College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

Master of Architecture

Application Deadline

Dr. Peter Laurence    Director of Graduate Studies

Master of Architecture (M. Arch.) Degree Tracks

At Clemson, the Master of Architecture Program seeks to develop students’ proficiency in responding to contemporary architectural, social, and global issues through a broad range of theoretical knowledge and practical abilities. The major emphasis is on design, accompanied by complementary coursework in building technology, architectural history and theory, representation and fabrication, professional topics, and elective subjects. Accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), the Master of Architecture (M. Arch.) is the professional degree required by most state registration boards as a condition of licensure for architectural practice.

Clemson offers four tracks toward earning the professional, NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture (M. Arch.) degree:

Clemson offers four tracks toward earning the professional, NAAB-accredited (NAAB accreditation) Master of Architecture (M. Arch.) degree:

The M. Arch. I  is a three-year, 90-credit hour degree track for students without a portfolio of 6-8 semesters of strong architecture studio work. Students in the M. Arch. I track have diversity of undergraduate majors, including architecture and architectural studies, and various design (art, city planning, urban design, landscape architecture, industrial design, and others) and non-design backgrounds (business, economics, engineering, literature, psychology, and other fields).      

The M. Arch. II is a two-year, 60-credit hour degree track for students with a pre-professional Bachelor’s degree (BA or BS) in Architecture and strong portfolios documenting 6 to 8 semesters of design studio work. The M. Arch. II track is an advanced placement track and a BA or BS in a pre-professional architecture program is a minimum requirement; a competitive portfolio is also required. 

The M. Arch. I in A+H is a three-year, 91-credit hour degree track for students without a portfolio of 6-8 semesters of strong architecture studio work, as noted above, who wish to pursue a concentration in Architecture + Health. The A+H program requires a summer internship, adding a minimum of one credit to the core program.

The M. Arch. II in A+H is a two-year, 61-credit hour degree track for students with a pre-professional Bachelor’s degree in Architecture as noted above, who wish to pursue a concentration in Architecture + Health. The A+H program requires a summer internship, adding a minimum of one credit to the core program. As noted above, the M. Arch. II track is an advanced placement track and a BA or BS in a pre-professional architecture program is a minimum requirement; a competitive portfolio is also required.

For more information about the A+H Program and its degree tracks, see Architecture + Health Program

M. Arch. Program Structure 

All M. Arch. degree tracks earn the NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture degree.

The M. Arch. curriculum is described as a 3 year curriculum with 6 semesters of coursework. The semesters are numbered 1 through 6 and described as Semester 1, Semester 2, etc. M. Arch. I students begin in First Year, Semester 1; M. Arch. II students receive advance placement for their pre-professional studies and begin in Second Year, Semester 3. All students must successfully complete 15 credit hours per semester to complete the degree requirements (60 or 90 credit hours) in a timely manner.

All three-year M. Arch. I students take the same coursework in the First Year. After the First Year, students may begin to specialize their studies. Students admitted to the Architecture + Health program move into the A+H studios and concentrate on A+H coursework. All other M. Arch. students have 12 credit hours (4 courses) of open electives in any graduate level subject, may pursue certificate programs, and have greater flexibility for up to two semesters of off-campus study in Charleston, South Carolina, Barcelona, and/or Genova, which together comprise Clemson's "Fluid Campus." 

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs offer M. Arch. students the opportunity to focus their elective coursework and begin to develop a specialization in a subject area. Effective as of the 2012-13 academic year, M. Arch. students may earn a certificate in "Digital Ecologies" by completing 9 elective credit hours from a list of approved courses. Effective as of the 2013-14 academic year, a certificate in Architecture + CommunityBUILD is offered to students who apply for and are admitted to this certificate program and successfully complete the required 18 credit hours. For more information, see Certificate Programs. Note that Certificate Programs are an elective, as is off-campus study; it is not necessarily possible to do both. 

Up to Two Semesters of Off-Campus Study in Charleston, Barcelona, and/or Genoa

One of Clemson School of Architecture's greatest assets is its "Fluid Campus." While maintaining a consistent path toward the completion of required coursework, M. Arch. students have the opportunity to study in Charleston, Barcelona, and/or Genoa for one or two semesters. While Lee Hall III in Clemson is one of the finest school of architecture facilities in the country, these study centers offer opportunities to work in three unique urban environments while completing degree requirements. These full-time, semester-long experiences are open to students in Semesters 4 (Second Year, Spring) and/or Semester 5 (Third Year, Fall). Placement is by application, but since two semesters of off-campus study are available a first choice is typically available in one of the two semesters. For more information, see the "Fluid Campus" webpages. Note that Architecture + Health students may be limited in their opportunities for off-campus study due to the demands of the A+H curriculum and should discuss their interest in off-campus study with the A+H Program director.

M. Arch. Plans of Study for 2014-15

Note: See A+H webpage for A+H Plans of Study


Program Policies and Policy Documents

The answers to many questions about the Graduate Program in Architecture can be found in the documents and other webpages linked from this one, as well as Clemson University's Graduate School website. If you do not find the answers that you are looking for in these documents and webpages, contact the Program Director, Peter Laurence, or the Student Services Coordinator, Michelle McLane.

Graduate Program Documents:

Graduate School Policies: School of Architecture Policies & Documents:

Assistantships and Fellowships

The School of Architecture does not offer financial aid per se. However, the School of Architecture awards a limited number of graduate fellowships and assistantships to students each year based on merit, requisite abilities, and funding availability.

Assistantships and fellowships may be offered to promising program applicants based on their standing in the applicant pool. Recruiting fellowships may be offered to new M. Arch. I applicants based on their standing in the applicant pool; fellowships offer a small scholarship and reduced tuition for out-of-state and international students (in-state tuition) for one or more semesters. Assistantships are typically offered to M. Arch. II applicants.

Assistantships are also awarded to new and continuing students on an annual cycle based on academic performance and requisite abilities. With few exceptions, assistantships are one-year in length and are awarded only once per year, before the start of the coming academic year. Annual announcements of available assistantships are sent out during the summer and are used to identify the best fit for assistantship needs. Applicant ranking and academic performance (GPA) are also factors. 

Assistantships require 10 hours per week of service to the School of Architecture in the form of teaching, research, lab, or administrative assistance. In return, the assistant receives a stipend and tuition remission. Students with assistantships must remain in good academic standing during the course of their assistantship and must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester. Students whose GPA drops below 3.0 and are therefore placed on academic probation will lose their assistantship. Graduate students in architecture may only accept quarter-time assistantships (10 hours per week) due to the coursework and enrollment requirements necessary to complete the M. Arch. degree in a timely manner. 

Since assistantships are employment and since off-campus study locations have limited needs for student employees, students offered assistantships may be required to remain on the Clemson campus to fulfill assistantship obligations. Since assistantships cannot be deferred, this may mean choosing between off-campus study without an assistantship, or staying on the Clemson campus to receive an awarded assistantship. Typically no more than two students with assistantships are placed in off-campus centers in Charleston, Barcelona, and Genoa; there are more teaching, lab, administrative, and research assistant needs in Clemson than in our off-campus centers. 

Assistants are subject to performance reviews each semester, which may influence the consideration of future assistantship applications. Assistantships are not automatically renewed. 

Preparing to Graduate? 

Be sure to attend to graduation deadlines and complete the necessary forms.  

Toward Licensure: The Intern Development Program (IDP) and the Architect Registration Exam (ARE)

Earning a NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture (or B. Arch. or D. Arch.) is one of a series of steps toward licensure for the practice of architecture. Before licensure, those wishing to become licensed architects must register with the national Intern Development Program (IDP) and complete 5,600 hours (approximately three years) of work experience under the supervision of a licensed architect. IDP is a comprehensive training program created to ensure that interns in the architecture profession gain the knowledge and skills required for the independent practice of architecture; it was created jointly in the 1970s by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and is administered by NCARB. Licensure also requires the satisfactory completion of the Architect Registration Exam (ARE).

About Careers in Architecture

For more information about "Becoming an Architect, The Profession, Careers in Architecture, and What It's Like to Work As An Architect," start with "The Basics" on the NCARB site. See also the "Careers in Architecture" webpage from the American Institute of Architects, as well as the website.  

Other good sources of information for those considering a career in architecture are Gunnin Architecture Library's "The Architecture Student's Basic Bookshelf," websites like Archinect, and professional journals including Architect magazine and Architectural Record.   

Visiting the School

Prospective graduate students are welcomed and encouraged to visit, and it is suggested that prospective students visit during the school year, when students and faculty are present. Studios are in session Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons; those days are best to get a sense of the life of the school. The Architecture Graduate Programs host Graduate Open Houses in the fall (typically in October or early November) for prospective graduate students and in the spring (in late March or early April) for prospective admitted and wait-listed applicants-- but prospective students are always welcome. For information about our Open Houses, see our Visitors and Prospective Students webpage.