Why study Architecture?

The field of Architecture encompasses both practice and theory as it applies to the design of buildings, landscapes, cities, and other environments. The University of Cincinnati’s Master of Science in Architecture Program is a post-professional degree program of advanced theoretical studies in architecture with a focus on the acquisition of critical skills related to architectural production, both built and theoretical. Students enrolled in the program study architectural history and theories as these relate to practice. The program exposes students to a range of concepts in the field and fosters the ability to question and assess the built environment and the documents that relate to it.

Intended primarily for students already in possession of a graduate degree in architecture or a related field such as interior design, planning, or landscape architecture, the MS program has a common core consisting of two years of coursework in architectural theories and research methods.

Admission Requirements

The School of Architecture and Interior Design bases admission decisions on a balanced consideration of the following indications of scholarly potential:

  • Students applying to the MS Program in Architecture should have completed a bachelor's degree prior to matriculation
  • Unofficial transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended are required. Official transcripts are not required during the admissions process, and only unofficial transcripts are required for the application. Applicants should not send official transcripts until they are offered admission and confirm enrollment. For complete transcript requirements, view our Transcript Submission Policy
  • A portfolio of design, art, or other graphic work is optional. The portfolio is an opportunity to demonstrate your design abilities, artistic talents, or other information you deem pertinent to your application. The content does not have to be architectural if your background is in another discipline. Written project statements to accompany visual work are helpful. Portfolios are submitted online. 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 are required. There is no standard form to fill out; instead, based on the information you provide in your application, recommenders will be emailed instructions on the process for submitting letters of recommendation. 
  • A résumé of academic and professional experiences is required
  • A two-page statement of your interest in graduate study in architecture is required. 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.
  • Students applying to the MS Program must submit one or two writing samples demonstrating the ability to conduct scholarly research and examine theoretical concepts. The essays can expand on the areas of research interest or on any topic.


Applicants to the MS Program in Architecture must demonstrate a commitment to the critical study of architecture and related design fields, including interior design, urban design, and landscape architecture. Prior education or working experience in architecture or a related field is desirable. Excellent writing skills and an interest in theoretical research are essential. Students whose English writing or speaking skills are not adequate for the demands of the curriculum must enroll in advanced, graduate-level English as a Second Language coursework prior to and sometimes in tandem with program coursework.

The program prepares researchers, educators, and practitioners for advanced scholarly, pedagogic, and professional work in architecture and related fields. Most graduates of the program become full-time professors or practitioners of architecture. Other career opportunities for graduates of the MS and Ph.D. in Architecture include historic preservation, public policy, curating, journalism, and institutional administration.

Because UC’s Master of Science Program in Architecture has a small number of students, we are able to facilitate one-on-one student and faculty advising and collaboration. Students work with their faculty to develop their research and writing skills in publications and presentations in national and international conferences. Above all, students are encouraged to design their research interests by taking courses in different fields.

The University of Cincinnati’s MS Program in Architecture is part of the University’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), which is home to top-ranked programs in a broad range of design and arts disciplines. Students have opportunities to interact with counterparts in other fields and take courses in those areas.

The undergraduate and graduate programs in the School of Architecture and Interior Design prepare students for critical engagement with the practice of designing buildings. The MS Program in Architecture is an extension of this mission. It aims to provide an enriched intellectual context in which students can strengthen their skills of critical reasoning, ethical judgment, and aesthetic appreciation of the practice of building. Students in the program are encouraged to develop their research and writing skills by participating in conferences and publishing their papers as a complement to coursework.

Eligible students accepted to the MS Program in Architecture may compete for a limited number of scholarships and assistantships. Students are eligible to work in campus jobs for up to 20 hours per week when classes are in session and 40 hours during vacations.

Students enrolled in the MS Program in Architecture can take advantage of opportunities for collaboration with peers and faculty members in a range of academic units across campus and with the university’s institutional and industry partners. Coursework and research opportunities in related disciplines such as architectural engineering, fine arts, art history, industrial design, graphic design, landscape design, urban design, and urban planning are available to students in the MS Program in Architecture. UC’s emphasis on interdisciplinary studies facilitates interaction with counterparts in other schools of the College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning as well as other colleges such as the Engineering, Arts and Sciences, Medicine, and the College Conservatory of Music. Such interdisciplinary studies should be planned in consultation with Program faculty members and approved by the Program coordinator.

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) or an IELTS score of at least 7.0 is common, and is typically our minimum. 80 on the TOEFL and 6.5 on the IELTS are graduate admissions minimum requirements. Applications with scores below the campus minimums will not reach the MS Architecture admissions committee for review. Students whose scores are above the campus minimum but below the Master of Science in Architecture Program standards, or students whose English writing or speaking ability does not meet program expectations, will be considered on a case-by-case basis, however, they must agree to take graduate-level ELS coursework and possibly other courses as a condition of acceptance.

Application Deadlines

All applicants must apply by January 10th.

The application process begins with the submission of the UC Graduate Admissions application. Supplemental materials are to be submitted online through the application process.

New students are admitted for the fall semester. We will notify successful candidates by April 15. An offer of admission may be withdrawn if a candidate does not accept within six weeks of our offer.

In general, the program offers neither deferrals nor admission in semesters other than fall, however, individual requests for admission deferrals and for spring semester admission may be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the specific nature of the request and the ability of the program administration to accommodate it.

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

The architecture program of the University of Cincinnati has been accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) continuously since 1948, and its courses satisfy requirements maintained by various state architectural registration boards. The professional Master of Architecture degree is recognized as an accredited degree by the NAAB. The Master of Science in Architecture Program is not an accredited professional degree.


Contact Information

Dr. Rebecca Williamson, Ph.D., Associate Professor
School of Architecture and Interior Design
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0016
(513) 556-0770

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Program Code: 23MAS-ARCH-MSRCH