Master's in Architectural Lighting Design

Oct 14, 2019

Architectural lighting design is a unique field that blends the technical with the artistic. It is so unique, in fact, that it is difficult to find programs that concentrate on architectural lighting design - which focuses on buildings - as opposed to programs in lighting design, which generally focus on performance spaces. A master's in architectural lighting design provides students with the training needed to enhance private and commercial spaces by transforming them into experiences.


There are two options for students who choose to pursue a master's in architectural lighting design. The first option is a dual Master of Architecture/Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Design. The second option is a Master of Professional Studies in Lighting Design. The first option takes four years to complete. The second option takes about one year to complete. Regardless of which route students chose to take, they will be required to complete core coursework. Some examples of the types of courses that will be required are as follows:

Dimensional Space

Teaching students how to enhance their spatial reasoning skills are the focus of this course. Students will learn to make decisions about how and what to draw as well as how and who specific elements should be represented in a certain way.

A Studio or Project Course

A studio is a place where students who have already taken some courses can show what they have learned. Students will create a lighting design using knowledge learned from previous and/or current courses. Each student's solutions can be based on commercial, retail, hotel, or residential space needs.

Daylight and How It Is Used

Exploring, analyzing, and evaluating natural light and how it relates to the design of indoor spaces is the goal for this class. Students will learn about how light affects finishes, how windows control interior light, and the best way to determine the best ways to incorporate daylight.

Light and How It is Used

Students enrolled in this course will learn how light affects public health as well as how light can affect vision. Topics covered include lighting measurement, the physics of light sources, color, spatial dynamics, and visual comfort.

Illustrating Lighting Design Concepts

Every real-life design starts with a concept. Lighting design students must learn to represent or render the concepts they design in a way that provides an accurate sense of what the finished product will look like. This course teaches students the specifics of illustrating their ideas.

Architecture and light

Architecture and light courses focus on the development of architecture throughout history, especially in the last 200 years, how that architecture has been influenced by light sources, and vice versa. Students will understand how technological advances have developed and how they are used.

Admission Requirements

Applicants should be prepared to submit some or all of the following: SAT/ACT or GRE scores, undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume, a personal essay, and/or a portfolio. Applicants are not required to have a background in architecture, engineering, or design, so students from any background may apply. Those applying directly from high school to a dual degree program must provide proof of graduation from an accredited high school or a GED. Students who have completed a bachelor's degree do not need to provide proof of high school graduation. Those who have completed some college credit, but have not graduated, still need to provide proof of high school graduation.

There are two excellent options for those wishing to pursue a master's education in architectural lighting design, a 4-year option and a 1-year option. Both provide students with a quality education that blends art and architecture.

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