Why study Architecture?

Master of Architecture (M.Arch)

University of Cincinnati’s School of Architecture and Interior Design (SAID) graduate degree in architecture is open to students who have already earned a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture (M-Arch II – comprised of 4 academic semesters and 1 semester of co-op experience) as well as those who received an undergraduate degree in a subject other than architecture (M-Arch I - comprised of 6 academic semesters and 2 semesters of co-op experiences).

University of Cincinnati's Master of Architecture is committed 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.

Co-op (also called professional practice or cooperative education) gives special character to the Master of Architecture program at University of Cincinnati. Students reinforce their skills in the field through several co-op experiences

Admission Requirements

  • A bachelors degree from an accredited college or university
  • Unofficial transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended
  • A portfolio of creative work. The portfolio is an opportunity to demonstrate your imaginative and critical thinking talents. Creativity occurs in all fields so the content does not have to be architectural if your background is in another discipline. Written project statements to accompany visual work are usually very helpful to the committee. Portfolios are submitted through the online graduate admissions application. We do not accept hard copies of portfolios.
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons who are in a position to evaluate your abilities and your potential for success as a graduate student
  • A brief resume of your academic and professional experiences.
    Note: Your resume should indicate both educational and professional accomplishments.
  • A two-page statement of your interest in graduate study in architecture. This should be a concise, articulate presentation of your academic and career goals, and any specific interests you have in architectural topics for graduate research and design. It should reflect your prior intellectual and professional engagement with these issues, and may also provide some additional perspective on the work illustrated in the portfolio.
  • Writing sample of your best professional and/or academic writing


A student’s dossier is evaluated first by a representative group of the faculty and ranked. Faculty make recommendations to the School Director and Program Director on whether students are eligible for advanced standing in the M2 two-year track or are a regular admit to the three-year M1 track. 

The School Director and Program Director do an evaluation of all student submissions and make a final assessment as to which program students are admitted. A BSArch degree is required for advanced standing. All other degrees place students in the M1 track. 

The following criteria are conditions for advanced standing: 

  • Number of credit hours for studio 
  • Degree of complexity of the studio problems 
  • Work experience 
  • High GPA  
  • Experience with digital tools 
  • Credit in introductory structures 
  • Credit in introductory building science 
  • Credit in introductory building construction 
  • Credit in a Modern Architecture History class 


People who are successful in architecture have visual and kinesthetic/tactile learning styles. The design of a building involves the synthesis of a variety of diverse requirements and values into a coherent creation. Among such requirements and values are functional suitability, aesthetics, technical performance, economic resources and constraints, social and cultural issues, environmental concerns, and human comfort.

Architects must be intrigued by the design of buildings, enjoy putting things together, and not be intimidated by the need to generate alternate solutions to complex problems. They must possess strong communication skills and be comfortable meeting with many different types of people, as well as being active listeners. Architects must have excellent time- and project-management skills, and understand business planning. They need to know how to create informative and persuasive proposals and maintain good client relationships.

Most 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.

The relatively small size of the program allows for consistent one-on-one advising with the faculty, particularly with one’s studio critic. Students also meet on a regular basis with their professional practice advisor, a dedicated faculty member who facilitates students’ placement into firms for their co-op assignments and who tracks their progress towards meeting the experience requirement for licensure as an architect.

  • The city of Cincinnati, once called the "Queen City of the West" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, provides an excellent array of cultural resources for students who intend to pursue a degree in the visual arts. It offers the energy and assets of a larger city, along with quiet neighborhoods steeped in rich traditions. Cincinnati offers live music venues that range from top-notch symphony and opera companies to a growing pop and rock community. Home to the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum of Art, and the Contemporary Arts Center, the city also enjoys the presence of numerous art galleries and a strong support system among practicing artists. Cincinnati is situated within driving distance of Chicago, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and New York City, allowing students to take advantage of the rich cultural resources of these cities as well.
  • UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) is one of the most comprehensive colleges of its type in the country. A collection of nationally respected design and art programs is housed in a unique and educationally stimulating architectural setting. Architecture students have opportunities to enroll in courses in a range of related disciplines and to participate in interdisciplinary studios or special projects.
  • Students learn creative and technical skills in the studio environment, taught by a passionate faculty who interact with their students on a daily basis. The goal is to guide students as they grow both intellectually and professionally.
  • Other educational opportunities include organized student exchange programs in England, Germany and Denmark. Many architecture students also pursue joint degrees and certificate programs within the college and the university.
  • The DAAP college library has an outstanding collection of books, periodicals and visual resources supporting architecture, planning, design, art history, and related subjects
  • The Computer Graphics Center is a state-of-the-art university facility with hardware that includes PCs, Macs, and peripherals such as scanners, plotters, and digital video-editing suites. Students have access to sophisticated graphics equipment and receive hands-on instruction to augment the use of laptops in the classroom.
  • The college supports a Rapid Prototyping Center, which is the home of state-of-the-art equipment that allows students to create communication aids for their design projects. Using CAD (computer-aided design) models, students are able to create physical models using three basic methods: 3-D printing, large format laser-cutting and CNC (computer numeric control) devices. This facility is intended for all DAAP students to use in creating large-scale design.

M-Arch/MBA Joint Degree

The joint degree for the Master of Architecture (MArch) and the Master in Business Administration (MBA) at the School of Architecture and Interior Design (SAID) and the Lindner College of Business at University of Cincinnati is intended to give students practical knowledge in each profession with an emphasis placed on skills in the logistics and design in the development fields. Students must be admitted separately to both programs. Students admitted to SAID in the three-year program may apply to the MBA in their second year in the architecture program and students in the two-year program may apply in their first year, prior to entering the final year of research and thesis.

The program seeks to promote leadership, collaboration, intellectual depth, flexibility, and innovation through design skills, technical training, and knowledge of the logistics of the economics of development. The purpose of the joint degree is to elevate professional value and develop meaningful, career-driven engagement for our graduates. 

The Joint Degree for the MArch and the MBA requires admission into each degree program. Admission is open in the Fall, Spring and Summer terms.

The degree program requires the completion of 10 credit hours of Business Foundation Courses prior to enrolling in the MBA Core classes; core requirements are comprised of 12 courses for 26 credit hours.

Co-op Education

Co-op (also called professional practice or cooperative education) gives special character to architectural education at the University of Cincinnati, which invented the concept of co-op over 100 years ago. Salaried practical experience arranged from a roster of over 500 firms all over the U.S. and overseas complements students’ growing academic understanding of the discipline. Our graduates’ advanced professional experience and self-reliance make them singularly valuable to employers. Moreover, state licensing boards grant them substantial credit toward the two years of internship that are required to take the architectural registration examination. Three semesters of co-op are included in the Master of Architecture curriculum.

STEM Degree Program

The School of Architecture and Interior Design’s Master of Architecture (M.Arch) has been officially designated as a STEM degree program. The STEM designation, which refers to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, will further benefit highly skilled international students who want to continue to gain work experience in their field of study in the United States following graduation. This designation permits international students enrolled in the Master of Architecture program and studying on an F-1 visa to apply for the 24 month STEM OPT extension.

Under the OPT (Optional Practical Training) program, international students who graduate from colleges and universities in the United States can remain in the country and receive training through work experience for up to 12 months. Students who graduate from a designated STEM degree program can remain for an additional 24 months on the F-1 STEM OPT extension. 

Students begin the MArch curriculum with or without advanced standing, based on their prior academic experience. These two curricular pathways are termed the M.Arch 1 and M.Arch 2 programs.

MArch 1: The complete three-year program is for students with an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than architecture. Students 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. This program is three years in length.

MArch 2: Students with a B.S. in Architecture or an equivalent enter the program with one year’s advanced standing and complete the degree in two years, which includes the one semester of co-op professional work experience.  

For applicants whose native language is not English, a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of at least 100 iBT (600 paper) is common, although not a strict requirement. We also accept test results from the IELTS with scores of at least 7.0 overall band score. 

Application Deadlines

Applications and all supplemental materials are due by January 10 for the following fall. The application process begins with the online UC Graduate Admissions Application. Supplemental materials are to be submitted online through the application process. Applicants are typically notified in late March or early April, but the admissions process can extend into May and June.

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

NAAB Conditions and Procedures 
University of Cincinnati’s Master of Architecture program is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). NAAB Conditions and Procedures (2020 edition) are accessible to all students, faculty, and the public. Learn more about the current NAAB Conditions and Procedures for Accreditation.

Architecture Program Reports (APRs) and Related Documents 

To promote transparency in the process of accreditation in architecture education the following documents are made available to all students, faculty, and the public. 

All interim progress reports (IPR) and narratives of Program Annual Reports submitted since the last team visit: 

2017 University of Cincinnati Interim Progress Report (IPR) 

Most recent decision letter from the NAAB: 

2015 University of Cincinnati Accreditation letter 

Architecture program report (APR) submitted for the last visit: 

2014 University of Cincinnati Annual Program Report (APR) 

The final edition of the most recent visiting team report:  

2015 University of Cincinnati Visiting Team Report (VTR) 

NCARB ARE pass rates:

ARE Pass Rates pdf

Statements and/or policies on learning and teaching culture: 

Studio Culture Policy 


Contact Information

Kim Lawson
School of Architecture and Interior Design
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0016
(513) 556-6426

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Program Code: 23MAS-ARCH-MARCH