Welcome to the Master of Architecture Program
The School of Architecture professional curriculum leads to a Master of Architecture (M.Arch) degree—a professional degree program in architecture fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board NAAB). 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 the 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).
- Master of Architecture Curriculum
- Estimated Expenses
- Financial Aid
- NAAB Accreditation
- Contact Us
Estimated costs for attending Montana State University include tuition, university fees, room and board, books/supplies and miscellaneous costs are shown below. Read here for a more detailed cost estimate for attending Montana State University.
School of Architecture Costs
The Architecture curriculum relies extensively on the design studio learning model, which includes extensive model building and drawing requiring additional supplies. The studios, and many graduate electives, rely heavily on the use of high-end digital fabrication equipment, printing, and shop facilities. The School established an Architecture Program Fee that is assessed only on the design studio courses with 100% of the program fees being distributed to the School of Architecture for use on students courses, software, field trips, activities and events. Read here for a list of the additional costs in the Architecture program.
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. 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.
The following documents must be submitted to the School of Architecture by the published deadlines.
- Application Form -Graduate Application for Admission 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)
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: An admission score is developed based upon the following percentages, which are used
to weight the following 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%)
- Portfolio Review is performed by a committee with a minimum of three and a maximum of five faculty members conducting the review. Their ratings will be averaged to provide a final portfolio score for each student.
- A minimum portfolio score of a 6.5 (on a 12 point scale) is required on the portfolio.
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 Design 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 to raise the overall studio average to a “B” (3.0).
- MSU design studio courses that are included in calculating the stduio average are ARCH 151, ARCH 152, ARCH 253, ARCH 254, ARCH 355 and ARCH 356.
- Comparable levels of non-MSU architectural design studio courses are used for applicants who have completed their undergraduate degrees at other institutions.
- 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.
- Cumulative GPA (40%)
- Student applicants are placed in one of three categories:
- Provisionally Admitted (student may need to fulfill additional requirements for admittance.)
- 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.
In the United States, most registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year term, an eight-year term with conditions, or a two-year term of continuing accreditation, or a three-year term of initial accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established education standards.
Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may require a non-accredited undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the non-accredited degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.
Montana State University School of Architecture offers the following NAAB-accredited degree program:
- Master of Architecture (pre-professional degree [126 credits] + 42 graduate credits)
The next scheduled NAAB-accreditation visit for Montana State University’s Master of Architecture degree program will take place in 2023.
In addition to having an accredited professional degree, licensure requires a period of internship and the successful completion of the Architecture Registration Exam (ARE). For additional information on the process for obtaining an architecture license visit the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ website.
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