB (National Architectural Accreditation Board) requirements, and who may have less than a year of architecture-related work experience. This curriculum includes seven academic quarters and four quarters of co-op work experience. (Qualified candidates from the University of Cincinnati's closely-articulated BS Arch program are placed in the M Arch 2 with advanced standing, and receive an Option Quarter of study.) Degree quarter credit hour requirements range from 79-112. The M Arch 2 curriculum begins in the fall quarter (mid-September). For an overview of the curriculum, sequence of courses and co-op quarters, please refer to the chart above.