Master of Science (MS): Architecture Degree Overview

The Master of Science in Architecture program incorporates lessons in research and collaboration to prepare students for various management and design careers in the field. Learn more about coursework, career prospects and licensing requirements.

Essential Information

Standard master's degree admissions requirements apply to online programs, including holding a bachelor's degree in architecture or a related field. Those without a bachelor's degree in a related field may be required to complete additional coursework in computer-aided design.

Typically, students must develop a portfolio throughout the curriculum. Additional requirements may include letters recommendation, and graduate test scores, such as the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).

Specializations in the field include history, digital or urban design, community planning, preservation or sustainable architecture.

To become a licensed architect, individuals need to earn a professional architecture degree from an accredited program, complete an internship and pass an architecture examination.


Master of Science in Architecture

During a Master of Science degree program in architecture, students will examine issues, challenges and trends in architecture. Coursework usually starts with theoretical concepts of architecture and then upper-level courses focus on the technical skills needed for the profession. The program also includes extensive research and may culminate in a comprehensive exam. Students can expect to take classes in topics like:

  • Design theories
  • Criticism
  • Urbanization
  • Developing countries
  • Structures and building
  • Architecture history

Popular Career Options

With skills in design, communication and research, graduates from an M.S. in Architecture program will be prepared for research-based careers in the field. Individuals may pursue jobs as:

  • Project managers
  • Urban planners
  • Facility managers
  • Research-based designers

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of urban and regional planners is expected to increase by 6% from 2014 to 2024. The BLS also reported that these workers made a median salary of $68,220 as of May 2015.

The BLS predicted that employment of architects will increase by 7% from 2014 to 2024. The median salary of architects, as of May 2015, was $76,100.

Continuing Education

Individuals who want to work as professional architects will need to pursue licensure. To do so, individuals will need to obtain a professional degree, such as a B.Arch, M.Arch or D.Arch, from an accredited architecture program. After obtaining a professional degree, individuals are eligible to take qualifying examinations, such as the Architect Registration Examination. Since each has separate requirements for licensure, individuals should check with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards for specific requirements.

In a Master of Science (M.S.) in Architecture program, students advance their knowledge of theory, design and trends, and they have the option to pick a specialization. While a M.S. in Architecture doesn't qualify individuals for a career as an architect, it will prepare them for research-based career options ranging from project and facility managers to urban planners.

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