MEHRDAD HADIGHI, Head, Department of Architecture
130 Stuckeman Family Building
ALEXANDRA STAUB, Professor in Charge of Graduate Program in Architecture
320 Stuckeman Family Building
The Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) degree program in Architecture offers two distinct tracks:
1. The post-professional Master of Architecture track. Post-professional degrees do not qualify the recipient for professional licensure in the United States. This track is intended for students already holding a professional degree in architecture, and in exceptional cases, for students with nonprofessional architectural degrees who seek to develop a better understanding of architecture. The post-professional Master of Architecture track is a two-year (four-semester) research-based track supporting a number of areas of research inquiry, specially designed for students interested in advanced research and independent work. It is expected that such students will have previously studied the technical and professional aspects of architectural practice and are primarily interested in strengthening the intellectual underpinnings of their work through intensive studio investigations, design applications, and rigorous theoretical inquiry.
2. The professional Master of Architecture track. This track is designed for students with undergraduate baccalaureate degrees in fields other than architecture and for those holding a non-professional baccalaureate degree in architecture. This programdoes qualify the recipient for professional licensure in the United States. The three-year (seven-semester) program helps prepare students to become leaders in the profession of architecture. Students enroll in a two-year preparatory core curriculum that prepares them with techniques, principles, histories, theories, and technologies related to the discipline of architecture. In the final year of the program the students join the post-professional curriculum, where independent thinking and advanced research are the model.
For applicants interested in this track who have completed architecture or architecture-related coursework, there will be a review of transcripts to assess completion of materials covered in preparatory classes. A faculty review committee will assess each accepted applicant’s transcripts for possible preparatory course equivalents. If preparatory courses have been fulfilled with equivalent undergraduate or graduate coursework, students will be eligible for advancement. Accordingly, time to complete degree requirements may be reduced.
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program in Architecture is a research-based degree supporting a number of areas of research inquiry. The program's distinguishing quality is its broad-based research core, grounded in contemporary critical theory and methods. Faculty include Penn State scholars with an expertise in architectural theory, the design process, digital design, digital fabrication, building construction and technology, cultural and environmental behavior, housing, urban design, and sustainability. Visiting scholars further enhance the program and course offerings. The program allows opportunities for graduate students to assist in undergraduate courses and work with the research centers of the department. It is expected that students will have previously studied the technical and professional aspects of architectural practice and are primarily interested in strengthening the intellectual underpinnings of their work through intensive investigation, design applications, and rigorous theoretical inquiry.
All applicants must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.
A minimum grade-point average [GPA] of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required
All applicants for admission to the Master of Architecture degree program must submit:
International students also must submit TOEFL scores as noted below in the section titled “English Language Requirements.”
Additional information regarding admission to the M.Arch. degree program
1. The post-professional Master of Architecture track. M.Arch degree applicants interested in this track should hold a five-year professional degree in architecture.
2. The professional Master of Architecture track. The baccalaureate degree may be in a field other than architecture or be a non-professional baccalaureate degree in architecture. This M.Arch. track culminates in a professional degree, currently in candidacy status for National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accreditation.
The M.Arch. degree program at Penn State draws heavily on core professional knowledge and competency classes taken by undergraduate students in our B.Arch. curriculum. Thus, 21 credits at the 400 level and 46 credits at the 100, 200, and 300 levels will be required as preparatory courses. Students in the professional Master of Architecture track will be admitted provisionally as M.Arch. students until these preparatory requirements are met.
To be admitted into the Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture degree program, an applicant must have received a professional degree in architecture from a regionally accredited institution and a masters degree in architecture or related field. Outstanding candidates who do not hold a professional architecture degree but who satisfy all other entrance to major requirements may be admitted by the Ph.D. program director with the concurrence of the Department Head. Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) will be required for admission. An overall minimum grade-point average of 3.20 for graduate and undergraduate degrees is required for admission. In addition to submitting the application to the University for admission to the Graduate School and payment of the application fee, all applicants must submit the following to the Department of Architecture: 1) an official transcript from all institutions of higher education attended, both undergraduate and graduate, 2) official diploma/certificates for each degree obtained, 3) three letters of recommendation, 4) a statement of intent, and 5) a CV.
The best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces that are available for new students. Exceptions to the minimum 3.20 grade-point average may be made for students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests.
The language of instruction at Penn State is English. International applicants for all Architecture degrees must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT). Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, which requires an institutional test of English proficiency upon first enrollment and, if necessary, remedial course work. The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement if they have received a baccalaureate or a graduate degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec) England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.
1. The post-professional Master of Architecture track. The capstone of the M.Arch. program is a Master's Thesis or Thesis [Design] Project, which requires the student to identify and formulate an area of inquiry within which he or she will be expected to do original research and to complete a project or a written thesis that tests the theoretical ideas. The Master of Architecture is a 30-credit program that requires 24 credits of course work and 6 credits of thesis or thesis project. At least 18 credits must be at the 500 or 600 levels, and at least 20 credits must be taken in residence at University Park. The core courses consist of a total of 12 credits.
A graduate student may be able to complete the requirements for the M.Arch. degree in one year. Those students who are awarded an assistantship will require more than two semesters to complete the requirements for the M.Arch. degree. Directed electives include courses related to one of the three options from other disciplines, such as Landscape Architecture, Geography, Sociology, Philosophy, Psychology, and Computer Science, as well as within the Department of Architecture. Architectural Research (ARCH 591) is specifically designed for each of the three options and counts toward the 12 credits necessary to satisfy the option within the major. The thesis requirement can be fulfilled in two ways: through a written thesis, which conforms to the scholarly standards of Graduate Council or through a design project that tests theoretical ideas. A written monograph will accompany all thesis design projects.
2. The professional Master of Architecture track. This 97-credit track requires the completion of 67 credits of preparatory coursework, some of which may have been completed in the applicant's undergraduate coursework, in addition to the 30 credits of advanced coursework referenced above in the section describing the post-professional track. The professional M.Arch. may be completed in three years (seven semesters). For applicants who have completed architecture or architecture-related coursework, there will be a review of transcripts to assess completion of materials covered in preparatory classes. A faculty review committee will assess each accepted applicant’s transcripts for possible preparatory course equivalents. If preparatory courses have been fulfilled with equivalent undergraduate or graduate coursework, students will be eligible for advancement. Accordingly, time to complete degree requirements may be reduced.
List of Courses:
67 preparatory credits
30 required credits (bold face)
A total of 6 credits from:
ARCHITECTURAL ENGINEERING (AE)
ART HISTORY (ART H)
The capstone of the Ph.D. program is a dissertation, which requires the student to identify and formulate an area of inquiry within which he or she will be expected to conduct high-quality original scholarly research. Each student accepted into the Ph.D. degree program must pass the Ph.D. Candidacy Examination, which requires students to display an understanding of basic material in all areas, along with an in-depth understanding of material covered in courses within their area of focus. This examination must be passed within three semesters, not counting summer session, of entry into the doctoral program. The student's program of courses is developed in cooperation with the student's Ph.D. committee. It is recommended that this consist of approximately 30 credits of courses beyond the master's degree. At the conclusion of the student's course work, the Ph.D. student must take a written comprehensive examination that is developed by the student's Ph.D. committee. Following the comprehensive exam, continuous registration is required for all Ph.D. graduate students until the dissertation is approved. Each student presents a comprehensive thesis proposal to his/her committee prior to starting his/her dissertation research and must present the results of this research in a final oral examination.
The Department of Architecture offers a limited number of academically superior students enrolled in the fourth year of the Bachelor of Architecture degree program the opportunity to enroll in an integrated program leading to both the B.Arch. and the M.Arch. degrees. The program permits the student to integrate the fifth year of the professional B.Arch. degree with the M.Arch. degree into a continuous program of study culminating in the award of both degrees. The ability to coordinate as well as concurrently pursue the two degree programs enables the student to achieve greater depth and comprehensiveness than if the degrees are pursued sequentially, and to earn the two degrees in a shorter period of time. In particular, the program encourages the student to integrate the undergraduate thesis design project with the master's thesis, thereby achieving a greater depth of inquiry. The number of openings to this special program is limited; admission is by invitation of the faculty and is extremely selective.
Applicants to the integrated program must be enrolled in the fourth year of a B.Arch. program or otherwise qualified to apply for admission to the fifth year of the B.Arch. program at Penn State. To be admitted, applicants must be able to meet the following requirements:
--Must be provisionally accepted into the post-professional M.Arch. track at Penn State (see application requirements for the M.Arch. degree above.)
--Must have a minimum 3.20 junior/senior overall grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) as well as: (1) a minimum 3.20 GPA in architectural design courses (studio), and (2) a minimum 3.20 GPA in all course work except architectural design courses (studio).
--In addition to the other application requirements for the post-professional M.Arch. track, the IUG applicant shall provide a Plan of Study of no more than 1,500 words. The plan shall clearly describe the student's proposed general thesis topic and a strategy for pursuing it, including a list of proposed courses and a list of faculty whom the student foresees as contributing to the course of study.
The best-qualified students will be accepted up to the number of spaces available for new students. Acceptance to the program prior to the completion of all required course work is provisional, contingent upon meeting the previous requirements.
Students must complete the requirements for both the B.Arch. and post-professional track of the M.Arch. degrees with the exception that not more than 12 credits earned in either degree program may be used to the meet the requirements of both degrees. Therefore, a minimum total of 48 credits are required to complete the Integrated B.Arch.-M.Arch. program and earn both degrees. The student must maintain a minimum 3.2 overall GPA and shall achieve no less than a B grade in each required course.
Graduate assistantships and other forms of student aid are described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin. All applicants who are accepted are considered for departmental financial aid.
Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.
Last Revised by the Department: Fall Semester 2010
Blue Sheet Item #: 39-04-585
Review Date: 01/11/2011
Faculty updated: 5/13/13