The School of Architecture professional curriculum leads to a Master of Architecture (M.Arch) degree, a professional degree program that is fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. The M.Arch degree is comprised of 42 credits taken over three semesters. Courses include design studios, advanced theory and technical courses and graduate electives intended to emphasize the development of a critical position with regard to the environment and architecture.

The design studio forms the core of architectural education, and every student makes a significant design studio commitment each semester; including a Comprehensive Design Studio, an Advanced Architectural Design Studio, and a Masters Studio Project—an individual research/design studio project. The Master of Architecture professional degree is a Plan C program (professional paper or project plan).

Overview of the Master of Architecture Program

Master of Architecture Curriculum


Admission into the architecture graduate program is competitive. The majority of graduate students admitted have completed the B.A. in Environmental Design at MSU. However, spaces are available for highly qualified students with undergraduate degrees from other universities. Placement may vary depending upon the student's background; students with an undergraduate degree in a field other than architecture will be considered, and must, if accepted, complete a full course of study in the design studios. Portfolio review is of primary importance to the School of Architecture's application review committee. All applicants are required to submit a portfolio of their best work to be reviewed by the school’s faculty.


  • January 15: Deadline for application submission to School of Architecture of portfolio and application forms for Fall Semester admittance.

Application Process

The following documents must be submitted to the School of Architecture by the published deadlines.

  • Graduate Application for Admission Form as required by the Graduate School. 
  • A $60.00 non-refundable application fee. Payable to Montana State University, this fee will be paid online as part of the online application process
  • Three letters of recommendation Letters of reference forms will be submitted online. The applicant will need to provide the name and e-mail address of the reference.  At least 2 of the 3 references must be from faculty members. The third reference can be from an architecture professional.
  • Transcripts from all undergraduate coursework
  • Portfolio of Work (electronic submission)


Admissions Criteria

Applicants must achieve a minimum Admissions Score of 7.62 on a 12 point scale to be granted admission into the Master of Architecture program. The following standards are used in the Admissions Score process:

  • Admission Score: Admissions Review is performed by a committee with a minimum of three and a maximum of five faculty. An admission score is developed based upon the following percentages are used to weight the above criteria: Cumulative GPA (40%), Portfolio Review (40%), Letters of Reference (10%) and Architecture Studio GPA (10%)
    • Cumulative GPA (40%)
      • A 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA. This GPA is based on a 4.0 system (4.0 = letter grade "A")
    • Portfolio Review (40%)
      • A minimum rating score of a 6.5 (on a 12 point scale) or better on the portfolio. Portfolios are reviewed by a committee of five members. Their ratings will be averaged to provide a final portfolio score. The point scale is as follows:
        • 12 points Outstanding
        • 9 points Excellent
        • 6 points Good (Required Minimum)
        • 3 points Poor
        • 0 points Unacceptable
    • Letters of Reference (10%)
      • Letter of Reference score is based upon a compilation of the overall recommendation from each recommendation letter. A minimum score of 2 out of 3 is considered acceptable for admission.
    • Architecture Studio GPA (10%) 
      • The School of Architecture will calculate a studio specific grade point average using the grades an applicant received in their undergraduate studios.  A minimum studio average of a 3.0 ("B") is required.
        • Any student who does not have a “B” or better studio average would not be permitted to apply until they retake a studio, or studios, to raise their overall studio average to a “B” (3.0).
        • Studios at MSU included in calculating this average are ARCH 151, ARCH 152, ARCH 253, ARCH 254, ARCH 355 and ARCH 356. For students applying from non-MSU programs, equivalent design studios from those programs will be used to calculate this average.


  • Student applicants are placed in one of three categories:
    • Admitted
    • Provisionally Admitted (student may need to fulfill additional requirements for admittance.)
    • Denied
  • Expected Placement for Students with an Undergraduate Degree in Environmental Design, Architectural Studies, or an Architecture Related Field.

Students who have a four-year, undergraduate degree in architectural studies or environmental design may apply for admission to the Master of Architecture (M.Arch) program. Students will be evaluated based on the application process and portfolio review and will be placed at an appropriate point in the architecture curriculum. Students can expect to pursue a series of rigorous design studios and specialized courses in advanced architecture to be granted the Master of Architecture degree.

Generally, non-MSU applicants to the M.Arch Graduate Program can expect to be provisionally admitted to the graduate program based upon a successful portfolio and application review. Typically, the provision for most non-MSU applicants is that ARCH 457, which is the 4th year capstone design studio, must be successfully completed prior to being fully admitted into the Graduate program. This course may be taken during a summer term prior to the start of the graduate program. This type of provisional admittance will result in one additional semester of study to complete the M.ARCH degree requirements.

  • Expected Placement for Students with an Undergraduate Degree in a field unrelated to Architecture

Students who have a four-year, undergraduate degree in a field unrelated to Architecture can expect to complete 3 years of undergraduate Architecture prerequisite coursework prior to starting graduate level coursework.  A student in this situation could expect the entire program (undergraduate prerequisites and graduate courses) to take approximately 3-1/2 years to complete.  A student with an undergraduate degree in a field unrelated to Architecture should first apply to Montana State University as a post-bach undergraduate student. Once the undergraduate prerequisite courses have been completed the student can apply to the Montana State University Graduate School for admission to the Master of Architecture program.

School of Architecture

P.O. Box 173760
Bozeman, MT

Tel: (406) 994-4256
Fax: (406) 994-2200


Michael Everts, AIA - Director                        Email: