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Master of Science in Architecture

The Master of Science in Architecture (MS in Arch.) degree is most appropriate for students who have already completed a B. Arch. or M. Arch. professional degree, or related design degree, and wish to pursue a defined research agenda. The MS program is focused on research and is sometimes preparation for doctoral studies. Unlike the M. Arch., it is not a professionally-oriented or professionally-accredited degree. The MS in Architecture is an intense, research-oriented course of study that requires significant student motivation and self-direction, research, and writing ability. 

Research Areas 

As compared to the highly structured M. Arch. curriculum, the MS curriculum is flexible and individually tailored to the student's and faculty advisor's research agendas and specializations. An individual plan of study may be crafted in collaboration with an appropriate and available advisor (see faculty webpages). However, the MS program currently has four areas of specialization:

Architecture + Health. Visit the Architecture and Health concentration webpage for background information and contact David Allison, Director of Architecture + Health or Dr. Dina Battisto for more information.

Community Research + Design. Research in design/build, appropriate technology, community economic development, and field work in community building, contact Dan Harding, Director of the Community Research & Design Center (CRDC) and Design + CommunityBUILD certificate program (A+CB) for more information.

Architectural and Urban History, Theory, and Criticism. Visit our faculty webpages to browse HTC faculty members' backgrounds and research areas. 

The MS in Architecture is excellent preparation for the interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Planning, Design, and the Built Environment (PDBE), and may be well suited to US and international students seeking a research qualification to initiate an academic career, as well as others interested in pursuing a focused and individually determined plan of study and research.

Degree Structure and Requirements 

Requirements for the MS degree consist of a minimum of 30 credit hours: 24 credit hours of coursework and directed studies, and 6 credit hours of thesis work. The maximum enrollment per semester is 15 credit hours. Therefore, although it is technically possible to complete degree requirements in two semesters, in most cases it will take the M.S. student three semesters. M.S. in Arch. students should therefore plan for: two semesters of coursework, a summer of further research and writing, and a third semester focused on thesis writing.  

Students work closely with a Major Advisor and an Advisory Committee, with whom they determine an individual Plan of Study. The advisors periodically review the student's work and evaluate thesis research and writing. Successful and timely completion ultimately depends on the student's initiative and diligence. 

Application Requirements 

Since MS students work closely with a major advisor, the applicant must identify a potential advisor and discussed a research focus and possible plan of study with a faculty member in advance of their application.

Faculty members are limited in the number of MS students whom they can advise, so admission is limited and competitive. Apart from determining a major advisor for their research, admission is based on an applicant's previous academic credentials, GRE scores, TOEFL scores (for international students), a design portfolio, and a clear and concise research agenda describing the applicant's purpose and intent. 

After discussing a possible plan of study with a prospective advisor, apply to graduate studies at Clemson University through the application portal found on Clemson's Graduate School's Prospective Students webpage and click Apply Now

International students must have a high level of ability in understanding, communicating, and writing in English to succeed in the program. In preparation for writing research papers and a thesis in English, international applicants must demonstrate the ability to do so in TOEFL scores and/or other documentation. 

For more information about graduate studies at Clemson University, visit the Graduate School’s Admissions, Academic, and Financial policies

M. Arch - MS in Arch. Dual Degree 

The M. Arch.-M.S. in Arch. dual degree offers the student an opportunity to focus on, or continue, a research agenda of personal interest and to earn a second Master's degree in less time than pursuing the degrees independently. Applicants must apply to both programs simultaneously, or no later than one semester into the M. Arch. program.  

Clemson University Graduate School policy permits the pursuit of dual degrees, which allow a limited number of credit hours to be applied to both degrees. For the M.Arch-M.S. in Arch. dual degree, this is capped at 9 credit hours. Since most ARCH courses are three credit hours, this generally means that three M. Arch. courses can be applied to the M.S. degree. Since the M.S. in Arch. is a research-focused degree, the courses applied will often be elective courses that advance the student's research interests. Following completion of M. Arch. requirements, the student will complete a minimum of 21 credit hours (30 minus 9 credit hours) including thesis work. 

To pursue a M. Arch. + M.S. in Arch. dual degree, the student must: (1) Apply to both degree tracks simultaneously, or within one semester, and be admitted to both, (2) have an appropriate research interest, (3) find a faculty member willing to serve as a primary advisor, and (4) secure the necessary approvals. 

With the combined credit, the M.S. in Arch. component can be earned in two semesters, instead of the typical three semesters, with successful completion of remaining coursework, research, and thesis. 

Academic Common Market 

The state of South Carolina, through its membership in the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), authorizes its public universities to participate in the Academic Common Market (ACM). Under this program, students who are not residents of South Carolina can enroll in selected graduate programs at Clemson University and pay academic fees appropriate for South Carolina residents provided all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The student's state of legal residence must be AK, AL, DE, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, NC, OK, TN, TX, VA or WV.

  2. The desired program of study must be: the Ph.D. program in industrial/organizational psychology, or parks, recreation and tourism management; the M.S. or Ph.D. program in engineering mechanics; the M.A. program in professional communication; the M.S. program in applied psychology, applied sociology, architecture, packaging science, bioengineering or textiles, fiber and polymer science; the master's program in construction science and management (MCSM) or, the professional master's program in parks, recreation and tourism management (MPRTM).

  3. The Coordinating Board in the state of the student's legal residence must have selected the program for its residents.

Programs offered by Clemson University are subject to change without notice. However, students who are enrolled in a program under the ACM provisions prior to its removal by Clemson University are entitled to continue and receive benefits provided they are continuously enrolled (summers excepted) and remain in good academic standing. The Graduate School should be consulted about any and all matters related to the ACM. The state coordinator for the Academic Common Market in South Carolina is the Commission on Higher Education.

More Information 

Graduate School Policies:
Graduate School Application Information:
Tuition and Financial Aid:
For International Students: