The professional Master of Architecture degree (M.Arch.) is comprised of three tracks: the M.Arch. I (96 credit hours / 3-1/2 years), M.Arch. II (60 credit hours / 2 years), and M.Arch. A.S. (Advanced Standing) (40 credit hours / 1-1/2 years) tracks. Full-time academic status is expected in all programs.
Each curricular program offers full use of the School’s facilities and labs, a close working relationship with accessible faculty and staff, and a wealth of knowledge and backgrounds given the diverse interests of the graduate student population. The School stresses the importance of making in addition to theoretical discourse; hence students have full use of wood, metal, computer, and digifab workshops; equipped with the latest equipment to allow research, exploration, and innovation.
Contact with the profession is also emphasized, and the School maintains various programs and visits from local and national practitioners. An extensive lecture series involving recognized designers and thinkers further enhances the educational environment as well as provides exposure to contemporary issues. The School is one of the first NAAB and NCARB approved programs to offer the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (iPAL) pathway to its graduate students.
Graduate study in the School of Architecture includes not only on-campus coursework, but also travel and research opportunities. Many studios take field trips during the semester to learn from regional and national cities, such as New York, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, and Los Angeles. The School of Architecture also participates in several international exchange programs and has offered summer travel and study programs in Italy, Central Europe, Japan, China, and elsewhere to broaden students’ global understanding to further inform their academic experience.
The M.Arch. is a NAAB-accredited program that prepares students for professional practice and other career paths in architecture. There are three points of entry to the M.Arch. program based on a student’s previous degree, including the M.Arch I, M.Arch. II, and M.Arch. A.S. (Advanced Standing). Prospective students should indicate to which track they are applying in their application.
The three and a half year M.Arch. I curriculum is open to students whose previous degree is outside the field of architecture. The M.Arch. I curriculum involves three primary components: 1) the first year (including a summer session that follows the first year) focuses on establishing a strong foundation in fundamental design skills, architectural history and theory, building-to-site relationships, and introductory building and computational technologies; 2) the second year focuses on advanced and topical design issues and their relationship to building systems as well as advanced studies in history, theory, and building technology; and 3) the third year emphasizes integrated design, professional practice, and electives. The concluding experience incorporates a design research diploma project.
The two-year M.Arch. II curriculum serves students who have already completed a four-year degree program in architecture at a National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited institution. The courses and options within M.Arch. I and M.Arch. II are similar, but the prior education in an NAAB program for M.Arch. II students allows the completion of the degree in two years.
The M.Arch. II curriculum is tailored through the advising process to the previous educational background of the students and to their individual professional and research goals. The program involves two primary components: 1) the first year focuses on advanced building design and topical design studios, as well as advanced studies in history, theory, computation, and building technologies; and 2) the second year focuses on building design integration, specialization through electives, and a final design research diploma project.
The M.Arch. A.S. (Advanced Standing) curriculum at UNC Charlotte is designed for School of Architecture undergraduate degree holders who have established a strong record of academic achievement in their four years of study. The track is earned in three semesters (40 credit hours) and, paired with the UNC Charlotte B.A. in Architecture degree, designed to meet National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited standards.
The program involves two primary components: 1) an intensive first semester summer program that acts as a threshold to graduate level inquiry, and 2) a final year that focuses on building design integration, specialization through electives, and a final design research diploma project.
Dual Degree Options
Students in the M.Arch II or A.S. tracks, and occasionally in the M.Arch I track, may wish to combine their professional architecture studies with graduate work in other programs. These dual degrees typically add a calendar year to student’s course of study.
Options include the M.Arch/MSIT Dual Degree, with a research-based specialization in computational design, and the M.Arch./M.U.D Dual Degree, for a specialization in urban design. The M.U.D program includes one summer with a required study abroad experience and is housed off the main campus in the Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte Center City.